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Borderlands 2 - My Review

Updated on March 6, 2014

At the beginning of the gameplay for Borderlands 2, you are being told a story about some Vault Hunters who have arrived on the planet of Pandora. They have been lured into a trap, however, and as the opening cut scene ends and you choose the Vault Hunter you wish to play (the original game gives you the options of Commando, Assassin, Siren or Gunzerker, with others available as DLC), you discover yourself in a frozen wasteland with a CL4P-TP ("Claptrap") unit cleaning up nearby. He encourages you to follow him to his lair, and the game thus begins.

Borderlands is a game about guns, ammo, loot, and skills. It is presented as a cartoon-shaded first person shooter, and you are given some basic weaponry to start with, but as you progress, you will find better, more powerful gear with which to upgrade yourself, including shields, relics (which grant class specific upgrades), grenades (which do more than just explode, sometimes), and - well, firearms of various sorts!

Guns come in 6 basic flavours: pistols (handguns), assault rifles, sub-machine guns (SMGs), shotguns, sniper rifles, and grenade/rocket launchers. As well as these firearm types, they have varying damage, reload, and ammo amounts, which make two nearly identical guns still require some thought as to which you would rather have; do you want to fire more bullets before reloading, or reload faster? These are only a few of the choices that you will need to make as you level up.

The four main classes in Borderlands 2
The four main classes in Borderlands 2 | Source

Main Ability By Class

Each class has it's own main ability which can be ameliorated with the addition of skill points in the various skill trees. The main abilities are:

Commando: Turret - deploys a turret that fires at enemies in your area. This can be upgraded to fire rockets, have a second gun dealing slag damage, have a shield, or allow a second turret to be deployed.

Assassin: Deception - lets the assassin deploy a decoy of himself while he turns invisible. While invisible, the assassin gets a damage bonus to melee and gun hits. Upgrades to his skills go into sniping, higher damage melee attacks, or increased critical hit bonuses.

Siren: Phaselock - Phaselock temporarily takes an enemy out of the fight and holds them in the air. This ability can be enhanced to do damage or AoE damage at higher levels, but is initially just for getting a more powerful foe out of the way for a short time.

Gunzerker: Gunzerking - Gunzerking is the act of going berzerk with guns (apparently) allowing him to hold and fire two different weapons at the same time. Skill tree enhancements can include using no ammo when firing, increased damage, or health regeneration.

It's All About the Skills!

Skills are divided up into skill trees for each of the classes, which each having a main skill, and three sub-trees that enhance various other parts of their abilities. For example, the commando has a Turret skill, allowing him to drop a powerful turret that provides fire support. His three skill trees allow the turret to do more damage, add a second gun, add a second turret, or add a shield. However, if you wish to forgo the turret enhancements altogether, you can instead increase the power of your personal shields, your shield recharge rate, your gun damage, reload speed, melee attack power... the choice really is yours!

The trees are not completely open, however, as you need a specific number of points at the "root" of the tree in order to access higher tier skills (the trees actually start at the top, so the tree analogy is a little bit upside-down). So you may need to invest in a skill that you don't really want in order to get to the one that you do.

Skill points are provided at each advancement in your level, starting (I believe) after level 5. The first skill point will always go into your main ability, and subsequent points are added below it. Once you reach Snctuary (the main stronghold of the Vault Hunter resistance), you can pay a small amount to get all of your skill points back in order to spend them in a different manner. This can allow you to try different builds in order to see what you like, or what clearly doesn't work for you.

Special Damage Types

The guns, shields, and grenades in Borderlands 2 come from a few different "manufacturers" such as Tediore and Vladof. Each manufacturer adds a distinction to their items that allow them to operate differently, and sometimes, having a gun from a specific manufacturer can greatly change the way in which the gun works. A couple of examples are:

  • Tediore weapons that, when reloaded, are thrown as grenades which damage on impact, and a new, fully loaded weapon simply appears in your hand;
  • Maliwan weapons and shields always seem to have an elemental effect, but suffer from lower raw damage.
  • Vladof weapons have lower accuracy, but a very high rate of fire - I had a Vladof sniper rifle that unloaded massive damage in a very short period of time!

As well as these special additions to the weapons based on the manufacturer, there are elemental damage types that are often found on weapons, grenades, and even as "Spike" damage on shields. These fall into 5 basic types:

  • slag - allows for additional damage to be taken while slagged;
  • incendiary (fire) - does fire damage over time, best against unshielded and unarmoured enemies
  • corrosive (acid) - does extra damage to armour
  • shock (electrical) - does extra damage to shields
  • explosive - can cause AoE damage, but does not damage over time, unlike the other elemental types.

By being aware of the enemy you are facing and their shield/armour, and using the correct damage type against them, you can cause significant damage in a short time to take down your enemies. Also, keeping alternative damage types in your inventory to switch out to in certain situations can also be a good idea. You only get 4 active weapons slots, so keeping an shock weapon in your inventory for when fire just won't cut it, can save your life (and a lot of cash - more on respawn costs, shortly).

IGN Review of Borderlands 2

Click this link to buy Borderlands 2

5 stars for Borderlands 2

Weapon rarity

As with many games, there are rarity levels to the weapons that you find. In Diablo 3 (as an example, as I am an avid D3-er) you have normal (white), magic (blue), rare (yellow) and legendary (orange) items types, with increasing rarity in that order. This type of item hunt rarity level is also found in Borderlands 2, and the levels are as follows:

  • white (common) - you'll find lots of this crap laying around, but as you level up, you might find one that is actually better than a currently equipped rarer model, so make sure you check;
  • green (uncommon) - less common than white, but you'll still find quite a lot of it as you level up. Some of these can be good upgrades to your whites.
  • blue (rare) - these are usually a good find, and will add some extra oomph to your arsenal. Be sure to watch for and check these out. Even if it doesn't measure up, you could sell it for some extra scratch!
  • purple (epic) - definitely a good find, if someone drops one for you. You won't find many of these, so be sure to savour them when you get them!
  • orange (legendary) - definitely hard to find, and should be a good upgrade to what you have, if you found one at, or near your level.
  • magenta (e-tech) - uses eridium to provide a higher and altered damage amount. Similar to legendary in their rarity, they are certainly not common, so keep your friends close, but your e-techs closer!
  • pink (seraph) - these are extremely rare, and only available in the DLCs for Borderlands 2. These generally have high stats, but some form of counterbalance, such as lower accuracy or projectile speed.
  • cyan (pearlescent) - the rarest of the rarest, these are the top-tier items in the game. Requires at least one of the Ultimate Vault Hunter add-on packs, and can only be found in Ultimate Vault Hunter mode (the highest difficulty).

Reader feedback

What do you think of Borderlands 2?

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The Lowdown

There's a ton of content in the game in the form of the main quests to beat the antagonist and win the day, to the side missions that run the gamut from finding bullymong fur to starting a clan war. The item hunt is a blast and keeps you coming back for more, and the raw, sick sense of humour that is prevalent throughout the game make it a must-play for me - yeah, sick sense of humour is right up my alley; if you have kids, you may want to be careful with this one at times.

While I was not sure how much I would like it when I first tried out the game, I have been having a blast (literally) playing this since I got it. I have only completed the first round (Normal mode) with one character so far, and am halfway through True Vault Hunter Mode (the second level) with him, but I see the replayability of this game to be immense.

Even though this game came out almost 3 years ago, it is still a blast to play on XBox 360, and I assume as much for PC as well. I would highly recommend this game if you like RPG elements in your games, and finding that next, awesome piece of gear just makes your day!

Hit me up in the comments and let me know what you think of the game, and what your favourite items, skills, characters, etc., are




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