Borderlands 2 is a sterling example of how a sequel can build on its predecessor with only minor tweaks and come out feeling better than the original. Everything you loved about Borderlands is back – the mechanics have been finessed for the better, and the story is more engaging than ever before. The battle to liberate Pandora from the tyrannical grip of Handsome Jack is an awesome one.
And what a bastard he is. The antagonist of Borderlands 2 deserves special mention; Handsome Jack is a perfectly constructed jerk. The terrible things he does, coupled with his sociopathic ramblings make him the kind of villain you love to hate, giving you all the fuel you need to see this thing through to the end. There is a great sense of urgency present in Borderlands 2 that makes it feel heavier than the first game – there’s a lot at stake here, and because Borderlands 2’s NPCs are so likeable and fleshed out, your mission to save them and Pandora feels that much more noble.
Borderlands 2 is more of what you came to love about the first game: A delicious blend of the RPG and shooting genres. The gunplay, controls, and AI are tight enough and smart enough to leave little room for complaint, and the character building is deep enough to not feel like a tacked-on afterthought. The new characters are plenty cool and each brings a complimentary mix of skills that help make the multiplayer experience interesting and satisfying. As for the loot, well, suffice it to say there’s a ton of it. I don’t think I’m going to catch too much flak for saying this: snatching up all that randomly generated treasure feels more satisfying here than it did in Diablo III.
Borderlands 2 has a great sense of humor, too. It’s just a damn funny game. Much of this humor is dispensed throughout Borderlands 2’s optional side quests. Each of these missions is well thought-out, designed to intimately connect you with the denizens of Pandora and give you a greater sense of the world at large. They fill out the gaps between story missions quite nicely, and when you pair this clever form of story-telling with the game’s beautiful cell-shaded atmosphere, you have yourself a presentation that’s both distinct and memorable for all the right reasons.
While Borderlands 2 doesn’t warrant any major complaints, it does bring the usual fare of annoyances for games of this type. The abundance of invisible walls are sure to drive you nuts now and then, not to mention the game-breaking pitfalls you might wind up in occasionally; stuff like getting stuck in weird, inescapable pockets or falling through the ground into a bottomless pit of black space. Thankfully, these errors are few and far between, and well within the threshold of tolerance for a game of this kind. For what it’s worth, I never experienced a glitch that required a hard system reset.
Unless you harbor an aversion to running and gunning, you just can’t go wrong with a game like this. Honestly, I’m not much of a first person shooter fanatic, but even I would break for Borderlands 2. Pandora is a beautiful dystopian landscape, peppered with folks who matter and a good variety of enemies to keep your finger on the trigger. It’s a good old-fashioned loot collecting funfest that gets better when you play it with friends. Spend some time with it, and it’s a safe bet you won’t be disappointed.
About the Author
|Mark A. Brooks uses the A. initial in his name so as to seperate himself from the teeming legions of other Mark Brookses (there are at least 65,000 in the state of Michigan alone).
Keep up with him on twitter, because why not. @unoriginalG
Mark A. Brooks has written 642 posts on Delta Attack.