It had been only about a week since I had finished the Borderlands at the time of playing the sequel, but I (like many others, I think) was hungry for more of the shooting and the looting, not to mention the witty humor splashed liberally throughout the game.
First things first; this game looks gorgeous in its own way, much better than the first game, which looked more like shades of brown than anything else. The sequel, however, addresses this issue to a T; the world looks more vibrant, a far cry from its elder brother. However, it takes a toll on the system, too. If your PC/laptop is equivalent to an entry/mid-range gaming computer of two-odd years ago (like mine), you WILL suffer from unstable frame-rates, and would be forced to play it on medium settings, with shadows turned to low. However, I don’t imagine it could trouble the new mid-range segment much.
The sequel is a direct plot progression from where you left off in the first game. The protagonist is one of the four vault hunters who have arrived at Pandora to hunt for vaults. But since the opening of the vault in the previous game, the world has been taken over by the Hyperion Corporation (the one which brings you back to life every time you die), led by the charming AND malevolent Handsome Jack. The goal : stop Jack from opening a second vault (to which he already has the key) and hence stopping him from achieving the ultimate power, or so I am led to believe. In any case, the story is decent, much better than Borderlands, and you often work for, and sometimes alongside, the protagonists from the previous game towards the purpose of stopping Jack. It’s a fulfilling experience, and their entrances are amazing, to say the least. I was especially thrilled to see Lilith, as she was the character I had chosen in the previous game, so I can only imagine how awesome it must have felt for those who actually waited patiently for Borderlands 2 to release.
The dialogue-writing for this game must have been a blast for the writers, because this game is funny as hell. The antagonist Handsome Jack and Claptrap, the robot which was “made to open doors”, are especially hilarious. There were at least a few moments where I went into Last Stand, just because I was laughing so hard at the dialogues. Also, do NOT listen to Claptrap’s “advice”, as it would most likely put you in danger, as you find out the first 2-3 hours into the game. During one memorable moment, Claptrap tells you to try running through an electric barrier so as to reach a circuit-breaker on the other side. Not a good idea, of course. Angel, the voice-from-above in the previous game, actually suggests to us to ignore Claptrap’s advice.
Which brings me to Handsome Jack.His witticisms and anecdotes, which we get to hear a lot throughout the game, are extremely funny, and his satires on the vault hunters are unparalleled, to say the least. The villain anybody would just love. Not to mention so many other characters with their own quirks, scattered throughout the world. The player gets to choose one of the four classes at the beginning of the game. Commando and Siren return, while there are two new classes to choose from, Gunzerker(a variation of the previous game’s Berserker class) and Assassin, a mixture of sniper-cum-melee fighter. According to the class you choose, you get a special “Action Skill” which gets unlocked after the player reaches level 5. I played as a Commando, so my action skill turned out to be a Scorpion turret. I often utilized it in an offensive manner, putting up suppressing fire from my turret, while I would get up close and personal with my buckshot pellets, without worrying about getting flanked by a shotgun-wielding midget. On the other hand, you could use it as additional firepower when the situation gets too hot to handle, and you urgently need to find some cover.
The shooting mechanics are similar to the previous game, and have been
considerably improved. Of course, there is something immensely satisfying about sniping an enemy and watching his head explode. Actually, more important than the shooting, it’s the looting which encourages you to explore every nook and cranny for better weapons, shields and what-have-you. Maybe that cliff which you felt too lazy to climb happened to house an amazing shotgun, or maybe had about 50% more capacity than your shield…you never know. The thought one puts into calculating damage inflicted, the weapon’s accuracy, and elemental effects(if any), all while considering that your inventory doesn’t exactly sport 50-odd slots, it’s awesome. It just is.
Characters from left to right : Axton the Commando, Salvador the Gunzerker, Maya the Siren and Zero the Assassin.
The game is best played with friends,as co-op on LAN is seamless, and the fun you
have is amplified. It’s an awesome feeling when you are in the Last Stand condition and are unable to find close targets, but then a friend revives you back to half-health. It’s even more funny when your friend also ends up in Last Stand while trying to help you, with both dying seconds from one another.
Which brings us to what I think is the only weak link in the game. Travelling. It’s a real pain in the neck just how much you have to run/drive to get to your next mission, or turn in your completed one. Fast-travel does help somewhat, but it still pisses you off when you have to do some of the game’s tedious fetch-quests, and have to drive long distances just because the fast-travel portal is eons away from your mission objective. The Catch-A-Ride has improved in some ways(nitrous is much better now), but there still is a lot of room for improvement. There is nothing that can deprive you of enjoyment more than just driving towards your objective, with absolutely nothing else to do. The game-world is no GTA for the player to mess around and have some unadulterated fun crashing into pedestrians or other vehicles.
All-in-all, the game is an absolute blast to get through, and will leave you laughing for days after you finish the 25-30 hour long campaign, with all those anecdotes and conversations. A great game.
RATING : 9.2/10
– liberal splashing of humor throughout
– likable characters
– decent story
– LOOT(of course)
– painful fetch-quests
– travelling is a chore