Borderlands 2 – Review (PS3)

I really enjoyed the first Borderlands but I think even it’s biggest fans would admit it had some issues. The enemy AI wasn’t great and it took a *long* time for the game to get going. Quite frankly the less said about the ending the better but as a whole the title was good solid fun and it sold a huge amount of copies.

So Gearbox Software greenlit a sequel, with the blueprint (based on the trailers) seemingly being bigger, funnier, crazier and just generally better.

Rather than directly continuing the stories of Brick, Lillith, Roland and Mordecai from the original game, Borderlands 2 uses those characters as non-playable ‘mission-givers’ which grants it a nice feeling of familiarity to anyone who played the previous Borderlands title.

This time out you’ll have a choice of Salvador (Gunzerker), Zer0 (Assassin), Maya (Siren) or Axton (Commando). In addition to the four characters that come with the game a fifth, Gaige (Mecromancer), was added as DLC if you want to try something different.

Each of the characters brings something different to the playing field and mixing in the variables for shields/weapons/relics etc means that it’s unlikely two people, even playing the same class, will have similar characters.

The story isn’t the best narrative experience out there but it’s funny, well written and does the job it needs to… giving you a reason to travel to different places, kill stuff and pick up loot.

The game was built for co-op (up to 4 players) and when you get a few of your friends online to blast through some missions, Borderlands 2 is in it’s element. You’ll get to see your friend’s true colours as well – though it’s not like anyone would stop reviving a fallen colleague to grab some more loot, would they @jtdangerman? 😆

Borderlands 2 can definitely be played on your own but for the full experience get some friends together and explore Pandora to your hearts content.

The environments are more varied than the first game and you are thrown into the deep end pretty much from the off here, which is a good thing.

Borderlands 2’s cartoon aesthetic and larger than life characters give the game a unique and very fun feel. The player characters and AI are well balanced and the game is really solid. I encountered only two problems (one technical – stuck under the map and one map design – we had no idea where to go next) during my entire 25+ hours with the game. For a game of this size that is fairly impressive.

I can’t recommend Borderlands 2 enough – Gearbox have improved on the original in almost every way and have delivered a fantastic open world first person shooter. Now, where’s that DLC *downloads*.

Rating: 10/10

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Borderlands – Review (PS3)

I was a bit sceptical of Borderlands at first – touted as a mix of RPG and FPS I just didn’t see what it could do differently to Fallout 3 to justify buying it.

Then I played it in split screen at Eurogamer and really enjoyed it. This was followed by positive reviews almost everywhere I looked. So I bought it.

And boy am I glad I did.

I’ll start by answering my own question – Borderlands is similar to Fallout 3 only in mission structure, and in so far as trying to take on a mission you are levelled up for is almost suicide.

One big difference is that Borderlands actually gives you a guide of what level you should be for missions rather than just letting you try and fail. I prefer this as it gives you a chance to weigh up whether or not you want to take a shot at a mission or not.

Fallout 3 is all about the story – the characters you meet and the side missions. Borderlands is all about the loot. The game creates random weapons as you go along so it’s unlikely two people will ever get the same set of weapons throughout a playthrough.

How awesome is that? I’ve probably got weapons no-one else will ever get!

Borderlands distinctive cartoon, tongue in cheek style is perfectly suited for the game and while the story isn’t particularly amazing, the colourful characters will have you chuckling along.

It’s one of the longer games I’ve played recently – clocking in more towards 20 hours for a first playthrough.

As good as the single player is, the main draw for the game is the four player co-op where you all take your levelled up characters online to complete missions.

This is a great idea and is wonderfully executed. You just party up and then can get on with whatever missions the host has to do. Or you can challenge each other to a duel, which is fun. I did have a few connectivity issues and also some problems with headset use while in multiplayer but on the whole it was a positive experience.

Overall, despite what I would class as a fairly weak ending, Borderlands is a game you should definitely play. Even if you plan to just play the single player it’s a worthwhile experience though the online co-op will keep you coming back for more.

Rating: 8/10

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