The Vault dwellers are back in this definitive sequel that is out to redeem itself over a terrible ending and deliver to the fans of the first game everything they could possibly ask for. Looking back on it, things could only get better right? Find out in our review.
Looking for everything you loved about Borderlands while leaving out everything you disliked, pretty much sums up Borderlands 2. With a whole new team of vault hunters to explore the Wastelands, it really changes things up quite a bit. There are plenty of familiar faces from the first game, along with a bunch of new ones to brighten your day. The one thing that I’ve found to be really quite enjoyable is the amount of humor introduced into the dialogue, and to have such unique styled characters who present it. As the story goes…well our new Vault Hunters are out to stop a raging homicidal maniac from destroying everything you care about. Yeah he could possibly be the greatest villain that I have ever dealt with, but in order to stop him you’ll have to deal with all his insensitive wise cracks. Again this just really adds to the humor aspect of the game it’s one of the main reasons I love the story so much this time around. Spoilers aside, the story comes together quite well and It’s quite refreshing to see some new scenery and enemies on the way. It definitely feels more thought out and planned, but not only will it please returning fans; it looks to please any new ones as well.
Some of the best things we can appreciate from Borderlands came from its gameplay. What’s not to love about an adventure built around exploring and finding all sorts of crazy weapons just to annihilate anything in your way? On top of that being able to share the experience with up to three of your buddies never really hurts either. So what can you expect differently in Borderlands 2? Well first of all there have been some small changes that make the co-op experience overall more complete. Challenges have returned with an added twist that gives you more of a reason to complete them. Every time you complete a challenge you earn points that go towards something called your badass rank. What’s really interesting about this is, with every point you earn you are able to upgrade specific stats to enhance your characters overall ability, such as reloading faster, more damage to critical hits, less recoil, etc. This will allow you to focus more in the areas of your characters style of play. It’s a huge bonus, especially when you find out that this rank spans across all the characters you play as, adding up to be a huge benefactor. Speaking of characters, the new Vault Hunters do tend to resemble the old ones, but there have been quite a few tweaks to their skillsets and each one plays quite differently from how you might remember. Still it was a smart way to go and everybody seems to play their part in battle. One particular change to the way skillsets and characters work is the fact that you are no longer bound to one or two sets of weapons to specialize in. It was basically made so that you would be able to choose from whatever weapon you wanted to use and adapt that to your own play style. This was possibly one of the best changes to the gameplay that I think most will approve of. One of the more lack thereof changes, is the means of transportation. Yeah it still really isn’t the greatest way to travel, but I will say it has improved slightly. One things for sure you’ll certainly find yourself flipping the vehicle over less, but I think the biggest problem is that the controls are still pretty awkward and it doesn’t handle all too well even with the slight improvement.
In the sound department things mostly sound up to par, although there can be the occasional hiccup from time to time. When I say hiccup I mean total blast of static in your ear which happens every so often when you re-spawn. Other than that I never really found any sound glitches to be too much of a problem. As I’ve said before, character voices and personality in this game is phenomenal and deserves every bit of credit. One thing that was done right was making sure everybody playing the game could experience all the dialogue even if they weren’t in the vicinity of characters speaking. This was all done through radio chatter, but I assure you it was probably the clearest way to listen to everything being said. Music was never really a huge deal in the first game, but it seems that Gearbox wanted to step it up a notch with some dub-step in the mix. During the opening of the game, I was surprised by how well the music went with the action but even though there were some parts the music played a nice role; it still wasn’t enough to leave a very memorable and lasting appeal overall.
The graphics were not exactly a huge improvement, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing since it’s probably what we have come to expect. There are even a couple moments in the game where the frame rate drops considerably and you would swear your moving in slow motion. Still throughout the rest of the game it should be pretty much a smooth ride without any frame rate interruptions. The engine may be a little outdated but it performs at a satisfactory level.
The replay value goes above and beyond expectations and you will literally find yourself playing Borderlands 2 for quite a long time. The amount of side-quests has been more than doubled since the first game. In fact you will find yourself exploring a bit more just make sure you discover all of the hidden ones. I have to give it up to Gearbox for bringing together some really interesting and entertaining side-quests that add to the story as well as further character development. Furthermore once you finish the story, True Vault Hunter mode unlocks, giving you an even greater challenge. It also gives you the chance to max out your character’s abilities and weapons to become a force to be reckoned with. I suppose if you want to take things a step further, you could always play as some of the other characters and extend your play a little. I wouldn’t count out any of the extra DLC on its way either, with the first one already available called “Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty.”
Overall I have found Borderlands 2 to be a huge success and if there ever was a sequel that should not go overlooked, it’s definitely this one. I not only found that it was a ton of fun for returning fans, but it also really fun for newcomers to the series. The story has been really thought out this time and is much more satisfying than the last. If you’re looking for a great Co-op experience with your buddies, Borderlands 2 will be sure to provide plenty of memorable moments and good times to be had.