Borderlands 2 is the sequel to Gearbox and 2K Games’ hit 2010 game that captured many-a-gamers heart. The original Borderlands title provided gamers with a slick new take on FPS and Co-operative gameplay, as its unique artistic style and crazy themes made it hard not to love. Two years have now passed and we finally have Borderlands 2. Are you ready to Joy Puke your face off?
The visual style Gearbox implement in the Borderlands games has always set the games apart from other titles, as a unique use of toon shading make it easy for the game to stand out. Visually Borderlands 2 makes a return with its heavily toon shaded styling, which if we’re fair was an absolute must! The visuals are pushed even further than just the toon shading though, as they also benefit from polished up graphics that are enough to put the original to shame!
Borderlands 2 features four different player classes, adding a touch of variation and an awkward 10 minutes deciding to the game. The class system in Borderlands 2 does a lot to improve on the original, as through improved skill trees, it becomes easier to change the way you’re playing mid-game. This makes for an improved experience, yet also encourages that bit of replayability at the end, as you will still find yourself yearning to try other character special moves.
The game’s level system is a great feature, as with each new level players are awarded a new skill point to spend on the game’s improved skill tree. As mentioned previously, the new tree provides more flexibility on the weapons players use and how they go about taking down enemies. This does however have its limits, as Borderlands 2 carries a level 50 level-cap, forcing players to platue and either create a whole new character, or explore the world, taking down EVERYTHING that stands in their way (except the enemies that are always stronger than you)
Weapons are a massive part of Borderlands 2. Even as your character levels up, you’ll find yourself constantly switching for guns with better stats and fire-power. It genuinely feels like there is no end to the amount of guns a player can find in Borderlands 2, as weapons of all strengths and varieties will crop up throughout Pandora. This is pretty cool, as it keeps things fresh, but also encourages you to up your weapon standards along with your level. There are even the odd few weapons with stat bonuses, which provide players with the upper-hand in various combat situations.
As before, co-operative gameplay takes high priority in Borderlands 2, as the game’s complimentary classes make it easy to work alongside other players. You can pretty much guarantee that all team combinations will require one player to take the lead at times, whilst the other steps back to support, encouraging a better team morale. Most of the co-op mechanics remain the same, which is a great move, as it was a clear strength of the original! Money in the game’s co-op mode is still shared between players, but weapons and other items are still split on a first grab basis, which is cool as it adds a competitive edge to the game. If anything, the most notable change to co-operative gameplay is the way screens now split vertically rather than horizontally, providing a whole new perspective on alliance gameplay.
Vehicle mechanics have come a long way since the original Borderlands, as Borderlands 2 refines them to provide something that actually resembles a driving expeirience. Vehicles in Borderlands 2 now go as far as having the ability to skid along, which despite being a minor thing, still adds to the quality of the experience. If anything my only critisism of vehicles in Borderlands 2 is how scarcely they appear in the game.. It actually took a fair bit of time before I properly got to grips with the game’s vehicles this time around, which was a shame, as I find they do well to break up the game’s gun-centric gameplay.
There is no doubt in my mind that Borderlands 2 will receive a Game of the Year edition, and rightly so, as it does a great job to improve the experience set out by the original title. Everything from the game’s improved visuals to its hardened enemies and longer play time make for a game players won’t want to put down anytime soon.