Its back and it brings the Whooping even better, this time with a Gazillion amount of guns at your disposal, take up your role and go hunting. Your main goal is to take down Handsome Jack, as he has ultimately screwed up Pandora and does not seem to want to stop until he owns the vault.
You play one of four vault hunters, the commander, siren, gunzerker and finally the assassin; with a DLC due for release in October 2012 we will get to play a new class the Mechromancer. As the opening cut scenes unfold you found out that Handsome Jack is in charge of the Hyperion Corporation and has taken full control over the planet Pandora, with his own plans for the Alien resource Eridium, which was released throughout Pandora at the end of the first game. You first think that this is just another Vault hunter’s story, until the sign hanging from the ceiling unhinges from its original nice welcoming gesture “Welcome Vault Hunters” and adds a darker welcome note “To your Doom” and in small text (Nothing personal). Thirty seconds later the train explodes, and you wake up in a frozen wasteland. Only to notice Claptrap, our little robot friend looting the corpses of dead vault hunters before noticing your still alive. Claptrap uses your “skills” and takes you as his minion to help him escape the ice. All the humour from the original outing is still in the game however sometimes you wish you could put a gun to claptraps head, but then again he makes the whole game a lot more fun to play with all his qwerky comments and suggestions.
As we stated before there are a total of four classes currently available to play with the mechromancer coming soon, all give a different experience to how the game is played, not in the sense of the story and quests but in how you combat enemies and decide the best tactics to take down the bosses.The Commander can throw down an auto turret to help, with large swarms that are trying to surround you. The Gunzerker is able to pull out a second weapon tearing down larger creatures with two giant assault rifles. The Siren uses her main skill to suspend her foes in a bubble of energy then either throwing them or causing a huge explosion and decimating the area. The assassin uses stealth to sneak up on foes improving his damage and is able to use melee or range weapons. And finally the Mechnomancer, who can create a giant killer robot called Death Trap. Death Trap can become either a tank to draw fire away from the team and yourself or a supply bot giving ammo and health to everyone.
The skill trees have been upgraded and modified and are very much loved I have to say, playing the Commander and going down the center tree I was able to increase my overall damage by 20%, this increase at such a low level was great and really helped me to progress through the game. Much like the original game you are given 3 separate trees to head down for each character depending on your play style, will overall affect your choice of tree to expand into.
Compared to its predecessor Borderlands 2 refines many areas, from the plot that gives the game more depth and feel, to the action which has been made more refined and has been expanded upon. The loot system is very rewarding as you will find out yourself and gets even better after taking down a Humongous Boss. As the game progresses you will find yourself in many predicaments from taking down a bunch of wild beasts, to flying through the air on your rocket mounted SUV, finding yourself bang centre of a bandit camp with a shit load of pissed off shot gun wielding midgets and bandits all wanting a piece of your arse. Gone is the long boring slog of Borderlands, to a steady drip of well-placed set pieces, new enemy types and many more interesting concepts and ideas.
Borderlands 2 combat is very similar to the likes of Fallout 3 as you are playing a game based on damage per second, not instant headshot kills from the likes of Call of Duty or Battlefield. When you come to fight an enemy they have a health bar which you need to take down and the question is, is this weapon I am currently using the correct one for this boss fight or add, if not you will find yourself searching the area for loot boxes and a better weapon to use, or you will find yourself running out of ammunition pretty fast. You will find that even if you have an epic weapon equipped, it won’t save your hide, if you are not using cover mechanics to recharge shields and learning your character inside and out, you will find that the enemies will own your arse as everything in this game moves at a fast pace.
Something that expands the gameplay even more are the challenges, each area has a set of challenges that you can either do or not do, challenges include, find certain amount of items or kill a certain amount of bandits, there are plenty more available as you enter the zone and find the challenges available. When you complete a challenge you are rewarded with a baddass token that can be used to improve your characters stats in many different ways from critical strike rating to shield regeneration and many more. If you like achievements then you will be happy to hear that the Baddass Challenges go alongside the Steam achievements as well, so there are plenty of reasons to go back to the game, if not to play a different character but just to complete all the achievement, an achievement whores dream come true.
Borderlands 2 has an improved interface system, which now makes choosing the best weapon, shield or Grenade upgrade much easier and faster. The new interface will even separate the different types of upgrades, but you will find that you have limited space available to start. The limited space can be sorted, by going to the black market in the main city of Sanctuary, where you can hand in slabs of Eridium and purchase extra bag slots and many other small but significant upgrades.
Borderlands 2 now includes a handy mini map which guides you in the correct direction to go, this was something the gamers cried out for within the original game but where never given it. One downfall is the way the developers have capped the amount of quests you can have active at once, they have opted for one quest, which means if you have a number of quests in your log you will need to pause the game and switch to the quest you wish to do next. There are also quests that will require you to use a specific weapon type and a specific way to take down an enemy so make sure you are reading your objectives clearly not just skimming over them.
A feature greatly improved on in Borderlands 2 is the character customisation, as each character now has over 80 outfits to choose from and will give your character a slight change of appearance, do not expect them to be all available at the start, nope, you will need to find them all and activate each one. The customisation feature does help when it comes to playing co-op as you can change your outfit so you do not look like the person next door to you. As well as character customisation the car paint jobs are back making your SUV look like the baddass driving machine it should be.
Gearbox have gone the full hog with the PC version and added Nvidia PhysX, which means bloody awesome effects, as a few example, shoot the ground and loads of pebbles will fly everywhere, cloth gets ripped to shreds, dragged ,torn and still has pieces of cloth lying around the blast zone. Step on them and you will find that they move as well “Bloody awesome or what”. What we found to be a great example of this working was using some weapons or grenades that pulls all particles towards it and then explodes throwing everything all over the place.
When you have completed the game, don’t think this is the end, because it is not, welcome to the True Vault Hunters Mode, a super hard version of the game with upgraded enemies better loot and more chances to get your arse handed to you on a plate for bandit lunch. Borderlands 2 improves in many ways as you can tell from the review, and you will find that when you play with your friends via co-op mode, you will end up with harder enemies and better loot, however the downfall to co-op is ninja looting as everything is free for all, so choose your buddies wisely.
We would like to see gearbox at some point in time taking advantage of what the PC can do, not just using the awesome PhysX but also using DirectX 11 and HD quality graphics, to make this game looking the bee’s knees on the PC.
Overall Borderlands 2 is a must have buy, even more so if you have three other friends to play the game with you. The game will last you a rather long time, and you will see yourself possibly testing all characters though the normal game and though the True Vault Hunters mode.
A great arse whooping game or as claptrap say “come minion protect me”.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.