Another First Person Shooter / Role Playing Game? This mishmash of a genre is getting pretty crowded with the likes of Payday 2 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Whatever, sign me up! But really, Borderlands 2 seems to be a well put together game considering the market has games like Dead Island and Mass Effect 3 leaving a bad taste in your mouth. The only thing that I did not like, was that after I bought the Borderlands 2 season pass during a sale, I found out that I could have just bought the game of the year edition for the same price and also had the mechromancer and psycho characters thrown in. Onto the review.
What I liked about this game was the humour, story and gameplay. The comedy in this game is definitely one of my favorite aspects. Some of it consists of everyone hating on Claptrap. For example, a quest to gather people for his birthday party, to which no one but you, his loyal minion, attends. Then there are childish jokes, like when the main enemy of the game names his pony made of diamonds “Butt Stallion” to insult you. The game also makes numerous references to well-known characters like the Ninja Turtles, Batman, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The thing is, they tend to mutilate the original character. For example, Snow White is a woman who joined a clan of cannibals just to get away from the advances of a character in her town. I typically don’t care about voice acting, but in this game it helps the humour come across in a fantastic way. Mr. Torgue, a character from Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep DLC, shouts almost every sentence no matter the context. He is also the CEO of the Torgue corporation in the game which specializes in explosive weaponry. I would imagine someone who is around explosives all day would need to shout.
The story however is another matter. I haven’t been invested in video game plots since they peaked with Final Fantasy 6. Borderlands 2 is no different. I only felt the story was well put together once I beat Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep add-on content. While playing Borderlands 2 with my cousin, who hosts the podcast, we discussed that having a game set in that fantasy setting with guns would be a nice standalone game. I don’t think he liked rolling dice to see what kind of loot was available though, since you rarely won.
On to the topic of gameplay. I enjoyed the skill trees and gun hoarding. I played mostly as a Commando and their skill tree is definitely nice. You get one skill that heals you when the shields are full, which means you get to the next fight at full, or mostly full, health. This is in comparison to the robot named Zero who can be built into a glass cannon that hides to avoid damage. When you die, you are given the opportunity to kill an enemy which revives you at 25-50% health. This seems to be what this class relies on to get HP back. I do not know how he solos anything other than with sheer determination. The loot-hoarding aspect requires you to carry a sniper rifle, assault rifle, smg, hand gun, shotgun, and rocket launcher while running about. Carrying these guns at all times is to take advantage of whatever ammo you end up finding along the way. You could get a shield that replenishes ammo for the one weapon you want to use over the other; however, it usually pales in comparison to the other shield types. In every RPG I play I hoard as much as possible so I wish Borderlands 2 had more carrying capacity for items without having to spend eridium. Eridium, being the rarer version of money, is spent on item and ammo capacity upgrades, safe upgrades, rare loot slot machines, temporary buffs in the DLC… things like that. The easiest way to earn eridium is to gamble the money you find at the slots. This results with me hoarding as many green quality items, as I can then sell them to vendors for money so that I can gamble. The only issue with this is that the game only provides two slot machines in the main city, which limits my ability to turn my money into eridium.
The game seems to discourage trading by not including a dedicated method like an auction house. The only trading in borderlands needs to be completed in person. I suppose that this is better than the ‘Real Money Auction House’, that was removed from Diablo 3, where you had to pay money for quality items because you were not going to be able to find these items on your own. The trading in the game fits into the whole bandit persona. Instead of accepting a trade, players can duel over an item with the possibility of the owner losing. In practice, people just duplicate items through this method.
I also like how the game has challenges for small stat boosts which apply to any character you play as. These are separate from the achievements, and usually consist of finding “Cult of the Vault” symbols. These are more worth while then loot because you are rewarded with small, permanent, stat boosts whereas a purple quality item might only last you 2 levels before the item isn’t worthwhile anymore. These challenges also give an incentive to play other characters and unlock other challenges to give your main character more stat boosts.
So, buy this game because I like it! Do not buy Borderlands 2 if you agree that bacon is for sycophants and products of incest and join Tannis in some poorly ventilated lab at work.