First Impressions: Borderlands 2 [Game On]
So far I’ve spent about 6 hours with Borderlands 2 and am happy to say that I’ve come away much amused and hungering for more. Part of that’s the loot-hound in me and the other part is one that lusts for cel-shaded graphics. Either way, here’s why Borderlands is a rootin-tootin, slaughterfest of a good time so far.
The Writing is Much Improved
Former Destructoid editor-turned Gearbox goldenboy, Anthony Burch is the brainchild of the game’s story and while I’m just getting started, it’s clear that Borderlands 2 has a lot more meat on its bone than its predecessor. While elements are the same, there’s a fresher feel to the story and a clear build that starts pulling together the different sections of the original into a cohesive story.
The Interface is Tighter
The first Borderlands was a great game in its own right, but one hampered by the feeling that the entire presentation could’ve been a bit tighter. It could often be cumbersome or confusing to compare a new weapon against one you currently had equipped, for example.
Borderlands 2 simplifies a lot of this with sharper, clearer menu presentations, along with more logical upgrade paths for your character’s skills and abilities.
The Humor is as Sharp as Ever
Humor isn’t an easy thing to pull off in a videogame. In movies and television it’s easier by virtue of the medium. You don’t have to overcome any obstacles to digest the entire morsel of entertainment, it just goes, you laugh and that’s the end of it. In games however, you have the potential to hear the exact same line of dialog hundreds or thousands of times which takes even the funniest jokes and turns them into teeth-clenching affairs that make you want to put a bullet in your brain.
Thankfully Borderlands 2 continues to offer up fantastic humor that hardly ever repeats itself. It’s not just the dialog either, there are so many environmental cues and in-jokes it’s a wonder they had time to work so much in. Somehow listening to Claptrap beatbox and mock dubstep just doesn’t get old and the first time I found a port-a-potty that said ‘no fapping’ on the outside I giggled like a schoolgirl.
Changes Have Been Carefully Executed
The original Borderlands did a huckuvalot right so it’d be difficult to make too many changes without affecting the elements that made it great. Gearbox has done a bangup job making incremental improvements without taking away anything that made the first one so memorable (even it the story wasn’t, for example.) You’re still blasting away in the ongoing desire for better loot, gaining xp, and becoming quite literally more of a badass as you move on, but it’s the little touches that can make such a big pact in differentiating it.
You could make the criticism that Gearbox played it a little too safe, but I don’t think that’d be accurate. If anything I’m betting that with the availability of a Season Pass for DLC they’ve simply set the stage for a lot of amazing content that will be released down the line as everyone completes the main storyline.
I’m sure I’ve still got a lot left to see in Borderlands 2, but as far as I’m concerned this is a sterling follow-up to a game that wowed everybody with a new approach to the FPS genre, satisfying dungeon crawlers and shooter fanatics alike.
What’s your experience with Borderlands 2 been like so far?
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