Borderlands 2 lays a foundation of solid loot shooter gameplay and improves upon the original in many ways. While it lacks the emotional nuance and strategic depth of some games, it’s still a fantastic game to play with friends.
Enemies drop gear that gives you character customization that changes costumes, hairstyles, and accessories. It also improved on the first game’s clunky waypoint system with an MMO-style mini-map and more convenient fast travel kiosks.
What’s so great about Borderlands 2?
If you’re a fan of looter shooters, Borderlands 2 is the one to get. It’s a game that knows its place within the genre and plays it well, offering an overflow of content from its main story to the numerous fetch quests that pepper it throughout its more than 30 hours of gameplay.
These quests take inspiration from MMO games, with a long tail of DLC and timed events to keep players on their toes. And though they’re a bit on the repetitive side, they’re still a lot of fun.
The characters in Borderlands 2 are also a joy to interact with, with Claptrap’s twisted humor on full display and the other vault hunters adding their quirks. Even Handsome Jack, the villain, is a decent adversary, with his taunts and regular phone calls providing the game with a good sense of humor that it didn’t have in the Pre-Sequel. Even the shortest missions are often packed with subtle details that make them a blast to complete.
It’s a great shooter
Aside from its gleefully offbeat humor and genuinely fun weapons, Borderlands 2 also understands how to design great shooters. From the moment you take on your first mission, you’re a player in a great game that knows how to use your guns and lets you feel the full range of power between your build and your skills.
Borderlands 2 builds on everything that made the original great, with tighter campaigns and sharper jokes. It carries the spirit of the vault hunters into its own story of four people hunting down Handsome Jack, the unjustly rich president of Hyperion Corporation who’s ripped off the citizens of Pandora more times than a rack has eaten a skag.
The graphics are still incredibly polished, and the shooting is a joy. Even the little things make it better than its predecessor – like a system that lets you easily mark and sell loot or a fast travel map that’s populated with expansion locations.
It’s a great RPG
The first Borderlands earned its acclaim for merging shooters with loot-based RPGs like Diablo, and Gearbox has tweaked the formula to near perfection in this pinwheeling, high-colour sequel.
Like its predecessor, the game is full of characters, each with a skill tree that can be leveled to unlock new abilities. Maya the Siren, for instance, can phase lock enemies and become a temporary ally; Axton the Commando can deploy turrets and also boost his attack power; Salvador the Gunzerker can dual-wield weapons and Zer0 the Assassin can go invisible or create clones to distract enemies.
Aside from the main story, the game is crammed with dozens of quests and side missions. There are also hundreds of weapons, ammo types, and grenades to collect from enemies, vending machines, carts, and even Porta-Pottys. PC players can tweak the graphics, too, allowing for more draw distance, and Nvidia card users can turn on Physx options for more particle effects and realistic liquid physics.
It’s a great multiplayer
The weapons are still the main draw, and Gearbox has tweaked them so they’re easier to tell apart. But there are plenty of other things to do.
Character customization is more robust than in Borderlands 1. Enemies drop new head and body modifications for your avatar. Usually, these are costume colors or themes, but sometimes they’re unique weapons or emotes.
If you’re into it, you can also work for Badass points, which unlock tiny perks like reload speed and recoil reduction. And if you’ve got the right hardware, you can turn on Physx options to add some extra eye candy and a sense of destructible environments.
Borderlands 2 builds on the wild mash-up of FPS and RPG mechanics that established the series with a riotously entertaining sequel. It’s a great game to play alone or with friends, but it’s even better when you’re sharing the fun and loot. With all of its guns, characters, and worlds to explore, The Handsome Collection is a good way to jump back into this pinwheeling, high-color shooter.