Borderlands 2 Review
Borderlands 2 is upon us and in my opinion, fans will not be disappointed by what Gearbox Software has given us. Borderlands is now brighter, flashier, and lootier. Let’s also not forget the great comedic writing that will ensue.
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date: September 18th 2012 (US/Canada)
September 21st 2012 (UK)
The original Borderlands was based on the simple premise of a first-person shooter RPG, where you would grind and go loot crazy. That previous system worked so well that it remains the same in this sequel; why change something that’s not broken, right? What I really love about the Borderlands series is not only the addiction to loot collection, but how it has changed the genre. I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of first-person shooters to begin with. But what Gearbox has done is basically flipped the concept of the FPS genre completely on it’s head. This makes the game something to behold, with planning and strategy actually requiring you to approach the game in a different way.
Every gun in Borderlands 2 feels and acts different. So what do I mean? For example, you can pick up two almost identical rifles and they will sound different. Borderlands 2 gives us boring guns that deal incredible damage, and crazy futuristic alien technology that will be utterly useless. My personal favorite was a rifle that fired ghostly looking rounds at the enemy and ensued in a nice explosion on contact, because who doesn’t like things that go BOOM!
The story here is much improved over the original Borderlands. Many of the characters from the first game do make cameo appearances and as an added bonus, you get more back story on them; more then you previously knew. Many will rejoice (or just hate) Claptrap in his glorious return as the foulmouthed robot of the world, ready to guide the heroes. Each of the 4 new heroes gain some fleshing out, but the old heroes from Borderlands now take a side seat and are given more story in comparison. It is a strange system, but it works as you never feel like it owes you more than you are given.
The enemies are varied and fresh. You will tackle robots, giant snow apes and of course, many bandits. The new main villain Handsome Jack, in my opinion, is probably one of the best video game characters to date. All of his dialogue and actions are chaotic while still maintaining a sarcastic and cool feel. Many of the actions that he performs are cruel and awful, but I assure you that you will enjoy every moment that you spend listening to his ramblings about the world and character.
It wouldn’t be fair to give all the credit of this games epicness to only the villains, as the NPC’s are astounding as well. The list includes the typical redneck, a gentleman, proud mechanic, and crazy teenage girl. Each has their own moments to shine and there is no doubt in my mind that you will enjoy the dialogue. I did have an issue with one and that was the 13-year-old teenage girl, Tiny Tina. She was obnoxious most of the time, but she had her moments to shine.
Borderlands 2 has one difficulty level for your first play through. You will rarely need to go off and do extra quests or grinding to gain the appropriate level for the story missions. It feels very balanced and only a few times did I have trouble completing a quest. The online co-op is always an option, and offers the temptation of better loot with more players in the game (max 4 total). A simple problem was the lack of enemy progression while you leveled. The game is designed to guide you towards the end, but if you ever need to revisit an earlier portion of the game for quests and such, you will be killing low level enemies that will net you little experience and crappy loot.
The characters are much more diverse this time around, allowing for better player customization. You can choose to be an offense, defense or buffs character, each with a unique and fun set of skills and passives. All characters offer one main ability as with the previous game, but this time around, you will have numerous ways to go about modifying it. Skins and color schemes are also available this time around, ensuring that you won’t be looking the exact same as your buddy; yup, no twins.
The HUD has been nicely re-done with an included addition of a mini-map. The only problem I had is that the mini-map is a little too small which makes it hard to figure out the location of some objectives, resulting in pulling up the big map. That sort of makes the mini map feel redundant, defeating its purpose.
Borderlands 2 totals 30+ hours of game-play, and I am enjoying every minute of my play-through with my Gunzerker. The issues that are here won’t detract you from the game, and believe this game will warrant a second play-through, in the least, just because of all the customization options and different classes. Not to mention each new treasure chest will mesmerize you with its flashy opening sequence to reveal your new favorite gun. Oh yes, this will certainly keep you coming back for more.
If you want a good comedy game and tight shooting controls, look no further. Borderlands 2 will continue to entertain you into the new year as DLC rolls out in the coming months.