We all have heard of Borderlands, and we have probably all heard how amazing it was and still is, so how does one create a sequel that tops what many would consider one of the best games of the current generation? Gearbox Software had a simple answer, do what you do best and add to it, which is exactly what they did. Borderlands 2 is everything we loved about the first one and so much more. More content, more loot, more mayhem, solid mechanics, more quirky and entertaining dialogue and an a fine tuned art style. But this does not mean that everything is perfect.
Now I do not want to spoil the story for players because it is a large portion of what makes Borderlands 2 up. But the gist is that the story takes place 5 years after Borderlands. A man named Handsome Jack has taken credit of everything you did in Borderlands and managed to get very wealthy off of it. So much that he has taken control of Pandora and has promised to clean up the lawless planet. Jack then decides to try and exterminate Pandora’s existing colonist population and industrialize the planet. But is it for that reason alone? Play and see.
Along with the main quest we have a plethora of side quests that are just as fulfilling and well made as the main story line. I found myself completing quest chains before even attempting to go back to the main story. The great thing about both the main story and sidequest is that they are very well written, with all the humour and entertaining visuals that we have come to know and love. Many familiar faces also return, including Claptrap, Scooter, Moxxi and even the four playable characters from the first game.
The scenery on Pandora has change a bit since we last saw it. The planet is now riddled with themed cave systems. as well as regions and cities that come with their own look and feel while having a day-to-night cycle. Pandora has somehow grown to hold even more bandits and beasts as well as create new terrain and a plethora of new caves and bandit camps. The world has become more alive and much more pleasurable to explore. With a number of new enemy types including robots, an upgraded AI system that can do a pretty good job at wrecking your life, and an endless supply of loot. you may even find yourself some great easter eggs that will surely bring a smile to your face as you explore the wonders of new Pandora.
Borderlands 2 has loot, I am under exaggerating when I see an endless supply of loot. Loot comes out of everything and comes in different forms from money, shields, guns, class mods, ammo, and even character skins for customization. But nothing says great loot like guns, and Borderlands 2 sure has alot of those. “870 Gajillion more guns…with personality” according to Gearbox, and you know what I believe them. Each weapon you find may be very different from the last, finding identicals is rather uncommon because there are so many different options for each gun. Different manufacturers just like the original Borderlands but each component can be different. Players will be able to find a gun that fits their specific needs. I have personally have found out that I enjoy sniper rifles that have a high fire rate with large clips. Takes double tap to a whole new meaning for me. But guns will have various clip sizes, attachments, elements, fire rate, damage, and attributes such as firing 3 shots at once. There are even guns that you will throw once the clip is done and it may explode and another gun will materialize once you have thrown the previous one. The same thing can be said with grenades and shields. So yes you will get a lot of loot, and it will be a very difficult choice on what to keep and what to get rid of, which could be a surprisingly difficult task.
But what are guns and loot without characters to wield them? The formula has not changed much from the first Borderlands. There are 4 classes, The new Gunzerker, Salvador – for those who enjoy to just want to run in and destroy everything in their paths. Axton, the Commando, takes the place of Roland from the first game. Axton is a well rounded class for those who just want to be able to hold their own alone or with friends. Maya, the Siren, who is the Lilith of this title, who acts almost like an overpowered mage who can control the battlefield as well as heal. And then there is Zero best described as a mixture of Mordecai and Lilith. Zero is an assassin of sorts who can use snipers but can also go invisible and do some serious damage at both close range and long range, but he is a very squishy character and wont take much to bring him down.
Gearbox has also added a number of character customization options. It isint complex but players can change colors and facial features. Players can find or win character customization items through out the game and can change their appearance rather easily. Players can further customize their characters abilities and skills through class mods, the skill tree and badass rank. Class mods come in a variety of different flavors for each class and there are even some mods that will affect your entire party.
Badass rank is a new system in Borderlands 2. You gain points after completing a certain task, tasks range from killing x amount of a specific creature, killing x amount of creatures with a certain elemental gun, selling loot, finding loot, exploring, finishing mission objects and more. The more things you do the more badass rank you get. Each point can net you a some what small boost in attributes from gun and melee damage, to improved shield delay and recharge to even health and gun accuracy. The numbers may be small but through out the game you may earn over 100 badass ranks, which can net you a rather large increase in attributes. The great thing about these points is that they transfer from character to character.
Another way players will be able to customize their character is through the skill tree. There is no possibility of obtaining every skill within each classes tree, so players will have to pick and choose what they want to specialize in. One players Zero may be very different than another Zero, hell they may be the exact opposite where one is a long range sniping assassin where as another can be a close range hack and slash beserker. That is the beauty of this system, granted each class is limited to their own skill tree which limits what players can do, but their is enough variety with each class for players to play in a specific style. In short the character customization is not all that great look wise but is tremendously awesome attribute and ability wise.
The other big part of Borderlands 2 is the multiplayer functionality, which is dead simple to use (yes even easier than it was in the first Borderlands), and in all honesty it is the best way to play the title. It is a more pleasant experience to slaughter things with friends, granted the difficulty is ramped up with more players but the rewards and the memories are much more satisfying.
As far as mechanics goes everything has pretty much stayed the same. Those who played the first game will feel right at home with the aiming and the driving. The difficulty has been vamped up and there are glitches here and there but nothing game breaking, I have only come across one glitch that forced me to reload my game.
Borderlands 2 is an improvement on its predecessor in just about every single way. Gearbox has done a great job of creating a truly addicting experience out of loot hunting, via its open and vast world where there is always something to see and always something to kill. It is a game where you can play the way you want to play and a game that you can enjoy solo or with a group of friends. No matter how you play or what system you play it on you will get the same experience, and based off Gearbox’s past performance, we should see some excellent add ons to the title. Borderlands 2 is a must get for anyone who enjoys a compelling story, semi complex character customization, shooting things, exploring lands or even collecting shiny things.