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Borderlands 2 Review

 

Guns, guns and MORE guns

With its unique mix of childish humour, cel-shaded graphics and potential for wanton violence, the original Borderlands was THE sleeper hit of 2009; earning critical acclaim and has sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide since its release.

Don’t fix what’s not broken is the mantra here as developers Gearbox Software stuck to their guns (no pun intended) and did not tamper with what made Borderlands great in the first place, though the guns in the sequel did get some shiny new upgrades.

Borderland actually feels like the developers had a checklist of all the complaints from fans and critics alike for the first Borderlands and set out to fix them one by one – dumb AI, simplistic Boss Battles (You can win them by just equipping a powerful enough weapon) and a clunky interface for the PC version. The sequel is certainly a much better game than the original and with the addition of revamped character classes - that makes every single skill point you invest feel like a tradeoff between different character builds and the refinement of an already expansive random loot drop generator.

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The single player campaign of Borderlands 2 takes place five years after the end of Borderlands and it follows the exploits of four new vault hunters in their quest to stop a new antagonist wittily named “Handsome Jack” who is hell bent on harnessing a new alien substance named “Eridium” and trying his very best to kill you. But fret not, the cast of the original Borderlands returns in the sequel as NPCs - it was pretty interesting to see what happened to the original cast five years after Borderlands. 

The sequel also has its fair share of side quests you could find along the way, they range from simple fetch quests to epic boss battles; one of the side quests see you help a zoologist find a new name for one of the creatures residing in Pandora and in another, help recover lewd pictures of Moxxi strewn around by a jilted lover.

The highlight of Borderlands lies in its cooperative multiplayer, what’s more fun than killing monsters; killing monsters with friends. At any time during the course of the game, you are able to pull up a network menu and make your session publically available, friends only, LAN only or totally inaccessible to others. Once your friends are in the game you are able to use a new and improved trade interface to reliably trade pieces of equipment instead of dropping them on the floor and hope the other person has some shred of decency to not steal your stuff and run away.

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The PC version of the game is the best version for the game not only because of Nvidia PhysX support but the in-game menus can be easily manipulated by the mouse alone. The console versions of the game suffer from framerate dips when the action picks up.

I loved the original Borderlands in spite of its flaws. killing monsters and examining every single piece of loot I picked up became an obsession all the while doing my best to ignore the framerate dips and texture pop-in. Borderlands 2 is a better game in every single way than its predecessor but the lack of game changing innovations made it feel all too familiar.

Ratings: 4 out of 5 stars.

Written by Kenny Chen KangYi
Article syndicated from POPCulture Online
© POPCulture Online 2012