Synyster Graves

Borderlands 2

by on Dec.05, 2012, under Xbox 360

So the first Borderlands was one of my favourite games, with the drop-in-drop-out co-operative system meaning that you could get on with the game by yourself but if you had friends who casually came online, they could join your fight too, and this really worked well. Really Well. So could the long awaited sequel live up to that expectation I had piled on it so would the months of anticipation be worth it? One word. Yes.

Borderlands 2 follows on a few years on from the events of the first game and thankfully retains the same gameplay of being a first person shooting RPG. The controls a pretty much the same, meaning the prep work on the original Borderlands I was playing played dividends as I managed to seamlessly jump back into the fray. The big difference between this game and the previous is storyline. Whereas the previous had a wafer thin storyline which just involved being a Vault Hunter and opening the vault, this seems to have taken the wafer story and turn it into a bigger picture with twists, turns and ultimately, depth. In a nutshell, Hyperion CEO Handsome Jack is drilling the planet Pandora apart due to rumours of a greater Vault treasure. As a vault hunter, you are left for dead by him in the very beginning and yet you are the only one who can stop him. Still its better than oooh pretty treasure, lets open a big vault.

Sir Hammerlock is hilarious!

So you get a choice of four characters initially, the Gunzerker, Siren, Assassin and Commando. Each has it’s perks, but for me it had to be the Assassin, since you can go invisible. The skills trees are vast and daunting, and since you only get to spend 45 skill points (you have to wait until level 5 before you’re allowed to go to the skill tree), you have to be very selective into which skill route you undertake. Personally I think it would be better if you could pretty much select all the skills by the time you reach the end, but that’s just me, I like overkill. Levelling up is definitely a lot harder as it can take ages doing so, one can only assume the reward is worth the wait.

The guns, as you would expect, are totally mental. The animation on the firing of the weapons is much improved, main differences noted are the animation of firing six shooter style pistols like a Clint Eastwood film. Headshots are more satisfying than before, and actually feel like proper headshots unlike before. All very satisfying. The diversity of guns is even greater now, as each different manufacturer of guns and grenades has a distinct trait about them, for example Tediore guns will explode when reloading.

The enemies are more varied than before, the usual bandits, skags, spiderants and rakk all return, with the addition of the multi-armed yeti creatures called Bullymongs, the invisible predatory insects called Stalkers, the larval mutating insects called Varkids and Hyperion spam you with robots. Lots of robots. But this is the other noticeable difference between this as the previous game, it’s a hell of a lot harder. The amount of enemies which the game throws at you at times is way over the top and it’s another one of those games which suffers from every single enemy knowing your exact location at all times. I agree that this game is not designed to be realistic, i.e. not Black Ops, but at the same time having about 15 bandits go from being oblivious to raining a hail of gunfire down on your position in a split second is annoying. Plus this game SPAMS you with enemies. Certain areas it can spawn about 30 enemies and all of them seem to be rather accurate at long range with a shotgun, which is bullshit, as well as their glitched ability to shoot through walls. I appreciate a challenge, but that is frustrating. Another annoyance is the bleed out mechanic. Sure it’s better than the previous game by virtue of the fact that you can move when bleeding out not, but your accuracy goes to shit and the enemies always seem to run off, making second winds very difficult to attain. This has on occasion let to a rage quit. But these are just frustrations, not really criticisms, but you know me, nothing is perfect.

What strikes me the most about Borderlands 2 is the sense of humour. Sir Hammerlock is by far the most hilarious character ever in a video game and even the perennially annoying Claptrap actually says some funny stuff. But it’s hte subtlety of the jokes which makes me appreciate them the most. Whether it’s internet memes or just pop culture, Gearbox has done well to actually bring a very smart sense of humour to BL2 to keep the player smirking throughout the playthrough.

So in summation, probably one of the best games I’ve ever played. There I said it. I was always a fan and this title helped affirm my faith in the Borderlands franchise. It’s fun, hilarious and a good social game (albeit I’ve practically played through it twice on my own because my usual crew have not been online!), which deserves all the accolades it receives. A definite recommendation from me, if you haven’t got it yet, treat yourself for Christmas!

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