Any video-game enthusiast knows that “Borderlands 2” is scheduled for release this September. It will be worth the wait, according to popular PC-gaming blog Rock, Paper, Shotgun, which has called the new “Borderlands” release “better, richer, deeper, sillier, wilder” than the previous version. If you’ve been keeping up with the previews and trailers, you probably agree. But what was it, exactly, that made “Borderlands” the popular series it is today?
“Borderlands” is a fun, action-packed game with a unique comic-book-art style. Players can choose from four character classes, each with their own special skill and weapon proficiency. There’s the soldier, whose skill is to launch an auto turret that shields him and also attacks enemies automatically; his standard-issue weapons are rifles and shotguns. There’s also the siren, who can phase-walk, or become invisible and move ultra fast for a period of time; the hunter, who has a bird of prey, a blood wing, who aids him in battle; and the berserker, whose skill lies in his own fists as he annihilates enemies with punches, and prefers explosive weaponry such as rocket launchers and grenades. Each character levels up using an experience system (common to most role-playing games), and with each level gained, another skill point earned, which can be used to up skill parameters. There are several different skills to choose from so the players can create their own style.
After selecting a character, it’s off to action. The desolate planet Pandora is riddled with freaks and bad guys, all wearing gas masks. The game starts off in Fyrestone, one of the many different base camps that players encounter and receive missions from.
The whole game is an open world. Don’t feel like completing any missions? Fine. Just wander out to Skag Gully (or any other place on the map), get a vehicle, and run over or shoot some baddies for experience and laughs. Getting weapons is always a surprise; there are shops, but you can also occasionally obtain weapons from enemies … and every gun has its own properties and damage rate. Finding good ones is like Christmas!
Each mission is somewhat fast paced, but there are around 30 to go through, as well as over 140 side quests to keep players occupied and entertained. The game also features two-player local co-op and up to four-player online co-op so that you can play with your friends and make new ones online.
The game does have its drawbacks, however. The driving controls are very clanky, and some players may have to relearn them nearly every time. The turn control for the vehicle also turns the camera while you are driving, making things very confusing. Also, it would be much more helpful if you could sell or trade ammo. When playing with a friend, it seems restricting to be unable to help that friend by giving them some of your extra ammo.
There is also no hot key for health items; when you’re head to head with Sledge, you don’t have time to pop open your menu and click through all the items for a health kit. And finally, the lack of a mini-map on your screen while you’re moving means that you have to stop completely, scroll through your menu to find the map, and remember the path you have to take. There also could be much more customization in the look and style of the character, but this is true of so many RPGs that it can’t be held against this game specifically.
So, if you like to find endless unique weapons and slaughter thugs with them, this is your chance to jump into a great series! And be on the lookout for the new “Borderlands 2,” coming next fall.
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