Friday, October 12, 2012

Borderlands 2 Review

I loved the first Borderlands. Despite its flaws, it was still a brilliant title. Sure, it suffered from a number of faults (primarily being far too repetitive) but on the whole, it was still a heck of a lot of blasty fun. Thankfully, Borderlands 2, while sticking to its predecessor's method, manages to correct most of the errors thrown up by the first game - but at the expense of any real innovation. 

Borderlands 2 is an RPG-like shoot 'em up with a cel-shaded, cartoon-like feel, decent four-player online multiplayer and a risk-reward system familiar to most gamers.

The action is set on the blighted planet of Pandora, and stars another four-man band of misfits stranded on the planet by yet another corporate evildoer - this time a very comic villain known as 'Handsome Jack'.

Beforelong the four find themselves swept up into a resistance movement taking on Handsome Jack, while also searching for another of Pandora's legendary 'vaults' - priceless collections of artifacts, and - more importantly - loot. 

What follows is a sturdy, enjoyable shooter with a heavy focus on stats-building and loot-grabbing, which combines a comedic outlook with simple shooty fun.

Some of the tasks are run-of-the-mill objectives like 'go here, collect this', while others prove quite a challenge, requiring teamwork and careful planning. The game never takes itself too seriously, however, and one of the missions demonstrates this in its title: "Go shoot this guy in the face".

The game itself can be played in singleplayer, but the nature of Borderlands lies in its multiplayer offering. You can play offline and online split-screen with a friend, or log on with up to three other online gamers and work together to complete a variety of story and side-quests. 

So, the majority of the game sees the four players battling waves of monsters and gun-toting loonys to advance the plot, with each player character using his or her special skill for the good of the group - the assassin can turn invisible and snipe from afar, while the psychic siren can trap enemies in a force bubble, for example.

As for the loot you rapidly accrue, you can now tag it as 'junk' - making the frequent stops at vendors and shops a little easier to stomach, and saving more time for the shooting.
The upgrade screen for your characters works a lot smoother this time around, with each new guns (of which there are billions of possible combinations) showing clearly whether or not it is an improvement on the one you're currently wielding.

Other minor changes - such as picking up ammo off the floor automatically, and a vastly streamlined user interface - make the game play better on a whole, even if the title itself doesn't really offer anything particularly 'new.' 

The game's graphics engine takes advantage of the cel-shading when crafting the environments you battle through, making texture pop-up pretty rare, although some rough mapping is an occasional niggle. On the whole Pandora's varied environments are displayed well, with snow, industrial and jungle environments looking good.

Overall, Borderlands 2 is a brilliant game. While it doesn't really break from its predecessor's routine, it more than makes up for this with innumerable little tweaks and additions that improve the game as a whole.


I loved the first game, so after reading this review I`m looking forward to play the second one!