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Borderlands 2 [PC/Xbox 360] Review

By
Posted on September 29, 2012 AT 02:30pm

The time has come to return to Pandora in the much-hyped follow-up to the Gearbox’s smash game, Borderlands. The game takes another four Vault Hunters out to the ravaged planet in search of fame, fortune and loot. With four classes, witty dialogue and silliness, and a signature graphical style, Borderlands 2 was set-up to be a major success. With four player co-op also included, the game was primed to be even more ridiculous and chaotic, with up to four people battling across the wastes to stop Handsome Jack, the newest villain of Pandora. Because the scope of the game is so large and has so much to do, the staff here has banded together to do a four person review, taking on the land of Pandora as a team. So, along with myself, Rose Whitcomb, Carly Frith, and James Wargacki will be helping out with the different classes and experiences with the game.

(Russ) The co-op was smooth and simple, running without problem throughout the game both online and through split-screen. Connection drops and lag were few and far between, and joining or exiting was simple, whether the player was joining into a game or someone was hopping into theirs. While missions weren’t completed on their playthrough if the player was on another persons game, the entire experience was very well done, with no real issues present throughout the entirety of the campaign. While enemies did get much harder (and were in higher quantity) with more players, the co-op mode was full of fun, explosions and better loot to go with the higher difficulty.

(Rose) The single player was amazing, especially for a game that heavily promoted it’s multiplayer. Overall, it felt a lot better than the first Borderlands, and it never felt punishing for going it alone. Even when outnumbered, each class has ways of taking out everything around, and none of the quests were too overwhelming for the solo player. Going it alone allows the player to take their time, as some people enjoy the trip rather than getting from point A to point B in a hurry. If you didn’t go alone, try it for a game and check it out; it’s well worth the time and effort.

(Carly) I played both the co-op and the single player and while being able to play with friends (or strangers) online is great, I rather preferred playing alone. I was able to explore the expansive world that Gearbox handed to us. I found I appreciated the story more when I was solo. Sure, there were some Boss fights where I could have used some help but, as Rose stated, they aren’t impossible to handle alone. The hidden Easter Eggs and little side quests like discovering all the Vault Hunter symbols are better done alone since most players just want to hurry through an area and get on with the fighting. I admit I am that player the drives everyone crazy. I look at everything. I explore every nook and cranny. I will take my time just to make sure I don’t miss anything. While I am a huge fan of Borderlands, I am finding the gaming experience in Borderlands 2 far more satisfying. I do wish there were more Claptraps.  I miss all those chatty little CL4P-TP units.

(Russ) The Gunzerker is a blast to play with. Salvador can be beefed up into a massive tank who absorbs damage as easily as he delivers it, or pushed into (more of ) a gun-toting maniac with quicker reload speeds, fire rates and damage dealing. His Gunzerking Action Skill is awesome, with the ability to, for a duration, wield two weapons of any types. His skill trees all focus on making Salvador an indestructible machine of pain, with the Brawn tree adding to his health and damage, the Rampage upping his Gunzerking, and his Gun Lust tree is pretty self-explanatory. Gunzerking makes things distinctly more fun for the player controlling Salvador, and much more terrifying for those in his path (especially when sporting two rocket launchers, which is more awesome than words can describe). The dual-wield skill was the selling point of the character, and after the first few times doing massive damage with two guns, a lot of players will likely not even care about any of the other classes (which are also good, but they can’t wield two rocket launchers at once, so they lose).

(Rose) Zer0 is our Assassin this time around, with skill trees that make him an awesome choice, be it solo or co-op. First, his Action Skill is Decepti0n, is great for setting up traps, quick kills, and the sometimes needed escape route. Zer0 sends out a hologram of himself which draws all attention to it while Zer0 does whatever you want him to. His melee damage, gun damage, and critical hit all build while he’s stealthed, and the longer you wait, the higher the bonus. The trade off is the sooner you break stealth, the sooner you can use the ability. Next, three trees lay before him. Sniping is almost all self explanatory; it focuses mainly on sniper rifle damage, reload, and accuracy, while providing some bonuses for other guns with scopes. Cunning improves Decepti0n, and gives a variety of bonus to both range and melee attacks while stealthed. Finally, Bloodshed improves your melee ability and mobility, allowing you to close in the gaps between you and your target to take down anyone in your way. How you kill everyone is your choice, but you’ll have plenty of options with Zer0.

(James) Axton is the resident Commando in Borderlands 2 and his Sabre Turret is a powerful upgrade from Roland’s Scorpio Turret.  While Roland’s turret worked great as a supply and healing station, Axton’s turret is build for causing the most destruction possible. Those who concentrate on Axton’s Guerilla build will eventually be rewarded with a high damage, high accuracy turret that fires Rockets and Slags enemies. Axton’s Gunpowder skill tree boosts damage with Assault Rifles and peaks with the nuke skill which sets off an explosion every time he deploys his turret. The Survival skill tree adds the Phalanx Shield to his turret and health regeneration with Preparation and Quick Charge skills.  For those players looking for a ton of options to cause mayhem behind enemy lines, Axton is the perfect character.

(Carly) Maya is the resident girl power. I love playing as the Siren. I played as Lilith in the first Borderlands and I would wreck enemies with my phase abilities. I am enjoying Maya’s powers more in this game. Phaselock is pretty effective and has helped me get out of a scrape or two. There isn’t anything quite as helpful in a fight than being able to suspend the most annoying enemy in the air and shoot the hell out of him…doing damage the entire time. The weapons changes were pretty apparent and I had to retrain myself in their use. Which weapons are better than other weapons is not always apparent or so subtle you might find yourself going through several before landing on one that you like. In the first Borderlands I was SMG/Assault rifle almost exclusively. This time it’s shotguns and sniper rifles. The challenges have changed as well. Rather than just earning experience, you are also earning Badass Points. Collect enough Badass Points and you will get a Badass Token which you can spend on upgrades like having your shields recharge quicker. That is all on top of your Skill Points so Gearbox really went the mile to make each character feel like it’s customized for each player. Add to that all the various skins and heads that are available for each character and you have a huge array of options to create a unique experience for each player.

(James) Some of the changes to Borderlands 2 may not be readily apparent, but veteran Vault Hunters will need to make major changes to their combat tactics to survive.  Elemental weapons now appear much earlier in the game but their functionality has changed significantly. Bullets fired by elemental weapons now travel slower than regular rounds, so leading a target is much more important.  Some elemental weapons now also consume multiple rounds of ammo per shot.  One Incendiary pistol I am using consumes two ammo per shot and an Explosive Assault Rifle I have equipped consumes four ammo per shot.  If players don’t pick their shots carefully they will find themselves out of ammo in the middle of a gunfight.  Players now also have a weapon bank they can access in Sanctuary much like the one from Moxxie’s Underdome DLC in the original Borderlands.  Bank and backpack upgrades are also easier to acquire in Sanctuary’s black market without the need  for repairing Claptraps.  With all the new choices available for players in Borderlands 2 we’ll be sure to see a wider array ever character builds than the original Borderlands.

Summary: Gearbox and 2k have really made an effort to improve upon the success of the original Borderlands and make Borderlands 2 not only a great follow-up, but a better game on its own. While fans of the original may argue, its hard to debate the fact that Borderlands 2 is an amazing experience, full of mayhem, violence and fun. With a bajillion guns, four new characters to mess around with, and more violence than you can shake a skag at, Borderlands 2 is an experience that should be taken in by all.

(Russ)

  • THE GOOD: Great Graphics, Intense Action, Lots Of Fun
  • THE BAD: Enemies Were Overwhelming At Points
  • THE UGLY: Claptrap’s Dubstep

Score: 9.5

(Carly)

  • THE GOOD: Extreme Fun, Great Humor, Great Graphics, Never Dull
  • THE BAD: Overwhelming Enemies at Certain Points
  • THE UGLY: Program Error Left Me Unable to Move at One Point

Score: 9.5

(James)

  • THE GOOD: Great Story, Perfectly Balanced Character classes,
  • THE BAD: I accidentally used both of my Golden Keys already ::tears::, You will die…..a lot
  • THE UGLY: Occasionally getting stuck on the environment

Score: 9.5

(Rose)

  • THE GOOD: Much better story, balanced gameplay, and overall improvement over the first.
  • THE BAD: Unsuspecting victim of the slot machine
  • THE UGLY: The inability to carry EVERYTHING!

Score: 9.5

And the “Best Villain Ever” goes to: Handsome Jack. This man has got to be the best villain I’ve seen in a video game in a long time. Charming, talent, and psychopathic, couple with great lines from him to keep him seeming to be human, Jack has an official place in my heart.

Russ Pirozek, known as "Noobcrawler" to some, is a gamer and comic book fan who sometimes gets around to writing for DigitalNoob.com. He's also awesome. If someone looked up "awesome" in the dictionary, his picture wouldn't be there, but that's because he's too busy being awesome to pose for a photo.


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