Review - Borderlands 2

Fall 2012 brings with it hot apple cider, falling leaves and the a gem of a sequel in Borderlands 2. After playing the first Borderlands and loving the thrill of searching through the loot, Gearbox wasn't content to leave things at that. And while Borderlands 2 didn’t revolutionize the game play established in Borderlands, the number of improvements and enhancements have made it an all around solid and fun game to play.

The core of the premise behind Borderlands 2 continues to be the weapons. There are tons of different types and styles of guns and equipment that can be found across the lands of Pandora and part of the sheer joy of killing enemies is the possible loot they drop. It’s that possibility that makes a person think before dashing through an area, as the loot you find could possibly alter the way you play the game.

While the weapons are almost characters themselves, there's also the playable characters. In the firstBorderlands the characters were rather generic: Commando, Berserker, Siren and Hunter. This time around the characters have been fleshed out, personalized with the same sort of character types but given more depth and personality. Me personally? I stuck with the Commando type again. His special ability is a turret that can help turn the tide of a battle or allow you to go the game solo with a bit of extra help when needed.

While there's a single-player component, co-op is how this game is designed to be played. Everything about it screams co-op as the four character types mesh quite well together in a unit that maximizes the carnage they can bring about on the unknowing bandits that cross their path. When playing co-op the loot you find is way better, but it comes at the price of tougher enemies.

Levels. That was one of the concerns with the first game as lot of the locals you would go to on Pandora looked a lot alike. This time around this wasn't the case at all, as every area has its own dynamic feature that makes it stand out. I really liked how vivid and colorful this world was this time around too, as Borderlands was pretty bland and seemed like a desert everywhere. The various environments in Borderlands 2 made each area feel a lot like its own, with different enemy types and secrets to find hidden across the maps of Pandora.

Another part where Borderlands 2 exceeds its predecessor is the story. Borderlands was a bit generic where all the guns and loot you could find took center stage. This time around they really took care to give you a story to move the characters in addition to finding the loot with the big villain being a man named Handsome Jack. I can’t say how many times just going through a stage you hear him come on the echo recorder talking trash or just rambling on. It really helped lighten the mood and made me laugh quite a bit on a few missions.

While efforts have been made to improve the main story, it's the side missions that might still be the best part. These are what allow you to level up your character to make the end fight more bearable. You could probably get through the story missions in 10 to 12 hours or sooner depending on how fast you burn through them, but you will miss out on so many more fun missions and some good gear to make the game one you will play through a few times.

For a sequel, Borderlands 2 is one of the better ones to be released, taking what made the original pretty awesome and multiplying it by ten. Borderlands 2 is one hell of a game and I hope my time tromping around Pandora does not come to an end with this one. With plenty of DLC coming out for this game, there will be more guns to find and more bad guys that need to have a lesson taught them.