VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Borderlands 2

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A few years ago the first Borderlands showed up and created its own subgenre, the shoot and loot. With solid gameplay, gorgeous visuals, a net-rage inducing ending, and hilarity running across the spectrum it exploded into the world with guns, guns and more guns creating a massively popular following, Having spawned four vastly entertaining sets of DLC, more guns than you can possibly ever obtain, some great videos, and entertainment galore, the full-fledged sequel has finally arrived.
Giving us more guns, more explosions, more bad guys, more good guys, and just generally more of everything can Borderlands 2 live up to the pedigree of the original? Your Major Spoilers answer is after the jump.

BORDERLANDS 2
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: PC, X-Box 360, PS3
Price: $59.99

THE STORY

The original Borderlands focused less on the story (which was still good) and more on making a genuinely enjoyable experience around it going more for tongue-in-cheek and self-mocking humor with entertaining NPC’s to guide your way. This time around the story is quire a bit more significant, as is the humor and the entertaining NPC’s. Anyhow, in this story we find out that Handsome Jack, head of the Hyperion Corporation, is after the fabled Vault of Pandora (in the first game it was a prison for an extra-dimensional entity) for obviously nefarious purposes. Jack is hiring and then killing any and all Vault Hunters (PC’s) then tossing them in the frozen north. From there you stand up and start playing, trying to take Jack down. Unfortunately I am uncertain of the ending as half of my game save got erased when I re-logged, but that was apparently my fault. What I have gotten to play through has been entertaining enough, but, as said before, the game’s strengths are not the story

THE BAD

The DLC isn’t here yet. I realize the game is barely a week old, but one of the bonuses for preordering is getting the fifth class, the Mechromancer, for free and that is the class that I want to play the most. Unfortunately she comes with the first DLC pack instead of at launch and so I must wait. Of course this is just a silly nitpick rather than any actual problem with the game itself. I have no other complaints about the game, only stuff I like and stuff I like more.

THE BAD ASS

All the things. Seriously the only part of this game I don’t enjoy is stated above; everything else is at least good. Rather than list everything out we’ll just hit the highlights. Firstly, the class trees have been improved and expanded. Granted these are entirely different classes from the original, but the trees are more elaborate with more relevant abilities all around. Secondly, the classes themselves are all interesting. The new Siren is about control, the Commando is straight damage while being good at everything, Zero is a freaking ninja (and a number), and then there’s the Gunzerker. Who doesn’t want to dual wield rocket launchers? The four are also voiced funnily with a multitude of great one-liners.
Gameplay is just as solid as the first game with the difficulty ramped up. Some people may find this to be bad, but they can just suck it up. The difficulty curve adds an extra sense of accomplishment to what you can complete and leads you to the more appropriate and recommended style of gameplay, co-op. Co-op actually makes both more and tougher monsters, but it is still easier thanks to the extra player(s) watching your back. Making gameplay subtly encourage how the game wants to be played is just brilliant.
Now, as for the biggest reason I love this game, the comedy. Again the game ranges from toilet humor, to references, to hilarious characters, and to the occasional bits of high-brow. I have actually fallen out of my chair laughing at many of the things said throughout, especially the multitude of times Handsome Jack mocks you. All the characters have been funny in their own right and some of the returning ones have actually gotten funnier.

VERDICT

I think it’s safe to assume how I feel about Borderlands 2, it’s absolutely awesome. I can’t fault the game on any front and I have enjoyed every moment of my time on Pandora since picking up the original. Seriously, if you haven’t picked up the game you should. If you’re worried about the cost but still want to try, then go after the original, you can probably get the full thing for about $5, but that’s not gonna matter as it will just convince you to get Borderlands 2. Anyhow, Borderlands 2 may not be the best game you ever play, but it will be up there and everything weighed together earns it a near perfect 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★★★½

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