Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC/Steam
First Person Shooter/Role Playing Game
September 18th, 2012
Vault Hunters return to the planet of Pandora for the second title in the Borderlands franchise. Gearbox Software brings on new characters to lead the way to a whole new story that Pandora has yet to offer. The exploration, in this massive world, is ready for you to satisfy your need to loot and shoot your way to Handsome Jack, Pandora’s new antagonist.
Borderlands 2 will allow the player to see what has happened recently in Pandora, since it is set five years after the events from the first Borderlands. The Hyperion Corporation has gained a new CEO, Handsome Jack, who has the people of Pandora under his command. While the player is greeted with some familiar faces that we know and love from the first Borderlands title, a set of four new heroes are introduced as playable characters in Borderlands 2. In order to defeat Handsome Jack, they must utilize their strengths to free Pandora from his restraint.
The humor is one aspect that needs to be pointed out. It certainly helps lighten the seriousness between the battles. The humor was tasteful, witty, and quite humorous. Claptrap is that funny sidekick that grows on you.
Borderlands 2 is rich with color through the use of cel-shaded graphics. The jaw-dropping colors make for vibrant eye-catching graphics. It’s like Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, comic-book style.
This time Borderlands changed up the environments quite a bit. The player is greeted with a variety of environmental settings to include icy terrains, grassy hills, and mountainous regions. Not only does Pandora differ in landscape types, the Vault Hunters will be exploring in open areas, buildings, isolated spots, and the city of Sanctuary.
Amazing new enemies were introduced in Borderlands 2, including Bullymongs and Gun Loaders. The introductions for the characters took on a comic book design, with a still image and matching font.
During exploration, all you really hear is ambient sounds that add their touch to the massive vacant wasteland. When the enemies arrive, music starts and will cease once all the enemies are defeated.
Echos, or recordings, can be found around Pandora left by explorers from the past. This offers more to the mystery of the game and piques the interest of the player to find more Echos to unearth more of the story. At some points throughout the game, the player will hear tribal and orchestrated to help intensify the battle taking place.
Dameon Clark offers his voice as Handsome Jack and does a phenomenal job as a strong leader and as an antagonist. John Swasey plays as Salvador, Robert McCollum as Axton, Martha Harms as Maya, and Michael Turner as Zer0. All of them did a great job at bringing the characters to life. Not to mention the unique characters that you will run into while on your Journey, such as Tiny Tina, being voiced by Ashly Burch.
I have to say, Gearbox picked the perfect song by the Heavies for the introduction; it hypes you up for what’s to come.
All with bounties placed on their heads by Handsome Jack, the four heroes have their own special skill abilities to help complete the ultimate mission and finish the carnage that has wrapped its arms around the planet, all while adding complimentary skill abilities to each hero. Maya, who is a Siren class, can bring havoc to the enemies with her skill ability, Phaselock. She can lift the enemies into the air, leaving them defenseless in a purple aura while she takes them out alone, or with the help of her team. Phaselock also allows Maya to heal her teammates, while the enemy is restrained. Salvador is a Gunzerker class that is known for, well, Gunzerking. He is well-built to be able to endure dual wielding any type of gun. The best part is, it can be done in any combination. So, he can have a shotgun in one hand, and a sniper rifle in the other to help deal with a battle at a distance, or get up-close and personal. I found myself usually in the middle of the action, so any combination of guns is possible with Salvador. Zer0 comes from the Assassin class who can vanish and take out enemies with his stealth skill, Deception. Not only can Zer0 use Deception to eliminate enemies, but he can also see their critical weak points during that time to make for easy take outs. Finally, we have Axton, coming from the Commando class who can deploy a turret to assist the team. He can upgrade the Sabre Turret with a wide array of attachments and this can also allow it the ability to battle close or from a distance, as well, since it will gain the ability to teleport.
While on their mission to defeat Handsome Jack, the world is open for the player to stop and rummage through various spots, like trash cans, gasoline tanks, lockers, rocks, trunks of cars, boxes, to strip them of all the weapons you can carry. Marauding the area will score the player guns, ammunition, grenades, health, shields, and more to keep you well-equipped. Looting in Borderlands 2 has been taken to an entirely other level of addiction. Overflowing with an insane amount of weaponry at your disposal, rest assured that you will have any gun you can dream of, to find in Pandora. I found myself quite indulged in the looting aspect of the game because it is a rush of excitement when you find a weapon better than yours. There is an irrational addiction about looting because you never know what you are going to find. That aspect alone makes you greedy and you will find yourself stopping to look through everything. In addition, there will be vending machines throughout the stages that will allow the player to purchase the items necessary for survival.
If you are well-versed in the Borderlands franchise, you will be pleased to know that the authentic feel of the game has returned, with some new features. The Fast Travel feature remains a part of the series allows the player to skip to different areas of the planet to complete side missions or go back to loot anything that you may have left behind for later use. A new system that was introduced in Borderlands 2 is the Bonus Stats. By completing some challenges, you will gain Bonus Stats that will offer the player tokens. These tokens can be redeemed for various additives, such as maximize your health, melee damage, grenade damage, gun accuracy, gun damage, Elemental Effect Chance, and more. Each token allows the player to boost up by one enhancement. If you are a player that is up for the challenge, you simply press “Y”, while in the Badass Rank menu, to disable this feature altogether. Tweaks like the ability to now simply walk or drive over ammo and money to have it automatically be picked up, made the gameplay a lot smoother, without the need of extra unnecessary steps. This is not done with guns and shields, so that you still have the decision of keeping the one you are currently equipped with. To pick up loot, the player presses “X”, or to equip the item, hold it down. This assists in an easy equip, without the need of accessing the inventory. Another new feature allows you to trade a weapon or a shied with a fellow teammate. If they happen to beat you to a weapon or shield, you can offer to duel for it, or trade by giving him a weapon of yours, or even offer money. If they are feeling generous, they can press “y” while in the inventory to drop the item for another to pick up.
When you are taken down by a villain, the game will offer a “Fight for Your Life” chance that will offer you a second wind, or chance. When you are given the Fight for Your Life opportunity, you can revive yourself by taking out one of the enemies, or be revived by a teammate. The AI has been enhanced in this aspect from the first title, as they now flee from you to avoid being killed, to make it even more of a challenge to recover.
The player can play solo or hop on with a friend to play cooperatively. There can be up to four players grinding on the game’s campaign. Don’t think that the AI won’t be sufficiently allocated for extra players. Gearbox Software is not taking it easy on those who want to add in a friend or two, and will toss in more enemies to balance out the fight.
There is a cap to level up of 50. I happened to beat the game at level 27. Once the main campaign is completed, you will find out that was just the tip of the iceberg! There will be a mighty fine surprise waiting for you at the end.
Borderlands 2’s campaign is pretty meaty and the amount of time it takes for one to complete it, ultimately depends on the player. The player can skip side missions and challenges to simply beat the game for the story. However, the problem with that is you will take longer to level up and the enemies are always leveling up. So it will take a lot longer to beat them, rather than completing challenges to get your character ready for the next battle. The player will want to experience the campaign mode with different characters to experience their skill abilities, as well. The addiction to the looting will bring in added gameplay time, as well. So, all in all, there is plenty to do in Borderlands 2 to keep the player busy for quite a while.
Borderlands 2 is a brilliant title with jaw-dropping graphics and smooth gameplay. The involving storyline will suck you in and make you want to deploy your own turrets at your television to take out Handsome Jack.
The game has so much to offer in gameplay to provide you with hours upon hours of gameplay. I found myself submersed in the looting to find new weapons and shields to help me during battle time. The campaign mode will definitely keep you engrossed; there will still be plenty to do to keep your hunger for more gameplay satisfied. You can also hop on with a few friends and get involved in helping them out and find challenges you may have missed before.
All in all, Borderlands 2 will appeal to the newcomer to the series and comfort those who desired more adventure time in Pandora. It is a must-buy-game of 2012!