Borderlands 2

Grab Your Guns and Let's Start Looting

By Grayshadow, Posted 20 Sep 2012

It has been three years since the release of the original Borderlands and allowed players first set on the dangerous world called Pandora in search of vast riches. This cell-shaded first-person shooter used cooperative play and goofy humor to create a world full of wonder and loot. While Gearbox uses a lot of mechanics that made the first game so great the developers have refined enough of the game to make it superior to the first one. While some of the issues from the first game still exist Borderlands 2 refines and improves enough of the old mechanics to make it an adventure you’ll want to share with all your friends. 

Taking place after the events of the first Borderlands you take control of one of four vault hunters who have come to Pandora in search of loot. However since the opening of the vault in the first Borderlands the Hyperion Cooperation, led by Handsome Jack, have the entire planet under his control. It’s your job to stop Jake from gain possession of a legendary item, take your revenge, and assist the people in Pandora. The story isn’t anything special but a large improvement from the first game. 

Pandora isn’t the same a deserted planet full of bandits and murderous animals but populated with much more characters for you to interact with. The characters list has expanded with a diverse amount of old and new faces, each have entertaining things to say. Characters such as the four playable characters from the first game make a return and play a large role in the story as well as characters other notorious people such as Mad Moxxi and Scooter. New additions such as he villain Handsome Jack and the disturbing Tiny Tina are delightful additions that maintain the same goofy nature of the Borderlands universe. Most importantly the people that populate the world don’t look or act like mindless husk that either grunt or remain mute, but interact with the environment and actually speak. Gearbox has also updated the dialogue of the enemies you face, spouting psychotic and threatening taunts as they attempt to collect the reward for your head. It is strange that an option to review these conversations is absent since characters can unexpectedly stop talking when another character begins to speak. 

Borderlands 2, Review, FPS, Pandora, Gearbox

The voice-acting in Borderlands 2 is nothing less then spectacular. Each character is brought to life with strong writing that combines heartwarming moments, murderous outburst, and humor. At times I would stop and listen to the person speaking, to prevent it from being cut off by some unexpected event. These personalities are what bring Pandora to life, something that was absent from the first game.

While the characters provide a lot of entertainment it is the world of Pandora that will keep you busy. The environments and locations within Borderlands 2 are larger, more diverse, and offer an array of richer colors to allow each detail to illuminate the screen. Like the first game some textures still tend to pop in but this is still a visually appealing world, with a lot to offer. Explorers will find a lot of challenging enemies and visually pleasing environments.

Borderlands 2, Review, FPS, Pandora, Gearbox

But what is an adventure without missions, and Borderlands 2 offers a large amount of optional quest and a wonderful array of story missions. While a lot of the missions still require you to collect, defend, and kill specific targets you will presented with creative dialogue and sometimes a wacky objective to complete, just wait till you find the mission “Shoot This Guy in the Face”. With an online checklist you’ll be able to track each task and can ignore objectives to prevent unnecessary clutter, allowing you to complete one mission and move on to the next easily. It’s a shame that a separate save function is absent, instead those seeking to replay a certain mission will have to reply the entire game.

Borderlands 2 includes a challenge system in addition to the traditional experience system found in RPG’s. The challenges in Borderlands 2 are full of specific but plentiful tasks that automatically update and reward you continuously with tokens and increase your badass rank. These special items allow you to permanently upgrade various attributes that apply to all your characters. This overarching reward system allows for a friendly system and encourage players to experiment with other classes without feeling like they are starting from nothing when beginning a new game.

Borderlands 2, Review, FPS, Pandora, Gearbox

Completing missions and challenges is fun wouldn’t be as much fun without physical rewards, of course I’m talking about loot. Guns, grenades, shields, modifications, and relics offer a lot of possibilities to improve or alter your combat abilities. Unlike the first game the gun models have been updated with more visual options. Customizing your weapons and armor with the large amount of options for you to change and improve your loadout during the course of the game. You can mark useless items called junk to sell easily and pick up items such as money, health, and ammo automatically without having to manually input the command.

Finding a new piece of loot is fun, but testing it on one of the many hostile enemies that inhabit Pandora is even better. Every enemy you face whether they are human, animal, robotic, or mutated will  prove to be formidable, and they don’t mind fighting one another. New enemies such as the Stalker, that can turn invisible, are one of many new enemies that will require you to change tactics and approach each fight with caution instead of charging in. These new foes are refreshing since each area you enter can be litter with new adversaries for you to kill.   

Borderlands 2, Review, FPS, Pandora, Gearbox

Despite the new enemies combat hasn’t change much from the original game. The shooting mechanics remain the same solid style from the original game, such as fight-for-your-life moment where you can revive yourself if you manage to kill an enemy before the timer runs out. All the elements from the first game return, with the exception of a new substance called slag. This purple material weakens the defense of any enemy and amplifies damage. Fall damage has also been removed, removing the need to be cautious when jumping off a cliff. 

The four new characters offer new abilities and tactics to better accommodate the updated system. While players will still have original classes such as Maya the Siren and Axton the Commando the newest additions; Zero the Assassin and Salvador the Gunzerker are exciting and welcomed additions. Each character comes with a special ability such as Maya’s talent to trap enemies in the air, Axton’s turret, Zero’s decoy, and Salvador is able to go into a rage that increase damage and defense. Unlike the original Borderlands these characters are provided with a back-story to describe there lives before coming to Pandora, but these audio recordings must be found in the world. 

Borderlands 2, Review, FPS, Pandora, Gearbox

Each of these racial abilities can be upgraded and alter through the skill tree. Offering three different options for each characters, and players can choose to reset them at anytime. While options for specific weapons type exist within the skill tree, your character isn’t limited to specialized weapons anymore. You can also slightly change the appearance of your character, but these are limited to new head gear and clothing colors that can be found throughout Pandora. Those seeking to fully upgrade there character will have to play through Vault Hunter mode, a harder difficulty setting that scales the obstacles of Pandora to your level and saturates the fields with dangerous creatures.

While Borderlands is fun to play with yourself you can bring up to four people along for the ride. Borderlands 2 supports up to four player cooperative play and allows for split-screen up to two players of any class. While the game attempts to set the difficulty based on the amount of players and level of each character it is best if you coordinate with people to ensure that things don’t get out of control. One of the issues of the first game was joining games with players who were either ahead or behind on missions, now if you complete later missions while someone else is hosting the game you can choose to skip it when you gain access to it. With tougher enemies, better loot, and the excitement of completing objectives together makes cooperative play to be the best way to play through Borderlands 2.    

Borderlands 2, Review, FPS, Pandora, Gearbox

If you played Borderlands then you’ll feel right at home with Borderlands 2. Gearbox doesn’t attempt to go beyond what the original title did but instead builds on what made the first game great with new additions and refinements, making it a successful successor to the original game. While it can feel hollow at times with similar objectives and lack of separate save files, the world of Pandora is full of adventures that you will want to spend hours exploring, completing missions, and getting better loot. So raise you guns high and let’s starting hunting for treasure. 

Adam Siddiqui, Noobfeed (@twitter

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General Information

Borderlands 2


Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): 2K Games
Developer(s): Gearbox Software
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Sci-Fi Shooter
Release Date: 2012-09-18

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