Borderlands 2 is a game overflowing with personality. The first game had some personality, it simply lacked a compelling story to carry that personality anywhere. Luckily, Borderlands 2 has both a compelling story and enough personality to choke a goliath. Oh, and its damn fun too. Offering some of the best side quests I’ve seen in any game, Borderlands 2 does not hold back when showing off its joke book to the player. In this review, we’ll discuss the world of Borderlands 2, touching on the setting, characters, storyline and DLCs.
|Type of game:||FPS/RPG|
|Total Play Time:||48 hours|
|System Requirements:||CPU: 2.4 GHz Dual Core Processor
GPU:NVIDIA GeForce 8500/ ATI Radeon HD 2600
RAM: 2 GB
OS: Windows XP or newer
HDD Space: 20 GB
The World of Borderlands 2
The world Gearbox has created in Borderlands 2 is massive. There’s a lot to unpack here, so I’m going to present the features of the game in sections below. The game was critically acclaimed, receiving a 9/10 from IGN, an 8.5/10 from Gamespot and a 90% from PC Gamer.
Atmosphere & Location
If we had to describe the tone of Borderlands 2 in one word, it would be “hilarious”. Every chance it gets, the game throws jokes at you and tries to make you laugh.
But when it doesn’t have you in tears of laughter, the game wows the player with its beautiful, desolate vistas and immersive atmosphere. Pandora is such a vibrant place this time around, and the game offers a variety of locations from freezing landscapes to the green, acidic dump that is Caustic Caverns.
The graphics are still nice to look at today, and they hold up even more if you play the remastered version on a next gen console that comes with The Handsome Collection. The sound effects are glorious, and they make driving around or unloading your guns on enemies all the more satisfying.
One of the more prevalent influences on the Borderlands series is the Mad Max series. From the atmosphere of the desert areas to the psychotic enemies with masks who drive apocalyptic vehicles, this game screams Mad Max at times.
In Borderlands, the main character is the player’s vault hunter, and the player has all new choices this time around. The player can choose between Axton (Commando), Maya (The Siren), Salvador (The Gunzerker) and Zer0 (The Assassin). We highly recommend playing at least once as Zer0, even if you aren’t usually into the sniper approach. We especially enjoyed the fact that you always have access to any type of gun you want no matter which character you choose to play as. So if you choose to play as Zer0, your perks will be tailored to sniping, but you aren’t any less efficient in assault rifles.
As for the other main characters, we have Handsome Jack, the original Vault Hunters and Claptrap. After playing this game, Handsome Jack became one of our favorite villains of all time. The game begins with Handsome Jack launching an attack on the train your character is on as they try to get into Pandora. This opening sums up how Handsome Jack treats your character throughout the entire game. He presents himself as a cocky, self-righteous prick, but you can’t help but hang on every line that comes out of his mouth because the writing is so hilarious.
I can’t count how many times Claptrap made us actually facepalm while playing this game. He’s like that cute little kid who stumbles over themselves as they try to make a sandwich, but you can’t help but watch them and be entertained at their expense. Play through the “Claptrap’s Birthday Bash” quest, you’ll see what we mean.
There are many side characters that you can complete quests for, and you definitely should do as many as you can, because they are all very well-written and worth your time.
Excluding DLC, there are 129 missions available in Borderlands 2. Throughout the game, the player’s mission is to open the vault before Handsome Jack does. To do this, they must race Jack to the vault key. The player ends up getting thrown into a plot to stop Jack at all costs and save the world.
Although some of the plot points are quite predictable, the overall story is told in a very coherent way. It even hits some dark points and will tug on your heart strings a little. The original game never really made the player feel like their quest had a great purpose. Luckily, this game really amps up the writing so you always feel like you’re doing something worthwhile.
The main missions are great, but where this game really shines is in the side quests. As you progress, you’ll come across some new characters as well as some familiar faces from the first game. When the story begins to slow down, you’ll find yourself drawn to more and more side quests, and these are the most memorable sections of the game. At their core, these quests don’t deviate from the typical side quest structure of “Go get this thing for me and kill some creatures while you’re at it.” But it’s the silly writing and excellent characters that make these quests shine.
One of our favorite side quests sends the player out to kill some creatures while Sir Hammerlock decides what their name should be changed to. But all of the names he wants to use are taken, so he decides they should be called “Bonerfarts”, and the player has to kill 5 Bonerfarts. It is rare that a game makes us laugh out loud, but some quests like this one had us in tears.
DLC & Expansion Packs
As far as DLC goes, Borderlands 2 offers 4 campaign add-ons: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty, Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage, Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt and Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep.
Tiny Tina and Mr. Torgue’s DLC’s are both on par with the original game in terms of quality. They both have terrific pacing and writing with tons of content to offer. However, Captain Scarlett and Sir Hammerlock’s DLC’s aren’t as interesting. That said, all the DLC’s are worth your time if you’ve finished the main game and have a thirst for more content.
Borderlands 2 is a huge improvement over the first game, and has a unique sense of humor that you’ll be hard-pressed to find in any other game. As a vault hunter, you will travel through the beautiful world of Pandora to foil Handsome Jack’s plans. And you may just help a few civilians along the way with their troubles, which we highly recommend.
I highly encourage you to join the conversation and share your thoughts, experiences or questions regarding Borderlands 2. It is a massive game, so I’m sure many of you have unique experiences with the game, and I’d love to hear about them.