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Borderlands 2 Review

Borderlands 2 Logo - We Know Gamers

It’s the sequel we've all been waiting for! Borderlands 2 is finally here with more guns, more vehicles, more hilarious characters, bigger bad guys and a new set of vault hunters to play with. It looks like we’ll be spending even more time on the bandit-ridden planet of Pandora.

Borderlands 2 picks up after the events of the first game. The vault is open and the huge monster that waited inside is dead thanks to the original vault hunters. But the opening of the vault has caused huge deposits of the rare, alien mineral Eridium to pop up all over Pandora. Naturally someone took advantage of this. So the weapons company Hyperion, led by the charming yet sadistic, Handsome Jack began mining it and plan to “civilise” Pandora, although his plan does involve killing all of the population of the planet due to them being mostly bandits and outlaws. During Hyperion’s mining operations they found evidence of an even larger vault that was hidden somewhere on Pandora. This naturally attracted more vault hunters, including the games playable characters. Of course, this didn't please Handsome Jack so he decides he wants all of the vault hunters dead too, So begins your fight for survival against Jack, bandits, Bullymongs, Skags and pretty much everything else with a pulse on the planet! The plot is paced extremely well and its length means that it’ll take you a little while to finish. Side quests you come across along the way also fill in holes within the main plot as well as develop characters by showing you some of their back story.
Demo expert, Tiny Tina
The game’s hugely diverse cast of characters steal the show with their hilarious dialogue and strange side missions. From the get go you meet Clap-trap, a talkative robot who thinks he’s very popular even though everyone finds him irritating and hates him. My personal favourite character is Tiny Tina, a 12-year-old demolition expert who lives in a cave surrounded by huge explosive mines. Tina’s parents were killed in front of her at a young age and it’s evident that it had an effect on her. One of her side missions is even a tea party where you must capture her parent’s killer so she can electrocute him while she has tea with her best friends, a bug in a jar and a pink toy rabbit. Throughout the entire game you will meet lots of hilarious, delusional and downright insane characters that all really help make the Borderlands experience a memorable one.

Fans of the original Borderlands will feel right at home from the get go. The game plays exactly as the first one did but with some minor tweaks and improvements but of course that doesn't mean it’s too complicated for new players either! Each of the four vault hunters are quite easy to jump straight into and really don’t take much time to master.
Ok... What the hell is that!?
First of all there’s Axton who plays the commando. Axton’s action skill allows him to throw down a turret, which mows down enemies and takes some of the heat off of the player. Later upgrades also allow you to add more guns; rocket launchers, shields and even a small nuclear blast that decimates everything close by. Next up there’s the “Gunzerker”, Salvador. The Gunzerker’s skill allows him to dual wield any two weapons in your arsenal, whether it’s two pistols, two sniper rifles or even two rocket launchers if you’re feeling especially deadly. The third vault hunter up for grabs is Zero the assassin. Zero’s ability allows him to cast out a hologram decoy and cloak himself. Allowing you to run around the battlefield invisible and seek out your target. Zero’s skill tree also allows you to focus on being a close-up melee fighter or a sniper who picks off targets from the edge of the fight. Last up is the Siren, Maya. Maya’s action skill allows her to grab an enemy within her “phase lock” and suspend them in the air which in turn, allows you to shoot them as they dangle helplessly. This is especially useful if the enemy in question is dishing out a lot of pain to the team.

Each of the four characters allows you to mix up your play style with their unique skill trees. As well as the skill tree customisation players are able to customise the look of the characters too. With the enemy AI being quite challenging and relentless you may even need to re-spec your character to make sure you have the right skills in order to destroy those troublesome bandits!

As you progress through the story you will come across missions, which unlock character skins and heads for your character. You can also randomly come across them whilst you mow down enemies. This means you can really put your own stamp on your character by changing the head as well as the entire colour scheme too. This also applies for vehicles as there are some 80 skins to find and unlock.

Online Gameplay 
The drop-in/drop-out co-op is a huge part of the new game as well. Much like the first game, Borderlands 2 features 4-player co-op. As players join and leave, the difficulty will also increase or decrease meaning you will always be facing challenging enemies, regardless of how many vault hunters are taking part in the fray. Another advantage to having more players in your game is the better level loot you find. Much like the original, loot plays a huge role and not a single area will go by without you finding a chest full of weapons, shield or class mods. With no weapon ever being the same this game has the hugest selection of guns by far. There are literally bazillions of guns to choose from, each with different perks allowing you to play the game as you want. Whether it’s with the elemental based Maliwan weapons or the explosive based Torgue guns, there is definitely plenty to choose from.

Borderlands 2 has come back with the original Borderlands art style. Now the first game had some pretty amazing graphics, the cell shaded comic book style was done better than any other game I’d seen so that’s a pretty tough act to follow. But somehow the good people at Gearbox have improved on them. Animations are a lot slicker for players and NPC’s alike. Other details such as characters faces have also been improved with even NPC’s that randomly walk around town having extremely detailed character models. Though the detail doesn't stop there! Enemies have also had a complete makeover. New enemy AI all look great and enemies from the first game such as Spider-ants, skags and the extremely irritating Rakk all look a lot more impressive than they did in the original.
Hordes of bad guys to shoot
The same goes for the main characters, characters like Moxxi, Scooter and the vault hunters from the original all have more detailed or completely revamped appearances. The latest title also has more diverse environments than first, whereas the original had a desert and snowy mountaintop. Borderlands 2 includes those as well as everything in-between including Hyperion army bases, volcanoes with flowing lava, acid covered caverns and large, open, grassy plains for you to tear up in your vehicles. With a huge world to explore, the graphics really do not disappoint. Some of the areas you come across later in the game are breathtaking and really show off the work that has gone into this sequel.

Sound work in Borderlands 2 is also something that cannot be ignored. The voice acting is amazing and characters such as Tiny Tina, Sir Hammerlock and Handsome Jack all perform at a near perfect level. The game’s sound effects are also great. Guns, explosions and pretty much any other sound effect you can think of are all immense. The slight differences in the sounds made by each brand of weapon are also a nice touch. Borderlands 2’s soundtrack is full of tense battle music as well as ambient music for those areas where the battle isn't raging such as sanctuary. The game also switches between these two instantly as you explore and then suddenly begin fighting.

Final Verdict 
The original Borderlands was already a master class in how to make videogames and the good people at Gearbox have somehow improved on that when it comes to Borderlands 2. Every aspect of the game is great and you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't play this game soon. In the words of Tiny Tina “GO GET IT!”

Story - 10/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Graphics -10/10

Final We Know Gamers score: 10/10
Had a chance to play the game? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below!
Borderlands 2 Review
Reviewed by Citizen Cyanide
on Oct 15 2012

Rating: 10/10

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