Borderlands 2 Review
Stellar writing and a host of small improvements help Borderlands 2 stand tall on the shoulders of its predecessor.
- A ton of great mission writing and dialogue
- Enticing loot and experience rewards
- Intriguing skill trees
- Rich, inviting gameworld.
- Spoken messages sometimes interrupt each other
- One character ability is not substantially different from the core gunplay.
There were a lot of things that made Borderlands such a great game when it came out three years ago: the hardscrabble planet, the oddball characters, the hostile creatures, the diverse missions, the abundant loot, the powerful skill trees, and the novelty of all these things combined in a cooperative first-person shooter. In Borderlands 2, the novelty is gone, but all of the other elements are back and better than ever. This sequel doubles down on the successes of the original and shores up its shortcomings, improving the familiar formula and delivering dozens and dozens of hours of immensely entertaining gameplay.
Perhaps the most notable difference is that Pandora now feels like a vibrant, living place. What once was a lonely frontier planet populated primarily by savage men and feral beasts is, well, still a planet populated primarily by savage men and feral beasts. But it isn't so lonely anymore, thanks to an expanded cast of diverse and entertaining characters. Many familiar faces return, including the delusional robot, Claptrap; the hayseed mechanic, Scooter; and the bawdy vixen, Moxxi. The four playable characters from the first game are back as well, and they each play a robust role in the story (and have way more spoken lines than ever before). There are some delightful new additions too, such as the arrogant antagonist, Handsome Jack, and the teenage demolitionist, Tiny Tina. Random townsfolk also have a few things to say, no longer content with mute or monosyllabic responses, and even the bandits you fight have a broader range of context-sensitive taunts.
The huge amount of high-quality voice acting required to bring this world to life is fueled by excellent writing, which provides some genuinely nasty tirades and surprisingly tender moments amid the avalanche of laugh-out-loud funny lines. The breadth of personalities invigorates your adventure and makes Pandora a lively, engrossing place, the kind of place it fell short of being in the first game. The only drawback to the sheer volume of communication is that sometimes conversations are cut off by other incoming messages before you can hear them through. This doesn't pose any barrier to progression, but with dialogue this good, you don't want to miss a word.
If you apply this same philosophy to exploration, Borderlands 2 will keep you busy for a very, very long time. The environments of Pandora are more vibrant and diverse this time around, and the eye-catching artistic aesthetic is enlivened with a richer color palette and more clever details. These elements dazzle in higher resolutions, outshining their console counterparts, and a full suite of visual settings helps you appreciate them while staying in a performance sweet spot. Diligent explorers will find both lovely vistas and amusing sights--the humor of the writing extends into the environmental design as well.
There are tons of areas to visit during the course of your adventure, some of which you won't even see if you don't stray far from the main story missions. The mission system is one area in which small tweaks have a noticeable impact. The onscreen checklist updates you of any mission progress caused by your current actions, even if said progress isn't for your currently selected mission. You can also choose to ignore missions in the menu so that you don't have to constantly scroll past old leftovers to get to the ones you want. It's not necessary to pursue every last mission en route to the final boss, but to stay at a competitive level with your enemies, plan on doing a fair number of side missions. These endeavors are another great source of creativity and humor, including a logic puzzle to decide which of four thieves cheated the others, and the ludicrously simple task titled "Shoot This Guy in the Face."
In addition to missions, there is an expanded array of challenges. These goals are automatically tracked and reward you for actions like offing a certain number of skags or getting a lot of incendiary kills. New location-specific challenges give you further incentive to find hidden secrets in each area, and this extra layer of reward makes idle exploration more appealing. Every challenge completed increases your badass rank, which in turn gives you small bonuses to various attributes (such as gun damage, fire rate, and shield recharge delay) that apply to any character you create, not just your current one. Tweaking challenges and introducing cross-character bonuses aren't big additions to the game, but they serve as a nice acknowledgement of the fact that many players want to play as multiple characters. This overarching reward system is one of the many small improvements that make Borderlands 2 a more player-friendly experience than its predecessor.
Intangible rewards are all well and good, but a huge part of the Borderlands formula is loot, and Borderlands 2 does not disappoint. Guns, shields, grenade mods, class mods, and relics all offer different ways to enhance your combat effectiveness. Building and updating your arsenal with the embarrassment of loot riches Pandora has to offer is still immensely satisfying, and the increased frequency of odd attributes and bonuses means more opportunity to fine-tune your optimal loadout. The option to mark items as junk in your inventory is a welcome addition that makes selling things to vending machines less time-consuming, though an option to mark items as junk on pick-up could have made it even smoother. The inventory screen seems to have been optimized for a controller and feels a bit clunky with a keyboard and mouse, but it's not hard to quickly navigate once you get the hang of it. In another bit of streamlining, cash, health, and ammo are now automatically picked up off the ground most of the time (there are occasional lapses), which means you can happily spend less time looking down.
Decided this game over BO3, Halo 4, Far Cry 3. What the hell was I thinking. Well what I was thinking was this game had an arcade type feel to it and fun gameplay. Is decently fun but game has horrible graphics. Only thing really good about this game is the GUNS. That's all it has. But problem is you can only have 12 guns in your backpack. Spend alot of time going through them. Levels are crappy. Basically it's a kids game.
@Phlanxion Horrible graphics? Why? Because it has an ART STYLE? Because its been art-directed to fit that style/theme?
Levels are crappy? Why? Because you say so?
You have no idea what you're talking about, kid....
@Phlanxion How the hell can this possibly be a kids game? they dont fix the rating at 18 like its a joke u know...
The game isn't that good. It pretends to be open world, but really every level is just a field with a few smaller fields attached to it. There is no easy way to fast travel, some side missions require you to go back to specific places you already cleared with the same spawned enemies. It is a real drag. The visuals are ok, but gimmicky and the level design is basically fields of flat textures with some objects scattered around. In other words: MEH. Go replay Skyrim again for a true open world rpg experience or Far Cry 3 for a superior open world shooter experience..
This game won me over after I was calmly shooting a guy and suddenly, he shouts "I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!". Breaking Bad reference is instant win.
Love this game.I had a lot of fun playing it.First,the graphics are beautiful and make's the game more attractive.Second,the story it isn't the classic one as all the other FPS and last it's an open world game! :D
I was very sceptical about this game but it BLEW MY MIND! 10/10 for fantastic dialogues, brilliant voice activing and original characters. And bazzilion guns obviously.
You can find the system requirements here:
Well i've got nothing against this review except it doesn't go into PC-specific features, Watters should've commented on the highly customizable interface, the usage of PhysX and the higher framerate and resolution the PC version has to offer.
i would like to point out that some turd early on in the comments was going on and on about RE6, and how great it was, so great in fact that i swear he wanted to hump the box. i would like to see the look on that turds face as he now plays RE6.
go borderlands go!
Borderlands...feels like I'm going to lose my mind.... LOL!
I liked the first game but I did experience some "motion sickness" while playing it.
This is an excellent game and excelles in almost every way!! Excellent Story,Graphics,Gameplay etc!!! Nice work Gearbox and 2K
Nope. I didn't.
borderlands 1 was very light in story, and the few important points are explained at the beginning, the first game also had repetitive sidequest that you were a lot of times forced to do because the main mission would not unlock until you finished a few of them , however you can get the game of the year edition for the first game for a good price,wich includes all the DLC, (but be warned, you get codes for the DLC, they are not on the disc) , so you have more game at a lower price
@IamNick2k11 It would be a good idea to do so. It helps you get used to the game and you will notice a lot of changes. Give it a shot.
@IamNick2k11 No, it is not paramount, but it will help you appreciate the improvements much more, and there are a few returning characters. The story stands on it's own though.
Hey, never played the first one =) Is this open world, can you interact with npc's etc basically is it like Fallout3/Vegas - Skyrim =) But co-op ???
the language in this review is...overly flamboyant. gaudy. journalistic. much of it seems more like summary, or even an advertisement of what the game holds--only a few lines are actually critical of the game. and i always liked how the video review was short and demonstrative, while the written one went into more depth, explaining things that are hard or too long to show in video--but i was quite disappointed when I saw the same words from the video here.
anyways, i'm glad i got a look at this game. it looks great. i just wish i had the time!
@kakashi552 Ironically, your review of this review holds true to many of the same elements you used to describe it.
Seriously people who cares about the score? If you enjoy the game just play it and ignore the scores/review and what others are telling you. I like it personally and think deserves little more then the score given, especially that atrocious port or should i say biggest insult that PC gamers ever got was Dark Souls which got like 9.5 if i am not mistaken, which is kinda sad.
I don't know why so many people take the review scores so personally. It is only intended to give an opinion, and is not the end all be all indication of a game's worthiness of a playthrough/purchase. Bottom line is, the game is "Great (8.5)" which means you should play it. If you really want to nitpick at 1/2 a point or so, write your own review instead of bashing on "this game got this that and the other" regarding GS reviews. Use reviews as a basic guideline to steer you toward or away from a purchase, not as a platform for nerd rage.
GS gives Great Review articles and videos, and i also really like the Good and Bad point they give, as for the Scores.....i pretend they dont exist :D
Soooo.. Is this game worse than that Dark Souls port? I don't get your scoring system really..But I agree with this score.. It is great, but pretty iterative with regards to the first game.. I just can;t fathom it being scored worse than a crappy port that came out in the same month.. Maybe you guys are just trolling us, eh?
@markosasav And Little Big Planet got a higher score than Jet Set Radio.
HOW DARE THEY DO SUCH A THING?!?!
@markosasav i lost faith in gamespot waaaaaaaaaaaay back, kevin shitord and company seems to not even play the games they "review" just some fancy worlds, an injoke of the game, screenshots and BAM! fresh-review!
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@bakagami @AzathothMetal listen he is not pissed at your opinion on the website just about the fanboy presumption which you seem to be treating as if it was not rash and hurtful
@Gelugon_baat haha youre so stupid man, enjoy failing at life.
@AzathothMetal Exactly, I use this site mainly to find out what is coming release dates and such these days, the reviews are too biased to be of any real use. Just because we have resigned to that fact doesn't mean we have to silently accept it
@Gelugon_baat well little turd, gamespot has shit reviewers, but it still has awesome covergae of VG news and stuff, so yeah ill be sticking around even if i dont like some of the reviews, and lookiing down your catfight with the other user ill just say: have a nice day idiot, im not responding you again :)
@RIIIIKU He started it...
@Gelugon_baat ROFL, you really love getting the last word in, don't you? I'll let you have it after this one...or if I manage to shame you into shutting the **** up, that'll work too :D
@Gelugon_baat as if that made any sense...
@Gelugon_baat I'm not going to get into another pissing match with you, you enjoy it too much
- Player Reviews: 46
- Game Universe:
- Borderlands (X360, PC, PS3),
- Borderlands: The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned (PS3, X360, PC),
- Borderlands: Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot (PS3, X360, PC),
- Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx (PS3, PC, X360),
- Borderlands: Double Game Add-On Pack (X360, PC),
- Borderlands: Claptrap's New Robot Revolution (PS3, X360, PC),
- Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition (X360, PS3, PC, MAC),
- Borderlands 2 (X360, PS3, PC, MAC),
- The Border Lands (WEB),
- Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty (X360, PS3, PC)