If you’re wondering whether or not you should buy Borderlands 2, possibly worrying that it will just be the original but with different quests or something, you need to quit being a pussy and just buy it. If you haven’t PLAYED the original Borderlands, I’m ashamed to share the same planet as you.
Available For: PC (reviewed), PS3, X Box 360
Developer(s): Gearbox Software
Publisher(s): 2K Games
Release Date: 2012
Archetype: Action, Adventure, FPS, RPG
When the original Borderlands came out, I was kinda on the fence. At that time, I wasn’t really following it and hadn’t really heard much about it. I knew it was an FPS/RPG hybrid, which immediately made me think of Fallout 3, but that was about it. I’d never heard of Gearbox and wasn’t familiar with what this game was all about…but I figured I’d give it a shot because I had a little cash.
Man oh man was I glad I did. The original Borderlands was a great game. The best way I can describe it is imagine how collecting various loot and doing all kinds of comparisons felt in games like the Diablo series. Now imagine that the same thing is being done with an FPS/RPG hybrid that is somewhat similar to Fallout 3, but totally doesn’t take itself seriously at any angle, offers co-op drop in/drop out, and is just plain fun as hell all over.
Really, the only three negative things I can mention about the original Borderlands is that it was pretty easy, the ending was too quick and rather abrupt, and as a result it did get a little boring at times. There really isn’t much of a fast travel system, in that one or the sequel, as it involves having to be only at specific points to fast travel rather than just being able to do it wherever/whenever.
So what does the sequel have that the original didn’t? Well, and here’s where I’ll be honest, not very much, but enough. Now don’t let that discourage you, hear me out. The same thing kinda happened when I learned about the sequel’s drop date. I thought to myself “but I’m not even sure if I really want to get the sequel.” Then I decided “what the hell” and got it anyway.
Immediately I remembered WHY I loved the original so much. Think of it like Persona 3 versus Persona 4…but with one twist. In the case of P3 vs. P4, you have something improving on near perfection, often capitalizing on things that OTHER people didn’t like that you didn’t even think about and adding features you never knew you wanted yet you totally dig, but also changing it in a way that kinda turned off some of the huge fans/purists of P3.
In the case of Borderlands vs. Borderlands 2, I’m hard pressed to find anything at all that the sequel doesn’t improve upon so much so that I can say it is a clear evolution of the original. It is exactly what a great sequel should be. It plays almost identical to the original, but offers more vehicles, more customization, wackier classes and mods, MORE mods, more interesting weapon variance, earlier customization options, more types of enemies, great returning and new characters that impact in a big way, more and better varied environments, a major graphical upgrade, and and…and…I mean holy shit, so fucking much I can hardly contain myself.
But I think the one main selling point that will rope people in, other than being so much goddamn better than the original, is the villain. Yes, there’s actually a villain this time and not only is he hilarious, but also a huge dick. It’s been a while that I’ve actually been disgusted with the villain in a videogame without it being something that’s forced, contrived, or just in general poorly crayoned in, almost as an afterthought.
He’s a villain you love to hate, don’t really get to see, but get to experience and hear regularly. And good fuck is he SUCH an asshole, actually. I don’t know if I’d put Handsome Jack quite on the level of Kefka, but he gets pretty damn close. I think the best part is Jack has a sort of superiority complex whereupon he believes that HE is the hero and YOU are the villains.
In an interesting take. Despite EVERYTHING he’s done, he’s somehow oblivious to how much of a total asshole he is, insisting at every turn that YOU’RE the bad guys. Somehow this makes pursuing his stupid fucking face this much more fun. And honestly, I’m actually running out of stuff to say.
You might think that’s not a selling point, but let’s be honest: the original Borderlands was like Contra, but as an RPG. It was goddamn fun and trying to sum up exactly why is almost pointless because then it feels like trying to justify why ANYTHING is fun. I’m sorry if it feels like I’m just creating fluff, but trust me, if you like FPSs, funny stuff, and RPGs, this will not disappoint, especially if you enjoyed anything at all from the last one.