Borderlands is one of those games that you either missed the bus on, or hopped on too late. The enormous amount of guns, fun multiplayer, and story, really made the first title special. I can honestly say without a doubt that Borderlands 2 has improved upon all of those aspects. Borderlands 2 now provides us with greater graphics, a great cast of characters, and refreshing gameplay. It may have a few technical issues, as most games do with rendering massive areas and small glitches here and there; however, it is nothing that will hinder your overall experience. Now that the second edition is here and we have gotten the chance to play the game, let us see how much these new vault hunters stack up to the originals.
Borderlands 2 takes place five years after the events of the first game. You are pinned against Handsome Jack, an evil tyrant of the Hyperion Corporation. After the events of the previous game, the original four vault hunters started a chain of events that put Pandora’s existence in the balance. Handsome Jack now seeks the true treasure vault of Pandora, and you have been tasked with leading the charge to kill the Evil Corporation leader. You will come across many familiar faces from the previous game like Claptrap, Scooter, and the original four vault hunters at some point in time. The game will not give you any time to get yourself reacquainted, and that is what makes this story great. It is a well-paced thrill ride and puts you right in the midst of the action from the very beginning.
If you played the original Borderlands, you will be pleased to know that everything has vastly improved. The game has improved upon everything that its predecessor had problems with. One noticeable aspect is that the sluggish gameplay from the latter is no longer visible. Pressing the R3 button brings out your melee attack fashionably quick. A melee attack is resourceful when fighting groups of bandits, spiderants, or skags. When Borderlands 2 claims that it has many more weapons, it has just that. New weapons, skins, and customization features will provide a ton of ways to travel in style around Pandora!
The Skill tree has vastly improved since the first game. Now you have the chance to earn badass badges. Badass badges are there to reward those that that will play and keep playing the game long after they have completed the story and optional sidequests. These badges allow permanent upgrades to your characters for the profile that you are using. These upgrades range from reloading speed, recoil damage, elemental effect, and improving your shields to name a few upgrades. These upgrades will give you a 1% increase at first, and then add on in decreasing increments of .7, .6, .5, etc. Another feature in part two is an item storage box. When you get to sanctuary, you will be given a quest by claptrap to find his hidden safe. This safe allows you to store weapons between characters. This means any modifications, shields, or other things that you might find, have the ability to be spread amongst your other characters underneath that game profile. I thought this was a great feature because there were many cool and exciting weapons that I came across for my other characters.
Sidequests and optional mission has been a staple in the franchise, and you will be pleased to know that they have incorporated new types. New to Borderlands 2 are missions that you can fail. These missions will require you to beat an objective within a certain amount of time; if you are unable to do so you will have to start again. This is honestly a refreshing change of pace. Too many times, I felt that in the original Borderlands, I would just stack up missions and then finish them altogether, which did not really provide any challenge in terms of gameplay. Missions in the game are some of the hardest, gruesome, and downright entertaining ones that you will encounter. There is ton of variety for you to experience and much loot for you to find.
Pandora looks wonderful; the frozen tundra landscape is breathtaking in the wonderful concept art style graphics. It is great to see such a redefined look. The overall look of the map, HUD, and characters as a whole is greatly improved. It is clear that time has been taken when developing the landscape that you adventure in. The graphics update allows for easy use, and new features such as area waypoints make the game more interesting as you have to look around for objectives instead of being directly pointed to them. The problem that I had with the game is that massive areas will require some loading at first. In a game of this size and scale, textures tend to take some time to load all of awesomeness of the environment, which will be noticeable.
You will come across the entire original four vault hunters from the previous game at some point in time, which really makes this game feel like a completely new adventure. You get the feeling from the atmosphere that whatever has happened has become too big for them, and now you must help Pandora the same way they did when they were vault hunters. Borderlands 2 features more senseless banter, much of which comes from everyone’s favorite little robot claptrap. There are many unique characters to talk to, all of which can shed some light on the effects opening the vault had on Pandora. You would be poised to keep your eyes open because information is right around every nook and cranny.
Borderlands 2 is a wonderful game. Many games seem to lose their way with sequels, but it appears Gearbox has found the right formula for giving the people what they desire. The depth, weapons, and replay value, will have you playing this game for months and possibly years to come. DLC will be coming out, so extending your time with this game will treat you fairly well. This is truly a contender for game of the year. If this game is not on your wish list, I suggest you write another letter to Santa ASAP! Borderlands 2 is a must buy.
Borderlands 2 lands a 9 out of 10!