Borderlands 2 Review

Borderlands 2 is a 2012 action role-playing first-person shooter video game developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games, released for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, Nvidia Shield, Linux, and Microsoft Windows.  It is the second game in the Borderlands series and the sequel to 2009’s Borderlands and follows new Vault Hunters and there efforts to stop Handsome Jack from opening a Vault and releasing the Warrior.


Positives:

  • Great humor
  • Challenging gameplay
  • High level of replayability
  • Great score
  • Great co-op
  • Good downloadable content
  • Good voice performances

Negatives:

  • Repetitive gameplay

Campaign: As with the first game, Borderlands 2 allows players to complete a campaign consisting of central quests and optional side-missions as one of four treasure seekers, “Vault Hunters”, on the planet Pandora.  The campaign is quite extensive and players are able to deviate from the main story allowing freedom and flexibility. Players are able to play up to four player co-op. The large open areas do emphasize exploration, if not to find loot and weapons, to engage in a variety of side missions as well as take on more challenging foes. The side missions do prove plentiful though there are plenty of moments where they feel repetitive. The story is more interesting than in Borderlands following the original Vault Hunters as well as new Vault Hunters and there efforts to stop Handsome Jack from releasing the Warrior. The characters are just great.  They’re more memorable, their funny, and they feel more grounded in terms of story.  The first game felt like they were just there with no real story and this game fixes it. (4 out of 5)

Gameplay: The is a lot to like in the gaming experience. The gameplay revolves around the completion of missions and collection of randomly generated weapons, skins, shields, and other items, each with various statistics and elemental effects. There are four playable character classes available in the base game, each with their own unique abilities and skill trees. The enemy NPCs can be challenging. The gameplay flows smoothly and there aren’t any glitches (thank God). Didn’t really understand the need to take out the weapon proficiency bars because it did help players explore their options in terms of trying the different weaponry.  However, the new “Badass Rank” system is a good alternative.  Points are awarded for completing various in-game challenges which award tokens that players use to increase their base stats (reload speed, elemental damage, critical damage, etc.).  Also, the game utilizes Eridium bars as its new currency for purchasing storage upgrades which can either be found in storage units, rewards for completing missions, or dropped by defeated enemies.  As with the previous game, weapons deal elemental damage (ice, fire, and corrosive) but also features slag, a substance that amplifies damage to targets covered in it. And for those who enjoy the multiplayer co-op in the first game.  Don’t worry, Borderlands 2 brings it back allowing players to play up to four players while increasing enemy difficulty for each additional player.  (4 out of 5)

Graphics: Again the cell-shaded graphics look good for the large environments and backdrops but the style will not be for everyone.  The character designs are good but poor at the same time (interesting how that sounds).  Look Borderlands 2 isn’t some game based on realism and it isn’t trying to be.  But it would be nice to actually have the characters have facial expressions or better yet, actual cut scenes outside of the main intro.  Now the creature designs are really good and the character introductions are pretty stylish. (3 out of 5)

Score:  If you’re a fan of the first games’ soundtrack you’ll appreciate this one.  They’re good and set the tone for the different levels.  Thumbs up to the voice performances; especially Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack.  Not only does he give the character depth but he has great execution of the dialogue. Other voice performances include Markus Lloyd (Roland), Colleen Clinkenbeard (Lilith), Julio Cedillo and Jason Liebrecht (Mordecai), Marcus Mauldlin (Brick), Troy Baker (Axton), John Swasey (Salvador), Martha Harms (Maya), and Michael Turner (Zer0). (3 out of 5)

Replay Value:  Borderlands 2 does feature a high level of replayability.  First, there are the four main characters.  Each characters’ own unique abilities and weapon strengths are guaranteed to offer a different gameplay experience.  Second, there is the “True Vault Hunter Mode” difficulty which is unlocked after completing the main story campaign.  This mode spawns more difficult enemies but rewards players with more rare and higher-quality loot and allowing the player’s character to reach level 50. Thirdly, the character customization is a warm welcome.  Throughout the game players will acquire collectible items that will unlock different character head designs, color schemes, and vehicle paint schemes.  And lastly, the game comes with a ton of downloadable content.  The dlc includes new characters Krieg the Psycho and Gaige the Mechromancer (awesome characters by the way) each with their unique play style, a level cap increase, and campaign add-ons Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty, Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage, Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt, and Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep. (4 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Borderlands 2 is an awesome game and succeeds its predecessor in nearly every way.  Fans of the first game will easily get into the sequel even with the various changes.  Despite how repetitive the gameplay can be the game does feature a good campaign, challenging gameplay, memorable characters, great voice performances, good music, ton of dlc, and crap ton of humor.  Borderlands 2 gets 4 out of 5.

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