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Game Review: Borderlands 2

Greg West |
October 10, 2012 | 4:40 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter


Box art for Borderlands 2 (gamefly)
Box art for Borderlands 2 (gamefly)
Welcome back to the desert planet of Pandora, a world inhabited by the various “Vault Hunters” all searching for a whole new vault after the first appeared to be a bust.

While Borderlands 2 does not significantly attempt to change the range-of-play set by its predecessor, it undoubtedly does nearly everything better. An assortment of improved mission writing and dialogue, loot and gun-upgrades, interesting skill trees, and an exciting and inviting new game world will leave old fans and new players both very pleased.

Your enemies, be they human, animal, synthetic or otherwise will put up a respectable fight as you shower them with bullets from one of the many interesting and intriguing weapons you will discover. Players will enjoy the old and new varieties of baddies that will, most of the time, heartwarmingly attack en masse only to be supremely owned by you. The game’s excellent voice acting and significant improvement in writing will also undoubtedly increase battle enjoyment as enemies are now privy to a large number of new, laugh-out-loud battle taunts. 

Besides its noticeable improvement in dialogue, Borderlands 2 also makes a large number of visual improvements. The environments feel more diverse and alive than in the original Borderlands and the aesthetics are bolstered by a rich palette of bold, vibrant colors and crafty details. Players will feel less like they are wandering through an abandoned desert and more like they are setting foot in a rich new world populated by an assortment of interesting and deep characters. 

But even with all the improvements, players will be glad to know that the core gunplay and fundamentals remain essentially unchanged from the original Borderlands. Just like in the first game, players will definitely find that the shooting mechanics are fluid and gratifying. Dealing the right kind of elemental damage and utilizing your critical-hit effectiveness are still essentials for putting down hordes of enemies swiftly and mercilessly. 

However, the game’s focus on its five new character classes will require players to strategize with a number of new tactics to increase his/her combat efficiency. For example, players can choose to confuse their enemies with a holographic decoy as an invisible assassin; drop a sabre-turret as a commando; phaselock enemies in midair as a siren, deploy a killer robot named Death-trap as a mechromancer or duel-wield any combination of guns as a gunzerker. Unfortunately, even with all these abilities, these classes do not really differ in terms of core gunplay; which is a little disappointing.

Each of these classes can be substantially customized throughout a player’s journey to level 50 (the max level). And although some skills do undoubtedly favor certain weapon varieties, weapon proficiency will not make a return in Borderlands 2.  This removes the urge for some players to only utilize one or two weapon types for the entirety of the game. This is wonderful because it allows players to experience the absolutely incredible range of weapon options, customization opportunities and strategies, which make the Borderland titles so enjoyable to play.

Missions and mission selection are more varied and easy to navigate to as well. On top of this, a large number of area-specific challenges and rewards can be attained, adding depth to missions; for example, blowing up a specific number of enemies with an incendiary grenade. All in all, Borderlands 2 is a cool game which significantly built on the merits of its predecessor and is now even more fun to cooperatively play online with a friend.


Reach Staff Reporter Greg West here.



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