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Borderlands 2

 

  • Genre: First-person shooter, action role-playing
  • Developer: Gearbox Software
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Players: 1 – 4
  • Network Players: 4
  • HD Space: 13 GB

Revisiting Pandora’s dystopian planet

There comes a time when you’re usually just sick of the most generic shooters. I do, I feel that way all the time. I’m always searching for a game that proves to be addictive, immersive & combined with originality & innovation. When it comes to shooters, only a few stand out. Borderlands is one of them. Its unique graphical design & elements of gameplay build a different taste for people willing to try something new & in many ways improved from its predecessor but is it worth making a second trip back to Pandora?

 

CONCEPT

Set 5 years after the first game. A rumor is spread that there is a new secret vault to be found on Pandora, Handsome Jack controls the planet with an iron fist & invites 4 new Vault Hunters to arrive on a train at an unknown location to begin finding it. Jack tries to kill them by exploding the train & it ending up crashed in the frozen wasteland. The 4 Vault Hunters survive the wreckage & are discovered by Clap Trap, the most annoying, ridiculously stupid & incoherent personalities found in any game, which is why he is exactly one of the best. He’s a vital character to the series & proves to be one of the best comic reliefs in such a dog eat dog world. You’ll learn to love claptrap. The events of the first game ended with the first 4 Vault Hunters arrived & killed the monster within the vault. Once killed, a new element began to spread, Eridium, which is worth billions. Handsome Jack found it and used it to gain control over the Hyperion Corporation. He has declared himself dictator over Pandora & stole all the credit for finding & killing the monster. He has a geostationary moon base in the shape of an ‘H’ that hovers above Pandora. He taunts the characters throughout the game while keeping an eye on them at all times.

Crazy enemies charge at you covered in blood. Be quick on your feet and shoot quickly!

The player will eventually reach Sanctuary, the residing home for the last rebellion outpost that fights against the Hyperion army. The 4 heroes’ from the first game are the people who lead & protect the resistance against Handsome Jack & are vital to the storyline. You can choose to play 4 of the Vault Hunters each with a specific class. Axton which is your usual assault & shotgun specialist, Maya is magic & medic, Salvador is your Heavy strength & Zero is the assassin & stealth type. It’s important to know that every character can be good with every weapon, class doesn’t matter.

DESIGN

From the moment you start the game, you can already notice the difference on the title screen. The character’s player stands tall watching over Pandora, the camera moves around to show the horizon of the different regions. The world is violent out there, death is common. You’ll come across violence & vulgarity throughout the game. The game is dark as it is funny & that’s the style of Borderlands, it’s a mature game in a really harsh environment. The graphical appearance of everything is cel shaded and is one of the impressive types of games that have this style. Look at the environment, notice how everything is illustrated. You’re able to notice strokes, shades, and small details that make them more attractive. It’s highly detailed and has amazing resolution because they’re hand drawn.

Borderlands separates itself for many aspects but its humor is unique. Obviously sometimes they try too hard, but the majority has memorable moments because each character is very personalized with their own intro. The voice acting, the environments they are set in & their involvement with the situations revolving the storyline along with their backstory have been well thought out but the storyline itself needs improvement. The first game was about finding out that what was inside the first Vault only to be found that inside was a Monster. Now the secret in the second game is about finding out it’s about a monster & defeating another one with another group of 4 characters. Even after the game is complete you’ll still have unresolved questions. The journey to get to that destination is where you develop as a player & learn to understand how the gameplay always changes because the way to fight does as well.

 

This is one of the very few shooters that has done an excellent job with RPG elements

 

Borderlands does better than most shooters because it facilitates your experience. It’s a game that simplifies details through simple design. In the majority of games you’ll have to always pick up every item manually, in Borderlands. You can tap the action button to get one item, or hold it down for a second to acquire all of them. You’re able to have 4 weapons at a time with an added 4 character modifications that house the shield, grenade, class mods & relics. Each have the same type of customization as all the weapons, there are hundreds of them.

AESTHETICS

This is why Borderlands 2 is so complex & simple once you comprehend the gameplay.  First off, this game has a lot of RPG elements without any turn system, which means you don’t have to wait after you attack. It works like any modern first person shooter but the guns are what all other games do not have. You have more than 500 types of combinations of guns & with every level you achieve, more are created & presented to you by your most used weapons. Each weapon comes from a different manufacturer that excels in certain aspects & a variety of firearms that are accompanied by an Item Card that describes each aspect regarding damage, accuracy & if they also have an added feature such as elemental damage which are: Incendiary, Explosive, Shock, Corrosive & Slag. Enemies depending on their type as well will be able to RESIST elements or the player will achieve CRITICAL damage.

Each weapon is given a certain color which represents how common or rare it is to find them. White is common, Green is uncommon, Blue is Rare, Purple is Very rare & Orange are legendary weapons. Regarding design, the colors are chosen horribly, they do not match their personalities & its visually disturbing to see on the screen. A better selection or at least order should have been made. The more enemies, quests  & challenges you complete, the more XP you achieve & your level will ascend.

With every level you gain, your HUD is replenished, you receive 1 skill point and your attributes are augmented. The 1 skill point is able to be spent to improve 3 categories of the characters skill levels depending on who you are. This is an open world game & is split into separate regions on Pandora that are Arctic or Arid Wastelands, Hilltops or Industrial facilities that host a handful of different enemies that always range with difficulties.

There are seriously an absurd amount of guns and combinations to find

Certain areas however remain at some low level caps and do not increase. Each region connects with other areas that allow you to reach new places. You can either walk to explore cities & other areas, but large regions are given the option to ride vehicles that allow you to travel to your destination with explosives & nitro. To get to destinations quicker, you’re able to fast travel to certain point around the world map from stations.

The cool feature about Borderlands is the availability to jump in with 3 other friends & complete missions together in co-op, the experience is improved by sharing it with others online. Everything you do revolves around shooting & missions are varied from defending areas, defeating waves of enemies, obtaining objects & others. Missions can sometimes get repetitive always backtracking to areas but as the weapons & difficulty progresses, the challenges increase. You’re able to buy items such as shields, weapons & ammo at Vending Machines or stores, completing certain missions also end with being rewarded with useful resources. Upgrades to enhance capacity for your arsenal is available at the black market where you must spend Eridium instead of Money to purchase.

Loot is found everywhere, in hundreds of areas. You’ll always find something new, interesting & useful. You’re given quests from basically every character you meet, they are organized in your quest screen. You’re able to tackle many missions at once, can change the way they are organized to your liking and the whole design around it is easily understood. Each of the 4 characters have a special attack & are given different skill sets to unlock.If you don’t like how you’ve done it, you can reset your skills at a nominal fee at a fully interactive New-U Stations.

While fighting an enemy, you’ll be able to notice what level they are & how much health to they have remaining. You have shields and your normal health bar which over time you’ll upgrade and be able to improve your shields to have other characteristics. If an enemy depletes your health, you are put in a last stand mode, in which you’re able to move around slowly to try to be able to kill any enemy around you. If you are successful in doing so, you get a Second Wind which allows you to be revived with shields fully charged, but if you get a last stand consecutively, the time to attack empties much faster. Once dead, you’ll respawn at the nearest New-U Station & taken 7% of your money with a female voice always commenting once respawned.

While you’re shooting enemies, it gets frustrating when you need to kill someone and the enemies walk or run away, leaving you to die & no giving you an opportunity. Other times while you’re fighting, you could shoot an enemy & be attacking while all of a sudden, the enemy would decide not to attack & continue like as if nothing was happening. Oh & one more thing, you need to remember that when you’re fighting an enemy or boss, if you lowered their health down & ending up having to respawn, the enemies health will be filled again.

Pandora is home to a wide variety of strange and bizarre creatures that roam ferociously.

VALUE

Borderlands is filled with missions, replay value & hundreds of different variations to play. Its gameplay & unique style of shooting & presentation enhances the experience the player has. With some bad development that results in minor design flaws, bugs & story elements. It’s the gameplay that stays fresh and changes according to how you change as a player. It’s 25 – 30 hours for each story without adding DLC & side missions. Borderlands 2 improves on many aspects than its original and is a successful sequel. Go play the game & as they say: “Welcome to Pandora Kiddos”

Concept8
Design8.5
Aesthetics9
Value8
Positive
Pandora boasts large varied terrains with great cel shaded graphics
Ability to play the entire game online or offline with friends
An insane amount of guns and an overall fun game to play
Humor and comedy is abundant
Negative
The script could’ve been written better
8.4
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