Review: Borderlands 2

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 by angelee. Filed under: Game Review.

Borderlands2Handsome Jack is back, has taken over the Hyperion Corporation, basically declared himself dictator of the entire planet, and now he’s trying to kill you.

Fortunately, strewn around the landscape of Pandora, like trampled paper cups after a music festival, are guns with which to defend yourself.  In case you hadn’t realised, that’s a lot of guns.

Borderlands 2 gives players more of the same run, gun and loot action that its predecessor did, except bigger and better.

For the uninitiated, the general flow of Borderlands 2 runs something like this: select class; receive a mission; kill things; get loot; complete mission; gain experience; improve character; repeat.  Got that? Right.

Now insert the words “acquire guns” after each semicolon.  The variety of ways in which to deal death and destruction unto your enemies in Borderlands 2 is astonishing, not to mention addictive, and is driven by the ability to complete achievements called ‘Badass ranks’ and acquire ‘Badass tokens’ with which to upgrade your character.

Now, that’s entertaining. And badass.

Graphically, Borderlands 2 is all about its distinctive comic strip-style backgrounds – it’s not  going for CoD realism or Skyrim pretty, and the game as a whole benefits from deference to Infinity Ward’s and Bethesda’s styles.

The sound is great, with plenty of pleasing gun pops and explosions accompanied by appropriate audio cues to notify you of incoming danger or the unfortunate passing of a psycho or giant gorilla-like bullymong.

Best of all, Borderlands 2 has absolutely nailed the voice acting, with characters that actually sound scared when they’re supposed to be scared, mad when they’re supposed to be mad – just all-round believable. In a time where some truly excellent games have been let down by average or substandard voice acting (Guild Wars 2, I’m looking at you), it’s nice not to cringe at the NPCs yammering in your ear for once.

All of this passes without mentioning the outstanding co-op multiplayer, which is simple to get into on both consoles and PCs and is ten times as rewarding and enjoyable as the single-player mode.  Gearbox have taken the original Borderlands, tweaked it, polished it and made it a more-rounded piece of software. And added more guns.

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