Borderlands 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to the sleeper hit of 2009, Borderlands, developed by GearBox Software.
The original Borderlands initially flew under many people’s radar as 2009 was a year that saw the pending release of heavy hitters such as Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Left 4 Dead 2, Assassins Creed 2 and, Call of Duty 2 (A-lot of “twos” that year).
There was also a game that was similar in setting, and to some degree game play, that many wanted to get their hands on announced a year prior. That game was called Rage. It didn’t help GearBox Software’s cause that the developer of Rage was the same developer many accredit for the birth of the modern first person shooter genre, ID Software headed by John Carmack.
The fact that Rage showcased stunning visuals, and AI that was intelligent enough not to just stand around, and just be bullet sponges was enough to make many want the game in their hands as soon as possible. But to be honest we at TechReaction.net, even though joining the Rage bandwagon, did keep our eyes out for Borderlands as the earlier trailers for Borderlands, and game demos caught our attention. Take a look below to see why.
Sometime later GearBox announced that they were changing the game’s visuals to cell shading. This actually turned us off to the game, and it eventually fell off our radar until its release.While we did play the original game it didn’t really register with us as being something we would want to continue playing. Thankfully for GearBox our feelings for the game seemed to be among the minority.
The game was a surprising hit with players, critics, and analysts. It instantly became a fan favorite, and had people wanting more. Couple that with the less then well expected reception of Rage when it was released in 2011, Borderlands became something to pay attention to.
With the huge success, GearBox had a lot expected from them for the sequel, and they delivered with Borderlands 2 on September of this year. Many of the issues players had with the first game were addressed in the second, and the game has won many awards. It even eclipsed sales of the first Borderlands by almost 4 to 1. Over five million units of the game have been shipped, and that is not counting the digital sales of the game which we we are guessing are quite high just going off player comments about the game on numerous sites.
Today we have the pleasure of sharing with you our take on Borderlands 2.
Ok you’re probably wondering why we are doing a review for the game NOW since it was released almost three months ago, and has been covered from head to toe by almost every recognized gaming publication known to planet Earth. Well there are a few reasons for our extreme tardiness.
For one we didn’t receive our review copy until the end of October…”Yea but its December..WTF took you guys so long?!?” Ok that leads us to our second excuse. We kinda got bogged down with other reviews, and only now had a chance to give the game a fair look. We could of easily just have not posted a review at all, but we felt we should as the game is definitely something many gamers would enjoy.
The game picks up about five years after the events of the first Borderlands. If you never played the original Borderlands the introduction sequence will provide you with a short summary of what transpired. Speaking of the introduction sequence, in our opinion it is possibly one of the best intro scenes for a game we have seen in a long time. The inclusion of The Heavy’s “Short Change Hero” being used as the title theme song just reinforces our assumption. You know what? Instead of making you read through what the game is all about just take a look at the intro sequence. You’ll pretty much get the idea.
After the intro sequence you are prompted to choose one of five characters, or classes as the game calls them. The game originally launched with four playable classes, but has since added an additional class bringing the total to five. Although each class can use any of the game’s firearms pretty much with equal effectiveness, it’s their special skills, or Action Skills, which makes them differ from one another. Below is a list of the five playable classes, and a brief description of what each brings to the table:
Axton is your run of the mill soldier class character with the ability to deploy a sentry turret to lay waste to enemies. His turret can be upgraded to allow for extra abilities some of which include being to generate a one way shield, to shoot rockets, and have more then one turret deployed at once.
With all this Axton, to us, is a great support class able to do some serious crowd support. In our opinion He’s probably the easiest class to learn to play effectively if you are new to the Borderlands games, but this is just our opinion.
Sirens are beings who can use what is called Phase powers. Apparently there can only be six Sirens in existence at a time in the Universe, and to date Sirens have all been reported to be female. Each Siren has her own unique Phase ability. Maya’s ability is called Phaselock.This power can immobilize, and suspend an enemy in the air for a short amount of time making them vulnerable to attack. Her Phaselock also grants her some individual, and group healing capabilities making her an excellent medic class with some crowd support attributes. As is the case with medics in general Maya is not the most durable character in the group. As such we wouldn’t advise you going all guns blazing with her.
Salvador is the tank of the group with high potential for dps damage. His special ability is Gunzerking which allows him to use two guns at once. His ability also gives him health regen so he is extremely effective in being on the front lines, and mowing down enemies. The only draw back to Sal is that he isn’t the quickest dude on the battlefield, but again who needs to move quick when you are laying waste to enemies continuously, and have a high tolerance for pain.
Now Zer0 is the assassin of the bunch. His special ability allows him to deploy a holographic double of himself while at the same time turn himself invisible. With the combination of a holographic doppelganger making the enemies attack it instead of him, and the fact he turns invisible, Zer0 is the idea character for stealth kills. Zer0 also is the only character that wields a sword as a melee weapon. To us he is the best melee dealing character in the game. Like Maya however Zer0 is not the most durable character, and as such don’t think you can just go in all swing happy into battle and expect to make it out alive.
Gaige is the newest member of the crew, and she brings with her Deathtrap as her trademark talent. Deathtrap is a hoving robot that serves up slashing melee death to any enemy it sees. Deathtrap can also be upgraded to restore downed shields to yourself, and allies along with some other useful upgrades. In regards to Gaige herself we equipped her with a sniper rifle when we played, and she dealt some serious hurt. All around Gaige is a fun class to play, and we’d probably recommend her more as a support toon given Deathtrap’s ability to restore shields. However she can be speced to do great up close and personal damage so it really depends on what your tastes are.
We’ll give you a more indept look at how to level up your character’s skills later on in the review