Borderlands 2 review
Smash and grab
Compare and contrast
A handy on-screen weapon comparison at least compares a freshly discovered gun to the one in your hand. It also reveals the new gun's relative rarity, but then what of the other weapons in your inventory? Cue another clunky inspection of the guns currently about your person, as you weigh up the pros and cons. It's fun for those who enjoy the thrill of looting perhaps, but not particularly exciting for the rest of us.
Dam and blast
Once you’ve agonised over your character class, skill choices and weapons, however, you’re left to enjoy the game and its narrative. Indeed, this is where the frantic gunplay and potential for truly immersive co-op really comes into its own. Again the storyline – which takes place across a broad assortment of locales and finds time to include cameos from characters of the original game – plays second fiddle to the action. Though it is worth pointing out that unlike its predecessor the plot is well developed and as logical as a game of its ilk might hope to be. It’s even humorous assuming that Bottom is your idea of funny – and why wouldn’t it be?
Chill out zone
That said the game's setup does have its faults. You will, for example, find yourself revisiting the same areas you've already blasted through. This in itself an odd design choice, given the amount of the borderlands you'll barely touch. Indeed, thiss a criticism that can be levelled at Borderlands 2 from start to finish.
Mission objectives will also regularly require you to cover a huge amount of land. Although fast travel points help, you'll inevitably have to turn to the game’s vehicles. A fun diversion you might think, but negotiating the ramshackle roads can be overly problematic, resulting in my Mad Max-style car getting terminally stuck mid-way through a long journey on more than one occasion.
"Is this a dagger I see before me?"
Luckily, the game comes into its own upon discovering your objective and – as gigantic monstrosities lumber towards you and psychotic troopers try to beat you into submission – you'll be reminded exactly why you made the investment. It's a feeling only magnified when you're joined by colleagues whose presence is something of a necessity if you're to get the most out of the game; not least because the difficulty shifts up a notch depending on how many comrades you gather (up to a maximum of four) alongside your sense of achievement.
Witnessing Borderlands 2 at full throttle is a sight to behold and you can't help but build a kinship with your fellow players – even if an irksome loot system means they can grab your would-be rewards should they be so minded. It's at such blockbusting times that you forget about clunky weapons juggling and slightly sluggish aiming, as the whole package moves from merely good to great. ®
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