Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Gearbox Software
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
ESRB Rating: Mature
Release Date: 9.18.12 (USA), 9.21.12 (Worldwide)
Review Copy: Yes
In 2009 2K Games and Gearbox Software released a first person shooter, chest unlocking RPG adventure that was fully embraced by those who played the genre. This hybrid of a game offered extended play and a great multi-player experience that was talked about in every corner of the web. Sadly for me, I wasn’t interested in Borderlands. I’ve heard about how great it was and is but I never got around to it and till this day I’ve yet to play the first Borderlands game. My first experience with Borderlands was at PAX East 2012 and their booth was about 20 feet or less away from the Spec Ops The Line booth. I made my way over to the booth and I played the Borderlands 2 build they had and it was one of the best mistakes I did during PAX.
You may be wondering why I would call it a mistake. Well, Borderlands was never on my radar and the only part of the title that I was curious about was the FPS part because that is main genre of gaming. I wasn’t necessarily concerned about the fact that it was bigger than the first game. I frankly wasn’t overjoyed about a well written narrative collectively as well as individually. And honestly, I really didn’t care about the never ending character customization and looting aspect of the game. Who really cares about that stuff right?
I realized that my mindset started changing when a game called “Shoot Many Robots” came on the scene. Their big draw was the fact that it was a side-scrolling Borderlands like experience and after playing that title I had my antennas up for Borderlands. I vowed that I would give the game a fair shot when the opportunity presented itself not realizing that the opportunity came sooner than later. So here we are, Borderlands 2 which takes place five years after the events of the first game has the player fighting for a big wad of loot and the villain (Handsome Jack) is making sure you don’t reach your goal. You are a threat to his popularity and this tournament that he established is all for “fun and games” – for him at least. You wake up to a robot with no stop button on his robox (robot voice box) acknowledging the fact that you are not dead. Along for the ride is the strange cortana-esque guardian helping you on your journey to rescue the original vault hunters who are not playable in this game.
Borderlands 2 features four new heroes: Salvador (Gunzerker), Maya (Siren), Axton (Commando) and Zer0 (Assassin). Each character has their unique abilities. The Gunzerker can dual wield any combination of guns. The Siren can lift and locked enemies in the air while she or other players can shoot the enemies while there are in the bubble. The Siren can also heal teammates and use her phase locking ability for crowd control. Axton uses an upgradeable turret that can receive augments or missile attachments later on including the ability to teleport the turrets for nuclear purposes. All of the characters say their own thing when they shoot, stand for a while or just during their exploration in Pandora. Each character also possess a unique skill-set which can be configured according to your play style. Borderlands 2 also features the Badass Ranking system, this rank system gives you tokens based on challenges completed. These challenges can be enemy deaths, elemental damage, looting, trades, vehicles, health, recovery, shield, weapons and more.
I really enjoy titles that bring people together to work together. Games like Lost Planet 2, Gears 3 and now for me – Borderlands 2. These games puts specific emphasis on doing things together. Borderlands 2 doesn’t lack any of that, as a matter of fact it promotes it quick a bit. The world of Pandora is gimongous (if thats even a word) and I’m glad these characters have unlimited run and access to vehicles. One of them in particular carries all four characters at the same time. You’ve got jungles, snow filled mountains, and desserts. You’ll be spending hours just visiting the different areas.
The multi-player drop in and drop out is refreshing. I’ve been able to join many games with no challenges at all. I noticed when I ran into lower rankers, I barely got any xp. It seems beneficial if you play with folks around your rank but that’s not always going to be the case if you have to lend a helping hand. Have I mentioned that you will spend hours exploring Pandora? I believe I have. Borderlands 2 features side missions and guns galore. The guns manufactures in Borderlands 2 aren’t cookie cutter – this is good because everyone’s play style is different. Pandora, where looting and taking all that doesn’t belong to you is the way of live; it is also very addicting.
The controls where solid as well: Running, Gunning, Phaselocking, Sniping, AR-ing – all of these things where a breeze to me in this RPS. The vehicle driving felt loose but other than that the controls where stellar. I had just one challenge with Borderlands 2 where in a multi-player session I ran a car into a small ditch with snow pillars (my fault) and we got out of the car and couldn’t get past the car or the pillar (not my fault).
Overall I’d say that Borderlands 2 is incredible experience. It has changed my outlook and now I’m even considering the GOTY edition of the first game. The characters, writing, and gameplay is a fantastic package for anyone who is a fan or considering this genre. Now I know what everyone was raving about these last three years. Hats off to 2K Games and Gearbox for this awesome title – Well done.