In 2009, Gearbox Software released “Borderlands.” It earned positive reviews from critics and gamers alike, selling a good amount of copies worldwide. The company worked on a sequel for four years. After brainstorming ideas, the game was distributed worldwide.
“Borderlands 2” was released in 2012. (same year Far Cry 3 came out) The sequel earned universal acclaim from critics and gamers alike. In addition to praise, the game sold millions of copies worldwide. A prequel titled, “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel” later came out in 2014. The third installment was released in 2019.
A film adaptation of the franchise starring Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, Jamie Lee Curtis & Jack Black will be released next year. Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Inglorious Basterds) will direct the film. One more thing, a spin-off called, “Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands” is slated for an early 2022 release. Before the aforementioned projects come out, I want to share my thoughts on the second game. Because it’s my personal favorite from the Borderlands series.
Today’s review contains no SPOILERS. I’m giving so of you gamers a chance to play this game. Is the second game the best in the series? Let’s find out shall we?
Pros & Cons
Pros: Voice Actors all did an excellent job for their respective voiceover performances.
Graphics retain the first game’s cel shaded animation format bringing elements to life including character models, lighting, environmental locations etc.
Combat from the first game is retained. You acquire a number of arsenal spanning from pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, smgs, grenades, sniper rifles and rocket launchers.
Elemental damage is pretty useful. Allow me to list them. Electricity, Fire, Acid, Explosive and new to the series, Slag.
A new mechanic is a reward system called, “Badass Ranks.” As you perform various actions, you’re granted with a tiny permanent boost.
Loot System primarily consists of weapons, shield and class rarity ranging from common to legendary.
As you level up, you obtain better weapons. The more you level up, the more powerful guns you can use to take out tougher opponents.
If you’re gunned down, a time limit pops up. If you successfully kill an enemy, you gain health and stand up on your feet. Be wary.
If you die, you’re transported back to the closest checkpoint at the cost of your money.
If you have friends playing online, you can invite three of them. As you play together on co-op, the game is slightly difficult. More enemies, more treasure. Definitely worth a challenge with your buddies.
Driving a vehicle mounted machine gun or missile launcher lets you travel from Point A to Point B.
Fast Travel from the first game is retained.
If you have a hard time traveling, a map is useful.
Humor has many funny moments. Be sure to stay focus, you don’t wanna die.
The four playable characters are Zer0, Axton, Maya & Salvador. If you own The Handsome Jack collection or purchased all DLC, two additional characters named, Krieg & Gaige racks up a total of six. I played as Zer0, a stealthy sniper on my first playthrough. On my second playthrough, I played as Salvador, a trigger-happy one man army.
A selective character has a unique special ability. Zer0 can turn invisible and create a holographic decoy giving him a deadly advantage. Axton can summon a turret by taking down a number of baddies. Maya traps enemies with a glowing sphere. Salvador enters duel wield mode going guns-a-blazing on his foes. Krieg enters rage mode slicing his foes one by one with his axe. Gaige summons her robotic bodyguard fighting many opponents together.
Customization gives you a ton of cosmetics options for your character.
Skill Tree displays three categories. As you upgrade, your character acquires enhanced perks his/her special ability, increasing combat damage and defensive capabilities. You can reset your skills for a fee. Spend them wisely.
The game is filled with numerous pop culture references. If you’re a pure pop culture buff, you’re gonna laugh.
Many enemies will stand in your way such as normal or mutated bandits, wildlife, robots, aliens among many other types.
Boss Fights are fun. The final boss is so intense I had to level up.
As you may know, Claptrap is the series’ mascot.
Handsome Jack serves as the main antagonist. His backstory is explored in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
New characters including Tiny Tina, Ellie & Sir Hammerlock are quirky yet interesting individuals.
Vault Hunters from the first game factor in the main story as non-playable characters. Secondary characters from the last game also make their return aiding you on your journey.
Every single character isn’t boring at all.
Gearbox Software responded to the criticism of the first game lacking a cohesive narrative. The company responded back by giving us gamers an entertaining story immersing ourselves in a living and breathing franchise.
Side Quests are a ton of fun. When you conquer a quest, you are given a better gun or shield.
Once you complete the main story, “New Game Plus” allows you to replay the game which is more difficult, but worth a challenge collecting better loot and guns giving you additional hours. Don’t worry, your current level will stay.
If you own all DLC, each one is worth wasting your spare time.
Main Story’s final mission sets up the third game.
The Heavy’s “How You Like Me Now” is played during The End Credits. The song was also featured in “The Fighter,” “This Means War” & “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.”
Cons: There’s no negative issues. I’m giving Gearbox Software an Extra Point for making a flawless game as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
From my point of view, Borderlands 2 remains as my personal favorite game from the series. All the pros I’ve listed, indicates why Borderlands 2 is arguably the best installment. If you want to refresh your memory before Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands and the upcoming film, I strongly recommend all the released games.