Back in 2009 a relatively small developer named Gearbox announced that they'd be releasing a game called Borderlands. No one really knew what to expect. I know I didn't. I remember hearing about the game all that year and I didn't want to get too hyped up, just to be disappointed. But I was pleasantly surprised by the final game, a very addictive loot-based shooter. Wow, I never thought I'd ever say that. Why? Well because those two really don't go hand in hand. Luckily, Gearbox found a way to melt down what makes both Halo and Diablo so successful. You had the polished first person shooter game play of Bungie's baby, and the incredible sense of wonder while you're looting creatures like Blizzard's game Diablo.
So with a game so good, it wasn't a surprise that Gearbox decided to develop another entry in the Borderlands series. One of the first game's faults was that the areas were too bland- you were literally stuck in a desert the whole entire time. Luckily that issue is resolved in the second game. There's plenty of varied terrain to blast away bugs, skags and general psychopaths. We also got a slew of all new playable characters.
In the first game you had four very different and outlandish classes to play as. This one is no different. The only class that plays radically differently is the Assassin class, also known as Zer0. What makes him different is the fact that his melee attacks are generally useful. I went with this specialization throughout the game, and it was very different to play as a guy who's meant to slice and dice rather than use one of the bajillion guns in the game.
Actually, that's one of the game's many strong points: the vast array of weapons. Most of the time you'll find some common trashy ones but sometimes you'll catch a break and pick up something truly amazing. At one point I had a gun that talked back to me every time I reloaded or zoomed in. Yeah, sure, eventually it got a little old but I couldn't help but chuckle every time he said something off the wall.
If you played the first one, then of course you'll recognize the outlandish sense of humor. In fact, I think it's possibly one of the funniest video games ever made. The main adversary Handsome Jack is deviously hilarious with his off-putting sense of destruction. He makes for a way better bad guy than in the previous game. Every time I saw him pop up on the top right of my screen I knew there was going to be something worth listening to.
Not everything is perfect. There are some really, really mundane missions. There definitely could have been a little bit more variety when it came to quests at hand. You'll fight through an area, come to a big open spot and you'll no doubt be encountering the boss of that area. Sure, the boss might have something humorous about him but when every other quest is a kill mission you might expect a little bit more of a unique way to get to him.
That's another gripe I had with this game: the traveling system. With such a big game space to play in, I would have thought they would try and polish the driving mechanics in this game. Though not terrible, the vehicles seem to always be driving with soap-covered wheels. It's just not responsive enough for such a polished game- the only change that they've given them is that they're able to use an emergency break which in many cases just leads to more problems. That's one of the gripes I had with the first game but there were minimal changes to it with this sequel. Luckily, you won't find yourself in any vigorous vehicle missions.
Finally, I need to touch upon the amazing cooperative mode. This game is truly made to be played with your friends on PlayStation Network or Xbox Live. Sure, it's fun to just blast around with random people but if you actually know the guys you're playing with you won't have to worry about random jerks stealing all your loot. I just wish they had some sort of loot based system like some of the Massively Mutliplayer games out there. Maybe a need before greed loot system or something. Other than that, the multiplayer is great and was essentially lag free every time I loaded it up.
If you're only going to get a couple of games this year, I would highly recommended picking up Borderlands 2. It's well worth the price tag, and you'll have endless amounts of fun destroying baddies and looting the many interesting weapons in the game. There are plenty more triple-A titles coming out this year but if you want a for sure thing right now, pick up Gearbox's latest. You'll be making the right decision.