Borderlands 2 (PC, PS3, XBOX 360)

Today I find myself again sitting behind my desk with nothing to do. So instead of the usual (boot up Skyrim and kick me some dragon arse) I’ve decided to do something a little bit more constructive. Instead I decided to return to Pandora, not the one with the blue tentacled alien things, the one full of guns, bandits and things destined to kill you. Along for the ride are my Vault Hunter chums. If you haven’t guessed what it is yet you obviously didn’t read the title, for everyone else it’s Borderlands 2.

After the events of the first borderlands where we learnt that the Vault that the last guys had spent so much time and effort trying to find turned out to be full of nothing but hentai tentacle rape, we are told that apparently there is a bigger and better Vault somewhere in Pandora (not the one with the blue tentacled alien things). Normally that would be enough for sequel material these days, but Gear Box have higher aspirations than that. The opening of Vault v1.0 trigger some sort of global change of the laws of chemistry and a new element Eridium is created, it assumingly being very rare and powerful because it brings forth the epic Hyperion corporation ran by their charismatic leader Relatively Good Looking Jack. You start the game as one of 4 “new” Vault Hunters (I used inverted commas because the characters are more or less cut and paste of the characters from the first game) who’s job it is to stop Jack. The why however alludes me. My best guess is that it’s just something to do whilst visiting Pandora (not the one with the blue tentacled alien things), God knows there’s bugger all else to do.

Lets get one thing straight right off the bat. Although I did have moments of fun, I am not going to say it was a good game. Much like any Steven Seagal film… you know the rest (which from this point onwards shall be known as the Seagal Principle). I found most missions to be tedious and boring, go here, shoot this, pick it up, give it to me, repeat. Whilst I’m on the subject of problems the game has, there is a horrible balancing problem with the characters. I had a house-mate of mine play Co-op with me, he was the commando, I was the ninja. All he had to do was place a turret in the middle of the room and look on as bullets and missiles fly in the direction of anything that didn’t send him a Christmas card in the last 4 years. The ninja in comparison… turns invisible for 5 seconds. Because this gave me near to no advantage at killing anything more than a midget in close quarters I decided to specialise in using sniper rifles, when I did this I was so far away from the action by the time everyone was dead and I joined the group all the good loot was gone (that probably says more about my room mate than anything else). At this point I told him to piss off and played on my own. A better idea along the same lines would have been, slightly longer time, super speed, a bigger melee damage multiplier and most importantly NOT TO TURN VISIBLE AGAIN AFTER ONE SWING OF MY SWORD. Run around hacking bandits in half, a better idea… Moving on.

You know what I miss? The original Borderlands. No, not Borderlands one, the original concept for Borderlands. The one shown in the original teaser trailers (For those interested, it can be found here). A darker more Fallout-esque experience. If my memory serves me well I remember during the development of Borderlands, they announced that there would be various locations for key places on Pandora (not the one with the blue tentacled alien things) to be. Meaning the game world would be completely different each time you played it. Maybe it was dropped because it was too greater task. Shame. Instead the only unique USP of Borderlands is the “Role-Playing-Shooter” tag (Which means it’s a half-arsed shooter with half-arse RPG elements) and the huge number of guns.The first containing 3.5 million different varieties, The second close to 18 million. Seriously? Why so many guns, I can only use one at a time and equip 4 onto my person at any one time. Then again thinking about it, for each unique weapon there are 49 other copies (1 for each level requirement). Meaning the number of unique weapons is much less, but still a hell of a lot. Personally, it just seems like a lot of work for very little gain, the chances of finding the best gun for you in a single game is so small it’s not worth thinking about.

One thing that does set this game apart from is the fact that it has a antagonist. Aesthetically Pleasing Jack, owner of the Hyperion corporation. Apparently he’s after Iridium because a) It’s valuable and b) It can be used to open Vault v2.01. He’s eccentric, charismatic, egotistical and power hungry. The perfect antagonist. It was a toss up between him and Vaas for Character of the Year. The reason I went with Vaas in the was because Vaas didn’t own the company that would revive his enemies when they died. I get that he’s meant to be eccentric, but that’s a bit much, we’re on the same level as needlessly complicated ways to kill Bond here.

Now for my final thought. I’m not going to recommend nor will I condemn Borderlands 2, because chances are you’ve already played it, completed it and decided for yourself if it was worth it or not. I personally find it’s wacky, gun-hoe, stop-start, action gameplay a bit shallow and pointless, there’s just nothing in it bar a few witty retorts to keep me interested. I’ve got a lot more interesting games on my desk including Far Cry 3, Spec Ops: The Line, hell I’d even say Silent Hill Downpour is more interesting than this, yet I’ve spent more time playing Borderlands 2 than any of the other. I keep asking myself why I keep playing this and not any of the others. Maybe it’s because my inability to leave something incomplete… Yeah, that’ll do.

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