• Borderlands 2 Review

    psychostats-bl1-jpgBorderlands was easily one of the best games to be released in 2009. Has Borderlands 2 made the series better or worse? Are the characters as cool? Is the story as funny? Is it still one of the best games of this year? Why am I asking so many questions??

    BL2 has been out for a while now; I've had plenty of time to play through the game with all the characters to really get the full effect of the game's design, gameplay, and story. My initial thoughts? It's a different game, but not so different that it makes it worse.

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    Handsome Jack here!

    BL2's story line is just as funny--if not more so--than the original story. Handsome Jack is by far the best character of the game, and he's not even playable. His "asshole bad guy" attitude makes for some fun back-and-not-so-forth dialogue (since the main characters don't really talk) throughout the game.

    But Jack isn't the only thing that makes this game a blast. All of the original characters from BL are back, even some of the best side characters. The missions they give you are just as farfetched, still giving the same ridiculousness to the game it always had. This game bleeds humor and will make you excited to replay the game just for some of those best moments. Which is saying a lot when the games primary point of advertising was the amount of guns they have, and they do have a lot of guns…

    The guns… where to even begin with the guns? The guys at Gearbox weren't kidding when they said they had more guns. There are thousands upon thousands of guns in this game.

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    Guns, Guns, GUNS!

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    So many things to choose from.

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    Look at all the pretty!
    Now, as a player one should note that BL had a lot of guns as well, but a majority of them were the same guns with different skins or a new piece added on for a new look. However, in BL2 the guns aren't just rehashes of old guns. There are several different guns with differing abilities and looks. Now that the game has removed proficiency for the gun types, you can pick and choose what type of guns you want to use on the fly. It makes for a very dynamic way of playing the game when you don't feel restricted to using snipers if you find a cool looking assault rifle.

    Guns aren't the only thing about the game that got a revamp for the better. Character differences are vast in BL2. Each character's skill changes the game and each skill tree makes the gameplay for your character different in almost every way. Some skills stack abilities that allow you extra bonuses in damage, accuracy, or reload speed while other trees add to health and defense instead of offense. Having played through the game already about 4-5 times, I've gotten to play with different sets of abilities for each character. As an example I'll walk through my use of Zero, the assassin class.

    When I started playing as Zero I went for the sniping class tree (see picture), putting points towards the abilities that made me more accurate and do more damage with particular weapon types. This class tree worked well for me; I was doing a ton of damage. However, I found myself not using my main skill (for Zero, it's his hologram). This was a problem. To start using my hologram skill, I'd have to rethink which class tree to put my points into--I wasn't doing very much melee damage with my hologram skill and my character's health was too low for a "in-your-face" battle.

    I swapped to the Bloodshed class tree in order to get max damage out of my hologram skill. To use the skill itself I needed to be ready for close up fights. This forced me to change from snipers and pistols to the more hard hitting shotguns and rifles. This dynamic of play didn't just stop here with skills. I also had to rethink what shields I was using based on their abilities and player mods to boost the skills I was actually using. Being in up-close battles, losing more health, I had to change my grenades to transfusion to revive myself. The same dynamic came into play for each character I used and skill tree I was involved in. This made BL2 feel more alive than most shooters.

    However, I can't credit the skill trees for doing an interesting graphics job. BL had a very unique way of looking in the cell shaded world it was in. BL2 doesn't fall far from the tree in this aspect. The cell shaded style still looks pretty neat and they even updated the style to make it sharper looking than BL was. I heard rumors of people not liking the style of BL and to that I say …fine… but it's no reason to miss out on something fantastic. Yes, I know that was a short talk about graphics, but this is 2012 and if you guys reading this want see how the game looks then look at screenshots and videos.

    The one thing I would like to talk about is the multiplayer. BL2 makes for a really fun single player adventure, and I recommend playing it through at least once on your own so that you can catch all the little details you might not notice while playing with a group.

    With that said, playing with people is a must. Aside from all the fun you will have joking and laughing about the goings on of the game, you'll have a much more challenging time with later quests if you don't. Towards the very end of the game, and that means after play through one (which I'm now calling easy mode), there are some level 50 quests that are too difficult for a player to complete on their own. Find friends, kill bad guys, and get loot.

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    It's dangerous to go alone…take these.

    So, has BL2 stacked up against game-of-the-year BL? In a word, Yes. In a paragraph...
    BL2 goes above and beyond the call of duty. Gearbox did a great job listening to the fans: upgrading parts of the game that people loved and taking out parts that people were sick of (find 2,000,000 of some thing). If you haven't played this game yet, then you should buy it and play it. If you've never played BL, then buy it and play it as well. I highly recommend playing both games just because they are just that awesome. The BL series is still a great set of games. No matter who you are you will enjoy the game for one reason or another.

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP3
    • Processor: 2.4 GHz Dual Core Processor
    • Memory: 2 GB(XP)/ 2 GB(Vista)
    • Hard Disk Space: 13 GB free
    • Video Memory: 256 MB• Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8500 /ATI Radeon HD 2600
    • Sound: DirectX 9.0c Compatible
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows XP SP3/Vista/Win 7
    • Processor: 2.3 GHz Quad Core processor
    • Memory: 2 GB
    • Hard Disk Space: 20 GB free
    • Video Memory: 512MB
    • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 / ATI Radeon HD 5850
    • Sound: DirectX 9.0c Compatible
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Imisnew2's Avatar
      Imisnew2 -
      I was looking at buying Borderlands 2... but I couldn't bring myself to pay release day prices for it when the Coop play in Borderlands 1 was ridiculously hard to setup and get working unless you were lucky.
    1. DJ Ms. White's Avatar
      DJ Ms. White -
      It's really easy to do now. The game is a lot of fun.
    1. joker23's Avatar
      joker23 -
      I think that I need this game. Want-take-have. k. good now.
    1. Glitch's Avatar
      Glitch -
      Quote Originally Posted by Imisnew2 View Post
      I was looking at buying Borderlands 2... but I couldn't bring myself to pay release day prices for it when the Coop play in Borderlands 1 was ridiculously hard to setup and get working unless you were lucky.
      Now uses steam friends. When you start the game you see friends that are playing. you just click their name and join them. Or can invite in game and invite any steam friend
    1. iLLusioN's Avatar
      iLLusioN -
      Picked it up a couple of weeks ago when steam had their big sale..haven't played it a whole lot(lvl 12) between helping the wife with the newborn and playing all the games that came with my vid card(Far Cry 3, Hitman Absolution, Sleeping Dogs), and some obligatory CS:GO...but so far it's a blast. It's pretty much a given at this point that I laugh every time Handsome Jack radio's in.
    1. PatMaGroin's Avatar
      PatMaGroin -
      Thanks for the review! Always nice to read it from a true players perspective. Think I'll go grab it on steam now. Of note, one question: I played BL on xbox, if you have played it one there compared to comp, are there any major differences?
    1. Howlin Mad Murphy's Avatar
      Howlin Mad Murphy -
      Quote Originally Posted by PatMaGroin View Post
      Thanks for the review! Always nice to read it from a true players perspective. Think I'll go grab it on steam now. Of note, one question: I played BL on xbox, if you have played it one there compared to comp, are there any major differences?
      Nope. Only real difference is you can make it look better on PC. Everything else is the same

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