I have been trying to convince myself to write something about Borderlands 2, but I feel like it could be summed up in no more than a sentence or two if you had played its predecessor. It’s nearly identical to the first game with a few additions and a more captivating story. I’m going to go ahead and try to provide some insight anyway, perhaps someone will find it helpful in deciding whether or not to purchase the game. I will be speaking from the PC perspective, primarily as the Gunzerker class and character, Salvador, out of the other three choices of Zero (Assassin), Maya (Siren) and Axton (Commando).
The Gunzerker is the ‘Brick’ wall, also known as the Tank by more seasoned RPG (Role Playing Game) players. He can take a hell of a beating, but he can also dish out some heavy damage when his action skill ‘Gunzerk’ is triggered, which throws him into a frantic duel wielding frenzy. The duel wield is not limited by weapon type, it can be two sniper rifles, a pistol and a rocket launcher, or any other variation of guns in your arsenal. All of the classes have three skill trees that help define the type of play style you prefer, although it seems most effective to branch out and distribute points between the trees instead of sticking to only one. The three trees for Salvador are Gun Lust, Rampage and Brawn, in this play session I focused on Rampage but threw some points into Brawn to keep myself up. Not long into the game it seemed that I was rarely wielding only one weapon, as the skill points in the Rampage tree decreased the cool down rate of my action skill.
The first new mechanic in Borderlands 2 that I noticed was the introduction of ‘Badass Ranks‘. These are earned by completing challenges, similar to achievements, in a plethora of different ways, such as accumulating damage with fire or corrosive weapons. Each completed challenge awards points to a Badass Rank experience pool, when you gain a rank you are given a choice among 5 randomly selected character attributes to boost, such as Gun Accuracy or Maximum Health by percentage. These boosts are shared and applied to every character you create, and they do not have a cap other than completing all the challenges for an individual character.
To be honest, I didn’t pay too much attention to the story line, but I became familiar with the antagonist ‘Handsome Jack‘ pretty quickly. He was a power hungry maniac who manipulated even his own daughter to help carry out his will to reign over Pandora. Throughout the game you will find yourself fighting robots that are beamed into the battle from a space station in the control of Handsome Jack, or constructed on the battlefield by ‘Constructors’, a robotic spawning pool. The characters that you played as from the first game appear as NPC’s, sometimes as battle companions, with dialog that is comical and nostalgic. Salvador is like Brick, if you like to be the crazy ass brawler in the mists of battle, he is the one for you.
I’m going to close this mini-review up, if you enjoyed Borderlands, you will only find more to like in the sequel, think of it as Borderlands on steroids. If you had not played the first game, I wouldn’t be too concerned, you can pickup right where the second one begins and not need any prior knowledge to the game or its story line. There isn’t much to say, it’s more Borderlands, which should be enough!
Oh, and it’s beautiful.