Borderlands 2 Review

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The offspring of Gearbox is now able to reproduce. one-armed bandit named Diablo Better than Diablo itself, it’s been the third year already. The only difference is that fans of Borderlands have already thoroughly explored the campaign of the first part with all the add-ons, both in co-op and solo, with all classes and all leveling options.

The Borderlands 2 commercials claim that Pandora has changed. Nothing of the sort. The newcomers to the adventure hunters are doing exactly the same thing on the planet – shooting everything that the game allows to shoot and looking for powerful loot. The excitement hasn’t gone anywhere either. In general, that’s how it should be: we had one “Lego” constructor, and we needed a new one, just bigger. So that we could shoot at new creatures with new guns in new locations, but the celebration remained the same.

Otherwise, we’ll end up repeating the joke with fake Christmas tree decorations.


Perhaps it is worth briefly explaining what Borderlands is all about. Maybe someone missed the opportunity to get acquainted with the game in 2009 and never filled the gap.

The recently turned into a duology project by Gearbox is a hybrid of a first-person shooter and an RPG like Diablo, where gaining experience, character development, and exploring the world come down to turning your alter ego into a terminator with three backpacks full of very rare and deadly swords (in our case – machine guns). Critical hits and headshots have merged into one, the variety of guns has become many times greater than in standard shooters, and the locations can be cleared an infinite number of times because of the relatively open map and endless respawn in the name of additional experience and money.

Adventures in Borderlands 2

Mordecai painted these little monsters like this.

The setting is a futuristic and highly wild frontier. Around the four main characters, there are only bandits, predatory animals, evil dwarves, madmen, corporate soldiers, and crazy corporate animals with evil predatory soldiers. The protagonists themselves are also great – they flew to an unknown place to search for an unknown thing.

But most gamers had fun. Many players loved the design of Borderlands, its humor, and dynamics. A smaller part found the shooter boring, but those who were “unimpressed” made a reservation that disappointment was about single-player mode. Meanwhile, the cooperative mode was played unquestionably great.

At first, only loyal fans were waiting for the sequel, then Gearbox launched its marketing machine, and various degrees of masterpiece advertising videos flooded the internet, and suddenly the game became one of the main dishes of autumn. Millions of guns turned into bazillions (a question to ponder – how many zeros are in a bazillion?), and the planet blossomed in all the colors of the rainbow.

That’s it.

Take two

At first, it seems that all the differences between one series and another are quantitative in nature, but this illusion quickly disappears as soon as you have some new gun in your hands, preferably a bandit’s.

Personally, I got a needle gun. It works in a way that no other gun in the original does. Firstly, you guessed it, it shoots needles – already a new mechanic. Secondly, these needles inflict damage not immediately, but after a second or two.

In general, action RPGs are much more focused on mechanical details than many might think. Veterans know that all these timings, types of damage, armor indicators, and other technical details will be more important than most of the other content, but gamers who haven’t delved deep into this world may find discussions like “the grenade bounces 5 times instead of 4, that’s too much” strange and trivial. Know, newcomers, that the essence of such games lies in the number of grenade bounces.

Crazy Pandoran Chaos

This scoundrel just stole 10 thousand bucks from me.

New options for firing – a lot. That is, the number of archetypes has not increased significantly, but if before there were probably a dozen and a half decent combinations out of millions of guns, now there are at least a hundred. Or even two.

Plus, they fixed the rocket launchers for us.

In the first Borderlands, bazookas were almost useless. The damage from explosions and hit points in the game was calculated strangely and cunningly. To inflict any damage, you had to stuff projectiles into enemies’ collars every time. Any bump could completely nullify the hit, and shooting bandits with rockets head-on was difficult because the projectiles were calculated like regular bullets.

And if the flight trajectories of rockets in BL2 were still a problem, then dealing with surfaces became much easier. Now enemies can be mowed down with splash damage, which means there is a point in searching for good grenade launchers.

What’s even better, they fixed the alien weapons, which used to be a useless joke. Nowadays, you can even kill with all sorts of lasers.

And the last remark about weapons (what can you do if half of the game is about them). Gearbox, having created a bunch of random guns/shields/modifiers, provided the player with more detailed descriptions of what exactly each weapon does, what the chance of dealing elemental damage is, and so on. For fans of calculating critical damage/overall DPS/chance to kill with one shot/damage per magazine, Borderlands 2 is simply heaven.

Meanwhile, as a shooter, the game has become more challenging. Neither the new main villain Jack nor the native inhabitants of Pandora wasted any time in creating new monsters. Nowadays, you need to devise your own tactics for every other local monster – some traditionally fly away from headshots, others don’t really care where exactly you shoot, and some are made entirely of legs. Plus, the enemies of the updated Pandora now often rely on elemental damage themselves, so you can no longer stand still and hope that your shield will hold up and the leveled-up skills will help.

In summary: the battles in Borderlands 2 have grown into a true FPS, without looking at levels and statistics. Class perks and abilities will help not so much with dominating everything and everyone, but with the infamous pleasure. And here the main thing is not to make a mistake in choosing a class.

Vault Hunters Unite

Guess who.

Four brave ones

We have already written about the ganzerker, and about the new siren, and about the commando, and even about Zero. But one thing is to observe from the sidelines, content with snippets of gameplay and interviews with developers, and another is to try everything ourselves.

The Mechromancer hasn’t made it to the party yet, and it’s a shame: she is promised to be one of the simplest and most complex classes at the same time. It would be fun to see even one implementation of what was planned, but for now, we have the easiest and the most difficult all at once.

This raises the question – what exactly will make this Mechromancer stand out among the rest?

It is immediately evident that the BL2 characters are even more geared towards cooperative mode. You can also play alone, and as anyone you like, but a lone hero always lacks ammo, the other – overall damage, the third – health, and the fourth – company, to fully unleash their potential.

We could speculate about the unique, one-of-a-kind skill trees, class modifiers, and so on, but: you will only feel the difference after 200 hours of playing, so it makes absolutely no sense to estimate what is what. Just know that each of the four can give a good fight to the local rams, the Gunzerker Salvador speaks with a funny accent (at least in the original voice acting) and works like a battering ram, Maya is a girl (and it’s not funny, it’s true and emphasized in every way) and almost the only competent medic, Axton is generally boring, but fights excellently from defense, and Zero is simply made for various fetishists. No, really, a ninja-assassin-cyborg with a katana and a display instead of a face; maybe this outfit is even made of vinyl. Or leather. Or vinyl and leather. And the abilities, oh the abilities… Until you try everything and with everyone, you won’t know what suits you best.

Explosive Firefights


The little things in life

Gearbox left the core of Borderlands untouched, as promised, but significantly diversified the decorations and added a great number of small details to the game.

The first small detail is the plot. And no, it’s not about Jack. The main villain in the game is indeed the main villain – despite constant ECHO-net calls during missions, Jack appears more like another elemental force, waves crashing onto Pandora. On this side of the monitor, it’s clear to everyone that Jack will eventually get what’s coming to him, and he’ll get it good, no intrigue or secrets. What you really follow are the fates of the inhabitants of the city of Sanctuary, among whom everyone is a familiar face. Marcus, Moxxi, Scooter, the quartet of adventurers from the original Borderlands, they all make an appearance and each has something to tell, show, and send you on a scalp hunt.

Highly subjective: I didn’t like the new stories of Lilith, Roland, Mordecai, and Brick at all. Turns out, the most unremarkable character was the main hero that everyone loves, and my Mordecai is just a plain alcoholic. Great. And overall, everything there seemed kind of cardboard, without any spark. The only thing that pleased me was Brick with his trophy hammer. But that’s just a fan’s grumbling, you can disregard it.

The bland main plot can be quickly unfolded, or it can (and should) constantly veer off onto a much more fun path of additional quests, where the level of grandiosity drops sharply, and absurd Pandora fun takes center stage.

Among other things, the new quartet are big fashionistas. Well, we were promised that they would be big fashionistas. In reality, apart from headgear/hairstyles, Pandora fashion doesn’t go beyond repainting standard costumes. Well, you can shave the Gunzerker Breaking Bad-style, and that’s it.

Another pleasant moment is the slightly more reasonable vehicles. While the characters get stuck in textures even more often than before, the four-wheeled cars turned out to be much more enjoyable to handle than in the original.

Borderlands 2 Screenshot

More than anything in the world

What can you do if almost everything comes down to comparing it with the original game?

As it has been said many times, Borderlands 2 is the same as Borderlands 1, only greatly expanded. As someone who has explored the original wastelands inside out, it is difficult for me to judge how well the developers dealt with the “boredom” issue, because personally, I have never found playing BL boring. Even if you know everything in advance and defeat monsters automatically, it is always pleasant to open another healthy treasure chest and find a powerful unique weapon inside. And then go and use it to take down n thousand bandits. And then find a secret location where another chest with another powerful weapon awaits you, and so on indefinitely.

Borderlands 2
PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Action, RPG, Co-op
2K Games
Gearbox Software
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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