Borderlands 2

By: Zach (crunchyflies) 9/19/2012

Players: 1-4 Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC Developer: Gearbox Publisher: 2K Games Genre: Shooter/RPG

Borderlands' vast array of weapons and fun co-op play was what made it fun and exciting. But its generic firefights and setting held it back from becoming more than just a fun replacement for left for dead. In Borderlands 2 the level of improvement done to the game is outstanding. Simple, boring AI may have plagued the original game, but in Borderlands 2 the combat is fresh and enjoyable. The many different enemies that you'll face throughout the game will have you changing your strategies on the fly, and at times calling in friends for help.

The co-op play found in the original game was what made it such a big hit. Traveling through Pandora's wasteland and fighting big boss battles with your friends was fun and exciting, but in Borderlands 2 you'll likely to spend more time online than anywhere else. Taking on entire enemy bases with your friends can lead to some intense firefights and, since each class has their own unique abilities, no two are the same.

The 4 new classes at your disposal may just be glorified versions of the originals, but new skills and abilities keep them feeling fresh till the very end. Playing as Zero, the robotic assassin, will have you cloaking into the battlefield, backstabbing enemies and pulling out before they even knew you were there.

With each class being so unique, with their own branching skill trees and abilities, your play through can be wildly different from mine. My Zero, a master of the sword and cloak, made it easy to sneak in and out without being detected. Another play through had me sniping from a mountain top, picking each bandit off one by one.

If you played Borderlands than you remember how much loot there was to find in the world. From a pistol that melted its target, to a shotgun that shot rockets, and to the infamous LOLOL Cannon that shot exploding light. In Borderlands 2 the guns go beyond just bullets; imagine if that pistol still melted its target but instead of reloading you could throw it like a grenade and watch the fireworks.

Gun manufactures in Borderlands 2 is a way that Gearbox gives you that vast array of guns. Each manufacture focuses on a certain type of weapon, giving them a distinct look and feel. For example Maliwan weapons deal elemental damage, Jakob brands have a western style, and Hyperion weapons get better the longer you hold the trigger. Having gun manufactures focus on a specific class of weapon, gives players a sense of what best suits them.

But it isn't just the guns that get an upgrade, the grenades, shields, and characters get them too. Shields now have specific attributes aside from the boring shield boosts, and grenades deal elemental damage and have statistics like fuse time and blast radius. Character mods are now much broader in what skills they provide; giving you an XP boost for kills, or providing greater damage to specific guns.

Borderlands' story and setting wasn't the strongest it could've been and the vault hunters you played as never offered much dialogue aside from a few one-liners. Borderlands 2 provides a much improved story; taking place 5 years after the first game, Handsome Jack, dictator of Pandora, has taken credit for the discovery of the Vault. The vault hunters of the first game now lead a resistance and need you to help them bring Jack down.

The cast of the original are now fully voiced and offer a slew of interesting dialogue that fans will love. The writing is hilarious, keeping me laughing though out the entire game, but if you want the best you'll have to play the many side quests in the game.

The side quests in the game are fantastic, rarely becoming boring fetch quests; they provide a fun escape from the main story, even giving nodes to the first game. Characters are now fully voiced and what they have to say will never have you wanting to skip thru it all.

Offering much improvement over the first game Borderlands 2 will keep you playing for hours and hours on end. If you were a fan of the first or just looking for some fun co-op Borderlands 2 has you covered.