Borderlands 2 (XBOX 360), Review
Our full, play through review of Borderlands 2.
Like a kid in a candy store, I grinned at the thought of the wonderful treat that would be a second Borderlands game and I’m happy to say it does not disappoint. With improvements to the graphics while still keeping the comic-book style look of the original, this sequel is definitely one to check out as soon as possible or a wonderful gift for someone old enough (it’s M for Mature, people!).
The story takes place a few years after Borderlands and much has changed on the planet of Pandora. The Hyperion corporation has pretty much taken over control of the planet, led by the company’s leader Handsome Jack. After the Vault was opened by the events of the first game, the planet suddenly became rich with a mineral called Eridium and Hyperion has been drilling and mining as much of it as possible. With this Eridium comes a new rumor of a second vault and with rumors of treasure come treasure hunters (or Vault Hunters), meaning… Us. As in the original Borderlands, we have four different adventurers to choose from with varying strengths, weaknesses and special abilities. The only thing I didn’t like is, no matter which one you choose, the dialogue seems to be identical. (I know, I know, I’ve been spoiled by games like Saints’ Row: The Third, where the dialogue changes slightly due to the personality you’ve chosen.)
There isn’t a whole lot to say about the graphics. They’re beautiful, they’re sharper and they kept the Comic-book style in Borderlands fashion. The user interface that shows armor, level and such is all pretty much the same and details are nice and crisp, while still keeping with the artsy feel of it all.
Music and Sound:
In the first Borderlands, the intro kicked on a nice rendition of No Rest for the Wicked, which was always my favorite part of starting a new character. In similar fashion, they chose the perfect intro song for Borderlands 2: Short Change Hero by The Heavy (from the album The House that Dirt Built).
It sets the mood perfectly and makes me smile every time (which isn’t always easy since I played through this game with each character one after the other to get a feel for each one, meaning the intro rocks).
The gameplay is pretty straightforward First-Person-Shooter (no third-person option on this one though). Each character class has different abilities, some you will recognize and some new ones as well.
Axton: The Commando for Borderlands 2, he’s your typical military/mercenary looking guy and he was the one I tried first. The Commando treated me well. As The Commando I was generally able to kill things five levels above me with little problem, as long as I was patient and careful. His special ability is dropping a gun turret. As with the original, as you level up and use your skill points, you can improve many things including the turret’s damage, accuracy and the time it lasts for. The turret can be a lifesaver while you take a breath or a nice way to double-team an opponent even when you’re alone.
Maya: The Siren of Borderlands 2; her ability is completely different from Lilith’s phase walking from the original. Maya has Phase Lock this time around, which levitates and captures the targeted enemy inside a psionic bubble for a few seconds while you either deal with other enemies or shoot them as they float helplessly. Both have their times and their conveniences, including an ability unlocked with your skill points that heals you when someone inside Phase Lock dies.
Salvador: The Berserker type in Borderlands 2; his ability has several effects: First of all, it lets you dual-wield weapons and shoot them at the same time (using the L and R triggers). It also has the fun effect of regenerating both Health and Ammo for the duration of the skill. Obviously, this already awesome effect can be added to and extended with skill points, which makes Salvador the unstoppable brick wall you’d expect from a tank.
Zero: Described as “a number,” he is the assassin of the group. His skill, Deception, is similar to Lilith’s phase walking, with a bit of an extra. When used, it makes you invisible for a short time, while simultaneously creating a holographic decoy to distract enemies. This makes him an excellent assassin, as you can distract someone, go around them and shoot them from behind for critical damage. Zero’s skill trees allow this to be extended, augmented and early on you can even multiply his melee damage so that kills with his sword are easier and easier.
Add to our dashing heroes the fun of all the old faces (except for TK. He’s still dead.) and you have a raucous and fun game.
I played through all four characters one after the other, which usually one doesn’t do straight through. The game doesn’t stop being challenging or fun, though you do start to know the dialogue a little too well. So much of the dialogue is funny, though, it’s still enjoyable the fourth time around. Yes, you may take a break between characters (unlike how I played through Borderlands 2), but you’ll keep coming back for more.
I don’t usually talk about Multiplayer, since Xbox Live still isn’t free and I would rather pay bills than play online with friends who may or may not be up at three in the morning when I may or may not be playing, but I did want to make a few comments on the multiplayer here. First of all, if you DO have Xbox Live, you cannot only multiplayer, you can cooperative play from two different Xboxes as well as on a single Xbox. This is awesome, because I would much rather co-op than do versus online any day. I’d also like to add that the Borderlands 2 multiplayer is currently helping one of my best friend’s relationships with his fiancée. Apparently, killing people, and or things, together can be a bonding experience. You heard it here first!
Unless you know couples who hunt together, in which case they said it first.