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PLATFORM Xbox360

Borderlands 2 Review

GAME INFO
publisher: 2K Games
developer: Gearbox Software
genre: Shooters

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
n/a
ESRB rating: M
homepage:
www.borderlands2.com

release date: Sep 18, 12
» All About Borderlands 2 on ActionTrip


For the past several days I've been shooting through swarms of deadly foes, as I made my way across the bleak surroundings of Pandora and all I can see in front of my eyes are numbers, HPs, experience points and endless loot popping up everywhere. That's essentially what Borderlands (the original) was all about - constant waves of enemies attacking mercilessly, while you take them out one by one, either with friends in co-op or on your own. Gearbox Software sends its highly anticipated sequel to stores across the world, giving players yet another bash at uncovering the many secrets and treasures of the mysterious world of Pandora.

Five long years have gone by since the events of the previous story. The massive riches hidden within the Eridian Vault have been uncovered now an influential and powerful individual called Handsome Jack has stepped forth to claim the valuables of the Vault. He took control of the Hyperion Corporation in order to rule, pledging to everyone that he means to bring law and order to Pandora. Of course, being a ruthless and greedy bastard, he also means to modernize the planet and take out any remaining colonists. Handsome Jack organizes a fight to the death for his amusement and one of the participants (the player) manages to survive, quickly gaining popularity on Pandora. Everyone knows that you have encountered Handsome Jack and lived to tell the tale. So, now, one of the most powerful people on the planet is looking to take you out. Pretty soon, you are contacted by a 'Guardian Angel' who suggests that your only option is to join the local rebel forces that have huddled in a city called Sanctuary. Bear in mind that you barely survived the encounter with Jack and his minions. That's, basically, what most of Borderlands 2 is about - making it out live against incredible odds.

At its heart, Borderlands 2 is almost exactly what we've witnessed in the first game. You jump into an exciting first-person shooter that's just brimming with pure action and endless quests and many challenges. Simultaneously, you get all the joys and intricacies of a solid RPG. That means, you get to customize your character, gain experience, improve your skills and use the advantages of a particular class - Axton (Commando), Maya (Siren), Salvador (Gunzerker) and Zer0 (Assassin). The developers also promised to release Gaige (Mechromancer) with the upcoming DLC (slated for release in mid-October).

Your experience with Borderlands 2 relies heavily on two things: on your own play style and which class you choose. The options are there, you just have to decide what you prefer. It may take some time unlit you get the hang of it and realize which class suits you best. Right away, we have to stress that the game is a lot more enjoyable in co-op, which can be experienced with up to 4 players. This is a good thing, of course, so don't misunderstand us. You can get a kick out of a 4-player co-op while you march through the game's story mode. However, the single-player ride remains almost as empty and unexciting as in the original, despite the developer's promise to enrich the storyline. Granted, there's more dialogue, more witty banter, more cool characters to meet along the way and so on. Sadly, a majority of the game just boils down to the leveling mechanics and going after infinite loot. The good news is that theses mechanics are so damn compelling that, when all's said and done, you won't be looking for much a story anyway. Your main concern will be to find the best pistol, sniper, rifle or mod you can hope to find. In fact, that single task becomes your sole obsession in each playthrough (yep, chances are you'll play this one more than once). At some point, I found that I no longer cared what my active quest was about, I just wanted to finish it so I can find more stuff, to improve my skills and get my mitts on more sexy weapons.

The main drive in this game is dealing with oncoming armies of creatures, bandits and cool bosses. The combat is thrilling and challenging, both in single-player and co-op variants. Clearly, Gearbox spent a lot of time balancing and tweaking the gameplay so that each character class can find its use in any combat situation. Seriously, combining some of the individual class abilities in combat makes for some truly entertaining moments. Okay, so I know most of you will be tempted to select Zer0, but take heed if you're playing alone, because the game is quite hard unless there are teammates by your side to support you. This doesn't mean you can't have fun while playing the game with Zer0. It's just that it takes longer to get through certain areas that would otherwise be a pickle if you had resilient characters like the Commando or the Gunzerker by your side. Oh and you should know that enemies in this game are really tough and require more skill and effort than before. So, hats down to the developers for improving and polishing the AI. Enemies react accordingly in every type of battle situation, whether you're fighting them on your own or with friends.

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ACTIONTRIP SCORE
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HIGHS
This is a decent sequel that expands on a lot of the original's virtues, more to enjoy here than before, cool atmosphere and a great mix of FPS action and RPG gameplay, great music and sound;

LOWS
Not as exciting in single-player as it could've been, a lot of the game (the story) still feels generic.

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