Borderlands 2 Review
The recently released Borderlands 2 is the imaginatively titled follow-up for the highly entertaining and acclaimed 2009 shooter from 2K Games. The Hyperion Corporation, under the leadership of Handsome Jack, discovered evidence of an even bigger vault than the one featured from the very first game. Four new hunters are brought to Pandora to aid Jack discover this treasure trove. Right after some unfortunate events with an assassination attempt, the vault hunters are tasked with stopping Jack from opening the vault and gaining even more power. Does Borderlands 2 have what it takes to outdo its predecessor? Hit the jump for the low down!
As you can see, Borderlands 2 starts off with a bang. Literally. The train you’re on explodes sending you into a frozen wasteland. There you meet the best character in the game. Claptrap, the robotic wonder. The most hilarious and random NPC I’ve ever seen. He has a misguided idea that you are his minion and he is your master, and pretty much he’s right. Lets start off things off with the gameplay.
Gameplay is fantastic. Finding weapons and mods drives you to search every chest you can find and tackle the largest enemies you can conquer. The items you find through the progression of the game are leveled towards your characters, which is helpful as the enemies get tougher with each new area discovered. Weapons are also hidden in places you wouldn’t expect. For instance, in Moxxi’s bar there is a tip jar. There is an achievement/trophy for putting in $10,000. If you keep tipping, she hands out a weapon by the name Miss Moxxi’s Bad Touch. It’s leveled based on storyline progression. If you keep going even further, you get Miss Moxxi’s Good Touch.
There are some useful features of the game, including Second Wind, which revives you if you can kill an enemy while you bleed out. Vehicles are also in play. Driving is fun but the controls are a little sensitive, so you can be screaming down the dusty road and suddenly find yourself airborne in a 90 degree turn from where you just were. The controls for weapons, abilities and pickups are all smooth and precise. The one downside to picking items up, is certain objects can take priority based on proximity rather than direct visual cues. The stats that pop-up can be useful to view which weapons are desirable if you are low on space, but they also block viewing anything else on the ground. The poorest function in the game is the mini-map. The accuracy of it is minimal when dealing with barriers or pits. Driving is exceptionally frustrating trying to gauge the paths. It really could have been done better.
Character skills can be vast, or they can be very specific. Each character’s specialties can force you to play the game differently. Currently I am playing as the Commando. His turret is powerful and a particularly effective ally on the battlefield. Other players will enjoy the stealth of the Assassin’s sniper, or the devastating sword when up close and personal. Maybe you would enjoy the brute force of the Gunzerker, whose ability whips two guns out to deal extreme damage and who never seems to run out of ammo. Or perhaps you would prefer the Siren. One of only 6 Sirens who can exist in the universe at any given time, Maya has a few abilities up her sleeve. Phaselocking opponents in a stasis bubble allows for uninterrupted fire. Or maybe brainwashing thugs to fight their own buddies. Whichever character you pick, the results speak for themselves.
The best part about this game is the 4 player co-op feature. Battling it out with your buds is some of the most fun I’ve ever had in a video game. The opportunity to troll is just as much fun as the bond your characters make. A rounded out team with everyone using a separate character is the best strategy, as you get all the uniqueness tossed onto the field.
Wait, I changed my mind. The best thing is not the co-op. It’s the gambling. I feel I need to warn you about the slots. You gain a lot of money traveling Pandora, and the stores never have what you want or need, so the best use for it is the slots. You would be surprised how fast $50,000 will disappear. Looting guns only to sell them to fuel your addiction is commonplace in this game. The pull is just too strong. You can win some pretty good weapons, leveled to your character once the story moves forward. 3 cherries and you’ve got yourself a green weapon (4th rarest), 3 ladies legs will net you a blue weapon (3rd rarest), 3 Marcus faces will get you a purple (2nd rarest), and 3 Vault symbols will toss you an orange weapon (rarest) with insanely high stats for the time being. Be careful though. Rolling 3 bandits will have you ducking for cover as a grenade comes flying out of the machine.
I also have to say that the writing in Borderlands 2 is some of the best in a video game. It is by far one of the funniest games I’ve played. You instantly hate Handsome Jack but he is too funny to completely hate. The writing helps to make must of the NPC’s loveable characters and not just quest givers. Plenty of side quests and chests to loot, Borderlands 2 is the must fun you will have in a co op atmosphere.