Game Review: Borderlands 2

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I’ve already pushed more than 100 hours playing Borderlands 2. I’m mid way in the second playthrough and wanted to post a quick review before I start playing again and get to playthrough 2.5 (I haven’t played since before my trip to London).

Generally speaking, Borderlands 2 is a great game and overall it’s better than the first Borderlands, in my humble opinion. Despite using the same game engine, the comicbook look has been improved, mostly I think due to a better texture work (the classic dark ink lines are now featured more prominently in the textures themselves and not only in shape borders). The game runs much more fluidly on the same system compared to Borderlands 1. It’s also clear the PC port was done properly and the game even features a FOV slider.

Gameplay wise, controls feel great and the game is as fun as ever. For those of you who don’t know Borderlands, it’s a shooter with RPG elements where the main attractions are the colorful visuals, the looting and leveling and, above everything, the procedurally and randomly generated weapons that players like to collect (a gazillion weapons, as the slogan reads). Every rough gameplay aspect from the first game has been fixed, polished and refined. For example, the weapon level damage scaling is better in my opinion, and the money system has been scaled down so you don’t easily reach the point of overflowing the money digits.

To get this out of the way as quickly as possible, I highly recommend Borderlands 2 with the following scores:

  • Gameplay: 9

  • Technical aspects: 9

  • Overall: 9

Now, just in case we see a Borderlands 3, I’d like to point out the minor details I didn’t like and would gladly see changed.

First, while Borderlands 2 has some very funny moments and preserves most of the game humor from the first game, I feel it’s been toned down a bit and it’s less goofy, and some semi-dramatic moments have been introduced. I liked the comedy tone of the first game better.

Second, gameplay has been made a bit more complicated with more elements here and there and I don’t think tracking so many aspects was a real improvement. For example, I didn’t quite like the introduction of Eridium to buy more ammo capacity or inventory slots, and would have preferred a mechanism based on a single currency.

Third, artifacts are now displayed from the inventory screen even if they affect the skill tree, and seem to have more overlapped features with class mods.

The badass rank mechanism is just too complicated for what it does. I preferred the old way of using weapons to improve efficiency with each of them, and welcomed unifying revolvers and pistols. I get they needed something different to apply the improvements to all your characters, but still… navigating the ranks, finding objectives and doing everything is too time-consuming.

Finally, I didn’t quite like the monetization strategy on the game and taking some treasure-hunting aspects to the real world (the most prominent example being the golden keys). The game itself feels like a complete experience, yet they’re releasing much more content through DLC packs than ever. I don’t like the sensation of missing an extra character skin or head because it has to be bought.

Anyway, none of these faults diminish the game value and I totally recommend giving it a try.

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