Borderlands 2 Review: Slightly Better, But Similar Mediocrity

Borderlands 2 carries through the gameplay of the first Borderlands, which received a review from us that stated that action-RPG text-based title as something which had more elements of mediocrity than anything else in terms of a game that was hyped and more. While Borderlands 2 tries to salvage the missing pieces of the first title, most of the formula remains the same which garnered role-playing first-person-shooter fanboy attention to the original game which had rich diverse characters in an open-world that still lacks any valuable substance. Borderlands 2 tries to improve the formula slightly, but decided to keep it relatively the same with newer protagonists and the same storyline detail which was appreciated and definitely did not go unnoticed the first time around.

Borderlands 2’s storyline revolves the desolate space planet of Pandora, which needs to be set free from Hyperion Corporation’s Handsome Jack, who was the main game’s protagonist nearly 6 years before Borderlands 2’s story takes place. Jack has eliminated most of the light by having an orbital H-shaped base in front of Pandora’s stationary moon. As a fortune hunter yourself searching for the technologically marveled legend of the Vault, you and your new team (Axton the Commando, Salvador  “Gunzerker,” Maya the Siren, Zero the Assassin) in Borderlands 2 has the burden of killing Jack and restoring Pandora to a more peaceful prospect and rescue the former protagonists of Borderlands.

Borderland 2’s gameplay features the same open-world action adventure as the first title, the problem still lays with the main substance: objectives that are worth doing or missions that have amazing storylines. While the central storyline is invigoratingly fresh, Borderlands 2 is desolate when it comes to actual content of value in terms of side-quests, or other mission objectives not part of the central plotline towards the game’s short ending (roughly 7-8 hours linear questing). A lot of fetch missions and repetitive game mechanics still plague Borderlands 2 not to mention that a good portion is still not voiced just like the first title which had players reading a more western-RPG type dialogue box and choosing to accept quests. As much as simplicity is appreciated in terms of value and gratification of more contrasting concepts, Borderlands 2’s mission structure leaves a lot to be desired aside from the meticulous character customization details which truly make this game worth even a rental.

Customization of Borderlands 2’s characters and elements is top of the line in Borderlands 2, but does it really justify the end-game content? Possibly not considering there is little left to do other than a customization journey after killing countless enemy A.I.’s in hopes of racking something significant. There are 17 heads and 88 skins per class of vault hunter a player chooses to play, and the customization of skins even goes into the types of vehicles to traverse Pandora.

The online gameplay element consists of the now standard 4 player cooperative multiplayer experience, which itself is a lot of fun for people who love to get together with friends and jus blow crap up to smithereens, but for a $59.99 MSRP value Borderlands 2 does not offer anything wildly gratifying that people cannot find in any other title that is much more in-depth with the multiplayer element. One incredible thing when it comes to online is certainly the trading interface which allows for item dueling, trading, selling, or even buying. This is something more cooperative systems need to make more use of as not many do, a trend most familiarized by Lionhead Studios game Fable II and onwards.

Borderlands 2 provides relatively decent action for a title that tries to be a role-playing first person shooter in space, but the price seems a little too steep for something that does lack any real substance other than adrenaline fueled shooting and button mashing and the occassional customizations with item trading for “higher damage” and other statistics. Borderlands 2 really needed to fix the central gameplay aspect and it still fails to do that largely, something which truly makes it feel like 2K Games and developer Gearbox Software were afraid of improving upon in order to not alienate its already loyal customer database. The only problem as fans of Borderlands 2 bargain-bin sellers will eventually realize is: sometimes to really make something good, you have to take a risk at something bad. Borderlands 2 failed to do this.


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