The original Borderlands passed me by so I’m coming at this review with a totally fresh perspective on the game. As you’re probably aware it’s something between an FPS and an RPG and its major hook is 4 player co-op. think of it a bit like a cel-shaded Fallout 3 with a silly sense of humour and you’ll be somewhere there. I’m told this sequel picks up pretty much where the last game ended. You play as one of four new Vault Hunters who have entered the Borderlands of Pandora and straight away you’re all blown to smithereens by Handsome Jack, a prospector who’s mining the place, causing earthquakes and generally upsetting everyone. Luckily you don’t quite die so you pick yourself up as one of four class types and set about on your open-world journey.
You can play as a Commando who can drop a turret to turn the tide, a Siren who can pick up enemies with a purple Phase Lock, an Assassin who can turn invisible and sneak up for powerful melee attacks or a Gunzerker who can take a lot of punishment and wield two heavy guns at once.
And there are lots of guns to choose from – in fact loot is dropped and found everywhere giving you a massive choice of how you mix and match weapons or mod them with elemental perks. You also earn skill point and Badass Tokens and find rare Iridium you can use to upgrade your character’s skill tree and generally make you tougher on the field.
And it’s no matter if you die – you’ll simply get regenerated at the last checkpoint for a small fee which you can prevent by killing somebody when you’re downed for a second wind. Play with others and you can revive your team mates and it’s playing with others where this game really shines. Enemies get tougher and weaker when people join and leave meaning there’s always a challenge and you can pretty much do your own thing or work as a team as long as the objectives get completed.
I’m not actually a fan of the cel-shaded look as it detaches me from the action, however it does look very pretty indeed and the voice acting and music is top notch as well. Characters are interesting and varied too. However it’s a shame that for a shooter, the guns don’t really feel very meaty at first. Things change when you get your hands on weapons that have that extra spark, explosive and corrosive kick but at first, standard bullets just aren’t that fun. Enemies also occasionally get stuck on scenery and ignore you even though you’re targeting them from distance and driving could have been refined a bit more – the steering system is just plain awkward.
Borderlands 2 is definitely a quality game but do make sure you play it with friends, it can feel a little bit lonely when you explore Pandora alone. This game gives back as much as you put in and it gets 9 out of 10.
Related: Borderlands 2 review on Youtube