By Kyle Cefalu
The first Borderlands was released in 2009 and received critical acclaim for developer Gearbox. The game was criticized for having predictable A.I. and a shoddy story and yet still attracted 4.5 million gamers to purchase it. Borderlands 2 was released last September to blow the first game out of the water and has been steadily keeping the gaming community entranced with DLC and amazing gameplay.
Gearbox took what went wrong in the first game and improved drastically on the second installment. The enemies are smarter, the graphics are better, the story more fleshed out. What makes video games addictive is the ability to keep players pressing the proverbial button; to shell out intervals of rewards that make them feel real. Out of all the aspects of Borderlands 2, the loot is by far the best part.
The story returns players to Pandora and this time around you choose between four players: The Assassin, the Siren, the Gunzerker and the Commando. The humor that Borderlands is known for is still there and funny as ever. The missions go up to about 200 including the DLC, so there’s enough there to help build the world of Pandora toward a solid mainstay. The players may sound like typical game classes but each direction the skill trees are set up makes the player take conscious decisions in shaping their character. In the first game you could spec your class to be an unstoppable machine, yet in BL2 your skills all have drawbacks that make you legitimately play to a certain style.
I choose Zer0, the assassin class. Originally I had wanted to upgrade everything to make him more of a mid-to-long-range shooter. The skill trees however made me change it up due to the deception skill in particular, which allows the player to go invisible to gain on the enemy. I changed my strategy to involve more close range weapons to allow for more damage. I’ll be damned if I don’t enjoy it more this way. The action is so intense at times it sucks me in to the point where I’m up until 3 in the morning still playing the damn thing.
It’s the intense boss battles and the fast-paced gunplay that you experience around every corner that make this game head and shoulders better than any other role playing shooter out there. I find myself excited for every loot drop. Honestly, at this point if I had to choose between 20 golden keys and my firstborn child, I’d gleefully kick down the runt for some “scratch.”
The loot is really where Gearbox got it right. Just when you think you have the perfect combination you get thrown a rare weapon that changes everything up. It makes it feel like Pandora is your playground and everything is at your disposal.
Another great part of this game is the ability to play with your friends. Unlike most console games out there, you can play through the entire campaign with a group and it makes the entire game that much better. It takes me back to the N64 days when the neighborhood kids would gather and congregate to get down on some MarioKart.
I can’t get enough of this game. It truly is gaming addiction at its finest, or worst. Depends on whether or not you’re my girlfriend or my family.