Borderlands 2 Review
87 Gazillion reasons to play.
Today I drove around in an all terrain vehicle equipped with a catapult that threw exploding barrels. Today, instead of reloading my gun I threw it a some bandits and it exploded only to reappear in my hands; full of ammo once again. Today I helped a robotic-armed man make a prettier hat for himself. Today I played Borderlands 2, and I had a blast. If you can play Borderlands 2 and truthfully say you didn’t have any fun, you probably don’t have a soul.
Borderlands 2 is a game that isn’t ashamed of what it is, and isn’t afraid to get a little crazy after it’s had a few drinks. What, at a glance, looks like a first person shooter may actually be more of an RPG but, call it what you will, Borderlands 2 is all about the guns. In fact, there are so many guns that Gearbox had to make up a number just to count them all.
The story in Borderlands 2 picks up some time after the story of the first game ended. If you played Borderlands you may be asking yourself “what story?”, but that won’t be the case with this sequel. The story that’s presented in Borderlands 2 is much better, much funnier and is told in a way that will make you forget that the story in the first game was so lacking as to be almost non-existent. There were a number of times that I had been talking a character, and even doing missions for them, for a while before I smacked my forehead and said “ohhh that’s so-and-so from the first one.” Where the first game tried a little too hard to be funny at times, the characters in Borderlands 2 are constantly hilarious. Even the game’s villain, Handsome Jack, is lovable in the way that he’s so unnecessarily mean to you.
The art style remains largely the same as the one I came to love in the first game, but does see a general upgrade in quality. Not to mention the fact that the environments in Borderlands 2 are just better looking, and far more detailed, than those of the first game. One big area you’ll notice this in is the guns themselves, I felt like the guns of Borderlands started to look the same after a while but there is a definite effort to change that in Borderlands 2. Textures still take a few seconds to load sometimes but overall the game looks fantastic.
After you’re finished looking around, it’s time to get down to business. That business is killing, and business is booming on the world of Pandora. As you return to the planet you’ll notice a lot of things have changed since your last visit. Where the vast majority of the first game took place in the desert or a cave, the sequel mixes things up quite well. The missions you’ll be performing are also much longer, involve more story elements and offer much more variety than those of Borderlands, even if the fast travel system often leaves you without a nearby terminal at the end of a mission. Get used to running back through mission areas on foot, you’ll be doing it a lot.
Of course, to get all of this killing done you’ll have to build yourself an arsenal and that arsenal will be built from loot drops. The lootfest that was Borderlands is back with a vengeance in Borderlands 2. The game will randomly generate guns to award you with and there are a lot more crazy attributes it can assign to each gun this time around. I’m talking assault rifles that have Gattling gun barrels, and fire three bullets at a time, to grenades that bounce around and split into five separate grenades then cover everyone in acid. You could look at Borderlands 2 and say that it’s simply a mindless shooting gallery but the guns won’t let you do that. All of the crazy ways in which you can shoot your enemies are what really makes the game. I would have liked to have seen each of the four playable characters have a bit more variety in their skills as they still only have one main skill each, but the varied strategies the guns require go a long way to make up for the lack of any real difference in the characters.
My hat goes off to Gearbox for allowing just about every possible option to play with other people that they could think of. Borderlands 2 offers co-op play for up to four players and this can come in the form of online, offline via split-screen, or a mix of local players and online players. You can also play via a LAN on the PC and Xbox 360 via system link.
The drop-in, drop-out nature of co-op play makes this one of the most accessible online games and you can choose to have your game offline, online public, online private or online friends only. This option can also be changed at any time so there’s no need to save and quit, then start a new session to add your friends. Borderlands 2 is the gold standard for co-op, hands down.
Borderlands 2 is how you do a sequel. It’s bigger, funnier, deeper, better looking and has more guns than the first game. Even though Borderlands 2 is a first person shooter, one of the most saturated genres around, it succeeds by never trying to be like any of the others. Borderlands 2 is pure fun and it’s the crazy guns, crazy enemies and crazier bosses that make it fun. Realistic military shooters are all well and good, but your life needs a little Borderlands 2. Trust me.
Available On: Steam / Xbox 360 / PS3