Up Up Down Down: Borderlands 2
The original Borderlands was the game of choice on last week's Up Up Down Down. On this week's edition, we're jumping right into the sequel. When 2K Games and Gearbox Software released Borderlands 2 last year, it provided more of the same action-packed gunplay that its predecessor set forth, all the while delivering what many consider an overall better adventure. While that's certainly arguable, there's no denying that this sequel is a total blast to play, and it's never been more awesome to jump into the world of Pandora and just shoot shit up.
Of course, this is Up Up Down Down, and we can't deny the flaws in Borderlands 2. So let's return to Pandora for one more outing, and let's see what there is to love about this game, as well as those little faults that you just can't ignore.
Up Up: Even more crazy-ass guns
Right on the back of the game case, you're informed that “a bazillion weapons just got bazilliondier.” While that's comedic hyperbole at its finest, Borderlands 2 does feature a rich plethora of weapons. Aside from your standard firearms, you've also got elemental weapons that can set your foes on fire, corrode armor, or lower damage resilience. Explosive weapons provide you with that oomph you desire, while rapid fire guns make you feel like a badass madman. There's really no shortage of awesome artillery in Borderlands 2.
Down Down: If you're burnt out on the formula, you might get bored
Sadly, not everyone loves spending hours upon hours playing the same types of games. Case in point: A buddy of mine didn't even want to finish Borderlands 2 because he thought it was too much like the first game (which it is, but still). Meanwhile I had just finished two playthroughs of the first Borderlands and was on my second Borderlands 2 run at the time. If you're burnt out on the formula, you shouldn't play this game — at least not yet. There's still some wonderfully mesmerizing quality gameplay on hand here, but it's definitely familiar territory.
Up Up: A lot of missions offer variety and choices
Rather than just forcing you to end missions in specific ways, Borderlands 2 often gives you dual objectives, letting you choose how to finalize a job. This means you can obtain a different gun depending on who you talk to after finishing a mission, as well as different lines of dialogue, which are usually pretty funny. It's great that the game gives you a sense of decision-making, and while it's somewhat minimal, having the option of choosing to earn a new shotgun or sniper rifle is kind of neat.
Down Down: Vehicles are still kind of wonky
Remember how driving in the first Borderlands wasn't terrible but still took a backseat to all of the shooting action? Well, that remains true here. The driving actually feels better this time around, but it pales in comparison to all of the delightful running and gunning that Borderlands 2 has to offer. At least you can change up the weapons you use on your vehicles. That definitely counts for something.
Up Up: Badass Rank adds a nice layer to character customization
Beneath all of the mayhem of Borderlands 2 is a nice little customization feature called the Badass Rank. By completing specific objectives such as killing a preset amount of certain enemies or using one type of gun extensively, you'll obtain Badass Tokens. These can be used to increase accuracy, damage, health, and other character attributes. It's a nice addition to the returning leveling system from the last game, and you can actually feel your character getting stronger and better with every little adjustment you make.
Down Down: Despite being hilarious, maybe there's a bit too much talking
Personally, I think Borderlands 2 is totally hilarious. The characters are charming, witty, or just plain funny. That said, I can see how some folks may grow tired of hearing everyone mouth off like crazy throughout the course of this 50-hour blast-fest. Claptrap in particular doesn't really know when to shut up, so it's easy to see how a lot of players will just want the game's various personalities to quiet down just a smidge at times.
Left Right Left Right: Borderlands 2 is a damn great sequel
Borderlands 2 was one of the biggest releases of 2012, and that's due to the fact that it's just a hell of a ride from start to finish. It improves on some of the shortcomings that plagued its predecessor such as weak boss battles and questionable AI, and it gives you more of the frenetic shooting action that made the original so damn awesome. In addition, it gives you more guns, varied options, and a funnier script. If you loved the first game, there's absolutely no reason to miss out on Borderlands 2. Pandora is undeniably still a really great place to visit.
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