“Why review games that have already been out for ages?” you might be saying, angrily waving a fist in our general direction but Travis and I believe that there is some merit in them. How many of you put off a game’s release because you went for the newest iteration of Call of Duty? Then you realize you’ve been pwning noobs in the matchmaking for months and have yet to actually move on to that game you’ve been meaning to buy. This is where we come in: To help you decide whether or not you need to lay down some dough or if you should probably just go back to working on your killstreak.
Borderlands has always been a series that I’ve heard from my gamer friends as one of those games that you just HAVE to play. So I set out to play the first borderlands expecting all sorts of badassitude and facemelting gameplay. What I found instead was a user interface so painful to navigate that not even Claptraps dubstep songs could force me to play it. There was no Minimap and quests had no active tracker forcing you to pull up the map and quest to piece your way. This is a game that revolves around starting at point A and shooting your way to point B. Not knowing where point B is, is very frustrating. Again, shooting is pretty much the only thing this game has going for it, and yet you have to stop and press a button every single time you want to pick up ammo from the floor. Hint: you need a lot of ammo.
Fortunately, Borderlands 2 swoops in to save the franchise.
Travis here. Let me start out by saying I never had any intentions to play this game. I didn’t play the first borderlands and I’m more of a RTS kinda guy anyway. However, I was convinced by an extremely persuasive ‘Just the tip’ argument from my gaming compatriot Surse, and reluctantly grabbed a controller and decided to give it a shot. Right from the opening credits I said “holy shit dicks batman this game is gonna be epic”. And man was I right.
The game starts off with Claptrap ransacking corpses and your fellow Vault Hunters, and is surprised to see you’re still alive. We become ClapTrap’s tool of revenge right from the start and are set out on a quest to hunt down Handsome Jack. This little bucket of bolts stays with you right to the very end and Surse and I were very sad to see him go. He’s one of the most endearingly annoying robots in gaming lore; Imagine him as R2-D2 except every word R2 uttered was bleeped. Honestly this was some of the funniest shit I’ve ever seen or heard inside the confines of a PS3
Its not everyday you have a robot who follows you telling you he wants to T-bag someone’s corpse.
Claptrap doesn’t steal the limelight though, since literally every character you meet raises the bar. The quest givers range from an English gentleman searching the world of Pandora to enrich his encyclopedia to trailerpark trash who has a knack for poetry and a thing for his sister. The funniest character has to be Tiny Tina however. This chick is nuts, making you go grab her badonkadonks and sheet. In fact I have no way to explain Tinas awesomeness other than to smack you in the face with a whole Tiny Tina Montage.
Shorty you da bes you da you da best.
Now that you have witnessed the badassitude of Tiny Tina and Claptrap I guess we should actually start talking about game play and all that. Borderlands 2 has your standard RPG element, each character having three skill trees to enhance the various things they do:
You got your Commando who can drop badass turrets and mow people down quicker than five Mexicans mowing a lawn, then you got your Ninja assassin excelling at either stabbing people in the face or popping heads off from afar, then there’s the Siren who is the ‘magician’ class, basically an emo chick who can pull you into a black hole looking thing and melts your face with all kinds of elemental damage. Finally you got the Gunzerker who is a big dude that can dual wield and piss bullets whilst regenerating health and ammo.
In my play-through I went Zero because:
1. Hes a fucking ninja
2. Hes got a sword.
3. He says stuff like “”Striking from nowhere… Killing with accuracy… This is who I am.”
If that doesn’t scream “holy tits on a goat this guy is badass” I don’t know what does. My personal favorite thing to do as Zero was to just hang back and snipe from insanely far away because I’m a pussy and don’t like getting shot at. The class system is perfectly balanced for teamplay, each character having specific scenarios that suite them best. The balance tends to disappear when you’re playing solo. Surse picked Maia the Siren and served as the perfect support character, healing and rezzing me from across the battlefield. Yet when I saw him play on his own, the hordes of ravenous beasts were too much for a healer/crowd control class. Back to you, Surse
Borderlands 2 sucks you in with its loot system. Their tagline is a bazillion guns, and they’re not far off. Think Diablo III with its random sequence of loot, but instead of a pretty cool axe, you’re given a bazooka that shoots six bullets, which are poisonous, and break up into even smaller bullets on contact, and if that wasn’t enough, you chuck the whole gun at them when you reload. It becomes extremely satisfying, almost addicting, when you find a chest that contains the one gun suits your play style and class.
The game plays like its predecessor, and any in its genre: run around doing various quests, each one more difficult than the last, until you get to the boss of that area, then onto the next area. While it may sound exceedingly boring, what Borderlands 2 does to spare you thoughts on suicide is by making the quests absolutely hysterical. We’ve already told you how amazing the quest givers are; the quests themselves reflect it. Sure, you get your typical “kill ten of these, then come back to base” or “go collect that bullshit over yonder” but the quest items that they have you go collect are genuinely entertaining. As Travis and I were playing through it, we just had to shake our heads in awe at how ridiculous the quests got. But that’s ok, because the developers embraced the genre and subverted it. They weren’t trying too hard either, like that one uncle you get at family reunions; these dudes aced it.
There were a couple things that seemed to have been tacked on to just add to the features on the back of the box, such as the vehicle system.
You’re given these too fast machines with a poor driving system that has you end up running into a brick wall or off the road and into a ditch. There are a few quests that revolve around them, but these screamed “you have a vehicle so go monotonously blow some stuff up.” Luckily there is a fast-travel system that pretty much always lets you bypass that BS.
So you finish the game! What happens now? Well some would say you have no life and should probably go out and meet someone or maybe see some sunlight, but we all know you’re still addicted. Well that’s just fucking perfect because you can play the whole game over! “But Travis, why would I do that?!” Well, silly gamer, because even after the storyline has finished, and you’ve heard all of the gags, you get True Vault Hunter Mode which makes its harder, the creeps are way cooler, and the guns you find now make your old guns look like a shitty vibrator that runs on one double A battery.
One of the key factors that made this game fun was its co-op mode. I can’t imagine playing this game alone in my basement; it just wouldn’t be as good. Teamwork and coordination are essential in order to effectively kill bosses and plus, gaming with friends is way better than gaming alone.
Queue arbitrary number system to rate this game!
Did the graphics blow minds? No. But at the same time the hand drawn look and feel is incredibly cool and fits perfectly with the way the game plays out.
Gameplay was smooth and we rarely encountered a glitch in the Matrix. The ones we did find were enough to force us to save, and reload. Travis had a more a personal ‘fuck you’ from the game as one of his cursed weapon decided it was gonna spazz the out and make every single gun he used scream bullshit every time he swapped weapons, reloaded, or fired. Other than the near psychotic episode this caused, I’d say the gameplay was pretty solid.
If you for some reason you haven’t gotten it yet, We fucking love the dialogue in this game. It’s witty, ingenious and above all hysterical. You can sit and listen to the same character talk and wont hear a repeated phrase for a long time – the amount of detail they put in to this aspect of the game is astonishing.
When we were playing through this, we always had to have the TV volume up, because we didn’t want to miss any of the dialogue.
The soundtrack included some very wubwubby tracks, but always complemented the gameplay rather than added to it.
On the first play through this game is incredibly easy, Can’t remember a boss that took more than a handful of tries to take down, however the repeated play-throughs get increasingly harder, much like Diablo, so if you suck at shooting things it may not be a wise decision to replay. This being said, the ‘game plus’ mode that is unlocked after your first play through is way hard, Surse and I went from absolutely destroying everything to fleeing in fear from your average mob
The developers actually paid attention to the feedback and produced a game that we have gladly spent 60+ hours on.
With its spectacular dialogue, one of a kind graphics, and solid gameplay I highly recommend buying this game with a buddy and playing it if you haven’t already.