How do you make a game fun? Guns. How do you make a game even more fun? More guns. How do you make an epic game that deserves a place in your collection? Thousands of guns, an interesting storyline with a developed villain, a variety of enemies and with customisation options that could give the Saints Row series a run for its money.
Thats what you get when you step into the world of Borderlands 2, the hype for this game was immense and they do not fail to deliver. Personally I had high hopes for this game, being a big fan of Anthony Burch, one of the main writers, other online series.
Starting the game you are treated to a cinematic and (lets be honest) pretty badass opening sequence featuring all four of your playable characters, as they are blown sky high from a train they are on from the games main villain, Handsome Jack. Believe me, I have a few things to say about this gentleman, but I’ll save that for a little later. The storyline shows you as a survivor of the train explosion, you play a Vault Hunter, which basically means treaure hunting adventurer/mercenary in this game, you are on a quest to save Pandora (The planet the game is set on) from the cluthces of the evil corporation run by Handsome Jack, a nice thought, but in my opinion, it really felt like an afterthought to the main objective of lining pockets with cash and going on adventures.
Gameplay primarily consists of first person shooting with some vechicle sections included as well as rpg elements to make enemies tougher as you get stronger, and lets get this out of the way RIGHT now, Vehicles in this game handle like ASS. Thankfully they are not always needed as the game incorporates a fast travel mechanic to get around easily.
A sure fire way to make a great game is to offer customisation, to give the ability to each player to make the game a unique experience to themselves. Borderlands 2 does this to a very high level, allowing you to customise your characters look in mutliple ways, customise the weapons and paintjobs of your vehicles, and put your skill points into 3 different trees per character to make one that matches your play style perfectly, on top of this there is even a ‘respec’ option allowing you to change and reallocate all of your skill points into whatever you wish (for a fee).
How do you make a game fun? Guns. How do you make a game even more fun? More guns.
There is one thing in this game that really stood out to me thoughout its entire length: Handsome Jack. Yes, that guy, the villain, one of the best villains in recent history. Handsome Jack is your main antagonist, and you are throwing everything you have to stopping him, and take it from me, very rarely do you have a villain who you love to hate so much, a man who genuinely believes that YOU are the bad guy and it’s his duty to blast you to smithereens, while he is murdering innocents for the good of the planet. After finding out you survive from the explosion in the opening credits Handsome Jack will berate you at every turn, he will make you his bitch, and make sure that you know you are a puppet on the end of his strings. The voice acting is done superbly here, with one memorable moment being when Jack was explaining how he killed someone who attempted to attack him in retaliation for killing innocents while roaring with laughter at the memory, rounding off his anecdote by saying “Aha hah...hah...the moral of the story is, you’re a total bitch.”
Borderlands 2 also has a brilliant multiplayer mode, in which you can be matchmade to someone a similar level to yourself, or jump in with friends for some mission accomplishing goodness, a neat mechanic here is that enemies will become harder and loot will become better, the game actively encourages you to team up and work together for better loot, a mechanic also used in the recent Guild Wars 2. Also in my experience you can have some hilarious arguments about which of you is the worse driver.
The graphics are enjoyable, with the bright cel shaded style giving the varied worlds and locales time to shine in all of their glory, you can really see the effort that went into this game, the sound is fantastic as well, each gun feels powerful in your hands, the soundtrack is fantastic, though I wish there were an ability to add or change music tracks when you’re driving...or music at all for that matter. Alongside this, the game contains numerous easter eggs, I won’t spoil any of them, but I will let you know I had a run in with a large green exploding monster from a very well known open world sandbox game.
In closing, Borderlands 2 is one hell of a game, its long campaign ensures that there is value for money, its surreal style and humour is enjoyable, its crazy, its action packed, there is variety, and there is fun, if you haven’t already, buy this game, you owe it to yourself.
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