Borderlands 2 Review
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Borderlands 2 is one of the best co-op experiences of this generation and vastly superior to its predecessor, which is saying a lot. Get lost under a pile of loot as you join friends on the battlefield in your new quest on Pandora.
- Addictive looting system
- Terrific co-op experience with solid gameplay
- Hilarious characters in a vastly improved narrative
- Graphic, mostly texture, issues
- Occasional bugs
- Only fair vehicle mechanics and usage
(continued from previous page) ...have unique qualities, you can feel their weight, and you are rewarded for both personal skill and picking the right weapon for the job.
There are plenty of options when it comes to weapons. In fact, Borderlands 2 can overwhelm those new to loot addiction. We recommend letting your guard down and accepting your fate--if you play Borderlands 2, your brain will fixate on the idea of finding better and better weapons, even as you ride the train to work, eat dinner, and listen to your wife/husband talk about their day. Who cares! You just found a shiny new SMG that deals bonus corrosive damage; it's perfect for those robots you struggled to kill with your fire pistol last night. Levels are filled to the brim with loot, mostly weapons. But it's a random system and you won't always find what you need. This only adds to that addiction of opening every crate and chest. Loot drops from enemies, too. One of the most heart-pounding, anticipation-inducing aspects of Borderlands 2 is watching those green and purple drops fly off fallen enemies.
Gearbox put even more emphasis in its weaponry. While it's all random, the specific weapon manufacturers have distinct styles. This means guns are almost grouped together by who created them in addition to whether they are shotguns, pistols, or SMGs, for example. Along with loot that modifies your character, shield, and grenades, the loot system makes Borderlands 2 play like an old-school role-playing game.
This RPG-emphasis expands beyond loot. You are given quests that guide you through the narrative, a ridiculous amount of side missions, and a deep character upgrade system. You can choose the gunzerker Salvador, Axton the commando, Zer0 the assassin, and Maya the siren. While all characters can use any weapon in the game, they have unique skills that give them certain advantages on the battlefield. For example, Zer0 creates a brief decoy of himself, which allows him to turn invisible. I used this to either escape to cover or find a vantage point to snipe my enemies. But it works just as well to sneak up behind baddies and unleash your deadly melee attack. Meanwhile, Maya can suspend enemies in midair, allowing your teammates to unleash their fury on the levitating baddie.
All of the unique abilities can be upgraded through skill points, which are earned when you level up. Each character has three trees for spending their points, and each offers even deeper customization. Playing as Zer0, I decided to make him melee heavy, investing points into his sword and hit points. But, I could respec and instead make him a deadly sniper. This opens the door to a ton of possibilities for the indecisive gamer.
Playing through Borderlands 2 with friends is a blast. The difficulty is increased to compensate for the extra firepower, but you also have a ton of new options when playing with friends--and, it's important to play with friends as looting is a free-for-all. Send your gunzerker in to draw attention while your sniper hangs back and picks off enemies. Or, have your siren levitate that giant baddie while the commando drops a turret, giving the team some cover to blow away at that mid-air enemy.
If those baddies are too hard for you, and you will be challenged, you can develop your character (in fact, all the characters on your account) through badass rankings. These are simple challenges that provide points to spend on random upgrades, like increasing weapon damage. If Borderlands 2 ever feels difficult, take a step back and grind a bit for better weapons or new badass rankings. That should level the otherwise one-against-a-million playing field.
Exploring Pandora is a breeze, thanks to ground transportation and the ability to teleport. But that ground transportation is a bit, well, dull. Driving mechanics are once again just fair and the few missions tied to driving your buggy can get annoying. However, ... (continued on next page)