Borderlands 2 review

Borderlands 2 review

T3 5
  • Borderlands 2 plonks players down on the planet of Pandora where shooting bad guys and stealing their loot is the order of the day

    Borderlands 2 review

    Love

    • Incredible depth
    • Addictive gameplay
    • Guns
    • guns
    • guns

    Hate

    • Hinky vehicle handling
    • Occasional texture pop-in

    Borderlands 2 isn’t exactly a huge departure from its predecessor. Like the original Borderlands, Gearbox’s new offering bolts the loot-and-reward progression of games like World Of Warcraft and Diablo III to a First-Person-Shooter engine. It then encourages players to go hog-wild in an endless quest for guns, gadgets and cash.

    Borderlands 2: Plot

    But in spite of this very basic sounding structure, Borderlands 2 is more than just a steroid-enhanced retread of Gearbox’s 2009 sleeper-hit.

    The Texas-based developer has gone widescreen with its latest game. Everything from the game’s mechanics, to the collectible content, to even the massive wide open-world of Pandora has been first super-sized and then intricately detailed, in order to draw players in and make them invest oodles of their time.

    Even the game’s story has been beefed up, although in the case of Borderlands, that isn’t saying much. The original Borderland’s plot wasn’t so much thin as it was anorexic, but for the sequel, Gearbox has added some welcome twists and turns as well as a lot of sharp dialogue.

    Players take on the role of a Vault Hunter pitted against the evil Hyperion Corporation in a race against time to find a weapon capable of wiping most of Pandora’s population off the map.

    Borderlands 2: Characters

    Players have four character classes to choose from. There’s Axton, a Commando with a deployable turret, Zero an Assassin who can turn invisible, Maya the Siren, who can use her force field to yank enemies out of cover and Salvador, a Gunzerker, who can dual wield weapons.

    Each class has a three separate talent trees the player can use to level up with XP earned through blasting enemies and discovering locales on Pandora’s huge open-world map. At low levels, they can boost health regeneration, weapon damage and shield regeneration and the like.

    At higher levels, however, they turn into a walking slaughterhouse. Salvador, for example can dual-wield massive weapons like chainguns and rocket launchers, while Zero can generate a holographic decoy, allowing the player to remain invisible to opponents as long as they string attacks together.

    Borderlands 2: Multiplayer

    These abilities come in handy in the game’s co-op mode, which is probably the most satisfying way to play it. It’s here that Salvador’s decoy ability or Maya’s healing abilities are really brought into full affect, while Axton’s turret – which, at high levels, can attach itself to any surface and fire missiles – transforms into a handy fifth party member.

    There are two things to remember about co-op mode however. Firstly, enemies are going to be four-times as tough to beat, mainly to prevent the game from turning into a cakewalk. Second, it’s only worth playing with gamers you know are good team players, as there’s no way to prevent selfish lone wolf types from taking all the best loot.

    Borderlands 2: Gameplay

     

    Ah, the loot: perhaps the most important draw in Borderlands 2’s arsenal. Not only do players earn XP from every enemy they kill, but they’ll also note that every dropped foe spits out an asset, be it in the form of ammo, mods, cash or guns.

    This turns every gun battle into a potential treasure trove from which the player or players can profit. The fact that Borderlands 2 offers skill-enhancing Badass Tokens for racking up things like headshots, environment kills and explosion kills only sweetens the deal.

    The only thing more addictive than looting victims is collecting an arsenal of weird and wonderful firearms. The box art proclaims there are millions of guns in the game, and though we’re not about to start a count, the volume of guns we’ve discovered so far is eye-popping.

    Players will get hold of rifles that fire incendiary rounds, SMGs that spit electricity and bullets at the same time, shotguns that turn into grenades when you reload them and sniper rifles that fire acid-filled bullets.

    Each brief loading screen players see when they switch to a new environment shows a new gun as a placeholder and in 17+ hours of Borderlands 2, we’ve yet to come across the same gun twice.

    Borderlands 2: Verdict

    There are one or two niggles, here and there; textures occasionally pop in and driving vehicles is nowhere near as much fun as it should be, but in light of the game’s strength, this is nitpicking in the extreme. Gearbox have served up a deep and beautiful beast of a game, and we urge you to book passage to Pandora forthwith. You’ll be glad you did.

    Borderlands 2 release date: 21 September 2012

    Borderlands 2 price: £39.99

  • Borderlands 2 mixes the depth of an RPG with the excitement of a shooter and arrives in a wrapping that’s as twisted as it is zany

    Borderlands 2 review

    Love

    • Incredible depth
    • Addictive gameplay
    • Guns
    • guns
    • guns

    Hate

    • Hinky vehicle handling
    • Occasional texture pop-in

    Borderlands 2 is, in a word, epic. Like its predecessor it takes a simple First Person Shooter (FPS) core and bolts it to structure of Role Playing Game (RPG), offering tons of content and awe-inspiring depth.

    Borderlands 2: Characters

    Of course, it helps immensely that Gearbox, the developers behind Borderlands 2, are building on rock-solid foundations. The brief here seems to have been to take everything that worked in the first game and flesh it out completely.

    To begin with there are four character classes that players can choose from, which roughly correspond with the options they had in the first game – soldier, siren, sniper and… er, tank. However, in Borderlands 2 these characters have been beefed up significantly.

    Instead of Brick, the tank, there’s Salvador, the Gunzerker. This is a small mound of muscle and attitude that, at low levels, is capable of wielding two guns. At higher levels, though he can juggle chainguns and rocket launchers and by switching between weapons he automatically reloads. He’s capable of causing more damage than the banking crisis.

    The new siren can lift enemies into the air with a forcefield and heal mates, the commando can deploy turrets than become nastier and nastier over time and the new assassin, Zer0 deploys decoys and then moves in close with his katana. Each character has a talent tree that players can use to level them up, making them more deadly and hard to kill over time.

    Borderlands 2: Plot

    The game’s story kicks off shortly after the events of the first Borderlands. The original characters are now leading a rebellion of Vault Hunters against The Hyperion Corporation and its sadistic representative on Pandora, Handsome Jack.

    The rebels seem to think that Jack’s after an item that will win him the war, which just happens to be hidden in a vault on Pandora. They’re determined to get hold of it first.

    To that end, the player is recruited by the Vault Hunter rebellion who set them off on a lengthy list of quests that’ll take them through several large tracts of Pandora. In the build we played, all the action took place in snow-capped quarry filled with shantytowns and mining equipment. The area was also populated by giant insects and violent, gun-toting psychopaths wearing rags.

    Borderlands 2: Features

     

    Each enemy we encountered, however, was a potential treasure trove of delights. Much like in the first Borderlands, every opponent the player kills will drop at least one item, and these range from med-hypos to ammo to cash to weapon mods to new and interesting firearms.

    This loot-drop aspect is what kept most players glues to the first Borderlands for hours on end, so it makes sense that Gearbox has kept it here.

    It's also tweaked it somewhat; players no longer need to target money and ammunition in order to pick it up. They will, however, have to be a bit selective about the guns they collect as these have a bearing on how they play the game.

    Fancy close-quarters combat? We’d suggest a shotgun filled with electric rounds or a damaging SMG that’s only accurate for about five feet. If you’re more a long-range type of player, how about a two-shot pistol with a telescopic scope on it or a sniper rifle that dumps three round bursts into enemies?

    Then, of course, there are an assortment of pistols, machine guns and rocket launchers you can look into. There are even a couple of guns that you can use as grenades when you’ve emptied them.

    Borderlands 2: Verdict

    We were allowed a brief 5 hours at the controls of Borderlands 2 and we barely scratched its surface. This is a game that promises unparalleled depth and tons of excitement.

    While many shooters shrug off their single-player mode by claiming their multiplayer mode is ‘da bomb’ Borderlands 2 offers co-op and single player action that are both as deep and as delightfully barmy as each other. This game is probably the most sound investment shooter fans could make all year.

    Borderlands 2 availability: 21 September 2012

    Borderlands 2  price: TBC

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  • Borderlands 2

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