Borderlands 2

It looks like Borderlands 2 VR is coming to PC, after almost a year of PlayStation exclusivity. Evidence comes via an ESRB rating for the Windows PC edition of the game. There's no indication of release date, but these classifications are usually filed within a month or so of release.

Borderlands 2 VR contains the full original game, but on PS4 at least, its entirely single-player. That does detract somewhat from the game's central appeal, but the opportunity to virtually inhabit Pandora is pretty cool. As is watching piles of guns explode from toilet cisterns. 

Borderlands 2

Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.  

Plenty of videogame villains bother you by rambling over the radio or whatever its fantasy equivalent is. The Guardian in Ultima 7, Sander Cohen in Bioshock, Frank Fontaine in Bioshock, actually just everyone in Bioshock. 

Handsome Jack is different. He doesn't pontificate like he's delivering a sermon, he doesn't rant like he's going to be played by Jeremy Irons in the movie. When he shows up on your echonet device in Borderlands 2, he's casual. He's eating, for god's sake. He delivers villain monologues like someone making it up as he goes along, and he does it while audibly chewing. 

The monster.

Handsome Jack doesn't act like a villain, but then he doesn't think he is one. He thinks he's the hero. You and your friends are bandits, and he's the one who is going to open the Vault and fix Pandora. (By killing everyone. But not in an evil way.) Your relationship with him seems low stakes at first. It's annoying that he mocks you and tricks you, but it's so casual and he's so charming and funny about it that it's hard to stay mad—even if you found the audio logs that reveal what he did to Helena Pierce from the first game.

Halfway through Borderlands 2, that changes. You strike a significant blow against Jack, and he does the same to you. People die. Now it's personal. His rants stop being funny. Instead of making jokes, he just tells you he's going to kill you, and he's not chewing pretzels or whatever while he does it. The shift is surprising, and in that moment you realize that he hates you and you hate him too.

It's an emotional resonance few other games manage, effective because it's so surprising. Handsome Jack is not just a bag of hit points between you and your goal, he's an actual personality (an oversized and obnoxious one), and you feel like you have a real relationship with him. Which makes it even better when you finally take him down.

Borderlands 2

A new Borderlands 2 DLC was announced during today's Xbox conference at E3. Yes, you read that right, the 2012 looter-shooter whose sequel is only months away just got an expansion. It's called Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary and if you download it by July 9 it'll be free.

Among its additions are: A new loot tier called effervescent; more named guns including talking ones; plant monsters and mutated "infected" versions of existing enemies; a new raid boss; new locations and altered versions of old ones; more skins for characters and vehicles; level cap boosted to 80 and two more Overpowered levels; the option to start a new character at level 30; and a storyline in which the New Pandora Army invade Sanctuary and infect Pandora with gas that turns people into plants.

It's a bridge between the story of Borderlands 2 and Borderlands 3, and also has a couple of references to the events of Tales from the Borderlands. The DLC can be started by fast-traveling to the the Fight for Sanctuary location, though you should be at least level 30 and have finished the main storyline first.

Read our complete impressions over here. Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary will be free until July 9, and $US15 after that.

Borderlands 2

Five years after the last add-on for Borderlands 2, it's nice to be playing a new one. The announcement of Borderlands 3 already gave me the motivation I needed to replay one of my favorite shooters (and about a million other people had the same idea, according to Steam's numbers), but it's a sweet bonus to actually have new stuff to explore while I continue spending 2019 ignoring more recent games in favor of one that came out in 2012.

Something that's always been a bit annoying about Borderlands 2 is that when you want to play a different class you have to start over from level one, and it takes till level five to unlock their action skill and find out if you actually enjoy their shtick. The Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary DLC released today lets you make a new vault hunter who is boosted to 30 so you can jump right into it, which means never having to play the tutorial again.

Of course you can also play through this expansion with an existing character, and that's what it's designed for. It's an epilogue that sets up Borderlands 3, getting characters and a plot MacGuffin into place for the sequel, while also dealing with some Tales from the Borderlands fallout. (If Telltale's spin-off has been sitting in your backlog, definitely play it before this.)

That makes this the third Borderlands 2 epilogue, by my count. Of the other DLCs both Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep and The Son of Crawmerax explicitly deal with how the events of the story have affected the cast. It's a very "for the fans" kind of thing to keep doing, with a lot of explicit callbacks and running jokes for players who've built up a fondness for characters like Brick, Tannis, Moxxi, and even Claptrap.

Obviously, there's a lot of shooty-shooty-pew-pew as well. This is still a Gearbox Borderlands rather than a Telltale one. The level cap is boosted to 80 and a whole new tier of weapons above the legendary rarity called "effervescent" has been added. I found a talking sniper rifle called Hot Mama and an assault rifle called Toothpick that jets flame out its side, both of which are as colorful as rainbows on an oil slick.

The enemies I was shooting with my shiny new guns weren't quite so exciting. There's a military group called the New Pandorans in town who are mostly just boring soldiers. They've got specialists like medics, snipers, and guys with flamethrowers but what seemed like setup for jokes at the expense of Team Fortress 2 was wasted. Their leader Hector feels like a rehash of General Knoxx from the first game.

His plan for taking over the planet and turning it into a paradise involves releasing a gas that transforms people into plant monsters, which results in some tweaks to the way you approach fights—clouds of spores that power you up in the short-term but cause damage if you stand in them too long, budding pods that release bad guys if you don't shoot them in time—but "bandits with leaves on them" isn't a thrilling theme for monsters. At least none of them are as annoying as that Poison Ivy boss fight in Arkham Asylum.

That doesn't matter as much as you'd think, because the emphasis is definitely on the heroes rather than the villains. Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary is mostly about saying goodbye to Borderlands 2, with some of the new locations being busted-up versions of familiar places and various fan-favorite characters returning to do their thing. Claptrap has a side mission where he gets into cryptocurrency, two of the shopkeepers become housemates as if they're in a wacky sitcom, Tannis rants about mad science schemes. 

Sure, there's also a new raid boss, more skins, and two more Overpowered levels for the kind of people who are never happy with the amount of "endgame content" anything has, but there's also a lot of time spent just hanging out in a new hub that accrues NPCs over the course of the story. Hanging story threads are tied off, and everyone gets moved into place for the planet-hopping plot of Borderlands 3 and its new spaceship hub.

Mass Effect 3's Citadel expansion is still the gold standard for this kind of indulgent farewell to a videogame family, but Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary is also a fun hangout with bantering NPCs that has some shooting in it. And for the next month, you can download it free.

Now bring on Borderlands 3.

Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2 has seen a huge increase in concurrent players on Steam in the last week, no doubt a result of escalating interest in the series following the reveal of Borderlands 3.

The game peaked just shy of 60K players last weekend—59,033 according to Steam Charts and highlighted here on GitHyp. The review scores remain Very Positive on both Borderlands 2 and the original game, though closer inspection will show that both games have seen recent 'off-topic review activity'—read more about those review bombing efforts here.  

Borderlands 2 has remained a firm favourite with PC players since its release back in 2012. It's been discounted a lot lately, too, which has likely driven further interest in it. Or maybe it's that 4K texture pack that was added to the game? 

If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, you can check out why Jody thought Borderlands 2 was ahead of its time. Alternatively, you can read up on everything we know about Borderlands 3, which is set for release on September 13.

Borderlands 2

We didn't know how lucky we were. "Hey, that's a decent improvement on the original," we thought back when Borderlands 2 came out in 2012. Great class system. Tons of guns. It was a lot of fun. We didn't realize Borderlands 2 would end up being a framework so many games would build on, and yet fail to live up to. We didn't realize it was quite so special.

Borderlands 2 took stuff from MMOs, like color-coded rarity levels and raids, but reduced the boredom of traveling by adding bouncy vehicles right out of Halo. It worked both as a co-op experience for friends who wanted an excuse to hang out online, and a solo game. It had a long tail of DLC, timed events like the $100,000 Loot Hunt, and endgame challenges like Digistruct Peak, as well as Overpower levels for players who'd maxed out everything else. Though it predated "games as a service" it was, in its own way, a forever game. There are still at least 5,000 people playing it at any given time on Steam, even today.

At the same time, Borderlands 2 is very 2012. When the siren-class character, Maya, spots an elite enemy she shouts "We got a badass over here!" like the Neil deGrasse Tyson reaction. Axton, the soldier-class character, sometimes says "You get a bullet, and you get a bullet!" like Oprah but for murders. There's a double rainbow easter egg, and the pirate-themed DLC features ninja pirates for god's sake. Borderlands 2 is a museum of memes from the early 2010s. 

Woah, that's a full rainbow.

It's also heavy with pop culture references, but there's a line between the two. The vehicles added in the Captain Scarlett & Her Pirate's Booty DLC are designed to look like the skiff from Return of the Jedi. That's just a reference. When Gaige, the mechromancer-class character, shouts "Unlimited power!" like a million image macros of Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith, that's a meme.

Now, several years later, I find the dated-ness of those memes weirdly charming. I haven't heard anyone say "Garbage Day!" or reference trap cards in ages, but here they are in Borderlands 2, frozen in meme amber.

Neverending story 

It wasn't all memes, of course. We wouldn't have cared about departing NPCs saying "I must go, my people need me" if they weren't in a game that kept us around with an eternal cascade of sweet loot. The sniper rifle that shoots acid bullets in three-round bursts when zoomed. The pistol that reloads almost instantly and is stable as a rock. Those kept us playing through True Vault Hunter difficulty, through multiple DLC packs, across hundreds of hours. 

Play a loot game for that long and builds inevitably degenerate. One example of that was The Bee, a shield with a decent chance of dropping from a propaganda radio host in the Boneyard area of the Arid Nexus. Named for Muhammad Ali's famous quote (a reference, not a meme), The Bee gave bonus damage per shot and was massively overpowered if combined with guns that had a high rate of fire. Which is what everyone did once they figured out how to farm it. Borderlands developers Gearbox treated the exploit like an MMO developer would and nerfed it, rather than just letting it slide like devs might in a more typical first-person shooter that wasn't meant to be played for years.

While Borderlands 2 is definitely an FPS, judging it by those standards misses its appeal. Its enemies possess only rudimentary tactics, throwing grenades at players behind cover but otherwise not doing much to coordinate. The spaces you fight them in are deliberately samey, with exploding barrels keyed to different elemental damage types placed throughout every bandit stronghold. The point isn't to outsmart the AI, but to transform your character into an effective mathematical engine to munch them with.

Shielded enemies are susceptible to electrical attacks, while armored enemies can be melted by corrosive ones. Fire attacks are best against enemies who have no special defences but plenty of regular health, and Borderlands 2 has no shortage of meaty bullet sponges. Anyone who takes damage from slag will take bonus damage from any non-slag attack that follows. Juggling all these things, working with other players or swapping between guns, grenades, and powers with different damage types, it can feel more like playing Final Fantasy or Pokemon than Half-Life. "Maya uses pistol that shoots rockets. It's super-effective!" (That's both a meme and a reference for you).

That is a 40K boltgun, yes.

Which is not to say that it's bad at being a shooter. Borderlands 2 doesn't do the RPG thing of having the numbers invalidate your ability to aim. If you land a shot on someone it doesn't matter what your gun's stats are, you landed that shot. Enemies take bonus damage if you hit them where they're weakest, and goliaths will frenzy and attack their allies if you pop off their dopey bucket heads. The expectations of FPS players are catered to, with the dopamine hit of RPG progression layered on top.

Just shloot me 

Other looter shooters are still struggling to recreate what Borderlands 2 did right. The Division games have boring loot, all kneepads and guns that don't even explode like grenades when thrown. Warframe's a completely different game for its opening hours before it gets good, and Anthem never does. Destiny's NPCs keep obnoxiously trying to remind you of their personalities every time they pop up, but most of them are forgettable. The Ghost is just Claptrap for boring people.

The Gearbox of today isn't the Gearbox of 2012, however. Borderlands 2's lead writer, Anthony Burch, is not writing Borderlands 3. The second game's creative director, Mikey Neumann, has also left the studio (though he did come back to help make Borderlands 3's trailer). And between the release of Borderlands 2 and now Gearbox has been responsible for Aliens: Colonial Marines and Battleborn. It's tempting to lower our expectations a little. 

That trailer really does look like classic flavor Borderlands, though. Some have expressed disappointment with that familiarity, but a game that sticks to the template would be preferable to one that's beholden to all the worst trends of modern looter shooters. A Borderlands game with battle passes, microtransactions, and a confusing variety of different currencies? No, thanks. I'd rather they stick to their guns.

And what about the memes? What's 2019 got to contribute—jokes about whether unused items in your inventory "spark joy"? Bandits impersonating Powerful Shaggy instead of quoting Hamlet? I wrote that as a joke but now I think about it, that would rule. Still, memes aren't the same carefree internet japes they were when Borderlands 2 came out and the idea of someone at Gearbox having to sift out the ones that have been appropriated by bigots is a depressing thought.

When Borderlands 2 was new I played it with friends. We had a blast, and to my surprise I realized I was interested in the story, not just the shooting. I made a second character just to go through it solo, hunting down audio logs and hanging on Handsome Jack's every word.  

That's what stands out when I compare it to the looter shooters that followed. I can't imagine doing the same thing in The Division 2, a game where even fans don't care about the plot. If Borderlands 2 did adopt some of the trappings of modern looter-shooters I wouldn't mind too much, so long as it kept the idea that it's worth having an arc, a villain you love to hate and a plot that feels like it's building to something.

Also the song that plays over the opening credits has to rule, but that's a given.

Borderlands 2

Announced at today's Borderlands panel at PAX East 2019, Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel are each getting an Ultra HD texture pack as a free download. They'll redo textures across the game, from characters and vehicles to weapons and environments. 

The pack won't just include textures, though—it'll add some extra graphical touches, like higher resolution dynamic shadows, improved Screen Space Ambient Occlusion, and better anti-aliasing. Some of the visual improvements will be added automatically after you download. 

They'll arrive for both games on April 3rd. 

Borderlands 2

When Gearbox released Borderlands 2 in 2012, it had a novel idea: "SHiFT codes," which players could find on Borderlands' forums and social media accounts and enter into the game to unlock rare weapons and cosmetics. Shift codes come in two main varieties:

  • Golden Keys, which open a special crate in the city of Sanctuary. That crate is guaranteed to serve up a purple rarity item. In a game with billions of randomly generated guns, it was a tantalizing way to skip the RNG and get some great weapons. 
  • Special skins: There are unique skins and heads for each Borderlands 2 character that can only be unlocked with Shift codes. 

Today Borderlands 2 is still going strong on Steam, and Gearbox is still doling out new Shift codes. In fact, Gearbox dropped some big ones when it announced Borderlands 3.

If you're playing Borderlands 2 for the first time or replaying it while you wait for Borderlands 3, why not load up on rare guns and cool skins? Below we've collected tons of Borderlands 2 Shift codes that unlock skins or big piles of keys, and we've also listed some time-sensitive codes for Golden Keys that are current as of June 2019.

New Borderlands 2 Shift codes for 2019

Here are some hot new Borderlands 2 Shift codes from the announcement of Borderlands 3. These are big ones, either worth a ton of keys or unlocking previously exclusive and rare skins.

W3KJB-H9CBW-XRBRW-JTBTJ-9JRXK (25 Golden Keys)

C35TB-WS6ST-TXBRK-TTTJT-JJH6H  (Salvador's Community Day Skin, 5 Golden Keys)

53KBB-KXXRC-RZ66Z-WFJBB-WSRZ3 (Zer0's Community Day Skin, 5 Golden Keys)

5B3BJ-XZWFW-T3KRZ-JBJTB-6WST9 (Maya's Community Day Skin)

W353J-RR6RC-X96R9-C63J3-RJTFW  (Axton's Community Day Skin, 5 Golden Keys)

New shift codes that work as of July 2019:  

WBWJ3-TRRZJ-6RBX5-JT3J3-ZBFHS (5 Golden Keys, expires July 8)

CJW3J-SCFST-66JXW-BBTBB-ZTXFZ (5 Golden Keys, expires July 8)

To find new codes regularly you can follow the official Gearbox and Borderlands social media accounts, but your most efficient destination for Shift codes is this website: Shift.Orcicorn.com. The website automatically monitors and posts updates from both Twitter and Facebook onto one convenient page. If Gearbox has put out a new batch of Shift codes, they'll be listed here. The Twitter account is also easy to follow.

Keep in mind that Shift codes typically expire after 2-3 weeks, so check in once a week or so if you're actively looking to stockpile.

Now let's get to the really good stuff: special Shift codes that can unlock unique items and cosmetics.

Cosmetic Borderlands 2 Shift codes

Despite being years old, these Shift codes for character skins haven't been deactivated (at least, not yet). As far as we know, they should continue to work. Thanks to Orcz for an exhaustive list that's mostly up-to-date.

Note: These codes are all for the PC version of Borderlands 2 and won't work on consoles. For PS/Xbox codes, follow the Orcz link above.

Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep

KTK3J-FR3JS-ZX55B-B3BJ3-HSRB6 (Axton’s Natural Twenty skin)

535BB-3R3BZ-HF5K3-JJB33-3BF3J (Gaige’s Summoner Sickness Skin)

CTKJ3-9CBJS-9R5WT-JBJ3T-WKXKF (Zer0’s The Pandora Chainmail Massacre skin)

CBCJ3-W5TT9-S65K3-BJJ3B-XHWWC (Maya’s Her Violent Nature skin)

CBKJ3-5FT39-ZRCCT-JTJB3-RFJ5B (Krieg’s My Fantasies Involve Blood skin)

5J5TT-RCJBS-ZXWCJ-TJ3BJ-TK3FB (Salvador’s Bear Naked skin)

Heads

KJKJT-WHBKX-HC9BT-TJBJ3-XJFSJ (Axton's Warrior of Light head)

CBKBJ-6ZJW6-HKH3T-B3T33-F5ZRS (Gaige's Wayfarer Wizard head)

CT5BB-XTW5X-9CSBT-3BTTJ-FT5X5 (Zer0's G0ry Gh0ul head)

KTC3T-WTW5F-ZCHB3-BT3B3-XJ9WR (Maya's Elven Eliminator head)

CBKBB-ZHJC6-SWHJT-JJ3BB-3CXHS (Krieg's My Ears Are Ringing head)

WBCJJ-33KWR-S5Z33-BJTTB-65WJJ (Salvador's The Beast Within head)

Loverpalooza

5T53B-6K9KT-Z5B65-BTJJ3-655CZ (Loverpalooza skins & gun)

WTCBJ-FTCXF-5TXCT-3TJ33-TZXW6 (Krieg's Loverpalooza skin)

Luck of the Zafords

 5JWT3-3H5FB-SCBX5-TJ3JB-H5R6X (Luck of the Zafords skins & Chulainn SMG)

Borderlands The Pre-Sequel

CJKBJ-3XWTF-HCJ6K-JJB3T-SB35X (Axton as Athena skin)

CTWTB-RXKTR-SKJXW-3TBTJ-KXKKH (Salvador as Wilhelm skin)

KBWT3-WF5TR-SC3XW-T333B-TSCTS (Maya as Nisha skin)

W3C33-H653X-9CTR5-3TBJ3-HZ99S (Zer0 as Claptrap skin)

53WT3-59KJX-95B65-3J333-S9JW9 (Gaige as Moon Moxxi skin)

CTKTJ-JSWJF-SCJXK-3TJJ3-RWTKX (Krieg as a Scav  skin)

Class Mod Borderlands 2 Shift codes

Class Mods change how characters play and give certain skills big buffs and bonuses. Definitely use these Shift codes if you're planning a new Borderlands 2 playthrough, since they'll open up new ways to play.

5JKBJ-K9WHW-WBZTJ-T3TTB-TW9HR (Axton Class Mod)

W3C3B-5JRZC-WJH33-JBJJB-9S6CJ (Gaige Class Mod)

CBWJ3-S5CJ3-WTTCF-WX333-9STBF (Zer0 Class Mod)

WJWJ3-FXC33-KT3CR-KR33J-J9B35 (Maya Class Mod)

WTCJT-J653B-C3TKF-5X333-F6JRH (Krieg Class Mod)

WJKBB-KXC3J-5BBCR-5X33J-XZ6RZ (Salvador Class Mod)

Golden Key Borderlands 2 Shift codes

Check the long list of Shift codes on this Wiki page to find loads of codes that still work. Most of them will give you a bundle good for five Golden Keys, which means five openings of the chest in Sanctuary for purple loot. But here are a few codes you should definitely activate, which are good for way more than just five keys. Pump these in and you'll be swimming in loot!

WBK3T-BKW6T-TXTRK-JTTBT-C6BS5 (25 Golden Keys)

5BW3B-F96CT-KXJFK-TB3B3-39BWZ (20 Golden Keys)

Borderlands 2

Last month a Redditor posted a photo of "Borderlands wig made out of foam by Goldvester Cosplay", showing a recreation of Gaige's hair from the Borderlands 2 Mechromancer DLC. Though the wig is a 3D object made out of foam, it's got heavy black outlining around it that makes it look like a cel-shaded 2D cartoon from any angle, and if you look at it long enough it'll hurt your eyes. The comments underneath that Reddit post are full of people saying "My brain refuses to interpret this properly" and "REDDIT is now CONFUSED!"

It's the work of Jennifer, aka Goldvester, who specializes in brain-breaking cel-shaded cosplay. Here she is as Snow White from The Wolf Among Us.

There are plenty of tutorial videos to show how these effects are achieved, like this one showing off bodypaint work, this one for clothes, and this for prop work. Though characters from Telltale games, comic books, and cartoons like Archer are popular inspirations, most of the cosplayers bringing cel-shading to life focus on the Borderlands games. Here's how Jennifer's Gaige ended up, as well as some shots of her as other Borderlands favorites Maya and Mad Moxxi. Plus, one more look at that downright eerie Snow White.

You can follow Jennifer's creations on Instagram and Twitter.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Believe it or not, it's been six years, almost to the day, since Firaxis very successfully brought back the X-Com sci-fi strategy series with XCOM: Enemy Unknown. In fact, on October 9 it will be six years to the day, and it's possible that the developers might be doing something to celebrate the birthday. 

Solomon was the designer on XCOM and XCOM 2, while Garth DeAngelis was the producer on both projects and Greg Foertsch was the art director. In other words, it's the top trio of XCOM execs just shooting the breeze, speculating idly about "doing something special" for the fans.

Could there be more to it than casual chit chat? Six years is an odd sort of anniversary to make a big fuss over, and there's no obvious reason for it that leaps out at me. But it's interesting that games from the original X-Com series were released in 1994, '95, '97, '98, and '99, but not 1996. Coincidence? Hey man, I just work here.   

...

Search news
Archive
2019
Jul   Jun   May   Apr   Mar   Feb  
Jan  
Archives By Year
2019   2018   2017   2016   2015  
2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
2009   2008   2007   2006   2005  
2004   2003   2002