on October 11, 2012
The Good: Excellent enhanced visuals for PC, a decent story this time around, hilarious tongue-in-cheek humor, more loot than you can shake a pistol at, tons of side quests and huge maps to explore, badass tokens
The Bad: Extremely difficult unless played co-op, respawning is frequent and extremely irritating, trekking maps on foot is monotonous, story has a crappy ending, micro managing loot is a real chore, character customization is underwhelming
Shooting things is what this game is all about and I mean all about. Borderlands is highly successful in mixing RPG with FPS bringing the best of both worlds to the table. Borderlands 2 is more of the same just bigger and more bad ass. If you didn't like the first game you won't like this one either. Fans of the last game will be very happy with this second installment.
There is actually more of a story line here with more main quests. Of course there are a good 50+ side quests that you will pour dozens of hours into. You get to play as a new set of characters, but the same classes. I stuck with Maya the Siren again in this one, and I loved her Phaselocking ability where I could make enemies hover in the air for a bit or do damage to large enemies. You will also be happy to know that you can customize your character's head and skin as you find new ones as loot, but I would have liked a more detailed character customization system; it just feels a bit tacked on.
There are just so many different enemies and guns in this game I couldn't even count. The guns are all varied with different stats, but you will be micro managing these again and it does become annoying. I wound up selling or dropping about 80% of the guns I found because a lot of them are pretty useless. This goes for shields, relics, grenade mods, and other things. There are 6 different class of weapons: rocket launchers, pistols, assault rifles, sniper rifles, sub-machine guns, and shotguns.
You will always be switching up between different weapons in your four slots (that you slowly unlock). I never stuck with a single weapon for too long because I was always finding better ones. Enemies are constantly dropping loot and some weapons are rarer than others. Some do elemental damage which is actually a huge factor in Borderlands. Armored enemies are weak against corrosive weapons, and shielded enemies are weak against shock weapons. The new slag weapon coats enemies in purple goop that makes them weak to any weapons fire. Some of the weapons are pretty unique, I never found two that looked the same. Some have unique abilities like faster reload, better accuracy as you fire, and even one gun was cursed that slowed me down and made obnoxious noises when I fired. Some guns you can throw when you reload and it will explode as a grenade and regenerate in your hand. The guns are just awesome in this game and you will be looking for new ones every second you play.
Of course the game is tough as nails, but as you level up you can unlock new abilities. This game is designed for multiple play throughs because you will probably reach around level 30 and maybe a bit further even after you complete every single quest in the game. You won't unlock all the abilities, or even get the best loot until you do. In fact, Borderlands 2 is more designed around co-op this time around because the best loot is only available with more players on board. The game is also extremely tough without someone playing with you. The game keeps enemies leveled up with you so that makes the game even more difficult than the last. One thing that I really loved were the badass tokens that would raise stats just a smidgen for completing in game challenges.
This leads into the biggest complaint I have about the series: Respawns. You respawn at certain points, but you will die hundreds of times in this game. When you do you have to back track to where you died, and these maps are huge. Some maps let you use Catch-A-Ride vehicles, but most of them don't. This was just so frustrating when I would die 15 times while clearing an area, suffer through the long respawn animation, backtrack, and some times die in just one hit. You go into Fight For Your Life mode which allows you to revive with full shields if you can kill an enemy. This alleviated the frustration a tad, but if there are no enemies nearby to kill quickly you're screwed. On top of this, the enemy that killed you will regain full health if you die. That includes bosses. This is just so frustrating and made me just want the game to end. The second thing I really hate about this series is the constant enemy respawning. Once you leave an area and come back all the enemies respawn. This made doing missions annoying because I just run by them all. I understand they have to respawn in a game like this which is focused around large maps, but I personally fond it a nuisance.
If you have friends this isn't so bad, but be warned when playing by yourself. Besides that, the game keeps the tongue-in-cheek humor of the last game with more characters and return of the past characters. You really get to know them more this time around with about ten times the amount of dialog. The story is decent, but has a pretty crappy ending. It is predictable and isn't anything special. Just know that you are here to kill everything, and I mean everything. I found myself entertained throughout the whole game with double the amount of areas to explore, more side missions, and just more of everything. I really wanted to see more change in the series, so in the end this game just feels like Borderlands 1.5.
At least PC gamers get enhanced visuals with some nice touch-ups. Higher resolution textures, further draw distance, FXAA, and higher FPS which can be capped at 120. This is the superior version over the consoles because you also can't get pin-point precision while aiming with a joystick. I could snipe like I never could on a controller, and it made the game a tad more tolerable in terms of difficulty.
I only have a few major complaints, but they are just staples of the series. If you can tolerate the monotonous trekking around, respawning enemies, and constant death then pick this up. Fans of the last game know what they are getting into so this is a warning for new comers. I recommend playing this with at least one friend because the game is brutal. Lots of enemies, lots of dying. I also didn't quite care for the constant micro management of all the loot. This is a great mix of FPS/RPG elements and should be played by fans of either genre.