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Review: Borderlands 2

The best way to play Borderlands is in a four-man team.

The best way to play Borderlands is in a four-man team.

Borderlands 2 is the sequel to the highly popular shoot-and-loot RPG from 2009. It’s part Firefly and part Mad Max – a first-person action shooter taking place in the stunning post-apocalyptic world of Pandora.

The story plays out at the start of a civil war in Pandora. The game’s protagonist, Handsome Jack, is the leader of the Hyperion Corporation and is looking to wipe out all of his enemies, including the player’s ragtag team of vault hunters. The player meets up with the characters from the first game, who now head up a rebel movement to stop Handsome Jack. Shenanigans ensue.

Baddies are often predictable and not much of a challenge, making for repetitive gameplay.

Baddies are often predictable and not much of a challenge, making for repetitive gameplay.

There are four, and later five, character classes to choose from, each with their own characteristics and combat strengths. While the core combat gameplay is exactly the same, each character has a special skill: the Commando has a gun turret that he throws out, the Gunzerker can wield two weapons, the Assassin can phase shift and do massive melee damage, the Siren throws out a force field to levitate baddies, and the Mechromancer calls in a robot sidekick. The skills are varied and complementary, and the best way to play Borderlands is in a four-man team.
The satisfaction gained from working as a team to take down an almost impossible boss is hugely satisfying.

The satisfaction gained from working as a team to take down an almost impossible boss is hugely satisfying.

The character can be further customised by developing one of three skill trees. For example, the Commando can either develop guerilla, gunning or survival skills, and some of these even affect or improve the entire team. The ability to customise strengths for each character makes for very interesting and varied gameplay.

Another impressive feature carried through from the original game is the number of guns. There are millions of weapons available. While an awesome gun can occasionally be found, most of them are typically weak and the player often ends up spending more time comparing guns/weapons/mods to those picked up. This is time-consuming and rather irritating.

Unfortunately, the game is not perfect. Baddies are probably the weakest element of the game – they’re often predictable and not much of a challenge; this makes for repetitive gameplay. The map and inventory, although improved from the previous game, is annoyingly user unfriendly.

Finally, when the character dies, it is regenerated quite close by, and knowing the player will be right back in the battle a few seconds later takes a lot of tension out of the combat.

Still, the game is fun; combat is intense and the satisfaction gained from working as a team to take down an almost impossible boss is hugely satisfying. While, the storyline isn’t deep, baddies are pretty stupid and the menu isn’t great, it doesn’t take away too much from the overall experience. Venturing into Pandora is a must for any co-op gamer.


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