Review by skeletorissatan
"The most underwhelming sequel of 2012"
Borderlands 2. Also known as, "The sequel we could not be bothered with, so we just added a few new things, gave it a makeover, and called it a full game". Yes, folks, Borderlands 2 is nothing more than a DLC-quality addition to the series. The complete experience from Borderlands 1 is back in full force, with more guns, more room to maneuver, a few new enemies, and a couple of new gaming mechanics, none of which really add much to the game. At face value a policy of having more of what was seen in Borderlands 1 may seem like the best possible idea for a sequel but unfortunately this really is not the case with this which just feels like it was created whilst the developers were half asleep or drunk at the time of creating it.
First off, the graphics are a definite step up. Whereas flying enemies had a strict flying pattern in the first one, this time they swoop all over the place, and it is a nice touch. All of the areas are better designed, there is a lot more color variety, and the characters are perfectly modeled. The amazing cell shaded graphics from Borderlands 1 return here with even more eye watering beauty than before, and it really does make for a nice environment to go through. The environments that you will be exploring throughout your adventure are definitely beautiful to look at and the final showdown with the last boss in the game takes place in an incredible designed lava river which makes for the best looking area of the game. This is the one thing where what was in the first game was taken and built upon to maximum effect. Every environment is rich, detailed and colorful and the characters are all nicely designed as well although they lack personality. The returning characters all look even cooler than they previously did with the enormous upgrades that the graphics have taken but it is the creatures that you will be shooting at that are the most gorgeous to look at.
A cool addition to Borderlands 2 was the character customization factor. Each character has body skins and head skins that can be altered by the player, and more of them become available throughout the game. These make for an interesting addition, as you can alter the way your character looks to anything, within reason, making for a few extra minutes of enjoyment. However the counter argument for this is that there was really no reason to implement this feature into Borderlands 2 other than to show off. It is very rare that you see the entirety of your character and when you do it is usually only for a split second as your character is recreated following a death which will almost certainly be happening due to the frustrating amount of enemies that the game throws at you and the fact that your character is constantly ridiculously under-powered. It is impossible to count the amount of times in the game that you will needlessly die to enemies that are five levels lower than you are primarily due to the number that it throws at you and the fact that the Shields and weapons are completely useless. In the first game all the equipment that you could farm whilst playing felt nicely balanced against the levels of enemies that you would be facing at the time you receive that weapon, and they would become obsolete as you progressed through and the enemies got tougher. In Borderlands 2 however this is not the case as all the weapons are massively under powered and boring to use and the designs of them are ridiculous.
Borderlands was always a game to play for the leveling and the loot and Gearbox massively screwed up with this in the second game. The weapons have some awful design choices poured into them including weapons that talk and make unfunny quips as you fire or reload. Every weapon of the same elemental effect type feels like a direct carbon copy of the last twenty you found and they are given at such a high frequency that the joy of farming enemies for a tougher weapon that was found in the first game completely disappears. The system itself would be fun if the first game had not done it considerably better. There are far too many weapons with not enough real variation to them within this game for the looting in the game to be much fun to toy around with. A solitary fun feature was found from the weapons in this game was the inclusion of another elemental type weapon that ensures that you will do more damage with each shot delivered after the elemental effect takes hold on the enemy.
The AI for this game is not the major step up that Gear Box promised. Many of the enemies still embrace the mentality of wanting to run directly in front of your gun whilst you pull the trigger with a smile of satisfaction on your face, and it is completely disappointing, and a prime example of a game developer over hyping their next game to the point the gamer feels completely underwhelmed when they finally get round to playing the finished product. This is perhaps the biggest let down of the game as so much was promised with the AI, in that the enemies would duck for cover and interact to attempt to draw your fire whilst another enemy flanks you and in reality all that happens is that another ten enemies will crowd the screen and walk directly towards you. In this sense much of the enjoyment is taken out the game as the difficulty levels come not from the AI of the enemies that you will be fighting but just from the stupid design choices to throw half a maps worth of foes at you at exactly the same time.
The plot is very weak, and the characters themselves are bland and uninteresting. There are more people to interact with, and a lot more interaction between the characters, but the phrases they speak are not nearly as comical and enjoyable as those found in Borderlands 1. Once again the player is given the choice of one of four character classes at the start of the game all of whom feel close to their counterparts in the first game, and none of whom have any real personality. Even the mysterious sniper who appears the most promising at the character select screen proves to be annoying saying the same five phrases over and over again as you shoot at your foes and you will quickly find yourself turning the sound off. However it is not all doom and gloom for this game as one of the characters in particular named Tiny Tina is really fun and a great addition to the second game. She is a teenage psychopath who is introduced by detonating a Dynamite stick attached to a Bandit whilst screaming "Pop goes the bandit" and provides much of the weird humor for the game and really was the best possible thing to add to a sequel to Borderlands. The enemies in the game are cool enough but there is nowhere near enough variation to them with the Skag's and Bandits returning and then the occasional robot to fight but aside from that the game is devoid of any real enemy variation.
One thing that this game has definitely massively improved from the first game is the quality found in the boss fights. The plot to this game revolves around the evil Handsome Jack attempting to search for a second vault and awaken a creature known as The Warrior with which to take over Pandora and during your quest to stop him your characters will face off with several enormous foes that feel over the top to the extreme and are some truly astonishing boss fights. The final fight with The Warrior and a fight with an enlarged version of a character from the first game that will not be named for spoiler reasons are the highlights of the game and definitely feel right at home and are a welcome addition to the series. The boss fights in this game feel straight out of something akin to God Of War or Devil May Cry in the sense that they are blown up in proportion and are a thrill to engage in.
This is definitely not worth the amount of money the developer charges, as it is little more than a mildly amusing addition. Completely underwhelming, with nowhere near enough to do or enough added to the game for it to feel more necessary. This is a game that really does feel as though the developers did not put enough time into creating and feels both rushed and lazy in the need to satisfy the anticipation that the game was receiving and proves to be an enormous let down. Much of the fun of the first game is taken out of it and in its place is a highly repetitive sequel with only a few reasons to play it and more reasons to stay away from it.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 10/02/12, Updated 02/13/13
Game Release: Borderlands 2 (EU, 09/21/12)
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