Welcome to my extremely belated review of Borderlands 2. My quick review for those that liked the original Borderlands: BUY IT! It is bigger, badder, and funnier. That said, this game is rated M for a reason. There’s a lot of gore, crude humor, language, and suggestive themes. This is definitely not a game for the young ones.
Unfortunate for me, Borderlands 2 came out just a month after my daughter was born. Overall, right now I am playing just Borderlands 2 and Battlefield 3 in my spare time. One thing I learned by accident was that a Borderlands 2 session can survive through a standby/hibernation. That has come in handy many times when having to rush to sooth a crying baby.
This game is much more fun playing with friends, however I have had to play most of it solo. So far I’ve really only played the Assassin role, focusing on sniping. Now that I have just made level 42, I am strongly considering starting a different character before I hit 50. I really wanted to avoid “power leveling” my first character. I’ve been told that Soldier is one of the better classes for playing solo.
I think that the AI cheats a little bit. Just recently I was targeting some monsters but they were just blocked by a boulder. As I would move to get a clear shot, from very far away, they magically scooted behind the boulder. I’m pretty sure they shouldn’t have been able to see me (I’m sneaky!) so I’m sure they know from the game engine they are being targeted and act accordingly. What is odd is that some of the human targets are completely oblivious even from somewhat short distances. Some of the enemies are very hard to target, as they jump left and right, doing rolls and sometimes leaping high into the air to come crashing down on you. AI really has come a long way since the early days of Wolfenstein 3D.
One of my biggest annoyances from the original Borderlands was the matchmaking via Gamespy. Borderlands 2 comes with full Steam integration. Since almost all of my games these days are purchased through Steam, this was a big bonus for me. Another annoyance that was rectified was the lack of a mini-map. I would have preferred to have a Star Wars Galaxy style transparent overlay, but a map in the top right really helps out in navigating the much larger game world that Borderlands 2 offers.
One distinct difference with the sequel is the Golden Key. It will open up a loot chest with random rare purple loot. You can redeem Shift (free online service) codes for one or more keys, skins, and promotional items. Early on it was very hard to redeem codes because they were limited to XX redemptions, or only valid for a short period. Over the past few months, the amount of codes has increased, along with giving you more time. I use two sites to track codes. Disdain Gaming and http://shift.disdaingaming.com/ Slickdeals http://slickdeals.net/showthread.php?t=5249922&goto=newpost?referrerid=60564 . For the average user, Disdain will cover you. If you want some discussion to go along with the codes, and to know if they’re dead or not before you bother to log in, check out the Slickdeals link.
Better loot makes a huge difference when attacking enemies at a higher level than yourself. Normally if you are following the “Story” quests fairly closely, you shouldn’t run into many enemies that are just too tough to kill. Toward the end though, if you don’t take on side quests to gain some more XP, your level will slowly begin to lag and it takes longer and longer to kill stuff. That is where the Golden Keys come in. A really good gun can let you take down an enemy 1-2 levels higher than you. Guys 3 levels higher are pretty damn hard to kill even with a great gun.
As for loot, Borderlands 1 introduced a fairly intense random generation system for items. The variety has been increased by another order of magnitude in Borderlands 2. I have found some very interesting combinations throughout my gameplay. One of my favorites was a rocket launcher with some insane “bullet drop” where shooting it was more like lobbing a grenade. I spent plenty of time practicing because if I could get the rocket to land anywhere close to the enemies, a huge nuclear-type blast would clear out everything in the area.
So far I have played through first playthrough and 95% of the first DLC “Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty.” I can’t really say much about the other character classes, but I’m sure that whatever your play style is, you’ll find something you like in Borderlands 2. What are you waiting for? Go check it out!