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Back in 2009, Gearbox Software released Borderlands, one of the most iconic role-playing shooters ever created. The game showcases a cast of zany characters, procedurally-generated weapons, and an engaging plot revolving around a mysterious vault.
Three years later, Gearbox Software released Borderlands 2, which takes place five years after the events of the first game. They took all of the elements that made the first game great and added even more on top of that. With the amount of content the game has coupled with its seemingly endless replayability, Borderlands 2 has earned its place as one of my favorite games ever.
Now you’re probably wondering, why am I talking about a 5-year-old game? Well, simply put, it’s just really good. If you somehow haven’t heard of the Borderlands franchise before, let me enlighten you on a few reasons why it’s worth your time.
What does Borderlands have to offer?
Let’s start with the basics! Borderlands offers the following:
- Virtually infinite amounts of randomized gear
- A decent plot with a reasonable amount of fun side quests
- Badass main characters
- Memorable boss fights (Rakk Hive was one hell of an experience when I first played the game)
- Fun expansion packs
- Great taste in music (Seriously, this applies to the whole franchise)
- Four player co-op!
So now we have Borderlands 2, which added even more to the formula. Here’s a few things the sequel introduced:
- A new cast of equally badass characters, with the previous main characters taking on important supporting roles in the story
- New shared storage system that allows you to share items with your other characters
- New gun mechanics (There’s guns that you “reload” by throwing it and summoning a new one; the gun you threw will explode like a grenade!)
- Two extra vault hunters!
- Badass ranks, permanent buffs to all of your characters that you can achieve by doing random challenges
There’s so much more in store for you in Borderlands 2, but we’ll be here all day if I listed everything down.
Vast Open World
Since Borderlands 2 is part RPG, having a large open world to explore shouldn’t be a surprise. As you progress through the story, you get to explore the dangerous world of Pandora. From the cold glaciers of The Fridge to the eridium-filled Arid Badlands (which is actually the starting place of the first game, now filled with hostile corporate installations), there’s no shortage of places you get to explore.
To add to all of that, the expansion packs all take place in their own slightly smaller regions. My personal favorite has to be the entirety of Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, which takes place in an imaginary land inspired by Dungeons & Dragons. In that DLC’s campaign, you get to explore places like an underground mine run by dwarves and the titular Dragon Keep located on top of a mountain.
Here’s a REALLY old video of me and my friend playing Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep in which I correctly predicted a silly moment that would happen later on:
In the world of Borderlands, you’ll meet very eccentric and unique characters which you’ll learn to either love or hate. What I mean by this is that some of them can be too wacky that you’ll probably find them annoying (oh CL4P-TR4P, you annoying little robot).
One of the most memorable characters in Borderlands 2 (and dare I say, the entire franchise) is the main antagonist, Handsome Jack. Though he wasn’t exactly all that bad, as the pre-sequel suggests, he’s one of the best video game villains that you’ll love to hate. His cocky attitude coupled with the hilarious threats and insults he’ll throw at you throughout the game is absolutely brilliant.
The best part about Jack is that he’s not setup to be some kind of unstoppable evil force that you have to band together to defeat. He’s just some opportunistic guy with a lust for power who thinks he’s doing the right thing. Handsome Jack is amazing because he’s just a regular person like me and you. I don’t want to spoil the story, but there are moments where he shows how emotionally vulnerable he can be, and you can’t help but feel sorry/angry for him.
I’ll leave you to discover the rest of the cast yourself (there’s LOTS of people to meet in the game), especially the vault hunters. The longer you play the game, the more you identify and connect with the vault hunters, just like any other RPG. In the case of people who’ve played the first game, it just feels awesome to see your old favorites still playing an important role in the story.
General Tone of Borderlands 2
If it isn’t already obvious by now, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously. Sure, it has its serious moments, but it takes its time to remind you that it’s just a fun little game. It has this healthy balance of serious exposition and downright stupidly hilarious crap that’s just hard to hate.
Seriously, I’ll give you an example. Again, I don’t want to spoil the story, but at one point you’ll have to do a quest for one of the first game’s vault hunters and, well, let’s just say it doesn’t have a happy ending. Immediately after that, you’re treated to a very silly quest that ends up with you fighting alongside Brick, the vault hunter who likes to punch things.
Aside from that, there’s also side quests that are literally just comic relief. My favorite has to be the one where your only objective is to shoot “Face McShooty” in the face. Face McShooty scolds you every time you shoot him elsewhere, and he thanks you when you do it right. There’s also one where Handsome Jack says he’ll pay you to kill yourself, and he actually will!
(EDIT: I forgot to mention this, but Zer0 (one of the playable vault hunters) speaks almost entirely in haikus. Almost everything he says in the game is a haiku. It gets really amusing when you start counting his syllables whenever he speaks.)
If you love FPS games with RPG elements, you’re gonna love this game. You’ll find yourself spending countless hours finishing all the quests while defeating various enemies and bosses (and did I mention the game has raid bosses? The game has raid bosses) around Pandora. Don’t even get me started on how much time it’ll take to try out all the characters!
I’d also recommend checking out Tales From The Borderlands, which is an episodic adventure game by Telltale Games. It’s an amazing interactive story that takes place after the events of Borderlands 2.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and indulge in the world of Borderlands! Fun times await you!