Yet again, from the studios of the notoriously amazing Gearbox, comes the game we all hoped was going to be released, and it was. Borderlands 2 was released in September 2012 much to the enjoyment of gamers all over the world. Back with new characters, mountains of DLC and extra content, there are hours and hours of insane enjoyment to be had.
Borderlands 2 takes place on the planet of Pandora (the same as the previous game), where a second ‘Vault’, a trove of treasures to be plundered by the brave (or crazy), has been discovered. You start off yet again as a Vault Hunter, in search of spoils and riches, ready to put up an epic fight to get there. You are immediately joined by a talkative little machine, CL4PT-TP, otherwise know as Claptrap. Unfortunately for you, an insane, incredibly rich man, Handsome Jack, President of the Hyperion Corporation, has the same idea. Taking a more direct approach, he is using his vast wealth to build giant machines that tear up the ground in search of the Vault. The ego-maniac that is Handsome Jack has built cities dedicated to himself, and is forcing out the local residents of Pandora. You are inevitably lead to join “The Crimson Raiders”, a group of anti-Hyperion Vault Hunters and Pandoran locals hell-bent on stopping Handsome Jack. You are thrown into their stories and lives as you help each other reach the legendary Vault.
The game-play is exactly the same as the first Borderlands, seamlessly connecting the two games. It is your basic First Person Shooter (FPS), very little is different from other games when it comes to Heads Up Display (HUD) or control style. It is still super handy to be able to switch your weapons with the scroll wheel. Everything is a cool fast pace, running is decently quick, re-loading isn’t un-realistic or ridiculously long and you can throw grenades incredible distances. You take no fall damage whatsoever in this game and you sort of float a little due to a lower planetary gravity, meaning you can’t accidentally fall off a building and die. There is an amazingly wide variety of weapons, and you’ll be finding new ones fairly quickly so you can level up and not be lagging behind. You can also buy guns from Marcus and his vending machines and health power-ups and shields from the “Doctor”, Dr Zed and his vending machines. They usually offer up decent guns, shields and class specific items if you happen to be unable to find any. However the best over-powered weapons still come from “Golden Keys”, an item you have to purchase as a micro-transaction. These Keys allow you to unlock the Golden Chest over and over, giving you great loot (most of the time).
Gearbox have chosen to stick with identical graphics, style and engine as the original Borderlands used, making it flow seamlessly from the first game to the next, something very few studios are capable of. Because of this all of the Borderlands feel like they are seamlessly linked together, rather than being separate games. The comic book style is a trademark of the Borderlands series, they have done an excellent job coining it as their signature style.
The voice acting is amazing, every character feels as though they are actually real and not some guy being paid to put on voices. The psychopaths sound legitimately insane, the midgets’ squealing instills a little thrill knowing you are about to be bombarded by tiny insane people throwing all sorts of things at you, and just in general getting up in your business. All of the characters who do actually speak coherently have been excellently cast, cutting the cheesiness and cringe-factor of bad voice acting out completely.
Gearbox has done pretty much everything right with Borderlands 2. It is a ridiculous mix of insane characters, over-powered weapons, super colourful designs and flamboyant grenades. However, they don’t have a great customisation system. A lot of players love to make their characters from scratch, there is very little leeway here. You can’t modify the character maps and change their body/face or clothing. You can only go with the pre-set color themes, or those you find/purchase in-game, which leaves a bit to be desired. You can’t customise your weapons either which is a bit of a shame. Mowing down giant Bullymongs with a fluorescent pink, acid-spitting pistol would be an amazing experience.
Borderlands 2 is in the top picks of a majority of gamers. Almost everyone who considers themselves a gamer has played it, with most of those loving it. It is a weird yet amazing mesh of insane characters, ridiculously over-powered guns, vehicles and grenades, and literally zero sense of life-like physics. The style and game-play alone are enough to make you want to give this game a go. It is polished yet gritty, ridiculous yet serious, over-powered yet just right. Over-all, amazing.