Having played through a bit of the first Borderlands game coming into Borderlands 2, I was immediately wowed by how elegant the game’s cartoonish graphics were. Graphics are not everything, though, and this game failed to provide the meat to the bones of its story.
After being rescued by ClapTrap, I began my journey as a vault hunter through the merciless, emotionless and cold landscape. I chose Siren from the character choices, the other three being Gunzerker, Commando, and Assassin. Bandits and bullymongs seemed to materialize around every corner. The all-seeing, all-knowing Handsome Jack was tracking my every move and was out to put my head on his merry-go-round.
I was not afraid, though. With my special ability I could make my enemies helplessly suspended in the air while firing endless spurts of bullets into them. Sure, it was a blast at the beginning.
As the story went on, throughout the different missions I was doing, I felt a certain disconnect. I did not relate to the character one bit. I did not feel like I was part of a bigger movement. I did not see a final objective worth fighting for.
So I jumped into co-op with a few buddies of mine, and immediately felt the difference. It’s much more fun to shoot up enemies and loot with friends. Co-op is definitely the way this game was meant to be played.
What makes a game great is when you cannot put it down until after you’ve played it for hours. But what makes a sequel exceptional is innovation. And Borderlands 2 left much to be desired.
All in all, it feels like Diablo, Call of Duty, Mass Effect, and Elder Scrolls mixed into one big bowl to make a loot-based, hack-and-slash, first-person-shooter RPG with a massive set of repetitive missions, save for some new gaming mechanics. I got bored quickly. Mindless shooting and looting corpses—that is the essence of Borderlands 2.
When developers stick to the same tried-and-true formula year after year, gameplay becomes stale. When I have to keep asking myself whether to load the game and keep playing, there’s something wrong. Pick this game up if you were previously a Borderlands fan, but otherwise I would suggest staying away from this one.
Borderlands 2 is a hoot. It may be two hoots, like one hoot put on top of the other. Now you may be asking, why is this so? How can something be as fun as a hoot stack on top of a whole second hoot? The answer is because in this game you get to fight a wide variety of enemies, some of whom are midgets riding on top of things, riding on top of them much like the hoots.
I’m talking a midget riding on the back of an armored and saddled hexapod called a Bullymong, midgets riding on the shoulders of a huge dual-wielding hunk of an enemy called a Goliath, midgets sitting astride the tiny shoulders of yet more midgets. I would describe it as radical, and perhaps revolutionary depending on the extent I am willing to ignore previous revolutions.
`And the game doesn’t just have midgets either! There is exquisite writing. I often complain about writers messing things up. Indeed in the past I have been a proponent of punishing writers and directors for their actions as crimes against the intellectual property they were working with. Opposite. Let the writers of the game be commended for some of the most outrageous and silly things I have seen or been a part of. From the awkward flirting, to the threats of lighting on fire, to the very, very sad birthday party, every piece of writing is rife with sweet delicious comedic nectar.
The gameplay is also fun. The new powers represent real improvements from the last game; you can see in many places where it is clear Gearbox Software took consumer advice. Gunzerking (think a sort of rage combined with dual wielding) as Salvador the Gunzerker is really fun, especially with some of the new gun traits. The assassin’s new invisibility ability is really handy if you get in over your head, and the new turret abilities of the commando and isolation abilities of the siren change the battlefield in some interesting ways.
The gameplay is similar to the previous game’s, but honestly the last game was fun so that isn’t a bad thing. The guns are all very different from each other, with each manufacturer having a different ability and style. Honestly it’s Borderlands 2. Borderlands with a fresh new look and a heck of a lot of improvements. It’s fun to quest and get loot, it’s fun to just run things over in your ridiculous car. The main quest will, oddly enough for this style of game, actually keep you guessing. There is some love, some betrayal, and a diamond pony named Butt Stallion.
In summary, this game is worth your time; it’s ridiculous, colorful, and a hell of a lot of fun with friends. There are more Easter eggs than I could shake a stick at (keep in mind that I am a very lazy man), and there is a lot of fun to be had by just exploring and killing bandits. Buy this game.