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After the success of the original Borderlands, developer Gearbox and publisher 2K games went back to work and released the sequel, Borderlands 2, in 2012 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. More guns, more madness, and more claptrap paved the way in this successful sequel. Let’s dive in and find out what made Borderlands 2 the peak of the series! This review will be based on the PlayStation 3 version. “This party is worse than stairs”, but hopefully this Borderlands 2 review is better!
Borderlands 2 Plot:
After the previous events on Pandora, you’re back for more with four different vault hunters. Once again, I played the entire Borderlands 2 review with my wife. I was Axton the Commando and she was Salvador the Gunzerker. Taking place five years after the first Borderlands, there are rumors of an even larger vault on Pandora that brings attention back onto the planet.
Opening the first vault resulted in Pandora producing a valuable mineral called “Eridium”. A new mega-corporation called Hyperion has settled in and mined the mineral up led by Hyperion’s president Handsome Jack. Under his rule, Pandora is seen as a Hyperion planet, with Handsome Jack’s base orbiting the planet.
You arrive on the planet in a wreck and with the help of Claptrap and the Guardian Angel find safety in the city of Sanctuary. Recruited by the Crimson Raiders, a rebel organization with the goal of destroying Hyperion and Handsome Jack, you’ll find yourself doing various missions for its members.
One of the missions is to high-jack a Hyperion train that is carrying a Vault Key. Blowing up the train results in fighting a killer robot named Wilhelm. After stealing his power core and using it to power the shield of Sanctuary, you discover that it’s all a trap set by the Guardian Angel who has been working for Handsome Jack.
With the shields down, Handsome Jack bombs Sanctuary from his orbiting station. Lilith who you’ll remember from the first Borderlands is able to save Sanctuary which was a former space ship. Handsome Jack’s main goal is to open up the second vault by forcing the vault key to charge with the Eridium he has been mining.
The Guardian Angel starts to communicate with the Vault Hunters and informs them that she physically has the vault key. You’ll break into a high-security zone that holds the Guardian Angel where you meet face-to-face. She informs you that she is a siren and Handsome Jack’s daughter. She wants to stop her father from charging the key and asks you to kill her. After successfully killing her, Handsome Jack teleports in and capture Lilith while Killing Roland. I played as Roland in the original Borderlands and was surprised to see his death. I felt like it was an important building block in the Borderlands universe, making you cherish the characters, even more, knowing that they all weren’t invincible and that they could die. After that, I realized no one was safe and took extra notice of loveable characters I came across because Roland would not be the last to die.
Lilith safely transports you away from the chaos before Handsome Jack forces her to fully charge the vault key. You learn where the vault is located and race to meet Handsome Jack there. When you arrive, it’s too late as Handsome Jack has opened it releasing “the Warrior” a violent monster that he can command. You kill the Warrior and for good measure kill Handsome Jack too. In the end, Lilith tries to destroy the vault key for good but accidentally activates a secret information storage unit inside the key that reveals several locations around the galaxy of more vaults.
You’ll feel more invested in the story of Borderlands 2 than you were in Borderlands. With the four main characters back from the first, it was fun to interact with them although I wish they were playable in my Borderlands 2 review. Handsome Jack really comes through as a villain you love to hate. His personality is one you’ve probably met in your life. He’s arrogant, cocky, in love with himself, but he’s a psychopath, ruthless and greedy. I’m sure we all know people that fit that bill. He doesn’t have superpowers, he’s just a dick, which makes him more believable.
Borderlands 2 Gameplay:
The gameplay doesn’t change much from the original Borderlands, and that’s a good thing! During my Borderlands 2 review I spent hours collecting guns, strategizing which ones to use, and trying them out on poor psychos or midgets. I was bummed that I wouldn’t be playing as Roland again, but the four playable characters were adequate to make me forget about him.
I can never pass up a side quest much to the dismay of my wife, so like the first, we played all the side missions. We leveled up as we went and continued to power up through our skill trees. Boss fights are back, and you’ll face plenty of fun and interesting characters full of humor and quips as much as they are flesh shredding ammo.
Borderlands does a great job creating characters that you enjoy interacting with. Claptrap, Scooter, Moxxi and the others are back along with a few new ones. Completing missions for them was enjoyable, and much like the original, you had plenty of fetch quests, bounties, monster hunts, and rescue missions. The game is all more of the same from the original but expands upon what made the first game great. I’ll never complain when sequels come out and keep a successful formula. Don’t fix it if it’s not broken. This results in Borderlands 2 being the peak of the series with the inclusive of Handsome Jack.
After beating the first Borderlands, my wife couldn’t wait to pop in Borderlands 2. I had already started a campaign, but because of her excitement, I decided to restart the game and play it through with her. It didn’t disappoint as we spent weeks slaughtering midgets, scags, and more leaving burning, frozen, electric and poisoned corpses behind in our path of destruction.
Borderlands 2 Review Score:
Borderlands 2 is a great example of a sequel. It builds upon a successful formula, includes beloved characters, and sprinkles in a few upgrades making the best game in the Borderlands series.
Borderlands 2 scores a 9.1 out of 10.
What would you write in your Borderlands 2 review? What did you think of Borderlands 2 when it first came out? Which character did you select? Did you like Handsome Jack as a villain? Let me know your thoughts and memories, I’d love to read them!
If you want to own Borderlands 2 you can purchase a preowned copy of it for the Playstation 3 on eBay for $5.