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Borderlands 2

Developer: Gearbox Software Publisher: 2K Games
18 September 2012
Borderlands 2 - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.38 / 5.0
0.5
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1,988 Ratings / 3 Reviews
#1,047 All-time
#41 for 2012
Pandora is under attack from Handsome Jack. The Crimson Raiders have led the resistance against his rule, but without help their days are numbered. Luckily, four new Vault Hunters agree to assist them in their fight to save Pandora.
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2012 Gearbox Blind Squirrel  
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Title
Borderlands 2 is built upon the age-old axiom that if you throw enough money at a good idea it will become an even better one. And the original Borderlands was most definitely a good idea.

Borderlands may have been about loot, but its sequel is about more. Watching each crate mechanically unfold and seductively present its contents still drives the game forward, but Gearbox Software now surrounds the loot-a-thon with a more colorful world, ingenious combat, and what is easily the funniest, cleverest script to grace a game since Portal 2.

The first Borderlands was built upon the very simple concept of making a Diablo-esque RPG within a skill-based first-person shooter. The appeal of such a pairing goes far beyond acquiring loot in the form of randomly generative shields, grenades, buffs, and possibly more weapons than every other first-person shooter combined (we still have our mathematical hamsters crunching the numbers).

But what I love about Borderlands isn't the loot addiction. It's that such a system is used to turn the modern shooter on its head. Yes, Borderlands controls and feels nearly identical to Call of Duty. However, the game frequently demands you relearn the genre and discover new strategies for success. Nearly every weapon and enemy makes you approach the game in a different way.

Some guns will become more accurate the longer you hold down the trigger. Others can be thrown when you empty a clip, and they'll fly through the air, chasing enemies like a phantom shotgun. Some enemies will evolve into more difficult forms if you don't kill them fast enough. Others will pop out of treasure boxes and whoop your ass so bad you'll wish you left them closed. Pandora is a wild world where you never know what you'll find next, so it's a good thing you have some familiar faces by your side.

I completed the first Borderlands but can't tell you much about the story. I know where it begins and ends, and I also know I didn't follow the rest out of disinterest. But if the visuals and combat of Borderlands 2 are a sensible step forward, the improvements in narrative and writing is a stuntman jumping over the world's longest chasm. Borderlands 2's story is so good that it fools you into thinking the first wasn't so bad. Rather than brushing off the first game, this sequel owns it and carries on the most beloved elements from it: the world of Pandora, the four heroes, and their foul-mouthed, incompetent robot friend Claptrap. Though the heroes are now relegated to being side characters, they feel more fleshed out -- strangely more than the new playable heroes that fill in during their absence.

Just as it's hard to separate writer Eric Wolpaw from Portal, it is hard to look past Anthony Burch's (Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'?) writing voice and influence all throughout this game. Burch brings us Handsome Jack, who will go down as one of the greatest videogame villains of all time. He has the Joker's indifferent, chaotic attitude and Tony Stark's cool, sarcastic personality, and he's a hellbent jerk who often brings to mind Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element. He's just cruel and twisted enough for you to hate him yet still manages to walk that thin line of being lovable in a GLaDOS kind-of-way. He makes the game special, but he's not the only one who does so.

Almost every quest giver and NPC has their golden line of comedic dialogue, if not more. The proud, rotund mechanic Ellie, gentleman explorer Sir Hammerlock, and Handsome Jack are all likely to appear in a best characters of 2012 list. Some will hold a special place in the hearts of players more than others -- foul-mouthed redneck Scooter is a bit of a cliche, and 13-year-old psychopath Tiny Tina (voiced by Anthony's sister Ashly) is kind of obnoxious, but even they have some great lines. Don't worry: Claptrap still has the best lines of all ("Your ability to walk short distances without dying will be Handsome Jack’s demise!"), and you'll miss him whenever he's not tagging along on a mission.

Unlike the first Borderlands, the great humor isn't limited to the characters. The missions contain the funniest parts of the game, often filled with subtle details and punchlines that will make you laugh out loud. In one mission, which has to be a contender for the shortest mission to ever grace an RPG, a guy begs you to shoot him in the face, so you do and immediately receive a reward. From throwing Claptrap the most awkward birthday party ever (poor guy!) to delivering pizza to some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wannabes, Borderlands 2's offbeat humor has a way of making the forgettable side missions into memorable plot lines. Some side missions will even ask you to solve a mystery or riddle, offering a change of pace from spamming bullets at things.

I played the majority of the game solo, and only twice did I have to complete a side missions for additional leveling. Borderlands 2 only has one difficulty setting -- excluding the "new game plus" feature which raises the stakes -- but it's one of the most well-balanced shooters I've played in some time, which is something of a miracle when you consider all the random variables at play. However, that's just my experience. Maybe I'm just good, maybe I just picked the right class (Siren), or maybe I just got really lucky with loot. One thing's for sure: Borderlands 2 is no cake walk, and there is no shame in getting help online. Unfortunately, that doesn't always work as it should.

In addition to experiencing minor lag in some matches, the co-op in Borderlands 2 is unbalanced when you don't play with people the same level. Enemies and loot will be set to the host's current level, which makes for a fruitless affair for higher-level characters and a miserable time for lower-level characters. Unless you are just there to have fun with your friends, it's hard to see why someone would play online with players of varying levels. As a level 18 player helping level 13 players, I only earned 1 XP for each enemy killed and all the loot was old junk. You'll want to start the game with a posse or at least seek out same-level players.

In many respects, the game can be just as unbalanced solo. You'll struggle to kill some of the hardest enemies in the game, which only give you a few XP. Meanwhile, you can acquire major XP from easier enemies elsewhere. What's most frustrating is that the game doesn't level-up enemies alongside you, so going back to past areas often feels like cheating. It's almost comical to jump around with armor that kills enemies just by their striking you, while you kill almost anything with a single shot from a pistol. Meanwhile, other areas become populated with higher-level creatures, so it feels like something is missing. Maybe DLC will repopulate these areas with tougher foes, but that doesn't excuse such an oversight.

While the main story is compelling, the main missions are a bit trite. They all boil down to destroying "all the things," reserving any creativity to the side missions. For a world brimming with so much character, I expected Gearbox to aim higher in its mission design. As much as I loathe the cliche turret and vehicle mission in first-person shooters, it'd at least give Borderlands 2 some much needed variety. Instead, turrets are rare and incredibly weak, while vehicles are used merely for getting from A to B in large areas. Endlessly shooting things still makes a great time, but it does get old after a while, and make no mistake, you will be shooting for a long, long while.

Pandora's new gang of four each play similar roles to those of the first game, but there is now enough customization to set them apart. The tech tree in Borderlands 2 is more fleshed out, letting players lean on defense, offense, or buffs. I'm disappointed that each character only has one main ability, but at least there are dozens of ways to modify it. You can also now customize your character's face and body with collectible skins. You can't make your Siren morbidly obese, but you'll at least stand out from others online.

Everything from the menus to the controls have been improved, but some nagging issues from the previous game remain. A mini-map makes navigation easier, though not easy enough. The waypoints often misguide you, some of the mission hubs are so vast that you won't know whether your objective is below or above, and it's almost always a long trek between the two. The game could also stand to be more generous with its fast travel system -- the kiosks are far and few between, which makes for many long walks, and you'll pray for death if your vehicle ever breaks down.

PC players will be happy to know that the game comes with some great customization options and looks stunning with settings maxed out. I was able to run the game at a very smooth framerate, despite having everything turned up high. The UI and controls are much kinder to keyboard/mouse players than they were the first time around. Due to hand cramps, I switched between keyboard and controller but preferred the added accuracy and shortcuts that the keyboard/mouse combo offer. My only complaint is that there is no offline co-op, but that has more to do with Steam than Gearbox.

Borderlands 2 is about 30 hours long (40+ if you want to complete all the side missions), and the above issues hardly detracted from my time with the game. I love doing tricky Crackdown-like jumps to acquire hidden chests, miraculously killing a boss while I'm downed on the ground, and opening a toilet to discover my new favorite rifle.

If you are up for a good laugh while shooting things in the face, Borderlands 2 is a worthy game to add to your collection. Soon enough, you'll see numbers popping above people's heads in real life and will feel compelled to search every Porta Potty on the street for cash.
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SUPER_Lonely_Panda 2016-04-06T01:18:51Z
2016-04-06T01:18:51Z
4.5
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joao_canoa 2022-07-04T16:21:48Z
2022-07-04T16:21:48Z
4.0
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Guns are fun, not funny
This game was funny when I was younger, it is not a game that adults should take seriously. The guns are pretty fun though
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headsoftyphon 2021-08-10T19:24:38Z
2021-08-10T19:24:38Z
2.5
1
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confusing
found it confusing, apposed to other people here i actually found the writing funny
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Keryis 2021-05-08T12:17:08Z
2021-05-08T12:17:08Z
3.5
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far better than its predecessor, although not saying much. the gameplay is far better, although the game still struggles to find a good direction with its story. the humor is pretty awfully written, but certain areas of the game were super fun to go through.

the sidequests were something i gave up on very quickly throughout my latest playthrough, as they just ended up being boring with little reward to them. i thought sidequests would open more sidequests, although this was only if it was multiple parts.

if the stories to most of the characters didn't feel rather inaccessible and stuck behind odd locations and questing, i'd probably enjoy it more. unfortunately, i really wasn't infatuated enough with any of the writing to stick with it.

along with this; this game seriously has the most boring heroes and the most interesting villains. every good guy in the game feels so generic and much of the "badass cool guy" type, whereas all the villains feel like there's some weird fucked up stories to them. the main story was all i ended up caring about near the end of the game though, as the sidequests took too long to really chug through.

worth your time if you love grinding games and FPSes with fun gunplay. not recommended if you're looking for something strong on the story. this game really rides by on your playtime by how much you get from just gameplay alone, of which i got just about almost all of it from that.

not gonna forget either; this game is about 7 years old now, yes? i've softlocked in areas at least a few times and was stuck in particular, the Wildlife Exploitation Reserve for 45 minutes because i thought i had to climb up the walls a certain way. turns out the door for the front wasn't opening since i wasn't standing directly in front of it for 15 seconds straight. the bugs are still there, in not a good way.

i'm excited to go replay pre-sequel as i remember the writing in that game being far better and pretty much just this game but, yet again, better. maybe my memory isn't serving well, but i'll have to find out.
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kaibo 2019-11-18T07:10:53Z
2019-11-18T07:10:53Z
6+ /10
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Before they ported Diablo 3 to consoles there was this game. It's basically a controller-variant ARPG loot grinder, despite the first-person trappings.
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MoaM 2018-04-24T19:35:07Z
2018-04-24T19:35:07Z
4.0
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Catalog

CoolestManOnTheBlock Borderlands 2 2022-08-13T16:11:10Z
2022-08-13T16:11:10Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
stealmycorpse Borderlands 2 2022-08-13T09:48:14Z
2022-08-13T09:48:14Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
hanl3po Borderlands 2 2022-08-13T02:03:01Z
2022-08-13T02:03:01Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
joiner Borderlands 2 2022-08-12T23:53:47Z
2022-08-12T23:53:47Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
LETSPERISH Borderlands 2 2022-08-12T20:50:56Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2022-08-12T20:50:56Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Sreejan Borderlands 2 2022-08-12T18:26:25Z
2022-08-12T18:26:25Z
1.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
lmaobox Borderlands 2 2022-08-12T16:56:50Z
2022-08-12T16:56:50Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Slight86 Borderlands 2 2022-08-11T05:53:21Z
2022-08-11T05:53:21Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
aisatsana102 Borderlands 2 2022-08-10T21:02:17Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2022-08-10T21:02:17Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ParadoxRedux Borderlands 2 2022-08-07T17:25:40Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2022-08-07T17:25:40Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Brock5575 Borderlands 2 2022-08-07T14:29:43Z
2022-08-07T14:29:43Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
allisTRAGEDY Borderlands 2 2022-08-07T11:01:24Z
2022-08-07T11:01:24Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  

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  • Previous comments (28) Loading...
  • AudreyBelrose 2021-10-11 21:48:44.794215+00
    gaige goated
    reply
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  • WhittlHeccy 2021-10-13 18:21:23.399179+00
    If you can’t take heat... MAKE KITCHEN
    reply
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  • DavidthePearce 2022-02-14 22:11:04.773454+00
    everyone's so preoccupied with complaining about the writing nobody has mentioned how trash all the guns feel and how poorly the visuals have aged.
    reply
    • synden 2022-03-20 14:10:25.906685+00
      true this game's gunplay is boring af was really quite bored throughout
    • AidanAlva 2022-03-23 04:37:35.72945+00
      Tried revisiting 2 in a BL binge and yeah, somehow Gearbox managed to recede from the quality of gunplay in the first. The manufacturer perks absolutely ruin the guns. No, I don't want a gun that gets more accurate as I shoot, or eats up ammo to make a grenade when I reload, or any of your other dumb shit. I just want a gun that feels good. BL2 has a very hard time grasping that.
    • AidanAlva 2022-03-23 04:41:57.362669+00
      Was absolutely shocked when I picked up BL3 because GBX managed to go from creating some of the worst gunplay I can think of in 2 to hands down the best I've played in 3.
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  • Illogic93 2022-05-03 12:59:21.488961+00
    Why is there so much down time in a looter shooter? You spend so much time running from place to place with fuck all happening, really baffling.
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  • Tytygigas 2022-07-06 06:11:46.252743+00
    I think the gunplay feels shitty up until you upgrade your character more, when you grow into it, this and Pre Sequel are really nice games with some really rewarding gameplay. I also agree that there's a lot of downtime here spent running around doing basically nothing, but the best and most memorable parts are well paced with lots of fun encounters and admittedly clever at times dialogue. Definetly a great game still, if a little dated now. (I think it looks great, especially on PC, but i love cel shaded games)
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  • Circuz 2022-08-01 01:45:45.340068+00
    I still like this game but wow does it get substantially worse in UVHM and when doing raid bosses. They should've just stuck with normal mode, tvhm, and nothing else
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