Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Review of Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2 Game Review
Gearbox's smash hit gets an awesome sequel!
The first borderlands game was an excellent first person shooter/role-playing game loot fest, taking concepts from game franchises like Diablo, with it's RPG stat setups and the joy of finding bigger, badder items along your journey, and mixing it in with a first person shooter created a surprise hit for gearbox, gaining a large following. The sequel to Borderlands offers more of the same, with some serious improvements across the board, making it a prime example of how a sequel should be composed, taking the formula that makes it good, but improving upon it, rather than removing things that makes it work.
Borderlands 2 Story is about the adventurers of a new set of vault hunters hunting down and destroying the tyrannical president of Hyperion, Handsome Jack, who is controlling Pandora with an iron fist, with a megalomaniac, egotistical mindset, making this guy someone you will hate rather quickly. With the assistance of the previous vault hunters, the story proceeds much better and offers you much more insight than the previous game, which had very little in the way of story and narrative. Borderlands 2's story offers much more narrative, cut scenes  and the Echo recorders scattered about Pandora which offers more insight on character back stories  including the new Vault Hunters. Overall, I enjoy the story for Borderlands 2, as it offered great plot twists, story advancement, and character interaction between those you meet up with in your adventure.
The game play for borderlands 2 is also an improvement over the original, adding more items to collect and loot, a bank and character transfer system so you can move items between your characters, slot machines to gamble your cash for loot and prizes, and much more. The vehicle combat is something I noticed a huge improvement on, as the vehicles can take quite a bit of punishment in regards to the "tin can" armor of the first game, which would explode for taking even the slightest gunfire. Vehicles in the game have a power sliding feature and far better controls, making vehicle combat much more satisfying and rewarding.
New in this series is something called, "Badass Points". completing numerous challenges for each character offers you these points, which after accumulating enough turns into tokens, which can be spent to increase permanent stats which affect all characters, and using these tokens will give you an option to increase 1 stat with 5 options chosen from 15 stats. These points really get me into doing all the challenges you complete and also get you more customization skin options, which I find to be a really neat addition to the game.
Customization options are another new thing in Borderlands 2, as you find these from mission rewards and other means, you can customize your characters head and their clothes, making your character look different and unique. The game features multiple skins and head pieces for all characters, so finding them all can be a bit of a challenge, but fun!
The 4 starting characters, and the DLC Mechromancer, all have unique skill sets that compliment them and offer a wide variety of different builds and setups. Axton the Commando, Salvador the Gunzerker, Zero the Assassin, Maya the Siren, and the DLC character Gaige the Mechromancer, offer very pleasing styles and setups, and the class mods and relics you can find can boost certain stats and offer bonus points toward certain skills.
Playing in cooperative play is a blast with friends and you have the option of skipping story bits if you have already completed them in another players game, or playing the mission yourself if you choose so. Trading with characters is much easier now, because of the new trading system. Rather than dropping items on the ground you can now initiate trade with another player and safely trade items and money to each other, or if you want to fight for it, you can also wager items and perform a duel for them, the winner takes all in this case.
Overall, I found Borderlands 2 to be a real treat and an excellent sequel to the original Borderlands. The combat is satisfying, the loot fest is nice, the cooperative game play and story being vastly improved over the original, and the vehicle combat having a huge improvement makes this game a blast to play, especially if you have quite a few friends to play with. Also New DLC is right around the corner and will compliment the gaming experience as well, so be on the lookout for that!