I have never played the original Borderlands. I decided to play Borderlands 2 to see what this franchise is like. I first noticed the cel-shaded graphics and a diverse number of characters to choose from. After I chose my protagonist (Gunzerker) I had to get used to the skill trees, the wacky characters, the large number of side missions in addition to the main story missions. One of the wackiest characters is Claptrap, a robot with something to say all the time and is quite delusional.
The story is set in Pandora, a planet filled with vicious creatures of all kinds. The planet is control by Handsome Jack, the main antagonist of the game. As you progress through the game you will regularly hear Handsome Jack’s speak sarcastically about your goal to bring him down. There are many Echo recorders that will help flesh out the story and who Handsome Jack really is.
The script and voice acting in Borderlands 2 is nothing short of superb. The voice actors and script writers should be highly commended for making the characters such as Scooter, Moxxi, Claptrap and others very entertaining. The only problem I found with the voices was that some conversations can be interrupted by other conversations before you can hear them completely. However, it’s not such a bad thing for the game overall.
There is plenty to explore and if you’re into exploring as much as possible, Borderlands 2 will entertain you for 100+ hours. Each sector of the map has its own environmental feel and its own creatures. The DLCs add even more content for you to explore, but you are best advised to advance your character to at least level 20 because the enemies are much tougher than those enemies in the main story. The DLCs are divided into chapters and side missions while the battles with tougher creatures will reward you with lots of experience points. The side missions in the main game are definitely worth pursuing, as they include puzzle elements and some very simple goals such as simply shooting someone in the face in the side mission titled “Shoot This Guy in the Face.” Other side missions require you to find certain items to receive a unique weapon such as the side mission titled “The Lost Treasure”, a mission that requires you to find different parts of a treasure map. The parts can be anywhere in a region, but the payoff is huge in the form of a very powerful pistol.
Part of what makes Borderlands 2 great in gameplay is the diverse availability of weapons, shields, grenade mods, class mods, and relics. Class mods and relics have ways of enhancing your character’s combat abilities. The inventory feels a little clunky, but once you get used to it you can navigate it pretty quickly. The inventory is important for using in the various vending machines for buying ammo, selling ammo and streamlining.
Respawning is an integral part of this game, as enemies will respawn when you return to the same sector. It may feel tedious after a while, but it can be rewarding because these are opportunities to gain more experience as you try to reach the level of 50. To max out your character you will have to complete the normal mode in order to open up the True Vault Hunter Mode. It is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of enemies so that you know which weapons and ammo work best against them. For example, the loaders (mechanical bots) are vulnerable to corrosive ammo. Therefore, it is best to use a corrosive weapon to kill them faster. The crystallisks are hulking creatures with shins that are made of brittle crystals. Shooting their brittle shins is the only way to bring them down.
This game encourages cooperative play, so it can be fun playing with friends. However, it is better to play with friends who are at a level close to yours, although the game automatically balances the difficulty according to the levels of the players. It is a great feeling trying to heal fellow players in dire times. The unusual feature of death is interesting because there is a chance to achieve a second wind if you get a kill while you’re dying and the red meter is going down to zero.
I found the save system awkward since it saves everything that happens. If you leave the game while in the middle of a mission, you will have to pick up where you left off and the enemies you killed will respawn. In essence, the save system consists simply of save and quit.
Borderlands 2 is one of the most entertaining role-playing games with so much to explore. The gameworld is thriving with loot and opportunities to reap the rewards of doing favors for other townsfolks. I highly recommend this game to anyone as it will take many, many hours of your time and those hours will feel worth it.