on December 26, 2013
The original Borderlands was a good, if flawed, game that combined full on first person shooter action with RPG elements. While Fallout III (another first person RPG) focused more on the RPG aspect (the VATS mode, where combat is temporarily taken out of the arena of reflexes, and instead depends entirely on stats, was ample evidence that Bethesda knew the limits of the game's FPS mechanics), Borderlands put twitchy action first, with the RPG elements there to essentially keep the player engaged beyond the mechanics. As unique as the game's cel-shaded look, pick up and play online co-op questing, and overall quirky feel were, the game did suffer from a few flaws. Namely, the game's characters and storyline progression were muddled and sort of buried, Pandora's desolate environments tended to blend together, and extended play sessions could become extremely tedious. The promise was definitely there, but the execution was just a bit short of the game's ambitions.
Borderlands 2, fortunately, delivers on that promise extensively. This review is for the Game of the Year Edition, which takes the already impressive "vanilla" Borderlands 2 game, and packages it with a second disc to install the 4 major downloadable campaigns, 2 additional characters, and a couple odds and ends. That's right; Gearbox wisely learned that we don't want that voucher @#$#@$!, and want something that will work if we fire up the old Xbox 360/PS3 a decade later, after the servers no longer have that DLC up. So a word of warning- make sure you have enough hard drive space (probably at least 7-8 gigs). Unfortunately, the GOTY Edition does not include the "Headhunter" mini-expansions that just came out, nor does it include the latest level cap increase. That being said, this edition of the game has a lot of gameplay packed in there. On my single playthrough as a Gunzerker, I've clocked around 95 hours after completing all the campaigns, and most, but not all, of the sidequests.
While the original Borderlands essentially threw you onto an alien planet with the vague goal of "find and open the hidden alien vault", Borderlands 2 has a much more out-front story, involving a corporate villain named Handsome Jack, who has somehow taken credit for the original Vault Hunters' deeds from the first game. The game begins with him double-crossing a new team of Vault Hunters, thus setting the conflict up from the get-go. During the course of the game, you run into the now-discredited old Vault Hunters, who are trying to fight the tyranny of Jack (who has essentially declared his intent to rule Pandora), as well as other characters old (Scooter, Tannis, Marcus) and new (Tiny Tina, and a host of other NPCs). The humor is much more pronounced, which can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Fighting "shirtless men" volleyball players at a bandit airbase in an obvious reference to Top Gun is pretty entertaining, as are the violent verbal outbursts of Randy Savage-wannabe Mr. Torgue, but by the same token, the constant sardonic, pop-culture/internet meme savvy, relentlessly self-aware, almost hipsterish "Really? Seriously?" tone is bound to annoy at some point. The game's unmistakeably prominent personality is a double-edged sword, but it does certainly keep it from being another grim po-faced military shooter.
It's much harder to find fault with the rest of the game, though. Borderlands 2 manages to be modern and old-school at the same time. The character ability progression, constant allure of finding new cool weapons, vehicular combat, and slick controls all fit in perfectly with current gaming, as do the vast, open environments. By the same token, however, you'll find the kind of elaborate area layouts (complete with dead ends, and all manner of nooks and crannies) you'd find back in the days of Doom II, as opposed to the linear, simplified level design many shooters use currently. On a similar note, when many shooters seem content to have a limited selection of enemies, Borderlands 2 is bursting with variety, and even more so in the GOTY Edition. Mutated madmen, enraged nomads, corporate soldiers, armed bandits in jeeps and hover-gunships, robot walkers, flying drones, transforming fliers, killer arachnids, multi-armed giant primates, burrowing underground monsters, wolf-beasts, crystalline hulks, chameleon-like deadly lizards, monstrous flying insects, pirates, ghosts, biker gangs, unbalanced corporate goons, titanic insectoid walkers, deadly flying spoors, alien scorpions, savage cultists..........oh, and orcs, skeletons, dragons, knights, wizards, and dwarves. I've managed to miss more than a few enemy types in my list, so as you can tell, there's a lot of variety. The environments also have more variety this time around, even if there's some blatant resource recycling. Icy wastelands, temperate highlands, deserts, irradiated volcanic fields, frontier towns, swamps, and even some more developed areas await you. Places like Hayter's Folly (an oasis hidden in a cave system), the vast scale of the Caustic Caverns, which only appear after a major story event, and "The Beatdown", a Detroit-like urban area taken over by psychotic gangs, are just a couple of many well-designed environments. Like many western RPGs, to get the full experience of the game, you need to tackle side quests constantly, as they not only provide experience points, they also expose you to characters and areas outside the main questline. Oh, and they are often quite amusing.
The expansions are all surprisingly meaty, and together provide a huge amount of bang for the buck (enough to easily make it worth the purchase even if you have the non-GOTY version). What's more impressive is the fact that the core game itself never felt compromised in favor of cutting content for it to only be resold later as DLC. The expansions all feel connected as part of the whole experience, but are still separate enough to avoid feeling like just cut content. All 4 expansions are high quality, but the last one, "Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep" is particularly noteworthy, as it takes the game in a fairly different direction, turning the game into a loving parody of the fantasy genre, set in a set of fantasy-themed zones that you can still jump back and forth from with the rest of the game areas.
If there's a weakness, aside from the occasionally overbearing "this is teh LOLZ!!!!" humor, it's that, as before, extended play sessions can become tedious after a while. While this game has definitely improved on keeping the environments from blending together as much as the first game's did, Pandora is still a relatively desolate place, and the game's heavy reliance on, well, shooting stuff can make it hard to play more than a few hours in a row. But this is something that most games with a lot of content unavoidably suffer from, and it's nothing that taking a day off in between sessions won't easily fix. All things considered, this game is one of the better ones to emerge from its generation. For people who never played the base version of Borderlands 2, and for those who did, but didn't bother with the DLC, this one is a no brainer.
on March 28, 2015
Im going to be putting my review in sections if you dont wanna read the whole thing scroll to the bottom to Final Thoughts. Index 1. Story, Grahpics, Gameplay, 2. Content 3. Final Thoughts should you buy
1. Story, Grahpics, Gameplay - Now if you never played Borderlands 2 before dont expect a outstanding story there is a story to the game but its nothing to tell your friends about. Playing Borderlands 2 is more about the gameplay experience then the story thats were this game shines. I wouldn't recommend buying it for a heavy story based game. Moving on to the graphics of the Borderlands series if you never played them then your in for a surprise the creaters of the game didn't go for a realistic look like your battelfields, call of dutys etc. Instead they made it look cartoony in a good way it looks like the game came out of a Comic Book if your on the fence about the graphics look the game up on Youtube but I think most people would agree it makes the game unique and stands out from the crowd. The Gameplay of Borderlands 2 or the series as a whole is a FPS at heart but its not your regular FPS Shooter its a FPS Shooter meets RPG game You choose a class level them up with unique abilities and every were you look in Borderlands there is loot A.K.A Items that come out of chests, creats, barrels, etc. even enimies drop items loot so it got a very collecting item type feel to the game typically you find health ammo and guns in creats even items that effect your character called class modes. For the most part your going to be shooting Guns 99% of the time. One cool thing I didnt mention is that all the guns in borderlands 2 are very unique in terms of looks you got Shotguns, Pistols, Smgs, Snipers, assault rifles, there is suppose to be 20,00+ guns in the game but really there are just diffrent variations of the same guns. Forgot to mention this but you can play this 4 player co-op online the more people you have playing the more rare the items your most likely going to get.
2. Content- In Borderlands 2 Game of the Year edittion you get the main game plus dlcs downloadable content the main game is on one disc plus the dlcs are on another you just load the dlc and it installs it on your heard drive so every time you play the game you dont have to keep putting in the dlc disc its a one time thing just make sure you have free space on your harddrive. Here is what you get besides the main game you get 2 extra classes Mecromancer, and Psycho so in all 6 classes you also get free skins outfits for your classes you also get a sloderdome a horde type areana a lvl cap increase that increases the maximum level you can be from 50 to 61 and 4 other side stories or areas Scarletts Pirates Booty, Mr Torgs campaign of Carnage, Sr. Hamerlocks big game hunt, and Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragons Keep. which in my opinion or allot of peopls opinion Dragons Keep is the best one each of the 4 areas are about 4 to 7 hrs long with side quests you can do after you beat the main story of the extra dlcs. This is called the Game of the Year edition but it does not come with all the dlc's that Borderlands 2 came out with basically you get everything the Season Pass came with. You will still be missing another lvl cap to take you from 61 to 71 plus it makes the enimes overpowered in that lvl cap 71. Head Hunter packs are something you dont get eather If im not mistaken there are 5 Head Hunter Packs in all. Your not really missing out on much there little 2 to 3 hr long quests that take you to a final boss were you can unlock a head for your class. To be honest there not really worth a purchase unless you must have every thing for the game or you just want to get the most out of it there about 2 to 3$ a Headhunter pack and the lvl Cap#2 that takes you to 71 is about 5 bucks if anything I would deff buy the Lvl cap 2 before the Headhunter packs in my opinion because each level Cap gives you a completely nother run through the main game. With both lvl caps 1 & 2 you can play the main game plus dlcs around 3 times each. If you wanna take your class customization father you can buy extra skins at 99cents I think they have a good selection of paid skins on the market place you dont get with this Game of the Year edittion.
3. Final Thoughts and Should You Buy- If it wasnt for Borderlands 2 being a thing I would have never liked the series I have played the first one and thought it was crap and I put about 8hrs into it and stoped and never finished it to this day. When I first herd about borderlands 2 I wanted to give the series another chance so I pre-ordered it and bam when I first played it it felt like a whole new game to me I instantly fell in love . You may be asking why I didnt like the first one the game didnt pick up untill about 2 hrs in the classes were dull and the environments sucked and the areas felt life less. Borderlands 2 changed every thing I think if you haven't played a Borderlands game you should deff start with 2 you may like one so give it a try but I didnt. I have already putt around 600+ hrs into Borderlands 2. If your a Fps shooter player you should give this a try if your Rpg player give this a try you may end up liking it. If your one of those people that can only get a couple of games a year or you have nothing to play because your games are getting boring give this a shot this game is not laking in content it has content for many many hours like I said I put in 600+ hrs and counting . One thing that will keep you coming back is the loot the items in the game have different rarities were some items are more rare then others. Its fun just trying to find all the rare items in the game. There are so many diffrent versions of Borderlands 2 out there should you buy this one on 360 or somewere else to be honest its a good version but note online if you play with more then 2 players the frames will start to drop and get kinda lagy to were its almsot not playable. If you own a Xbox One The handsome collection just came out it comes with Borderlands 2 game of the year and Borderlands the Pre-Sequel. With both having all there dlcs minus the ones your missing on this one I think. And upgraded HD graphics 60$ but well worth it. I would still buy this if you dont have a Xbox One yet. I would however buy this on pc because it will have better graphics then 360 just wait untill pc has a sale and bam its cheep I think 7 bucks For bords 2 goty edition. Btw the Handsome Jack Collection is only on new generation. Borderlands 2 Game of the Year edition is a must buy many many hours will be spent in front of the tv Happy gaming Vault Hunter.
on August 7, 2014
I played through the game basically at the insistence of my room-mate, who claimed it was one of his favorite games, and that he has beaten it more than five times. He also couldn’t get any of his other friends to play it anymore, it being a rather old game which was released in 2012. Nearly every time he and I both shared some free time, he would be pestering me to play this game. So, desirous of something which we could enjoy in common, I agreed.
I have to say I didn’t really enjoy the game all that much. One nickname for the game on the Internet is “Snorederblands 2,” and that’s because of the game’s essential “Diablo with guns” gameplay: that is to say, endless waves of repetitive enemies which drop incrementally more effective loot that you can use to power up your character. Sounds awesome in theory, but in practice you get tired of facing the same five or six groups of enemies for 40 hours rather quickly.
A lot of the thrill of such a game comes from its incremental rewards: finding a neat piece of loot when you kill a difficult boss or open an obscure chest. However, Gearbox (the creators of “Borderlands”) introduced a system in “Borderlands 2” that completely circumvented the need to find loot. They added a “Golden Chest” in the middle of the main city that you could open for rare and powerful items — more powerful than anything you would find in an initial playthrough. To open this chest you need “Golden Keys” which are acquired by entering codes from social media into a special dialog box buried in the “Extras” menu. The problem is, Gearbox left a lot of the codes active for the life of the game, and they have long since been collected on various websites for anyone to use. Combine that with my room-mate’s almost weekly notifications that new codes were available, and I opened the Golden Chest 5 - 10 times with every level that I gained, and I think I still have over 150 keys left. It totally removed the incremental reward system from the game, which was sort of a bummer.
The dialogue and humor of the game is often frequently mentioned as a strong point, and while I found it amusing, it never really “clicked” with me to the point where I found it hilarious. It seemed to verge almost completely on “Internet humor” with death and mayhem and memes. Human life is a cheap trifling thing in a game like Borderlands. But, I guess that’s true for all video games.
I was playing as the melee-centric character “Krieg” the “Psycho,” and once I got his ultimate “Mania” tree power — the ability to grow twice in size and deal out twice as much melee damage — I started to have a lot more fun. I stacked a bunch of other bonuses with my various skills and items so at the end I think I had something like 600% melee damage, when raging. I was doing 100 - 105K in melee strikes by the end of the game, probably nothing compared to a level capped character, but it seemed like a lot to me, at level 36. Combined with the 50% damage reduction I got while raging, I was basically an unstoppable maelstrom of death as long as I found a good place to retreat to once it wore off.
My room-mate played as “Maya” the “Siren” character, who specializes in healing and/or crowd control. Unlike myself, who stuck with one build through the whole game, he shifted around his skill points as the situation demanded, or as whim struck him. He is a far more skilled gamer than I am, regularly getting 2.0 K/D in Call of Duty matches, so his effectiveness with a sniper rifle was very useful. He also eventually got the ultimate skill, a “battle res” that could instantly revive me from death, which was useful when I could charge into a situation a little over my head.
All-in-all I’d give “Borderlands 2” a hesitant “thumbs up,” and a rating of three stars out of five. I enjoyed my time with it, but due to its repetitive nature I could really only stomach it in segments of an hour to two hours of play.