We should totally have a Borderlands 2 review for you by now, but we’re bad people and we’re actually too busy enjoying the game to rush through it. We apologize. Sort of.
In the meantime, here are our initial thoughts:
The gameplay is basically the same, but with perfect little improvements. There is now no damage from falling, they’ve added an auto pickup for money and ammo (that doesn’t always work but, hey, better than nothing), and fast travel is available right from the get-go.
There is now a trade system for co-op partners, so switching gear is easier and no one can swoop in and take your stuff (’cause swooping is bad). And Loser Geek likes the new badass ranking system, both for the constant feeling of reward and for the way it’s shared between all of a player’s characters.
Gearbox has amped up the difficulty, as evidenced by my sudden inability to hit a Rakk with a two-by-four. >_> However, I don’t find this to be a bad thing, because I like a challenge. Loser Geek, on the other hand, finds it more frustrating than fun at times.
We do have some complaints. For instance, while we loved that fast travel is available from the beginning, we hated that some stations were exit only. Such a tease! There also seem to be more invisible walls than the first game. It’s frustrating to be unable to drive through a gap that’s clearly larger than the vehicle. And we wish that you could trade ammo with your teammates.
Then there are the different classes.
Being able to change your character’s name and appearance is nice, but why not gender too? Other than Maya, who has to be female (because Siren), there’s no reason why the characters can’t be either male or female. It’s a simple change that would make the game more appealing to roleplayers who better relate to a female character, but want the skill trees of a male-only class.
I will never play any character other than Maya, because I want to be a girl. It’s so funny to me when my guy friends ask, “oh, you’re going to be the Siren?” Well, duh! they didn’t really give me much choice, huh?
Loser Geek feels that the graphics are a nice improvement over the original, with small details that make the world feel more alive. He also appreciated that everything looks different, demonstrating the changes that have taken place on Pandora, but there’s still familiar glimpses of what the planet used to be.
I, on the other hand, had a problem with a few of the environments, because if there are these pretty waterfalls, why is everyone Mad Maxin’ it out in the desert?
The most impressive new graphic element to me was in the moments while I’m being transported to the New You Station. I really feel like my brain is going through a wormhole. Which makes dying kinda awesome.
The music is wonderfully varied, and it’s still a nice touch to have dynamic changes that fit the onscreen action. Voiceovers are also well done, with the exception of Ellie, who let her accent slip multiple times.
The plot is much more fully-developed this time around. We get to hear the original vault hunters’ stories, and there is an overall arc, as opposed to just stringing together random quests to beat as we head to the vault.
It has been mostly nice meeting all of the old characters and finding out what they’ve been up to since the end of Borderlands. However, some of the original vault hunters’ character development is a little disappointing. Let’s just say that one character went from badass to crybaby-hanger-on.
Besides the new Vault Hunters, we have our old friends Claptrap, Moxxie, Scooter, and the previously-mentioned original vault hunters. We also have some awesome new characters like Moxxie’s daughter, Ellie, Tiny Tina the badass, and Hammerlock, the sporting huntsman.
The dialogue has been stepped up to even funnier proportions, and I often let people live a few seconds longer just to hear what they have to say. Loser Geek is especially fond of Claptrap’s dialogue, and particularly likes being referred to as a minion.
Our initial score is currently an A. They brought back everything wonderful and added new classes, more guns, and more story. “More” is really the theme of Borderlands 2.
My main issue with the game is how misogynistic it can be. The things I’ve seen in the game combined with the sister-beating commercial and “girlfriend mode” have raised some questions, which we may get into at a later post.