The original Borderlands game came out of nowhere in 2009 to critical acclaim, proving that new titles can be just as successful as the series that produce a new game every year. The worry with Borderlands 2, then, was that it wouldn’t be able to improve sufficiently on its predecessor, or worse, that it might be received less well and tarnish the golden reputation of the first game. Luckily, Borderlands 2 has taken what made Borderlands so popular and polished it so that it shines even brighter.
Borderlands 2 from Gearbox Software Borderlands 2 is more than adequate as a single-player game, but it also fills a hole as far as cooperative play is concerned, and it does so with buckets of style. With its outrageous humour and cartoony graphics, Borderlands 2 makes a mockery of more serious first-person shooters while retaining what makes those games so much fun. And there’s so much to do that you’ll be able to keep having fun for hours and hours.
One thing that started to make Borderlands feel like a bit of a slog a dozen or so hours in was the repetitive nature of the side quests. While it was still always fun to head off to a different cartoony environment and use your range of procedurally generated cartoony weapons to take out a horde of cartoony bandits, the end goals started to feel a bit hollow. In Borderlands 2, they’ve relieved that by adding a little more variety. You’ll still be sent on fetch quests, inevitably, but the unique characters found throughout Pandora will also have plenty more irregular requests for you to undertake.
The humour has been beefed up too. Claptrap has a whole new personality, or at least it’s far more noticeable this time around, and you’ll find yourself swinging between wanting to put a bullet hole in him to wanting to give him a hug. The villain, Handsome Jack, is wonderfully executed, as he frequently chips in over your character’s radio device to offer a new piece of sarcastic commentary. There are also two new female characters, proving that it is possible to include girls and women in a game without making them damsels in distress or just pieces of scenery.
There are two playable female characters to choose from too, although only one of them is free with the game, the other available only as DLC. But it’s still worth it if you’re playing through with a friend and you both want to play as a female character, because the downloadable Mechromancer has plenty going for her. Most notably, she can summon a robot to help her out, and when she levels up you have the choice of assigning new skills to the robot as well as to her. It’s awesome to see the ways in which the different characters can work together, too – for example, Maya using her siren powers to hold an enemy in the air for the Mechromancer’s robot to take out.
Whether you’re traversing the dangerous wastes of Pandora with a friend or going it alone, you’re bound to enjoy the journey Borderlands 2 takes you on. Despite the multitude of side quests ensuring that playing the game fully will take you quite some time, you’ll still be disappointed to reach the end. But with different characters to try out and seemingly endless varieties of procedurally generated weapons to find, there’s definitely reason to play it through again.