Borderlands 2 – Review

  • Game: Borderlands 2
  • Release Date: September 18, 2012
  • Publisher(s): 2K Games
  • Developer(s): Gearbox Software
  • Genre(s): First-person shooter, action RPG
  • Platform(s): Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Story/Plot:

Borderlands 2 takes place five years after the events of Borderlands, in which the four Vault Hunters found the Vault and defeated “The Destroyer”. Rumors of a new, even larger Vault have started and these rumors caught the attention of four new Vault Hunters. The attention of Handsome Jack, the leader of the Hyperion Corporation  has also been grabbed. Handsome Jack, who has had the Hyperion Corporation mining Eridium out of Pandora’s crust, wants to find the new Vault and become even more powerful. He rules over the people of Pandora and does everything in his power to destroy and Vault Hunters that come to the planet to search for this new Vault. The four new Vault Hunters prove to be quite the challenge for Jack, though. They have the power to find the Vault, with the help of some old friends, and stop Handsome Jack. Salvador the Gunzerker, Maya the Siren, Axton the Commando, and Zer0 the Assassin must fight through the wilds of Pandora and through Handsome Jack’s scheming to get the the Vault and find what they have risked their lives to find.

Gameplay:

Guns, guns, and more guns. That is what was to be expected when Borderlands 2 was announced, and they sure did deliver. With hundreds of new guns, players can expect this game to have a fantastic feel as far as the shooter element goes. As was the case in Borderlands, loot can be found everywhere. Loot is equipment that can be found in boxes and crates as well as looted off of enemies after they have been killed. This equipment ranges from ammo, to guns, to shields and everything in between. This is the main way in which players can find new weapons and other equipment. All kinds of new weapons are featured in Borderlands 2, as well as new class mods, shield types, and now character skins. In the previous game, the color of the clothes and hair of the Vault Hunters could be changed. Borderlands 2 went one step further by allowing players to loot skins and head customization’s  The skins are simply other color schemes for the outfit the character is wearing, but it’s not always just colors. Certain skins show off weapon brand logos, various designs, and a variety of change from costume to costume. The head customization are where it gets fun, they allow players to change the hair or helmet of the character, giving the character a completely different look. For example, there are various helmets for Zer0 that give him a different look as well as different hair for Maya ranging from short with goggles to completely bald. This game also features completely new skill tree’s, in the same 3-branch system. Each character has three unique skill sets that can be upgraded by leveling up and gaining skill points. Each skill point can be put into the tree at various points giving the character different benefits. Each character has a special ability that they use, and this ability as well as other abilities can be upgraded. Borderlands 2 features a “bad ass” ranking system. Completing challenges gains your character points, those points can then be used to add and upgrade perks such as fire rate and elemental damage chance. This gives players the incentive to accomplish goals and complete challenges in order to gain points to get perks. As was the case with Borderlands, Borderlands 2 is four player co-op. You and three other friends can join together to play or you can play alone, it’s up to the player. Also, split-screen co-op is available so players can choose to play next to a friend or family member. The gameplay offers a smooth experience and a great opportunity to customize characters and play-styles through different skills and weapons. Players may choose to play as a sniper, as a melee heavy character, or anything else and this can be switched up with ease throughout the game.

Visuals/Presentation:

Borderlands 2 was made in the same cell-shaded graphic style of the first game, giving it a very comic book look, but also a very unique feel. The world of Pandora is abundant with differing areas, with different styles. Players can expect to visit new areas of Pandora that weren’t available in the first game. Players start in a frozen wasteland but venture into deserts and other areas that are visually unique. Each character is different that their predecessors, players will notice that even a character like Maya, who is a Siren like Lilith in the first game, is completely different in personality and skills than Lilith. Characters from the first game make appearances in Borderlands 2 such as Zed, Scooter, Moxxi, Marcus, and especially the previous Vault Hunters. All four of the playable Vault Hunters from Borderlands make appearances as NPC’s and effect the main story. They are not just there to say hello, they help your character out and move the story along. The appearance of these previous characters give players the feeling of familiarity, since everything else is so different it’s nice to see some friendly faces. On the contrary, there are plenty of new characters such as Tiny Tina and even Handsome Jack. The music and ambient sounds are very similar to those of the first game, but not exactly the same. It’s not very memorable, but there is much more to the game that sounds and music so it is not something that effects the game negatively. This game’s control system is very smooth and easy to get used to. Like most shooters, it’s simplistic. The cutaways and cutscenes in which characters are introduced are still very clever and funny, but the game is more about playing that it is about cutscenes. Players should not expect intensely in-depth cutscenes which take them away from the game. Overall, the style and feel if the game is fresh yet comfortable and very fun.

Final Score:

10

My Thoughts:

Congratulations to Borderlands 2 for getting the first perfect score I have ever given. I usually try to steer clear of 10’s because it implies that there is not a single thing wrong with the game, but that is the case with this one. I cannot think of one thing that is legitimately wrong with this title, and I must say that I am so happy to have played it. Seamless gameplay is hard to come by these days, there is always something that trips us up when we play something whether it be a bad battle, poor plothole, or chaotic characters. Borderlands 2 features none of that, playing though it you should expect no tripping or bad feelings. If you like action first person RPG shooters, or if you have played the first game and loved it, you will definitely adore this game.

6 thoughts on “Borderlands 2 – Review

  1. Hell yeah! I’m having a blast playing this game and the improvements they made are incredible. My only complaint would be with the Unreal engine since I’ve been stuck on silly textures and caught between invisible walls and had to completely reload to get out. Also, receiving new missions that require you to go back to a place that you JUST cleared with the exact same enemies respawning does get tiresome after a while, but that was the same problem I had with the first game. Besides that, the gameplay, writing, characters, GUNS – completely flawless.

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    • Indeed. I understand your complains, although I have yet to run across a problem with the engine. The mission thing does get a little irritating, but the same thing happened in the first game like you said so oh well haha. 🙂

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  2. I’m a newcomer to Borderlands and while I’m having fun with BL2, I’m not really impressed.

    I’ve played for 32 hours and I still haven’t found a single weapon that I really liked and majority of stuff I’ve found so far have different stats, but still feels like weapons that I already had. Looting is annoying, if it’s not better than my current weapons, I don’t even pick most of it up anymore. Selling them is pointless since you don’t need money since stores have decent stuff in them once in a blue moon and you don’t need to buy ammo since you can find it everywhere.

    Also wish they would’ve gone with weight limit rather than inventory slots. Then you would actually have to think about that what you want to carry around. Do you want to carry a bazooka that deals massive damage, or do you rather want to carry around your lighter elemental weapons to be prepared for everything and have more space left for loot.

    I was also pretty disappointed in leveling up. I was expecting it to be bit more like Mass Effect where each class would have all these fancy skills, but no, you only have one.

    Also character customization is pretty terrible which was a big minus for me because I’m the type who can spends hours on character creation screen.

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