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4.6 out of 5 stars
Borderlands 2 - Xbox 360
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163 of 186 people found the following review helpful
Visuals-90/100(Great art style make for a great looking game)
Story-87/100 (Smartly written, funny, and features a lot of personality)
Sound-88/100 (Great voice acting and moody music compliment the experience)
Game play-94/100(Borderlands 2's RPG elements jell together with a very playable game)
Replay Value-93/100 (A lengthy game, co-op, and much more make for a game you will play over and over again)

When Borderlands was released back in 2009, it surprised everyone with it's unique hybrid of shooting and role playing. Borderlands was definitely unique, and personally, I thought it was the first true RPG/FPS hybrid. Sure, there were games like System Shock 2 beforehand, but SS2 isn't so much a shooter as it is an action role playing survival horror hybrid, and from a FPS standpoint, it's actually horribly repetitive and clunky. But Borderlands combined Diablo-style looting and frantic FPS combat, all the while providing for some of the most intense and satisfying gun play in a shooter. Borderlands was definitely a breath of fresh air in the FPS market, and it's a darn shame we don't have more games in the genre like it. Now, Borderlands is back with this top notch sequel, and the series is better than ever.

I won't say too much about the single player experience, but given the amount of missions available, it seems Borderlands 2 will provide a lengthy, satisfying experience. I'm not finished with the game yet, but I can tell that it isn't going to end any time soon. People who have beaten it already have said the game will take around 30 hours to complete, so single player fans will be satisfied. From what I gather, numerous reviewers are saying that you will want to play through the entire game more than once (!) as well, thanks in part to it's diverse skill classes. Even better, Borderlands 2 now let's you play the entire game with all of your stats in tow, so expect some heady replay value for single player.

As we all know, the story for Borderlands was extremely forgettable. That's not to say the single player campaign didn't have merit, it most certainly did. The art design was nice, Pandora was occasionally a vivid location, and some of the encounters you faced made for some memorable gaming moments. That said, the characters were extremely forgettable (aside from the awesome Claptrap), and the plot line was about as memorable as watching a modern artist craft a generic sculpture out of toilet roll tubes. Borderlands 2, on the other hand, actually had me invested with it's sharp writing and quirky sense of humor, and some of the people you meet in the game will have you reeling with startling surprise. It's mission structure is so far interesting, and the encounters so far have all been memorable. I won't spoil too much, but let me just say that the creatures here will provide you with a sense of being; you will see them as creatures of fiction, not cannon fodder.

Perhaps the biggest part of the game's success as a story is the vivid recreation of Pandora. Video Game developers know that building a world is one of the best ways to tell a story, especially in a First Person Game (just look at Half-Life). It's easily one of the video game medium's biggest strengths, and Borderlands 2 knows this. Borderlands 2 is a great space western experience, with a mood that recalls a comic book if it were hijacked by space western writers. Of course, the famous Borderlands 2 art style is back, and it provides for an awesome artistic foundation for Borderlands 2's vivid recreation of Pandora. And Pandora is beautiful! Borderlands 2 won me over with it's cell shaded, mood setting skies (Yes. Skies), glistening tundras, jagged mountains, colorful vivid industrial areas, and other locations. It's better looking than anything such garbage as "photo-realism" ever will be able to achieve. You see, folks (*cough* as well as certain 2K executive *cough*)? This is what happens when you get away from "realism"! An antidote to the lifeless drudgery of puke browns and vapid grays; the overall dreary, narcolepsy inducing experience. Thanks for this, Borderlands 2 is more of a beaut than Battlefield 3 will ever be.

The Sound track is also very beautiful. The soundtrack truly makes the space western mood they were going for. Great sound effects and voice acting follow suit.

Now, to game play. The basic game play concepts remain the same. Choose a skill class, start building your character and then loot n' gain (experience points, that is)! With loot and experience points, you have the potential to help yourself to a seemingly endless number of play styles, equipment and, of course, guns. Loads upon loads of guns. If you are familiar with the original (and you should be), you will know that the basic core intents of the game play remain the same. However, what Borderlands 2 offers new is what we all want to know. Does it offer something new? Is this Borderlands 2 or Borderlands 1.5? This is Borderlands 2. And aside from it's vastly superior story and setting, Borderlands 2 adds great game play additions that pushes the series forward, and leaves the first game in the dust.

The biggest addition to Borderlands 2 is the revamped skill classes. Character builds are deeper than ever, and much more rewarding than before. Since this is one of the biggest pros of Borderlands 2, it's nice to say that the is better than ever. The biggest change here is that each skill tree feels way more diverse, something the original was lacking. As you pick from four different skill classes, you can use each class to your advantage. Each class has it's own unique abilities, such as Zero's invisible stealth, the Salvador's ability to dual-wield anything, the Axion's ability to use turrets, and Maya's ability to freeze. Beyond the leveling up of your special abilities, the skill trees you build are diverse and the skills you invest in add a much better sense of personal, much more satisfying combat that suits you well. You can add all sorts of abilities, from more helpful defensive skills to offensive based powers like a Borderlands 2 has some real depth to your play style, and it's combination of great combat and true RPG elements makes for a truly great RPG and shooting hyrbid. All of this is aided by a much improved interface that makes the game more playable than before.

As you defeat enemies, you can upgrade the powers of the class, which is rewarded through looting and the gaining of experience points. Bad *cool* points make for some great bonuses, as they augment most other powers rather well. Most importantly, Borderlands 2 rewards you with guns and the ability to use an endless number of weapons, and it's addictive and rewarding as ever. You all know the drill, and it's even better than the first game. The ability to customize EVERYTHING (yes, all caps for a reason), from common features like re-load, to giving your own gun acid, makes sure that you can get creative with whatever gun you want to make. I'm not quite there making the ultimate gun that puts the BFG to shame, but according to what I've heard, anything is possible, including such crazy weapons as a pistol with ammo that doubles as a grenade dispenser, and I'm pretty sure that's not as crazy as it gets. Borderlands 2 proves that you can never have enough weapons, and they ensure that you will never feel empty-handed. Superior AI and a diverse range of enemies round out the experience.

All of this translates to the multi-player extremely well. Borderlands 2 offers four-player co-op, and it succeeds thanks in part to the great game mechanics. Using each character class, you can truly uses each one to their strengths to help out each team mate, in a way that sort of reminds me of Team Fortress 2. One can really get creative if you mix things up and assign certain levels, and since enemies get tougher as you play the game, it becomes vital and more challenging as you go along. Aided by it's diverse abilities, each skill class truly can add something unique to every play through, making for some rewarding and challenging combat that has the potential to be unique for every band of four. Like a good RPG should do, you can actually join in anytime, which makes the game even better so you don't have to commit to a whole game together. It makes game play extremely flexible, and it makes for some of the most accessible and playable multi-player experiences I've played in quite a while.

I do have a few, eh, issues, however. There are some minor graphics hitches here and there, but as long as you don't give all bent out of shape over some pop in textures or the occasional weird visual hiccup, you shouldn't have much trouble over looking this, uh, issue? You still can't really change the appearance of your character as much, which isn't that big a loss but definitely can be a tad disappointing if you really enjoy customizing your character. Oh, and car combat is mostly underused, as you won't find either a glut of vehicle based missions, or some fun car combat a la Rage. Thankfully, most of these niggling issues are minor.

Other than that, this game is just terrific. I don't know much else to say here, but if you are a fan of Borderlands, this is not just a mere revision, it's a whole new great game. Personally, I really don't find myself every playing the original Borderlands ever again, and it's definitely a stand out in the cluttered FPS genre that exists today. It's got humor, it's got replay value, it's got role-playing, it's got terrific gun play, and it's got enough things to do to keep you hooked for days. Needless to say, if you like Borderlands, you want this one. Easily. Go get it.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
If Quentin Tarantino made a Spaguetti Western, post-apocalyptic-esque video game, this would be it. I can't believe how much fun this game actually is. Even if you're like me and didn't play the first Borderlands, don't pass this one up so quickly. Where do I start?

GAMEPLAY: if you aren't familiar with BL, the best way to explain this is to take the addicting looting system of Diablo and combine it with the basic elements of an FPS, throwing in some RPG via an inventory and skill tree. That's essentially the mechanics of the game, and it all slams together so well here. You have four basic classes to choose to play from, and each class has three paths to focus on in a skill tree -- this means there's plenty of variation to play. In addition to these basic mechanics, the game is open-world, though it may feel semi-linear as you can only explore on an area-by-area basis (think the opposite of an Elder Scrolls game, where you can walk around the entire map without hitting a loading screen until accessing a dungeon). I have to say, with combining so many of our favorite gaming formulas, this game has so many highlights. Sometimes I felt like I was playing something akin to Skyrim. Other times, the ambiance of a specific area or the design of a specific feature reminded me of BioShock. And sometimes certain things brought me back to my Fallout 3 days. However, I never forgot I was playing a completely new adventure that easily whisked me away for hours in the unique and captivating world of Pandora. Lastly, I can't forget the guns. No joke, there are millions of guns you can find. It is so satisfying to find a ridiculous weapon and destroy enemies for the next three hours with it, only to find another weapon that is even better.

SETTING: Speaking of Pandora, it really is a fascinating world. Having a post-apocalyptic feeling yet retaining a notes of being futuristic, there are so many different areas to access. Sometimes you'll be exploring an underground cave full of chemicals. At other times, you'll be questing in a town that feels like it belongs in the Wild West after a nuclear fallout. It's crazy, and I doubt you'll be bored quickly.

STORY: one thing many BL veterans mentioned is the lack of a good narrative beyond funny one-liners in the original game. Like I said I never played Borderlands 1, but I can tell you that in BL 2 the characters are memorable, the writing is well-thought out and downright hilarious, and the story moves at a great pace with scenes of great emotion and other scenes of great sarcasm. This is all coming from a guy who is used to epic stories from Final Fantasy or Mass Effect. Also, be sure to keep your ears peeled while you fight the various enemies. They say and do some hilarious things themselves. But seriously, the writing is just super clever. I mean, what other game has a quest called, "Rocko's Modern Strife"? Classic!

REPLAYABILITY: with the various classes and varying skill trees, there is already plenty of incentive to reboot a new game or two... Or three. However, in addition to these, once you beat the game you open up more challenging modes that guarantee both tougher enemies and significantly better loot. Also, there are a healthy amount of side quests in here to help you clock in the hours that make AAA games a great bang for your buck. If you're a completionist like me, you'll probably spend 50+ hours on your first playthrough. No joke. Or, you can try a different character, pump through the story to get to the better game modes, then spend all your hours doing the side quests and finding the best loot. There are so many possibilities!

One note -- definitely not a game for kids. The gratuitous gore would scar small children, and the extremely crass sense of humor means it's not a good idea to give this to a kid/teen who probably wouldn't understand half the jokes anyway. Just saying, parents, be smart and know what your kids are playing!

In conclusion, this is one heck of a game. I feel that it combines the best of so many game genres into a single FPS while adding in a memorable story that motivates you to find out what happens next. Of course, you'll be laughing your face off the entire way.
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59 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2012
The first question people will likely ask is, "Does this game live up to the high water mark hit by BL1 and DLC?" and that answer is a resounding "Yes!"

The second question asked, "Is it better than BL1?" and the answer is "Yes...for the most part."

So what's improved?

Better gun mechanics (sound, feel and diversity), more humor, more frequent boss and sub-boss battles, easier to get a co-op game going and see who's online playing, character skill trees are improved (more focused on your play style than there being clearly better skills to pursue), friends can select quests in co-op games rather than having to tell the "party leader" to do it, grenades are much more useful with some nice variety, the new enemies are well designed (not only are there more, but a few can do things like level up or heal other bad guys), you can now dismember baddies, you can now tag items in your inventory as "trash" or "favorite" so you remember what to sell next time at the vending machine, you can now directly trade with people, you automatically pick up money and ammo (but thankfully not loot), combat is more organic (enemies take cover, flank you, dodge attacks), there are tons of missions (took me 40+ hours to finish the game having completed all but a couple side quests) and perhaps my favorite improvement, you can now move around while in "Fight For Your Life" mode meaning you'll no longer die while stuck behind cover. Also of note, single player is much more enjoyable this time around. There's less down time, more dialogue and the enemies/environments allow for better individual strategy.

So what are the negatives?

The new menus are clunky and difficult to parse (everything is on a slight angle making it tough to read and navigate), while missions have more dialogue and humor they still consist of mostly "shoot that" or "find this" objectives, driving mechanics are about the same (though thankfully you don't take damage from hitting enemies as much), while you can set a waypoint on the map your co-op buddies can't see the same waypoint and sometimes there's simply too much dialogue happening simultaneously. For example if you're playing co-op the first big town you get to is a total cluster as multiple characters are introducing themselves at the same time, or enemy dialog and gunfine easily drowns out character/story related dialogue. This is sometimes incredibly frustrating since you feel like you're missing out on a crucial plot detail or funny quip. Also, for about the first 12-15 hours the environments are a little too similar, but that changes as you continue to progress through the game. That said, these are only minor complaints and the additions far outweigh the handful of small issues.


If you loved the first BL you'll love this one! The game does start a little slow, but once you get going its clear this game is superior to BL1 in most regards. If you flat out didn't enjoy the first game I'm not sure you'd enjoy the sequel, but if you've been on the fence there's enough improvement in details, mechanics, humor, enemy diversity and feel to both single & multiplayer modes to warrant a second look.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2012
I first experienced borderlands 1 as a two player affair and ended up beating it on my own. Not exactly the preferred way of playing, but that's how it went, and it skewed my view of the game.

The second one takes the concerns and doubts I had and dashed them, leaving me with a fantastic game that has me hungry for more. My one caveat is that this game rewards co-op, with more enemies and more loot being available with more players (it scales!). Unfortunately, it also punishes solo runs, as many of the skills and mechanics just aren't worth using if you're not on a team.

There is a pretty good scaling system, where you feel like a badass for about 30 minutes before finding a new enemy type that can completely bring you back down to earth. Then you work your ass off for a few hours and are rewarded with a new gun that makes you feel like a badass for about 30 minutes before finding... well, you get the idea.

The formula is obvious, but it works, because of the varying strategies necessary to defeat certain enemies and the difference in locales (snow, deserts, mountains, etc). Not sure if I could recommend this game if you're playing solo, which could be fun since you don't have to share, but it's going to be difficult.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is the best modern game I have played. Dark Souls and Demon Souls, Ninja Gaiden were previous favorites because of the creativeness and the challenge. But Dark Souls was too challenging where it wasn't entertaining. Borderlands 2 is a great mix of challenge, depth, graphics, fun, story. It really has everything. Like Dragon Age or Mass Effect, this game goes on and on and on. There is an amazing amount of side missions and story challenges. And the side missions are actually worth getting involved in.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2012
Short version at the bottom:

I'm sorry to admit that I never played the first part of the series, but I have considered trying it out on the hopes that it's even half as good as Borderlands 2. This game stands pretty solidly on two the most important pillars of game development (that cover just about everything else): strong game play and a great story.

First, the game play. It's exactly what they promised (the hyperbole of "870 Gazillion more guns" not withstanding). I spent a great amount of time just experimenting with the different guns and grenades I found throughout my adventure. Additionally, as you progress, you actually feel like you are learning more about the world around you, either from testing for weak spots in your opponents and the environment or by watching the humorous (yet informative) loading screens. Note: I love when I don't hate the loading screens of game; if I'm forced to sit through tons of them, at least make them good please. An important thing to note, however, is that this is a game meant for multiple people running around and causing havoc, as opposed to a loner (like me). You can still have fun by yourself, but you'll might get a bit more out of it you bring a friend. There were a few minor bugs that can force you to restart (and a few that will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams -- in game of course -- if you feel like exploiting the game) as well as the annoying caveat that cause you to be referred to as a guy regardless of the gender of your character (only really a problem if you're using one of the two female characters), but I can't think of any real game play reasons not to play the game. 5/5

Second, the story. I like Anthony Burch (and not because we almost have the same name). His term as the lead writer on this project only secures my interest in Gearbox and his own work all the more. By the end of each chapter, you may find that your view of the antagonist changes a bit (or a lot) or it may not change at all, but if you like a good story and more than a few good surprises, you'll like this game. I don't want to spoil too much though, since I want others to experience this great story first hand. The game was very story driven, which is good, but if all you care about is the guns you may miss out on some good humor, so keep your eyes and ears open. Also: "References!" 5/5

Overall, I would recommended this game to all who are old enough to buy it themselves (17+ only please; no kids and immature people allowed due to the immature humor at times that should ironically be kept away from the immature). There were some things I found personally offensive due to my beliefs, but it's a fictional world anyways, so I can get over it for the most part. Between the game play and the story, one of them will draw you in and the other one will keep you there. Make sure you pace yourself though; there's plenty of great stuff you might miss if you rush yourself and even with the DLC coming out in the future (some of which is already out), your definitely going to want to something to do until Borderlands 3. 5/5


Short Version:
The Good-
Tons of fun, tons of guns, tons of humor, tons of learning, tons of great story
The Bad-
Some annoying game play bugs and the things that make the game great can be overwhelming (and annoying) to people who don't care about them; also, keep away from people who can't handle it (you know who you are...)
The Overall-
Great buy, give it a try. 5/5
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2013
It has been three years since the release of the original Borderlands and allowed players first set on the dangerous world called Pandora in search of vast riches. This cell-shaded first-person shooter used cooperative play and goofy humor to create a world full of wonder and loot. While Gearbox uses a lot of mechanics that made the first game so great the developers have refined enough of the game to make it superior to the first one. While some of the issues from the first game still exist Borderlands 2 refines and improves enough of the old mechanics to make it an adventure you'll want to share with all your friends.

Taking place after the events of the first Borderlands you take control of one of four vault hunters who have come to Pandora in search of loot. However since the opening of the vault in the first Borderlands the Hyperion Cooperation, led by Handsome Jack, have the entire planet under his control. It's your job to stop Jake from gain possession of a legendary item, take your revenge, and assist the people in Pandora. The story isn't anything special but a large improvement from the first game.

Pandora isn't the same a deserted planet full of bandits and murderous animals but populated with much more characters for you to interact with. The characters list has expanded with a diverse amount of old and new faces, each have entertaining things to say. Characters such as the four playable characters from the first game make a return and play a large role in the story as well as characters other notorious people such as Mad Moxxi and Scooter. New additions such as he villain Handsome Jack and the disturbing Tiny Tina are delightful additions that maintain the same goofy nature of the Borderlands universe. Most importantly the people that populate the world don't look or act like mindless husk that either grunt or remain mute, but interact with the environment and actually speak. Gearbox has also updated the dialogue of the enemies you face, spouting psychotic and threatening taunts as they attempt to collect the reward for your head. It is strange that an option to review these conversations is absent since characters can unexpectedly stop talking when another character begins to speak.

The voice-acting in Borderlands 2 is nothing less then spectacular. Each character is brought to life with strong writing that combines heartwarming moments, murderous outburst, and humor. At times I would stop and listen to the person speaking, to prevent it from being cut off by some unexpected event. These personalities are what bring Pandora to life, something that was absent from the first game.

While the characters provide a lot of entertainment it is the world of Pandora that will keep you busy. The environments and locations within Borderlands 2 are larger, more diverse, and offer an array of richer colors to allow each detail to illuminate the screen. Like the first game some textures still tend to pop in but this is still a visually appealing world, with a lot to offer. Explorers will find a lot of challenging enemies and visually pleasing environments.

But what is an adventure without missions, and Borderlands 2 offers a large amount of optional quest and a wonderful array of story missions. While a lot of the missions still require you to collect, defend, and kill specific targets you will presented with creative dialogue and sometimes a wacky objective to complete, just wait till you find the mission "Shoot This Guy in the Face". With an online checklist you'll be able to track each task and can ignore objectives to prevent unnecessary clutter, allowing you to complete one mission and move on to the next easily. It's a shame that a separate save function is absent, instead those seeking to replay a certain mission will have to reply the entire game.

Borderlands 2 includes a challenge system in addition to the traditional experience system found in RPG's. The challenges in Borderlands 2 are full of specific but plentiful tasks that automatically update and reward you continuously with tokens and increase your badass rank. These special items allow you to permanently upgrade various attributes that apply to all your characters. This overarching reward system allows for a friendly system and encourage players to experiment with other classes without feeling like they are starting from nothing when beginning a new game.

Completing missions and challenges is fun wouldn't be as much fun without physical rewards, of course I'm talking about loot. Guns, grenades, shields, modifications, and relics offer a lot of possibilities to improve or alter your combat abilities. Unlike the first game the gun models have been updated with more visual options. Customizing your weapons and armor with the large amount of options for you to change and improve your loadout during the course of the game. You can mark useless items called junk to sell easily and pick up items such as money, health, and ammo automatically without having to manually input the command.

Finding a new piece of loot is fun, but testing it on one of the many hostile enemies that inhabit Pandora is even better. Every enemy you face whether they are human, animal, robotic, or mutated will prove to be formidable, and they don't mind fighting one another. New enemies such as the Stalker, that can turn invisible, are one of many new enemies that will require you to change tactics and approach each fight with caution instead of charging in. These new foes are refreshing since each area you enter can be litter with new adversaries for you to kill.

Despite the new enemies combat hasn't change much from the original game. The shooting mechanics remain the same solid style from the original game, such as fight-for-your-life moment where you can revive yourself if you manage to kill an enemy before the timer runs out. All the elements from the first game return, with the exception of a new substance called slag. This purple material weakens the defense of any enemy and amplifies damage. Fall damage has also been removed, removing the need to be cautious when jumping off a cliff.

The four new characters offer new abilities and tactics to better accommodate the updated system. While players will still have original classes such as Maya the Siren and Axton the Commando the newest additions; Zero the Assassin and Salvador the Gunzerker are exciting and welcomed additions. Each character comes with a special ability such as Maya's talent to trap enemies in the air, Axton's turret, Zero's decoy, and Salvador is able to go into a rage that increase damage and defense. Unlike the original Borderlands these characters are provided with a back-story to describe there lives before coming to Pandora, but these audio recordings must be found in the world.

Each of these racial abilities can be upgraded and alter through the skill tree. Offering three different options for each characters, and players can choose to reset them at anytime. While options for specific weapons type exist within the skill tree, your character isn't limited to specialized weapons anymore. You can also slightly change the appearance of your character, but these are limited to new head gear and clothing colors that can be found throughout Pandora. Those seeking to fully upgrade there character will have to play through Vault Hunter mode, a harder difficulty setting that scales the obstacles of Pandora to your level and saturates the fields with dangerous creatures.

While Borderlands is fun to play with yourself you can bring up to four people along for the ride. Borderlands 2 supports up to four player cooperative play and allows for split-screen up to two players of any class. While the game attempts to set the difficulty based on the amount of players and level of each character it is best if you coordinate with people to ensure that things don't get out of control. One of the issues of the first game was joining games with players who were either ahead or behind on missions, now if you complete later missions while someone else is hosting the game you can choose to skip it when you gain access to it. With tougher enemies, better loot, and the excitement of completing objectives together makes cooperative play to be the best way to play through Borderlands 2.

If you played Borderlands then you'll feel right at home with Borderlands 2. Gearbox doesn't attempt to go beyond what the original title did but instead builds on what made the first game great with new additions and refinements, making it a successful successor to the original game. While it can feel hollow at times with similar objectives and lack of separate save files, the world of Pandora is full of adventures that you will want to spend hours exploring, completing missions, and getting better loot. So raise you guns high and let's starting hunting for treasure.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2012
I played BL1 and all its expansions. BL2 improves the franchise making small tweeks. This may be the #1 game that I have played on Xbox. Just finished up 150+ hours of Skyrim and I think BL2 blows it away in terms of shear fun and enjoyment.

Better Story
Small tweeks like Baddass Points
More varied enemies

Mini map could be better
Inventory/menu interface takes a few hours to get used to, but never becomes easy and intuitive.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2013
This is what a sequel should be.
A completely different narrative with some improvement without straying too far away from its roots.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2012
Even better than the first. I say once again as I did on the review of Borderlands, if you're a gamer and you don't buy this game, you're insane.

P.S. - Gearbox is still super awesome.
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