Borderlands 2 review
Smash and grab
Loot and shoot, shoot and loot: Borderlands 2 in a proverbial nutshell. Thank goodness then that it’s looting and shooting of the highest order, as another intrepid gang of vault hunters get tooled up and head into the wastelands, with the lure of untold wealth at the forefront of their minds.
Crash and carry
Like its predecessor, Borderlands 2 is a cel-shaded co-operative FPS with heavy leanings towards the RPG genre; the players’ chosen vault hunters earning experience as they go which can then unlock a series of upgrades. Once again there’s a choice of four character classes to choose from – ‘gunzerker’, siren, commando and assassin – each of which largely mimics similar classes from the original, albeit with minor changes.
The gunzerker (latterly known as the berserker) is a tank-like bullet sponge and damage dealer, whose special is the ability to dual-wield any combination of weapons and regenerate health and ammo. The siren’s special is telekinesis, or ‘Phaselock’ and suspending enemies in the air is her game. The commando has the expertise to deploy turrets, which not only shoot but draw the attention of hostiles. While the assassin class – formally known as hunter class – can cloak himself before creating a virtual decoy, so allowing him to flank the enemy and stab them in the back.
Cleverly, each class has an upgrade tree which can result is very different specialisations; so it might be that your assassin is perfectly attuned to keeping away from the frontline and picking up kills through the scope of a sniper rifle, while a friend’s assassin might deal out death up close and personal through stealth, diversion and the sharp end of a blade.
Then there are the guns. There are enough here to make even The Matrix’s Neo feel spoilt for choice, as every conceivable firearm – from pistol through to machinegun – is available in a myriad number of forms. And that’s before you get to grips with any number of weird and wonderful bespoke weapons with which to disintegrate or otherwise maim your foes.
As with your character, each weapon comes with its own set of stats, with rarer guns often having additional elemental effects like shock damage, fire damage and so forth. Stronger weapons might also require you to have attained a higher level than you currently hold in order to wield them. This avoida potential unbalancing from veterans gifting newbies advanced weaponry.
All fired up
You’ll also find such high-level weaponry in the huge number of treasure chests scattered throughout the game’s huge environments (alongside cash, health and ammo), leaving you to decide whether to carry it about in one of your limited weapon slots or leave it and hope you’ll come across it later when it’s of use to you.
In fact, with such an arsenal of guns available – and believe me, you could play through the entire game and barely see the exact same one twice – it can be somewhat perplexing to work out what’s your best option.