Borderlands 2 – Back to Pandora

posted by @HeyItsKamo

Ok, minions. I’ve been up for 24-hours now (please, please excuse how poor of an article this is- I’m also half drunk), two of which I spent waiting in line for easily the most anticipated sequel of the year (I don’t know if this is an accurate statement… so tired), and another six of which I spent playing that sequel, Borderlands 2.

My initial reaction to this game is… wow; this is fucking nuts. There’s just so much to do, so much epicness… but more on that in a minute.

My friends and I posted up at our local GameStop a few hours before the release of the game, which came out at midnight on Tuesday. Along with close to 50 other fans of 2K Games and Gearbox Software’s epic “space western, role-playing first person shooter” Borderlands, we anxiously waited for the clock to strike 12 (surprisingly no one turned back into a pumpkin, not even Matt). We were all there for one thing, bonded by a game we all fucking loved and couldn’t wait to rediscover. We watched all the game trailers online, all the commercials on tv, read all the articles- we were ready and it was finally time.

While most of us didn’t walk away with the mother of all pre-orders (the incredible Loot Chest, count your blessings if you managed to fucking get one… you jerk), I was able to get my hands on the Vault Hunter Collectors Edition of Borderlands 2, which came with some pretty great stuff. A hardcover, fully colored “Inside the Vault: The Art & Design of Borderlands 2” book was in the box (this thing is amazing), along with some BL related stickers, a huge fold-out map of Pandora, a fantastic Marcus bobblehead doll, and, of course, the game. This edition included some pretty cool DLC- on top of coming with the “Premiere Club” membership (no clue what that is…), I was also able to download the Creature Slaughter Dome content (no fucking clue what that is either).

I also forked over the additional $29.99 for the Borderlands 2 Season Pass, which includes: four brand new individual add-on content campaigns for BL2 (featuring several hours each of gameplay, along with new enemies and environments), and a FREE 2 SONG DIGITAL SOUNDTRACK SAMPLER, WHAATTT?! Yeah, I’ll probably never download that, but I figured I’d want the DLC eventually so saving ten bucks wasn’t a bad idea.

Ok, enough with the boring stuff- let’s talk about the game.

Like I mentioned earlier, this thing is amazing. Right off the bat, 2K hits us (for the second time) with an incredibly cinematic, beautiful, funny, and above all else, epic intro. We’re introduced to the characters, this time with each showing just what they’re capable of. Salvador is a hulking “gunzerker”, Maya is a powerful siren, Axton the soldier, and Zer0 the assassin. The intro sequence shows all of them in combat, and it’s impressive to see what each can do. If you’ve played the first installment, these characters are all similar to their previous counterparts.

I started off my first play-through with Salvador because I heard his special skill is duel wielding guns and I had to see that shit for myself (SPOILER: IT FUCKING RULES). Seriously, this guy is an absolute beast. The character concept designer, Scott Kester, says it best: This guy lives and breathes guns, from the twin holsters under his arms to the bullet tattoos and the spare ammo all over him. He is, in many ways, the epitome of Borderlands, someone with a harsh background, making do in this rough world, living by the gun, getting by with bullets. This dude is just complete chaos and rage and skull-bashing fuckery and he doesn’t take shit from anyone- I love it.

Calptrap Porn?

I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to the story right away- I actually couldn’t as I was too busy talking with the friends in my Xbox Live party about how awesome this game is. None of us could believe just how great everything looked, and more importantly how great it felt to be home. The humor is back (in form), the  controls are the same, the feel is the same… but it’s changed. It’s more open, but more hurried. Any fan of the series can jump right in to BL2 and have no trouble adjusting to the gameplay or story: you’re a Vault Hunter looking for an alien treasure, and there are bad guys in your way. Get past the bad guys, get the treasure. But it’s not that simple, is it?

Beware Safety Fist

I’m not going to go too in depth right now, as I’d like to write a formal review later on what this game did right, but I can say that there are some serious improvements. There are a shit-ton of new bad guys, there’s more loot, more guns, better guns. The game still looks fantastic, with some scenes literally making you stop what you’re doing and take it all in (I don’t know about you guys, but I would find myself stopping and looking at the giant Hyperion ship that masks the moon over Pandora). It’s going to take a lot more playing, but this might be a case of the sequel out-doing the original.

In either case, the fans win and that’s all that matters. Well, that and beating the fuck out of Handsome Jack.

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