Borderlands 2

Ta da!

Sorry for the break with the blog. No real reason, I just forgot to post anything for a while. Anyways, I’ve spent this weekend playing Borderlands 2. Hurrah!

Did you play Borderlands 1?

Did you like it?

Buy Borderlands 2. To be precise, buy Borderlands 2 and then force yourself past the first few hours.

Like its predecessor, the opening section is a pain in the arse and boring as hell, especially if you’re playing solo.

Get past this, and it’s a lot like the first game, so if you liked that then you’ll like this.

Damn, that’s the laziest thing I could have said. Fuck it, I’ll try again.

Borderlands had a tremendous sense of humour, however it was used sparingly throughout the game. Borderlands 2 has a tremendous sense of humour, and it is determined to let you know this right from the start. The script is hilarious, the voice actors do a brilliant job, and on your first playthrough you’ll be laughing your way through the game. Dunno how well it will hold up to repeat playthroughs, but then that’s comedy for you. My only problem here is that the boss introductions aren’t as witty as they were in the original. There’s nothing as memorable as Nine Toes here (or his three balls). A small gripe though, because everything else is brilliant.

One thing they’ve really got right is Handsome Jack. Once again, there’s rumours of a new vault on the planet of Pandora, and once again the required amount of vault hunters turn up to find it and loot it. In between the first and second games, the Hyperion corporation has claimed the planet and its resources, and so you will be fighting them every step of the way. Hyperion is led by Handsome Jack, a villain who is gleefully happy to kill anything on the planet that isn’t Hyperion-related. Right from the start, he taunts you about how rich he is (he just bought a pony made of diamonds), how he has a big secret (that he might just tell you), and how he is going to kill you. The brilliant thing about this is that it doesn’t take long for you to want to reach into your monitor and punch the bastard in the throat. He’s annoying. Irritating. He’s funny, but he’s also there to wind you up. I’m imagining the catharsis to be had by killing him, and it must be huuuuuge.

I’m just gonna sidetrack myself here. There’s something that the designers do here that is brilliant, and I hope other games do this in future. They use the HUD for humour. At one point, Claptrap gives you a quest where he will give you access to his secret stash as a reward. Claptrap lists the things you have to do to get at the stash, and these are duly listed in the HUD (collect 139,000 brown rocks, kill the lord of the skags, defeat the destroyer of worlds etc). Once he’s finished listing these, an earthquake happens, and this knocks the covers off his secret stash (and the cover off the big sign that says “Claptrap’s Secret Stash”). The quest listing in the HUD then changes to something like “Look behind you”. A small thing, but it had me laughing anyway.

As for the gameplay? As good as it ever was. I’m only up to level 13, but up to now there’s been nothing new. You pick up guns, you shoot with them, then you find new guns, rinse and repeat.

The new characters are interesting. I’ve played as a gunzerker and an assassin. The gunzerker is named for his special talent of dual-wielding weapons for a small amount of time. The amount of time you can dual-wield for can be increased by killing enemies, and so this character is more suited to idiots who run in pretending to be bullet sponges (like, erm, me). The assassin’s trick is to make a holographic version of himself, which lasts up to 5 seconds. While the hologram is running around pretending to be you, you are invisible, so you can get into a good sniping position or just run away to get your shield back. The catch is that you get a damage multiplier on your next attack depending on how long you were invisible for; cut the timer short and you’ll do less damage, but you’ll cut down the cooldown time. It sounds like it’s one of them tactical things that I’m sure can do wonders in the right hands. I don’t think my hands are right for it, but I’ll stick with it and see what happens.

Errr, that’s about it, really.

Ooh! Just remembered. The PC version is fucking brilliant. No need to port forward to get multiplayer working. No need to use a fan-made ini editor to get mouse smoothing switched off. They’ve got it totally right this time. And if you turn the PhysX setting up to HUGE (or whatever it’s called), you get to see loads of incidental stuff you won’t find on any other version. The obvious things you’ll see are liquids running down inclines, and debris being flung everywhere during a firefight. Small details, but noticeable and fun.

And that’s about it. Again.

1 Comment

    Have you had a go with the 5th playable character yet? I’m doing a double playthrough (sounds very wrong) to hit level 50 with the commando then I’ll have a go at the new bloke with his pet robot.

    I’ve seen some complaints about the game making you feel like you’ve lost even when you’ve finished it which I sort of understand. The whole Jack ending could have been a lot more spectacular but other than that my second favourite game of the year so far behing Skyrim, I think that came out this year didn’t it?

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