Borderlands 2 Review
Borderlands 2, the sequel to the 2008 hit genre hybrid Borderlands, improves on just about every
aspect of its predecessor. There are more guns, new kickass classes to play as, and a whole lot
more, so let’s get right into it.
Set five years after the original, Handsome Jack, new dictator/president of the Hyperion Corporation, has declared himself ruler of Pandora and even took the credit for discovering the Vault from the last game. He’s positioned his giant Hyperion ship in front of the moon, which is a constant
presence throughout the game, reminding you of your ultimate goal. Which is to kill him and restore
“peace” to Pandora. With new threats come new heroes, including the Assassin Zero, the Commando
Axton, the Gunzerker Salvador, with the only returning class being the Siren, although it’s not
Lilith anymore, it’s some blue haired girl who’s name I don’t remember. There are also dlc characters,
Gaige the Mechromancer, and Krieg the Psycho. The original characters make a comeback as well, but
only as NPCs. After your character is discovered by Claptrap after the opening cutscene, you
and the hilariously sad robot make your way to Sanctuary, the only city free of Hyperion influence, but not before killing a LOT of bandits and bullymongs (imagine a yeti/gorilla with four arms) along the way. The story is… well, my friend boosted my character to level cap and blasting through everything just got boring after a while, to be honest. As a result, I cannot properly review the plot. I will, however, rate what I have played through.
Synopsis? After following Claptrap back to his hideout, he is mauled by a huge bullymong called Knuckledragger, losing his eye in the process. Afterwards, you get your first gun, and get to go out into the world… Almost. Claptrap needs you to help him find his eye and kill Knuckledragger (which of course, you do). Then the AI from the last game helps you hack a door in order to get through a Hyperion gate to the next town, which is being harassed by bandits AND bullymongs. A gentlemen named Sir Hammerlock hails you on your ECHO device and requests you deal with the trouble. Once that’s finished, he’ll repair Claptrap’s eye and from there you can do some sidequests before you move on to taking on the bandits and their leader, Captain Flynt, who’s ship you need in order get to Sanctuary. There is humor in this one, much like the last game and just as good. The sheer amount of references and jokes is astounding!
The gameplay is essentially the same as the first game, just run and shoot everything hostile
while doing quests. I personally had a bit of trouble hitting certain enemies on my PC version, but
that’s more than likely just me sucking. There are also an abundance of customization options for your character, which you unlock by either finding them, as quest rewards, or completing certain challenges. There is a Diablo-esque stash (which you unlock after doing a quest for Claptrap), in which you can put weapons into for any other characters of yours that could use them. This allows you to beef lower level characters up with super ridiculously powerful weapons (as long as they’re high enough level to use them, that is). You can also do challenges for “badass rank”, which is a stat leveling system. You get a point each time your rank goes up and get to spend it on 5 randomized stats to increase. The selection of stats differs each time, which is to avoid people pouring all their points in one stat, I guess. There’s also a trading system now that wasn’t in the first game, so you don’t have to drop weapons and risk people you don’t want taking them.
As you’re shooting across Pandora, you may come across chests with loot. Some of these chests
can be booby-trapped with a live grenade, or even someone who wants to kill you. You would think they’d be grateful for
getting them out… There’s also new currency in the form of glowy-purple rocks called Eridium.
They can be used to buy inventory and weapon ammo capacity upgrades from a certain shop in Sanctuary. Speaking of weapons,
there are 8 weapon manufacturers in this game, each with their own “gimmick”. Bandit guns (they start making their own this time)
have very large clips at the cost of increased reload times and generally below average stats. They have a DIY look to them,
with exposed bolts, screws and tape and their names are generally misspelled. The returning manufacturers include
Dahl, whose weapons change fire rate depending whether you’re aiming or shooting from the hip, Hyperion, whose accuracy gets better the more you shoot, Jakobs, the good ol’ non-elemental sniper rifles(save a few), Maliwan, whose weapons are all elemental, Tediore, which you throw like a grenade upon reloading, Torgue, which are high damage explosives (and my personal favorite)
and Vladof, which typically have high fire rates that increase the longer you shoot. Eridium weapons from the last game have been replaced with E-Tech, which are incredibly rare and powerful weapons that are typically found as quest rewards or in the Golden Chest in Sanctuary. The key component of an E-tech weapon is the iconic barrel, which is hexagonal in shape with glowy parts on the inside that open when you fire.
Borderlands 2 is fun, but even more so when you play with friends. I cannot tell you how many hours
I’ve spent running and gunning with buddies and never getting bored. The difficulty increases the more friends are
with you, which makes it even more fun (for me anyway). The classes all feel unique, just as they did the last time, all with their
own weapon preferences and abilites. The Commando borrows a lot of abilities from the soldier class, including his special, the Scorpio Turret. The Assassin is a hunter-like class, with a little more emphasis on melee attacks, although he can still use any weapon. His special ability involves making a hologram of himself to distract enemies while picking them off. The Gunzerker is my personal favorite, because he gets TWO guns with his special, effectively living up to the class’ name. Finally, the Siren, which I personally have 0 experience with, is the mage-type class. She can phaselock enemies, which is a stun that locks enemies into place for easy killing. As far as the DLC classes go, I’ve only really put enough time into the Psycho. His special is a Berserker-type rampage but instead of running around punching everything, you get a buzz axe (which is a sawblade on a stick, basically) to rip your enemies to shreds for a limited time with. There is also a skill tree that increases your damage output while you are on FIRE. LITERALLY. The Mechromancer I also have 0 experience with, but gets a cool robot guardian called the D374-TP, or Deathtrap, so once I’m done writing this, I am trying that out.
First off, I highly reccomend getting the PC version if you’re a graphics nut, for it has the most
options for all sorts of aesthetic mumbo jumbo. The world is absolutely breathtaking, with areas that are more varied
and less bland than the first game, where almost everything in the world was some shade of brown, you now have to fight through
ice caverns, across frozen wastelands, and tree-laden tundras. It retains the comic book art style from the first game which has,
of course, been improved and looks much better than it did back then. Textures can take a bit to load sometimes, but it’s forgivable.
Overall, its an incredibly beautiful game.
Conclusion: I love Borderlands 2. It is exactly what I expected from a sequel to this ridiculously awesome franchise, an improvement
of just about every aspect from the first game with a refreshing set of classes and content. If you haven’t played this game yet,
you might want to play the first one if you haven’t already before hitting this one. I guarantee you won’t have a reason to play the first one after playing this, its just that good. I give Borderlands 2 a very shiny gold sticker.