Welcome back Vault Hunters! Prepare for an adventure that totally eclipses the adventures of the previous Borderlands. Borderlands 2 isn't just a fantastic sequel, it is an all around achievement in gaming that really should be experienced. While Borderlands 2 holds its familiarity with its predecessor, a staggering amount of new content has been added and nothing subtracted. So, here it is. Pandora awaits.
Borderlands 2 begins where the first left off; the Vault was opened, a huge monster was inside, and everything seems like a let down. Fret not! Because there is another Vault! What luck. For this all new adventure, there are all new protagonists to choose from. The player has the choice between four classes: The Commando(Axton), The Siren(Maya), The Gunzerker(Salvador), and The Assassin(Zero). Along with the new characters, faces of old are to be seen here as well. With all new good guys, there, of course, has to be new bad guys. There are many nefarious foes in this game, but there is one that far exceeds the evilness of the others. Handsome Jack. This super villain is looking to reach the Vault first and completely enslave Pandora using the contents inside, and someone has to stop him.
Concerning the look of saving Pandora, not much has change. However, this is no bad thing. The beautifully cel-shaded world looks just as good, if not much better, than it did last time around. And there is much more to look at too; with the world being almost twice the size of the original. From snowy tundras to alpine hills and barren deserts, your eyes will never get bored. The art style is very unique to this series and gives the game a cartoon like feel. The characters are great to look at and each has their own personality. The only graphical problem that occurs is when a ton of action is occurring and the frame rate slips. This doesn't happen very often, but it's noticeable enough distract from the fun.
Techno and dubstep lovers will be pleased with this games soundtrack. At almost every encounter with the baddies, dustep and techno can be heard. This is fitting considering that most moments in this game are filled with action. Voice acting is fantastic as well. Each character has a very unique voice and personality. Not only is the voice acting executed well, but it is often hilarious. Borderlands 2 has very humorous and mature writing. But seriously, it is probably the funniest game to be released in a while and the dialogue alone should be experienced. Guns and explosions are impactful, that is, when they can be heard. The sound, on occasion, cuts out. But only the weapon effects. This is easily fixed with a quick exit to the menu and reloading, and happens very rarely.
The gameplay will seem very familiar to anyone who has played the first Borderlands; a classic first-person shooter with various RPG elements. The loot is quite varied and extremely abundant. Loot is, almost literally, to be found around nearly every corner. As the character progresses they will level up. Leveling up awards skill points to apply to one of the many slots available for the specific character. An all new level up system has been added called, “Badass Rank.” To level this rank up, challenges must be completed. This rank is infinite and gives the player a reason to complete the numerous challenges the game has to offer. Each class of character has a special ability that is unique to them. The Commando has the ability to throw a Sabre Turret that mows down enemies automatically. The Siren can levitate almost any enemy, as long as they aren't too big, leaving them susceptible to gunfire from all teammates. The Gunzerker can, when his ability is active, dual-wield any two weapons in the game. And finally, the Assassin takes to the invisible wavelengths of light and becomes a deadly ninja, for a specific amount of time. The abilities are great fun and help out quite a bit when regular gunfire just won't cut it. In this game, action never ceases, save the brief visits to the main city. With the action at an almost constant, a lot of things may be happening on screen at once and this is where the game falters slightly. The frame rate can slip when too many things are happening at once and this really detracts from the experience. For the most part however, the game runs smoothly and is extremely enjoyable.
The multiplayer is where Borderlands 2 really shines. Boasting an amazingly simple drop-in, drop-out four player co-op system, playing with friends couldn't be easier. A split-screen also exists for those who want a more personal co-op experience. Getting together with a full party of friends and experiencing the world of Pandora together is most likely one of gaming’s greatest pleasures. And with each player being able to be the same class,(such as two commandos in one party)no one can complain about not getting the class they wanted. Not only is playing with others fantastic and easy, it also increases the games difficulty. While this might seem like a turn off at first, it is actually a blessing. While the game gets more difficult, the loot gets much better with each player added. And nothing says camaraderie better then shooting bandits in the face with even better weapons.
The original Borderlands was something of a ghostly sensation. It's brilliance spread through word of mouth and not many people got around to playing it until far after its release date. But Borderlands 2 is a whole different creature. This game, in it's own wording, is a complete badass with its stylized, beautiful, cel-shaded cartoon world, fantastic voice acting with the most humorous writing to hit shelves in some time, great gameplay that is action-packed almost constantly, and an amazingly simple online system that brings three other friends on this epic adventure. Borderlands 2 does almost everything right in terms of plain and simple fun. And for that reason, it has gone from being a barely recognizable title, to one of the biggest phenomenons this generation.