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Borderlands 2

By Merc04-12-2012
Leigh Cobb (editor)
NeonAnderson (editor)
Borderlands 2

The Defence

Gearbox Software
2K Games
Shooter, Action, Role Playing
Release Date:
US 18-09-2012
EU 21-09-2012

The Prosecution

Intel 2.3 GHz Quad Core
AMD equivalent
Nvidia GeForce GTX 560
AMD Radeon HD 5850
2 GB
20 GB

The Case


Borderlands 2 is a sequel to the surprising hit that the first game was. It mixes gameplay elements from various genres, including first person shooters, action RPGs and a sprinkle of MMOs. Gearbox Studios uses humour, co-op, and a “bazillion” guns to keep the player engaged until the sun comes up.

The Trial


Gamers can be obsessive people, and some games tap directly into our compulsive nature. Borderlands 2 is one of those games where I would continuously say, “I should go to sleep, but I can do just one more mission”. Before you know it you will have to get at least some sleep before you have to wake up for work. This has something for many different types of gamers, and if you like all the genres combined you will be in for a treat. You will not be playing alone either. Up to four of your friends can help you loot every inch of Pandora, the planet in which the game takes place.

He who slays the Badass shall have his name commemorated for all eternity

He who slays the Badass shall have his name commemorated for all eternity

Borderlands 2 takes place five years after the first game, and things have changed on the planet of Pandora. Handsome Jack has taken over the planet, and is the head of Hyperion Corporation. He is essentially a ruthless dictator that has taken the spotlight for the actions of the previous vault hunters. The 4 vault hunters from the first game do make a return, but are part of the story rather than being playable. The people of Pandora should not fear however, because four more heroes are on their way to defeat Handsome Jack.

Every playable class in Borderlands 2 feels unique, and can contribute something to a full party of players. There are plenty of options within each class, and you are given three different skill trees to choose from. Each tree serves a specific purpose, and you have to choose your build depending on the role you would like to fulfill. If your are playing alone you may have a different build than with a full party. There are 50 levels to achieve, and you will certainly want to play through the game twice. If you are the aforementioned obsessive gamer you will love the badass points system. These are achieved by completing in game challenges that will give you stat boosts that carry across multiple characters.

Axton is the soldier class that can throw a turret that can dominate the battlefield and aid your buddies. Maya is the siren and can “phase lock” enemies which essentially roots them in place, and then everyone can blast their face off. She can also spec herself into a healer which is nice to have when things get rough. Salvador is the crazy little Gunzerker, but don't let his stature fool you! Salvador can enter a rage, and dual wield any two weapons in the game. Now thats some serious firepower. Zer0 is the assassin, and can cause devastation from afar or up close and personal with a katana to the back. Zer0 can be nice to have on a team because he can become invisible and run about freely. Each class has their strengths and weaknesses. Gearbox did an excellent job at making each class feel unique, balanced, and fun to play.

Your rocketlauncher against my pistol? It's a deal.

Your rocketlauncher against my pistol? It's a deal

Each of the classes brings something different to the battlefield, and when all four are together they are a forced to be reckoned with. None of the classes feel better than the other, and the abilities complement each other. Borderlands 2 is naturally better to play with three of your friends, but it still holds up quite well as a single player experience. Some of the classes are not as fun to play by yourself, but nothing that makes it unplayable. Playing as Zero is kind of difficult alone because he specializes in sniper rifles and melee attacks. So he is more vulnerable in a single player game.

During the dozens of hours spent playing Borderlands 2, you will shoot and blow up thousands of enemies. Thank God Gearbox made the shooting and general gameplay so wonderful. You start out the game only able to have two weapons equipped at any one time, but by the end of the game you will be able to have four equipped. During the course of the game you will find hundreds of guns, grenades, shields, and character boosters. Gearbox has a complex loot system in place to make the guns and other weapons/equipment feel unique. If you are a gamer who has to find everything, there are plenty of secrets to find and weird guns to acquire.

The gameplay is a medley of lead flying, grenades exploding, special abilities going off, and blood everywhere. Chaos has never been this much fun! Each type of gun feels unique, and can make the difference on the battlefield. There are also four main elements that each gun and grenade can have attributed to them. There is acid, electricity, fire, and slag. It is a site to see when a grenade goes off, soaking enemies in acid, and then a rocket splattering them into oblivion. When you have a full party it is even more crazy, but the good kind of crazy.

Their parents always were original when it came to names

Their parents always were original when it came to names

Sanctuary is the main town in the game, but you will visit other places. It is usually a nice break from the action, and you can take care of any business you have while you are there. You can buy guns, ammo, shields, upgrades, or change your characters appearance while in town. There is a handy dandy bulletin board in town that will give you some side quests, and most of the main story missions start there. You can fast travel to your destination or drive there. The driving in Borderlands 2 is awkward with mouse and keyboard and works better on a controller. The rest of Pandora feels much more alive than the first game. It is not just one color palette, or landscape. You will visit lush grasslands, deserts, and frost bitten tundra. These are just some of the places you will find yourself in, and they look outstanding. Graphically, the game is a treat for the senses. It has a stylized look, but without being too cartoonish. The PC was not forgotten this time around, as we are given a multitude of options. If you have a rig that can run PhysX, Borderlands 2 looks amazing with it turned on high. My GPU is a 670 and I could run everything turned all the way up including PhysX. It was not running at 60 fps at all moments, but it always looked amazing.

The story in Borderlands 2 is much better than the first game, and has satisfying boss fights including the end boss (thank God). The story gives you an excuse to go around complete objectives, but the humour makes the game stand out from others. Borderlands 2 is hilarious, and actually made me laugh aloud more than in most games. Insane characters are everywhere in Pandora, and you can never predict what will come out of their mouth. There are tons of great boss fight in the game compared to Borderlands 1, and you will be rewarded for annihilating them. You can even go back and grind certain bosses to obtain specific weapons from them. Not every story beat is successful in the game, but there is so much to do it barely matters. It is all about the loot anyway!

Pyrotechnics. Now affordable for all.

Pyrotechnics. Now affordable for all.

Even though Borderlands 2 has improved on everything the first game was lacking, there are some small annoyances. The menu system makes most things easy to access, you can look at your skills and allot points, track missions, compare loot, and check what challenges you have completed. It is unfortunate that the menu system is not always streamlined. To look at your map you hit m on the keyboard, and I naturally hit m to exit. The only problem is that it does not work because you have to hit escape. There are many instances where it felt like they should have made it easier to navigate the menu. Comparing items should have been easier, but it works well enough. When you are in-game the current mission that you are tracking is under the map in the right corner of the screen, but you can only track one mission at a time. It lead to frustration because many times I would miss an objective because it was not tracked and I had to backtrack to accomplish the task.

The Verdict


Borderlands 2 is one of my favorite games of 2012 despite any small issues I had with the game. I played it through two times with Axton and almost once with Zer0. Borderlands 2 taps into what I love about games, and kept me wanting more. Grab three of your closest friends and start looting and pillaging Pandora.

Case Review

  • Loot galore: There are so many different guns and other pieces of equipment, you will search high and low for new gear.
  • Co-op pillaging: Playing with friends makes a great game even better, and the classes complement each other.
  • Graphics are delicious: The game looks great, from exploding enemies into chunks to grand vistas. PhysX actually is good in this game if you can run it.
  • Improved menus: The menus are much better than the first game, but are not always as intuitive as they should be.
  • Driving me crazy: The driving is less than optimal, and leads to frustration on more than one occasion.
Score: 4/5
Gearbox Studios uses humour, co-op, and a “bazillion” guns to keep the player engaged until the sun comes up
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