'Borderlands 2' Review: Shoot, Loot And Hoot Across Pandora Again
Killing Pyro Psycho Midgets since 2009
2K Games and Gearbox Software's 2009 "Borderlands" was an absolute hit for each company as it received critical acclaim, although the game wasn't without faults. Its ho-hum storyline, predictable enemy A.I. and extremely anti-climactic ending certainly put a damper on its overall experience, although some would argue Gearbox Software more than made up for it with its follow-up downloadable content.
"Borderlands 2" takes place five years after the events of the original game and is set to improve on many of the issues gamers had previously as well as offer a lot more of the same that made "Borderlands" such a great experience. Both Gearbox Software and the gaming community have a lot riding on "Borderlands 2" as the buzz around this title has officially reached epic proportions.
"Borderlands 2" has players adventuring through the dangerous world of Pandora yet again, but this time, as four vault hunters that are much different from the original four available in "Borderlands." Each vault hunter has their own strengths and weaknesses that set it apart from the rest and as you progress through the game, you'll level up your vault hunter to become more badass through the game's RPG-style leveling system.
Speaking of badass, a new Badass Rank is being introduced in "Borderlands 2" that rewards you for completing in-game challenges by increasing your Badass Rank, then rewarding you with tokens once you reach a certain rank. The tokens earned can be redeemed for one of five random permanent perks that not only boost your current character's stats, but also boost the stats of any other vault hunter you create. Now that is pretty badass.
Missions in "Borderlands 2" are more dynamic than they were in "Borderlands" as completing missions under certain circumstances will allow for alternate outcomes. I experienced a number of alternate outcomes through multiple play sessions which will certainly spark interest in those who choose to play with either an alternate character or through the game once it's completed. I also experienced a number of times certain missions weren't able to complete no matter what I tried, which was remedied by quitting the game and coming back in, although this resolution isn't an ideal one.
How do you expect to complete any missions without killing a Psycho or two? "Borderlands 2" promised a bazillion guns and I have yet to find two that are identical as weapons will have slight tweaks to them, such as applying fire damage or shooting several bullets with just one pull of the trigger, that make each weapon found completely unique. Guns aren't the only piece of arsenal to offer a vast number of tweaks as shields, grenades and class mods will also come in all shapes and sizes. With all of the variations in weaponry, you're bound to find something ideal for a friend or an alternate character, which is why "Borderlands 2" allows players to officially trade with other players or alternate characters.
Character and vehicle customization received a huge overhaul in "Borderlands 2" as players will unlock additional looks for their character's head, outfit and their vehicle's paint job. Unfortunately, players aren't given the freedom to truly customize parts of their character's outfit or paint on their vehicle, but the customization options in "Borderlands 2" are certainly a step in the right direction.
Four player online co-op makes its triumphant return in "Borderlands 2" as you can drop-in and drop-out the games of your buddies right from the start screen. Matchmaking is also available and allows you to either quickly join a match or browse through a number of open games if you need your online co-op fix, but have no buds online. And for those of you who prefer a couch co-op experience, "Borderlands 2" allows you to play split-screen co-op sessions with up to two players and even take your couch co-op fun online. All of the online and offline multiplayer experiences were spot on and no lag was experienced anywhere, which is somewhat of a miracle when you consider how much is going on in both online and offline co-op sessions.
One of the major issues critics and gamers had with "Borderlands" was its writing as the game was full of memorable characters, but not so many memorable moments. "Borderlands 2" has received a huge improvement in its story as I caught myself laughing at much of the dialog, quips and enemy reactions to my shooting their face off on a regular basis. Injecting humor into games is pretty difficult as I've experienced my share of games who try to be funny, but aren't. I can safely say "Borderlands 2" not only has its memorable cast of characters, but a funny and interesting story that hugely improves on its predecessor.
"Borderlands 2" was an inevitable game seeing how fans and critics adored "Borderlands," but had some issues with certain parts of their grand adventure through Pandora. "Borderlands 2" strikes a magical balance between new features and staying true to the original source. If you're a fan of shooting an indescribable amount of enemies with overpowered weaponry while laughing along with your friends, then you should shut up and give Gearbox Software your money right now for a copy of "Borderlands 2."
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