It’s been three years since Gearbox graced us with this insane role playing shooter, veteran vault hunters will be happy to hear that everything you loved is back and seriously better than ever. For those who are unfamiliar with Borderlands, it presents an interesting blend of shooting, looting and exploration all wrapped up in a twisted cartoon style.

Having played the first game extensively, the differences are immediately noticeable, from the streamlined menu’s to the populated environments; it really is a Borderlands 2.0. After a briefing from Randy Pitchford, we got cracking on an extensive preview where we were given any level 23 character to use. From experience this game is best played cooperatively but to my dismay this preview was single player only.

Borderlands 2 features a new cast of characters, Salvador the Gunzerker with his dual wielding skills, Maya the Siren with the ability to Phaselock, Axton the Commando and his trusty turret and Zer0 the Assassin with a stealthy Deception power. The choice was obvious, to put this game through its paces I chose Zer0, as an assassin usually needs to be supported by a team and thus began the fun. Luckily the skill tree was wiped clean so that we could customise a character from the ground up. The first game gave you the ability to change your colours but this time round however, you are given an extensive choice of outfits, colours and hair types which are all unlockable as you play.
Visual Character Customisation.
The menu system has endured a sleek overhaul, while it is similar in design to the first game, gone are the cluttered stacks of endless weapons. Everything has been compartmentalised for quick easy access through the back button, this includes the latest addition to Borderlands, the Badass Ranking System. This is a profile wide ranking system with no level cap, completing tasks such as killing any number of Skags will earn you Badass points to spend as you please. Being profile wide means you may carry over any benefits earned to a new character, while also giving you something extra to work towards. The levelling trees are split into different components as in the last game, but with the new menu style it is a lot easier to navigate and manage.
Sleek Menu 
Once a great deal of time was spent customising it was time to get into the meat of the game, beginning in a town called Sanctuary, it is immediately clear that Gearbox have worked hard on making Pandora a more convincing world. Unlike the baron wastes of the first game, this town has NPC’s that you can talk to all over the place, a radio blaring music and buildings you can enter with familiar faces. That’s right, the characters from the old game make a definite come back as NPC’s you receive quests from. Being a new title there are obviously new characters, one of which is a little girl called Tiny Tina. As everyone you encounter on Pandora, she is quite insane but she is your typical child doing typical child things like playing with dolls, having tea parties and blowing things up, that kind of thing.

The gameplay is very similar to its predecessor, collect a quest and kill the bad guys in the process. Your chosen character still has a unique ability, for example Zer0s Deception power renders him invisible, leaving a decoy to distract enemies. This is particularly useful when you are overwhelmed and need a quick getaway or sneaking up on someone from behind. The skill trees allow for deeper customisation of these powers such as while in Deception mode, Zer0 can see critical hit targets on enemies. This time round, the head is not always the weak spot on the weird creatures of Pandora making this is an extremely useful skill.
Populated Pandora. 
Exploring single player as the Assassin class had me at an instant disadvantage, equipped with a sniper rifle, pistol and shotgun, there was not much I could do in the likes of mowing down enemies (what I prefer to do). The strain and loneliness kicked in when faced with a huge badass, it was difficult and time consuming and that’s when you know this game should always be played cooperatively. However frustrating this was at times, being back in Pandora was a joy and killing the new mutant baddies was so much fun.

The original Borderlands was famous for its infinite amount of randomly generated guns, this feature is making a comeback but now every gun is given a unique style depending on its manufacturer. This feature makes it a lot easier to organise your inventory as well as buying new guns. Furthermore, another small change that makes a vault hunter’s life easier is an auto pickup feature. No more holding X just to pickup that cash and ammo, it all comes flying right at you automatically.
Awesome Enemies 
As expected, the story and writing is perfectly hilarious, the world looks beautiful and the new additions that bring Pandora to life will entice you to explore. It is guaranteed fun whether you are a veteran or new to Borderlands so look out for it on the 21st of September on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.


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