Review by GamerGuy2014

Reviewed: 01/08/15

Raiders of the Lost Vault

The first Borderlands was a great game and that was mainly due to its strong combination of elements from the FPS and RPG genres, but it did suffer from a major problem, the lack of any sort of real story, along with some other minor problems. However with this sequel a huge number of improvements and additions have been added to this sequel, resulting in a fantastic follow-up to the original.

At the end of the first game the four vault hunters searching for a mysterious Vault hidden on the planet Pandora found what they were looking for, but instead of riches they came up empty handed, and as a result have split up. Since then a man known as Handsome Jack took credit for the discovery of the Vault, tapping into a brand new element known as Eridium to become not only the leader of the Hyperion Corporation, but also the ruler of Pandora. As one of four new vault hunters your job is to find and reunite the original vault hunters, so that Handsome Jack can be stopped from collecting pieces of the Vault Key to open up another hidden vault on the planet so he can unleash a giant creature known as the Warrior. Borderlands 2's story is a huge improvement over the first game's plot, boasting strong writing and a strong cast of characters. If I ever made a list of my favorite video game villains there's a strong chance that Handsome Jack would make the list. He has an entertaining personality and heavily misled concept that you are the bad guy and he is the savior of this planet, easily making him one of those villains you love to hate.

Not only that but the four vault hunters from the first game are more fleshed out here; we get a better understanding of what they're like and their overall friendship with each other. As stated before the writing in this game is very entertaining, boasting a stronger sense of humor than before, there were a number of times where I found myself laughing at the dialogue in this game. The only real problem I have with the story is that the new vault hunters feel like shadows of the original vault hunters in that they're mostly silent protagonists, save for the one liners they spout during combat.

The gameplay is of the same style that was seen in the first game, but with a number of new additions and improvements which have been added. There are four different character classes to choose from, each of which has their own special ability they can perform. I played as Axton, who specializes in the Commando class, which is essentially the Soldier class that Roland from the first game specialized in. Like Roland, Axton can deploy a turret out onto the battlefield to assist him. As you level up the skill points that you earn can be put to one of three skill trees which contain skills that can benefit you or your special ability. For example, after putting in enough skill points into two of the skill trees my turret will now teleport to a certain location when thrown, while also unleashing a barrage of missiles at enemies in addition to bullets.

Some of the improvements that have been made include a better in game map, being able to move around whenever you down into "Fight for Your Life", and a storage system which allows you to store any guns or shields that you particularly liked but can't carry around anymore. There's also a new challenge system that's been added called the "Badass Ranking" where you earn points for accomplishing in game challenges that become tokens which can be spent on several stat boosts for your character.

Side missions also feel less repetitive than in the previous game due to the more varied missions that you will partake in. The side missions will have you doing things such as solving a murder, helping a doctor create a crazy hybrid monster, or helping the robot Claptrap throw his birthday party which becomes really awkward when none of the guests decide to show up.

The game retains the cel-shaded art style of the first game but this time the environments are much more varied than before and everything is much more colorful as well. Save for some minor texture pop-in that happens whenever you enter another area, this is still a great looking game.

The voice acting is great and it backs up the strong writing of this game, in particular the highlights are the voice performances from Dameon Clarke, Ashley Burch, and David Eddings, who play Handsome Jack, Tiny Tina, and Claptrap respectively. The music is also very good, very much in the same style of the first game's music.

When it comes down to it Borderlands 2 is a fantastic follow-up to the first game, by offering a strong story and highly enjoyable gameplay, this is a fantastic FPS that is definitely worth playing.

Rating: 9

Product Release: Borderlands 2 (US, 09/18/12)

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