Borderlands 2 [Review]
October 9, 2012
The Borderlands series takes place on a world named Pandora. This world consists of 99% outlaws, treasure hunters, monsters, and a load of guns. In the year 5252 colonists settled on the planet in search for new minerals and such, using deranged prisoners as workers. Finding out that the planet had little or nothing to offer other than old run down alien ruins, the company ships leave the planet—stranding most of the colonists (and all of the criminals). A rumor eventually spreads around the planet that there is a hidden vault filled with untold treasures. This attracts treasure hunters, now known as “Vault Hunters,” to the planet. The first Borderlands ends with a quartet of Vault Hunters who battled through numerous obstacles opening the Vault, only to find it wasn’t what they bargained for.
Borderlands 2 takes place five years later; same planet, different end game. A new sheriff is in town on Pandora and he goes by the name of Handsome Jack. He declares himself the new boss of Pandora and tells the world that he was responsible for discovering the vault and killing the evil being inside of it. You, the player, begin the game on a train as you start your quest in search of a second Vault, revealed after the first Vault was opened. The train actually turns out to be a trap set by Handsome Jack to kill anybody in search of the new vault. After your train crashes, you end up in a winter hell hole about to be buried by none other than Claptrap. Soon after, a mysterious guide informs you that Handsome Jack must be killed and you’re the only one who can do it.
The story for this series is very important in setting the tone for gameplay, even more for the second than the first. The first one had a great story, but it seemed that you didn’t have to know much of what was going on in order to play the game. With Borderlands 2, the story is the game, which really helps to submerge players deeper.
The gameplay of Borderlands 2 is amazing, but what else did you expect? Well, maybe that they would screw things up, but thank God that they didn’t. They just added to it with new playable characters, more guns, and completely new areas to explore. This game takes place as a first person shooter(FPS)/Role Playing Game(RPG) with really smooth controls and balanced weapons. As you travel, search, and kill your way through giant maps, you’ll encounter endless enemies that are increasingly stronger with each new encounter. From the psychos to the skull bashing Vermivorous the Invincible, you will definitely have a difficult time if you are going through this game by yourself.
Throughout the game, players will gain experience with each kill and mission that they complete. With gaining levels comes the wonderful skill tree where they will be able to fully customize their characters from the ground up. For those who aren’t normally RPG players, a skill tree helps you to decide what abilities your characters will have in battle, from long range sniper or close range tank, to all around badass. Another huge perk of the Borderlandsskill chart is the unlocking of special skills. Each character has a class defining talent as their first unlock that they can unleash in the midst of battle. Zero the Assassin has the ability to release a hologram that will attract the enemy to it instead of you, while the Gunzerker’s allows him to use two guns instead of one.
There were many things Gearbox added to BL2 that make a difference in the gameplay; one of the most obvious being the character customization. Now when you defeat certain enemies, bosses, and quests you will receive new gear, skins, and heads for your character to make their appearance more personal. Another added feature, one of the coolest in my opinion, is Badass Tokens. Badass Tokens are points that you rack up throughout the game for completing different challenges; the harder the challenge, the more points you’ll receive. Yet another big feature that adds to gameplay versatility are multiple choice quests. Throughout the game there will be quests that the player will encounter where they can chose from different options on how they can be completed.
Traps are also new, and are set on different items and weapons. Picking up an item may cause acid, a bomb, or even monsters to fly out. They have also added a system for trading within the game―a nice change from having to drop weapons for another player to pick them up. Players can now bring up a window with two sections, one for formal trading, and one for setting an item to be dueled for. Falling damage has also been removed.
Borderlands is, of course, not complete without online multiplayer. The great thing about playing on such a large map with thousands of monsters is the ability to bring your friends along for the ride. Having three additional players by your side helps to make rampaging through Pandora a little easier.
The graphics and sounds of Borderlands 2 are exciting and inviting for all players. Borderlands had the same qualities, in part because of its predominantly cell-shaded look. The sound in the game is very lively, especially when you face an enemy of the midget variety. The midgets voices and sound effects sound like a psych ward going nuts in a closet of bees. Every single action in the game has a unique sound.
Gearbox did a great job when it came to creating a sequel, but to be honest I still miss some aspects of the first. One of them specifically is the character Mordecai. One of his main weapons was a sniper rifle (you still get a character that specializes in them with the assassin Zero); but the key thing was his pet Bloodwing, a bat-like creature that swoops down on his enemies. The reason he was so crucial to my gameplay was because of the fact that while I was sniping from afar, I had the option of releasing one or multiple Bloodwings to attack my enemies. The way enemies are displayed has also been changed. In the first BL there would be a display of red dots on the bottom of the screen, below the experience bar, in order to show the direction that your enemies were in. The enemies are now visible on the map in the top right corner, but it still isn’t the same feeling for me.
Gearbox did an amazing job when they put together Borderlands 2. From the new skill tree abilities all the way down to the brand spanking new story line, Borderlands 2 is exactly what I was looking for and has in no significant way let me down. Though the character classes may be different and the interface tweaked a bit it was still an overall improvement, and is what you should look for in a sequel. Thank you Gearbox for giving me another game to consume my life.
Out Of 5
The graphics for Borderlands 2 are greatly adapted with cell shading to give it a different look to set it apart from other games. With its bright color arrangement and wonderful designs, it's great to look at for hours on end.
The sound quality is excellent with unique sounds for each and every portion of the game. The best part about it is that there aren't any sounds in this game that become annoying or too repetitive.
The controls of the game are fairly simple and easy for any one to get the hang of. If you've played any first person shooter before, then you can definitely play this.
The game gives you a vast majority of ways that you can go about playing this game. With their wonderful skill trees, the huge selection of missions, and even larger selection of weapons, the gameplay situations are endless.
From the moment that I popped this game into my system I just couldn't stop playing it. The real fun kicks in when you start playing with friends. Each time you play this game you just want to explore more and more of it, making this a game with a lot of essence.