“Minion block the bullets with your face!!!”
Title: Borderlands 2
Genre: RPG Shooter
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date: September 21st 2012
Borderlands, (the first game!) was released in 2009 to a very sceptical market, gamers had all sorts of other shooters to choose from, ones that looked more graphic, ones that offered nostalgic visits back in time to real battlefields, ones that took the genre a little bit more seriously. Well 4.5 million sales worldwide later, the first Borderlands proved that playing with the core roots of the genre, adding a bucket of colour and more laughs than a comedy club works…and it works really well. Three years later and the sequel has blasted onto our laps but is it all too similar or have developers Gearbox Software fixed it up?
Borderlands 2 takes place five years after the adventures of the first vault hunters Roland, Lilith, Mordecai, and Brick made their way to the Vault and destroyed the err… ‘Destroyer’, saving Pandora from utter disaster. In the wake of their victory the renowned heroes vanished and a strange crystal element known as ‘Eridium’ appeared all over the world and attracted the attention of the Hyperion Corporation and one Handsome Jack who used the crystal to take over the planet and the corporation. Soon after rumours begin to spread of a new hidden Vault and the planet begins to attract attention from a new generation of Vault Hunters, roll in, Maya, Zer0, Axton and Salvador.
The game has similar feel and look to the first but… no wait big BUT… it feels more refined, more matured and handles better. Combining elements of the classic RPG, you pick from one of the four characters (each with their own unique power) and from that point onward you’ll earn exp for every kill which upon levelling up are converted into skill points which are then invested into one of three skill trees. To slaughter your way through the world there are thousands of weapons to choose from, pistols that shoot exploding bullets, shotguns that blast foes away with corrosive bullets or maybe a sniper rifle that shoots fiery bullets of death as fast as you can pull the trigger. To find the Vault you’ll need to enlist the help of some old friends, Clap Trap and the Guardian Angel as well as some new ones they’ll each have their own missions and goals to achieve not only some fancy weapons, gold and experience but also progress through the game and come face to handsome face with Jack.
Cooperative play returns as well with the option to invite friends and randomers to your game and help you fight your way through hordes and quests. For the sake of the review we opened our game up to public play and while it has it’s uses we do take issue with the fact that there is no way to divide up dropped loot or ammo cases between the team and it’s a free for all system…which left me with no bullets in my shotgun or SMG and more than a little agitated and surprised at the selfishness of other players.
Moving on and aside from new weapons, skills and characters you can expect to find yourself tackling smarter and more vicious enemies with some serious improvements to the AI in the game. While you still be rugby tackled by Psychos who want nothing more than to hug you while sucking on the end of your rocket launcher, enemies will work together to bring you down and be a major pain in your trigger happy ass. Mending broken shields, healing bullet wounds, refusing to stand still in a puddle of corrosive acid and using smaller people as human shields, the bad guys want to kill you just as much you want to kill them. There is plenty to keep you busy in the game too with various in game achievements available which when reached increae your ‘Badass’ rank and allow you to redeem tokens. These tokens are put towards creating an even more unique character applying bonuses to everything from recoil reduction, shield recharge rate and even increasing the chance of your weapons hitting with elemental damage.
Combining blood curdling shrieks of acid melting death with slapstick humour, horrific deaths with beautiful and colourful graphics, reworking the kinks in the first game to allow for big improvement, throwing in some fantastic geeky references, you get to fight Teenage Mutant…Mutants led by Flinter in the sewers, Doctor Who (ClapTrap uses a portable toilet like the TARDIS) and Rose Tyler references (Maya gets a Rose Tailor skin) along with some fantastic one-liners including “I can’t believe I’m missing the new episodes of Constable What for this.”, “I used to be a Vault Hunter then I took a bullet to the knee” and so many more.
Borderlands 2 takes itself very seriously offering a fantastic game to lovers of Shooters with a difference but it also takes the piss, it’s challenging, creative and fun and while there might be few kinks that need another ironing out (and believe us we’re totally game for a Borderlands 3), these don’t detract from one of hell of stunning game.
Funny, smart and challenging
Intelligent and vicious AI
Beautiful to look at
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!