I had set off to rescue Roland, who’d been taken by a group of armed bandits after receiving a distress call from Lilith, his partner in the fight against Handsome Jack and the Hyperion Corporation. These were details that weren’t really important to me as I was dodging bullets and putting hundreds of rounds of my own in the thick skulls of mutants and bandits in my attempt to rescue Roland from his captors.
I’d made my way through their base and left behind dozens of dead bastards in my wake. My trusty turret was responsible for at least half of their deaths, and I was happy to have her with me.
Finally making my way to the end of the base/makeshift prison, I found Roland and was about to rescue him when some Hyperion robot broke through the wall and spirited him away. I was then forced to fight through even more bandits, who’d suddenly found themselves in a crossfire between me, my turret, and dozens of Hyperion robots.
As the robot which took Roland away made its way through the droves of heavily armed robots and bandits, I picked up the pace and shot my way through them—the soundtrack in the background steadily increasing in intensity as I did so. That’s when I knew I was in love with Borderlands 2.
The mission could’ve been badly designed—but it wasn’t. It could’ve felt overlong for forcing me to wade through countless bandits and then throw even more enemies at me. It could’ve been poorly executed, or worse—it could’ve been boring. Instead, the experience was quite the opposite. The enemies were varied—ranging from run-of-the-mill psychos to heavily armed toughs with rocket launchers—and further on, with heavily armed mechs and flying surveyors who served to make field repairs and hinder my progress.
Borderlands 2 is a series of risks and gambles that were carefully, and well executed upon. It’s a game that manages to do everything right that could’ve gone wrong.
The game excels as a first person shooter by putting the player very much in control over the character, the weapons you wield, and the decisions you make on the battlefield. While the first Borderlands felt like an action RPG played from a first person perspective, Borderlands 2 is a genuine FPS that would hold its own against any bonafide shooter.
There are guns. Many guns, in fact. Each with its own capabilities, mechanics, and feel. Getting used to—and mastering—each weapon in your arsenal can be as fascinating as picking your favorite weapon in Battlefield 3.
Borderlands 2 is no Torchlight 2, in that it doesn’t offer randomized areas or boast infinite replayability, but it’s just as good in terms of customizing your character and allowing you to play through the game the way you want to play it—provided that playing it involves killing things.
There are four character classes—or five if you count the Mechromancer—each with three skill trees to choose from and countless variations of weapons, shields, and class mods to choose from.
The quests are available in droves, and the campaign itself is lengthy and potentially twice as long if you replay it through the “True Vault Hunter” mode after you’ve played through it in its entirety on one character.
Even after you’ve finished it once, there’s plenty of reason to want to play the game again beyond buffing your character up with even heavier weapons. Playing through Borderlands 2 a second time gives you a chance to experience the story in a whole new light.
The first Borderlands was a bit thin in the story department. There was seldom any reason for you to want to do things. Few motivations, apart from getting rich from treasure, gave you any reason to play through the game. Borderlands 2 is quite the opposite experience.
From the very start, you’re made to interact with a character named Handsome Jack. Handsome Jack is kind of a douche and that becomes apparent fairly early on when you listen to a recording of his execution of one of the previous game’s characters. He taunts you as you progress through the game, every snarky remark reminding you why he’s a total dick and why you want to kill him.
Handsome Jack is not a likable villain. As a character, he’s someone you’ll find amusing, and grow—in time—to hate.
Handsome Jack provides you with your primary motivation to play the game. His remarks provide you with constant amusement and/or irritation, and his actions throughout the game give you reason to want to see things through. That is to say you have to kill him.
Everything else is secondary to your involvement with Handsome Jack.
More than just a game capable of delivering intense, if extended moments of action, Borderlands 2 is a game you’ll want to keep playing all the way through. And there’s no better time to start playing the game than the present, so go out and buy it.