Wot I Think: Borderlands 2

By Jim Rossignol on September 18th, 2012 at 5:00 am.

No idea.
Jim spent the past ten days in hyper-hyped mega-sequel Borderlands 2. He has killed many things, with many, many guns.

Here’s wot he thinks.

Deep breath. This is going to be a long one.

Exploder lands, more like.
I suppose that to begin with I was a little disappointed with Gearbox’s level-based, quest-driven FPS sequel. And it’s true that the first few hours of Borderlands 2 are slow, and a little underwhelming. Sure, it’s beautiful, but we knew that. And a couple of the jokes made me smirk, but that was a given, too. I began to sit back in my chair a little, wondering if actually I was doing something wrong. I was. But I’ll come to that.

The truth is that the first few hours of Borderlands 2 are going to be thoroughly familiar to Borderlands players, albeit with a lot more expositional jabber being directed at you (all of it sits somewhere on the sassy/wacky axis), and familiar deserts replaced with an Arctic landscape that does little to stir the imagination. Not that any of this is fatal, of course, because most of those Borderlands veterans will be here because they enjoyed the original. It’s just that, well, for many hours, nothing really stood out. Nothing sang to me in the way that original did. Worse, nothing really raised hairs or widened eyes. There was no “WOW” event to create a blip that you could write next to on the graph of my excitement. And this led to a feeling of unease.


It was immediately better when I turned to play co-op, of course. But that’s always true. (Of almost any game.) We knew exactly how it would be true in Borderlands 2: the ramped up intensity of more and tougher baddies, the richer rewards of extra and better loot. It’s just the same as it ever was. Only louder and more colourful. Co-op is what makes this game live. To miss that is to miss the point entirely.

But yeah, there’s still an army of people who will get through it on their own. Or, like me, have a character for soloing, and others for co-op. Given that my brain is now a sort of petri dish experiment for long-term submersion in videogames, I suspect that my feeling of vague disappointment could be one that appears in other people’s experiences, too. They might play a few hours and feel they have serious reservations. But the fact of the matter is that Borderlands 2 just takes its time. That might be an error of judgement: it probably did need a bigger opening few chapters. Being underwhelmed is not a great way to feel at the start of an epic game. But…


But when it gets going, it really puts the pedal to the edge-shaded metal. When the thunder starts to roll, this game reveals itself to be a supercell of a storm.

Borderlands 2 is a minor masterpiece.

Running for cover, under a hail of gunfire, I systematically looted my way down a corridor, and under a canopy, suck ammo from cases and lockboxes as overhead flying enemies tried to blast me with electrical weapons. Bombs were going off, and robots were whirling and stomping towards me. I looked out ahead of me, to where the next slalom of gun-violence would take place, and I realised that the game was singing. Sure, the song was a familiar one about the explosive ending of men and monsters, but the melody was perfect. And more importantly, it had hit a rhythm. I had hit a rhythm, and I didn’t want to leave it.

It helped, perhaps, that the backdrop was so perfect. Borderlands 2’s environments are a dream of jumbled technologies and alien geologies. Was this thing I was on a dam? It was part shanty town, part technological megalith, part brutalist functionscape, covered in detail and dereliction. And really, it didn’t matter what it was, but the fact that someone had thought to design it with such definite purpose and repurpose made me smile. I was only going to fight there for a few minutes at the most, but true craft had been buried in its beams, bulwarks and buttresses.


This is a feeling I got throughout Borderlands 2. It feels like a game that has been cared for, and meticulously smoothed over. There was some bumps, which I will come to, but as an object of design it is exquisite and multitudinous. I found myself taking screenshots of action-free, incidental rooms, and of the menus, repeatedly. And that seems absurd.

Anyway. Returning to that feeling of unease, I have to say that one of the sources of it was a mistake. I chose the bum character. Or, more accurately, the character that was ill-suited to my way of playing. That was my mistake. I chose Zero, because the faceless, lanky assassin looked interesting. I liked the hawk-wielding sniper dude in the original, and expected Zero to be some kind of analogue, albeit with a stealth kick and a sword. But it was not to be. Zero’s power involves disappearing and projecting a hologram of himself, before revealing you again with a boosted punch to your next hit. The idea was okay, I suppose – and it got me out of sticky situations – but the execution felt awkward. Worse, my ninja muttered ridiculous “I am become death” gibberish in my ear each time it was fired. Whatever, you wannabe. Shut up, or I’ll call the police.


What a relief, then, when on my co-op playthrough I chose the Gunzerker. Obviously I should have chosen this character from the start. His power is to temporarily dual-wield (with additional buffs), and to roar and cackle as he does so. He doesn’t say “I am death from the shadows” or anything pretentious like that, he just howls as his guns blaze, and enemies get their hit-points smacked out of their guts like chainsaws being thrown at a piñata. That’s what I wanted. Not the ability to run away and hide, but the ability to kill, Kill, KILL. And suddenly the game was a degree of magnitude more magnificent.

You might argue, then, that including Zero was Gearbox’s mistake. And perhaps it was. It’s true that both the Commando, with his awesome deployable turret, and the Siren with her ability to phase-shift an enemy out of fights entirely, also seem, like Salvador the Gunzerker, superior to Zero. But the real decider of the quality on the Borderlands 2 show is not even the characters – who, as I will mention in a moment, are radically customisable and upgradeable to level few FPS could ever conceive – but the guns.


PC Gamer’s Tom Francis made an interesting observation as I began playing the game, saying that the possibility that someone might not have as a good a game because of random guns was a real thing, and he wondered whether it might end up radically changing someone’s feeling about the game, if they just happened to get bad hand-cannons, or if they received heavenly pistols. Of course the game always drops some superb weapons in your path, because it’s just scripted to do so, but the other aspect of this is that when – and not really if – you get a radically ridiculous weapon, then things change.

This is exactly what happened with my Zero playthrough. At around level twelve I got a super fast-firing rifle that turned its bullets into explosive rockets, and sniper rifle that set people on fire and reloaded in a flash. Both of these were products of Borderlands 2’s extraordinary weapon-generation system, which has in it hundreds of thousands of possible combinations. I had just peaked on a wave of randomness, and suddenly the game – and my less-satisfying-than-Gunzerker assassin character – moved into place.


It helped, of course, that this fluke coincided with the point at which the game stepped up, dropped an army of bleeping, burning, crawling-along-the-ground-when-crippled robots on me, and took several sidesteps into madness. While up to that point it had been straining to be zany, and making me roll my eyes, now it was thumping the ground with its crazy stick. And the entire game began to shake with it.

I should mention the skills thing. I am not going to spend any time trying to discuss the details, because you can see the full breakdown here. But I strongly suspect the majority of players are going to end up as a the commando or the gunzerker, just because this is really a game about firepower, and the powers of the Maya and Zero, while effective, aren’t really interesting enough to shift the focus from simply being able to put down a lot of damage very quickly.


What’s also interesting is that the game has a second layer of buffs, which are earned from your achievements. By completing them you get fractional percent bonuses to things like weapon damage and reload speed, which you can choose from a list. This essentially completes the achievement loop, and I suspect will be widely copied (assuming it’s not already been copied from somewhere) because it makes achievements actually part of the game again.

And I suppose we should also make explicit that there’s the whole issue of it being level-based hanging over the battlefield. That – as in the original – can have some annoying ramifications, such as you having to leave an area to grind lower quests, so that you can come back and find things a little easier. Or, grinding all those side-quests and blasting through questlines with no challenge. For the majority of the time the rewards you get from killing higher level enemies (more XP) means that you can plough through the main quest line without really spending to much time to divert yourself into sidequesting, but then you miss out. (I did, however, run out of ammo on several occasions, and have to hike back across the (enormous) maps to get stocked up again. No big deal, but I did feel that the game’s attempts to entice you off the direct track and into is myriad of secondary missions was very weak. You’ve got to want to do them to really step off the main line.)

Worse, there’s no way to co-op with chums at a different level. You will need to be in a couple of levels of each other for it to work. And that can mean waiting, catching up, creating new characters, and so on. When co-op is such a vital part of the game it seems baffling there there is no level-lending sidekick system to make this easier.


I should also mention that things seem much healthier with the PC version this time. Co-op is seamless drop-in/drop-out based on your Steam friends list, which works far better than Gamespy’s awkward (and often router port-fiddling) interface from the original game. It also has a wealth of options both graphically and in terms of controls, as you’d expect from a mature Unreal engine game. The upshot of that is that on a high end machine it runs smoothly and can look spectacular.

Of all the things that I could take away from the experience of playing Borderlands 2, the main one was that, well, there are so many things. The game is enormous. On my second playthrough I am taking time to do more of the sidequests, and there are many, so many many, of these. Some of them are highly inventive. Some are dull, grindy, fetchy excuses for taking your time. Others are just outright strange. I am not sure why I had to murder the shirtless men. I suspect it was a cultural reference that I am missing. It felt like some kind of weird nerd revenge fantasy.


But anyway.

Borderlands 2 contains multitudes. It is a glowing, rolling, bursting-at-the-seams carnival of a game. What it lacks, with its Diablo-with-automatic-weapons levelling-up hyperviolence, are the scripted (dare I go there cinematic) highs of the scene-setting scripted shooters. (Although the appearance of NPCs as characters you can play alongside and interactive is a big step on from the original’s static mannequins.) It also lacks any subtlety at all. It’s a Molotov cocktail of a game. But it’s also a near-miraculous feat of production, from character customisation to the way characters can be seen to be looking at holographic menus when you are actually looking at menus. In videogames, beauty is in the details.

I met one of the developers earlier in the year. He had not worked on the original, and he was quite happy to say that he thought things were easier on this project, precisely because Gearbox had already made the original game. They had existing, tested systems to work with. They had a defined art style, a cast of characters, and a world that everyone knew “feel” of. There was going to be no inchoate pointing at a moodboard, or wondering if the look was okay. No wondering if this system was a waste of time, or that. And I am sure that this was useful, and allowed the current team to stand on the shoulders of giants. It probably was easier to make Borderlands 2. But that should take nothing away from the sheer density of this radioactive slab of game design. It’s enormous. It might lack emotional nuance, or tactical and strategic depth, but it makes up for it in screaming madmen on fire, beautiful alien landscapes, fascinating ways to pump lethal light into an Encyclopedia of caricatured monsters, and pumping, seething numbers, always going up, up, up.


Borderlands 2 is not perfect, by any means. I’ve listed some of the imperfections above. You might have missed them, I suppose, because I was dabbling in hyperbole the rest of the time. I do want to stress that you should be playing this game co-op. For many of you the temptation will just be to plough onewards with single player. I get that. It’s a shooter. But please, for the sake of everything in this game, and your own experience, try to find someone to play with. If you don’t have any chums then try the RPS community, or the RPS Steam group. Really, it’ll be worth finding sidekicks. This game is thoroughly co-op, and you need to taste that.

Ultimately, the point is that this is a masterful game which understands its lot. It’s a sort of super-healthy offspring from the original: genetically superior and displaying all the original game’s standout traits with flair and confidence. It does do some things wrong. It’s basically a known quantity. It’s not exactly a rollercoaster all the way through. And you probably won’t be all that surprised.

Nevermind all that. It’s really about the guns. The many, many guns. And sometimes that’s enough.

Borderlands 2 is out now in the US, and on the 21st in Europe.

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199 Comments »

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  1. MrEvilGuy says:

    That’s an idea: if I tell my friends that they can be my “sidekicks”, they might be more inclined to play!

  2. gravity_spoon says:

    Jim. I’d like to mention that Zer0 isnt a bum character. People just suck at playing as some many a times. In original BL, after spending 700 hrs on 10 characters, I only had one Brick. I just plain sucked at it, while some of my co-op buddies were god-like while playing Brick. TL;DR Give it some more time maybe :) Also, pretty sure that once the build guides are up on the official forum, it will be much easy to play as any character. Be it Zer0, Axton, Maya or Sal. As far as I know, Maya’s elemental damage capabilities will be awesome. I hope you get to enjoy playing every character.

    • Metonymy says:

      I was saying for months that zero was a dud and gunzerker was going to be king. It means nothing now, of course. As far as balance goes, it was a brilliant decison, the finesse characters should never have convenient levels of power. But for a launch decision, it was madness to make the legolas character (anything that appeals to bleaters) a finesse character. They should have found a way to make the ninja dual wield and be hard to kill, and give the loud fat guy some more delicate and engaging gameplay.

      • Tatourmi says:

        Thing is, looking at the skill trees, they did that.

        Zero has the tree with the most pure buffs in it, some of which are just fighteningly strong (In pure mordecai’s fashion), increasing crit damage on every weapon and things like that, while the gunzerker pretty much has no “pure” damage buff on any of its skill trees and has one of the most interesting trees of them all which is based on reloading and swapping weapons. Which can make it play as follows:

        If you reload you get a 25% increase. If you switch, and you switch faster than any other character, your first bullet does increased damage. Your last bullet also does increased damage. If you kill an enemy it reloads every unequipped weapon and activates the reload buff, which is then combined with the small switch buff. And so you go on emptying and switching weapons rather than reloading, hoping you can manage a kill to reload the rest and continue the roll.

        You can combine that tree with the second one for free ammo and larger magazine sizes and here you go!

      • xenogrant says:

        zero can do 1700% damage on a backstab, and restealth on succesful kill, just to backstab again, rinse repeat. If my math is correct and the backstab 40% damage is a multiplier.

      • belgand says:

        Honestly the Gunzerker sounds like the least interesting character to me. Dual-wielding just sounds dull to me. Especially since the whole “bellowing while shooting a lot” doesn’t feel like fun. But that’s the kind of player I am. I want a slow, methodical character. Taking my time, using stealth, and going for the one-hit headshot or backstab.

        Not everybody like this though. Some, like Jim apparently, want to have tons of tough enemies running right at them as they shoot them en masse. I can’t think of something that would be a bigger turn-off.

    • elevown says:

      He might not be a naff character- but its entirely possible playing it more wouldnt make him more fun- or playing it better either- simply because he plays DIFFERENT to the others.

      Each character plays somewhat differently- and some people just might not be suited to enjoy zero – or any given character. Its better to play first time at least as a class you like and get a good feel for right away. You can always try the others next time.

      • gravity_spoon says:

        I’d have to disagree here. My first Mord was a sniper and I hated it. Tried Gunslinger Mord and it was a blast. Many people who didn’t like Lilith enjoyed playing the Spectre. The only Brick I ever levled was an Ogre and a boss with shotguns (after reaching level cap of course). But all melee variants of Brick I did not like. So it takes both patience and change of playstyle maybe. However, a counter to that argument would be that no matter what game it is, I am just bad at playing melee characters across all games. But still I try to. Playing an Engineer in TL2 beta has given me hope :)

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Sure – that’s what I am saying, I suppose: I didn’t get on with Zero, should have chosen Salvador. When I did go back and play Salvador, I had a much better time.

      That character just suits me better.

    • Stromko says:

      I’m enjoying my time with Zero so far. I’ve gone pure Sniper tree, but so far I’m only level 14 so I’ve just unlocked the blanket accuracy, crit damage, and zoom bonuses. At this point I can crit with most guns, and I just got a sniper rifle that does 274 damage, and fires fast with good accuracy, so can’t wait til my co-op partners are done sleeping (maybe I’ll sleep too, maybe) so I can take it out on the range.

      The slot machines in Moxxie’s bar really make up for any bad luck you have out on the field with loot, since all the loot you get from them is tied to your current level, and you can get green, blue, maybe even better rarity. Some of my best stuff, including that sniper rifle that does 2x more damage than any other rifle I’ve seen, has come from the slot machines. It’s a bit meta.

    • starclaws says:

      The players that don’t like Mord or Zer0 usually cant handle sniping in a fast paced environment. Zer0’s stealth kills are nice but aren’t too helpful for full co-op or bosses in late game. The sniper is always the damage dealer. And as in Borderlands 1 … You don’t reach your full potential until around Level 15+ when the real weapons begin to drop. Then it’s headshot instant kills before any of your co-op buddies even begin firing their weapons from a closer range. And as a sniper. It’s headshot or nothing. If you can’t achieve your headshots, go play your spray-and-pray class as gunslinger and leave the skill-beneficial classes to the real gamers.

      • Aatch says:

        I was with you until the end. Then I decided that your opinion is worth nothing.

        What constitutes a “real” gamer? Is it somebody that has spend 400 bajillion hours in BL1 and has maxed out every gun? Is it somebody that is top-tier at CoD28.5 and can go a full match without taking a hit? Is it a Starcraft II player that has an APM of 42 trillion? Is it a guy that has never lost at Cluedo, or somebody that always completes the crossword?

        I’m not that good at FPS games, I’m ok at RTS, though micro-focussed ones are beyond me. I’m pretty good at platformers, and enjoy puzzle games. Am I a real gamer? I mean, I play lots of games, my Steam game list attests to that, but is the fact that I can’t get a headshot at a distance where even zoomed in the character is barely 10-pixels wide, mean that I’m actually not?

        Is Jacob Aagaard not a real gamer because he sucks at playing Mordecai, despite the fact that he could probably kick your arse 6 ways to Sunday in a game of Civilization?

        Please, take your narrow viewpoint somewhere else, preferably off a high cliff. With some pointy rocks at the bottom.

      • skinlo says:

        You are talking crap.

    • Filden says:

      My own experience with the game suggests that Zero is better suited for Solo play. He’s the character I play while I wait for my friends to log on. His slower, more tactical approach to the game offers something to the solo player, who can take their time playing through an area, unless you play as a sniper, which misses out on much of what makes the character unique, IMO.

      But I don’t think he offers much to the co op experience, where the superior sustained DPS and durability of the two “tankier” characters and the support abilities of the “magic” girl are much better suited for moving through the game at a good clip. In co-op, I feel like Zero is just too much of a liability for most of his development, until he reaches more upper tier abilities.

      • Zanvolt says:

        This, mostly, unless you choose the rightmost tree (forget the name). Especially if you focus on artifacts n mods that buff meele damage. In co op most of the enemies will usually be focused on my friends, allowing me to run around the battle shanking enemies in the back.

        Its true though that early on though even with that tree he is a little better solo. In fact i started an assassin as “the character i play when no one else is on” and loved slowly wearing enemies down to low health from range, and then dashing in to finish all of them off with melee. but eventually it became my main character and i started just skipping to the dashing in part while my shootier friends stayed back in cover wearing them down for me.

  3. Sp4rkR4t says:

    That is one glorious review, now I just have to sit staring at the icon on my desktop for a couple more days. :(

    I hate staggered launches, I hate them in the FACE!

    • westyfield says:

      If this had been released the same day in Europe as in the US, I’d be playing it with a friend, but I’m moving away the day after it comes out here, and I’m not going to have a good enough connection for gaming on. Thanks, 2K.

  4. Sp4rkR4t says:

    “It’s basically a know quantity.”

    I think that should be “known”

  5. DSR says:

    I’m interested, Wot do You Think about 2K Games practically saying “fuck you” to half of Eastern Europe?

    http://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/zxbmd/here_in_russia_and_the_cis_were_getting_our_own/

    I’m not buying this shovelware till they sort it out.

    • flownerous says:

      Yeah I’m surprised this hasn’t been given more attention, some Russian friends weren’t aware of it until after they preordered, now they have to play in Russian language and they can’t play with any of their foreign friends? Weird.

      • DSR says:

        Russians? If only…

        Some people which don’t know Russian at all(Only English and their own language) are FORCED to play Russian only version because 2K thinks they’re in post Soviet zone(But they still pay 50 EUR for it).

        Outrage, if you ask me! Shame RPS said nothing on this matter and people just pushing all this shit under the rug.

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          We’re still looking in to this.

        • zeroskill says:

          Maybe someone could make a Kickstarter about basic geography for 2K. It seems they didn’t really pay much attention in primary school.

          • DSR says:

            I’d rather pay for a KickASSer for them, tbh.

            The whole situation with regional block is just ridiculous. Why can’t we play the proper version? The only way to get an English worldwide release here is to pirate(Preferably) or to trust to some shady key selling web sites or to use VPN(Bannable) to buy it.

        • Deisenberger says:

          This has to be the single largest pile of publisher bullshit I’ve ever seen.

          The Baltic States? The countries that don’t have Russian as a primary or seven secondary language? The guys who are in the EU and paid 50 euros for the game? Those guys get a Russian-locked version? Seriously?

          What the freaking hell.

          I mean, okay, the Russians get the inferior translated version and are only able to play with other Russian-locked games, that’s pretty bad, but people in the Baltic States that paid 50 euros for this thing can’t even browse the bloody menus! They can’t freaking read the damn things for chrissakes!

          2K games released a statement that basically told everyone to piss off. I mean, yes, the words they used were exactly the opposite, but their actions? Unlocking regional locks on games is not something that needs “an update this week.” They are saying roughly that they aren’t doing anything, you might as well demand a refund.

          1C also released a statement that blamed 2K for the whole debacle. Or so I’m told. I mean, this may come as a shocker to whoever is to blame here, but I can’t actually read what that article says.

          Nothing from Valve or Gearbox, but I know Valve implemented separate Russian pricing on Steam because retail prices there are much lower (the version people in the Baltic States paid 50 euros for is somewhere around 15 euros in the CIS) and piracy is rampant; it’s mighty difficult for Valve to sell things at EU and US prices.

          But honestly. Piracy is rampant? When these people are completely unable to, in any way, purchase the proper version from you service? This surprises you?

          Not to even speak of the Baltic states, who, at this point, are unable to even purchase a version that they can use at all. I mean. You are basically not selling the game in the Baltic States right now. That’s what it comes down to.

          Jebus. I can’t believe how pissed off I am about this.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            Steam prices are set by the publishers.

            Regional prices are set *drumroll* by the publishers.

            Valve does not set prices.

            Valve has absolutely no input whatsoever into pricing, unless the publisher asks them about it.

            Valve does not decide which titles have region-specific pricing and which do not.

            Valve has said, repeatedly, that things like unfair-exchange pricing for USD/EUR/etc are ENTIRELY the fault of the publishers, who can choose to set fair-exchange prices across all territories.

            (*All of the above statements regarding Valve do not apply if Valve is the listed Publisher for the game in question)

          • Deisenberger says:

            Oh, yes, I could’ve been clearer on that, it’s not something Valve came up with themselves; as I said, they (and the customers, really) were quite happy selling the games at EU and US prices until about a year ago. I don’t really expect them to carry any sort of blame.

    • evil.faerytales says:

      yeah, press over here was mostly ignoring the issue. I think only beefjack and N4G run a story on it.
      No sh#t, with game launch and all.

      And 2K’s response is pretty much – suck it up, losers, we don’t give a f#ck

      • zeroskill says:

        Wow, i’m kinda glad I didn’t buy it then. Region restriction on this game, really? Sometimes I wonder if 2K is just ignorant, or if they really are that stupid.

        Since I live in eastern europe, I will be extra careful with game purcheses when it comes to 2K.

      • wu wei says:

        It’s pretty obvious what the ‘K’ stands for :|

        • Crazy Horse says:

          Hoho! It certainly is.

          You know, I’ve never trusted the letter K.

    • Premium User Badge

      Diziet Sma says:

      Is this perhaps some entirely misjudged and poorly thought out response to the rampant gun hacking that plagued the first game?

      (Also is there any indication that this is fixed?)

      *also*

      I’m guessing x-platform with XBox players is not on the cards?

      Can’t wait till my copy unlocks/arrives whatever the hell the company I ordered it off is going to do to get the game in my grubby mits.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        This is a response to people paying $5 for Russian copies of games while living in the US.

        In this case, however, the point they were trying to make is lost when they’re not actually paying anything less than the rest of the world.

        • d32 says:

          False. Russians pay less than 15 euro for the game.
          (too bad about Lithuanians etc. though)

    • Sp4rkR4t says:

      It isn’t 2K doing that, it’s 2C.

    • Jenks says:

      I don’t think you know what shovelware means.

    • Delusibeta says:

      Answer: don’t buy it on Steam.

  6. sexyresults says:

    Now I just have to wait an extra two days while the States get to play it. What the fuck is the point of that?

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      So that all the YouTube ‘Lets Plays’ will be in american accents and have people referring to elevators, trucks with their hoods popped, cellphones and popsicles. Gearbox is the voice of empire. With a dayglo gun.

      I guess if anything is really broken, it means only America has to live with it and we get the fixed version?

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      Our political system is fueled on misery. Gearbox is just doing their part to force you all to produce the exports our engines require.

  7. Beelzebud says:

    Too many games, not enough money. Sucks being broke.

  8. Miltrivd says:

    I tried to played Borderlands 1 solo twice, and couldn’t stomach it. Then found a friend that also had the game. Had a blast.

    As of right now my “sidekick” is playing the game and I haven’t bought it, even tho I enjoyed the first one, we only played it twice, normal run and a psychopathic x6 players run (making the engine think we were 6 people when we were just 2). It was fun, but I have to wait until it goes cheaper, first one didn’t have that much replay value for me. Weirdly enough co-op made me doubt my decision a lot this time. I guess that’s saying something as well.

    • x1501 says:

      This is also how I feel. To repeat myself, unless you’re playing with someone who doesn’t interest you and whose playing style is completely different from yours, a well-implemented campaign co-op mode can only make games like this infinitely more interesting, not the other way around. I, for one, can no longer stand playing first person shooters in singleplayer, but I’m always happy to run through one with a friend or two. Having another human in the same game world can make even the blandest of game experiences a lot more tolerable. In case of Borderlands 1, when played solo, the campaign felt bland, lifeless, and sluggish. The co-op made added much needed human interaction and variety and tension to the combat, making the world feel less desolate and the overall flow of the game smoother and more fast paced.

      • Ragnar says:

        Not only that, but in 1 it greatly changed the enemies we faced and the danger. Solo, neither one of us was likely to die, and only moderately challenged. In co-op, we were often fighting for our lives, and rushing to revive one another – at least in the earlier levels. It made for an incredibly intense and exciting experience, and many fond memories to later recall.

  9. freduardo says:

    Dear developers: seriously, some of us out here still primarily enjoy single-player games. We haven’t all died and we still have money to spend.

    That being said, I made an exception for Borderlands 2 because awesome and because Anthony Burch. That guy is the muscle.

    • jalf says:

      And that is relevant how? Did singleplayer games go extinct overnight? Because I’m pretty sure I still have a significant backlog of singleplayer games I’m trying to find the time to play through.

      The thing is, people who play multiplayer games are not dead *either*. Sometimes, as shocking as it may seem, there are games which cater to others than you. That does not mean that the universe is going to come crashing down, and it does not mean that the games industry hates you.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Cheers for spinning a sensible comment into an opportunity to launch a personal attack. Wake up on the wrong side of bed, much?

      • MattM says:

        Well in the review Jim trots out the old “co-op makes everything better” line. Apparently some people believe that their preference constitutes a universal law. They just can’t believe that people tried co-op in BL1 and preferred the single player experience.

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          Yes, my opinion does constitute universal law.

          And RPS is objectively right about everything. Because, with our graphs and rigorous scoring system, it’s objectivity that we’re striving for.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            WE DEMAND CHARTS AND GRAPHS.

            And pie.

            And little bows on the graphs maybe? Or perhaps a diorama of penguins going down slides. That would be nice.

          • MattM says:

            That’s what you wrote. I am criticizing the narrow view presented in your review.

          • x1501 says:

            MattM, I hate to break it to you, but in this “discussion”, Jim is not the one who comes off as narrow-minded.

          • Brun says:

            I don’t see how MattM went from “the game is more enjoyable in co-op” (which is purely Jim’s opinion) to “if you’re not playing co-op you’re doing it wrong.”

          • MattM says:

            Brun, The lines “It was immediately better when I turned to play co-op, of course. But that’s always true.” and “To miss that is to miss the point entirely.” felt like a dismissal of any diversity in audiences to me.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            The thing I love the most about RPS: Complete subjectivity without pretending to provide objective scores.

            We don’t hate subjectivity. We just hate when people try to bullshit with subjective reviews and “scoring systems” on the same page.

        • Zanchito says:

          Jim was just stating the he finds multiplayer more enjoyable, I appretiate him giving his impressions.

        • Sp4rkR4t says:

          Ever noticed that these reviews are called Wot I Think and not Wot You Should Think?

          • MattM says:

            True, but when I read the paragraph talking about co-op vs single player in the review, the way it was written was more wot-you-should-think than what the author liked best about this game.

        • Stromko says:

          Well he was wrong about there being no way to play with people who were more than a few levels off. I joined my friends when I was level 8, and they were level 4 and below. A few hours later, I was level 11 and they were level 10.

          It was a bit easy for me at first, and I felt like holding myself back so as not to hog the glory, but since every person you play with in co-op adds to the toughness of the enemies I quickly learned if I didn’t give it my all we’d get killed.

          • malkav11 says:

            Hmm. If that’s true, I’ll be happy. I do want to play this game in coop, but my primary coop partner has decided that they didn’t enjoy Borderlands 1 enough to get 2 (at least yet), something that I found kind of surprising given that we played through the entirety of the first game and the General Knoxx DLC together and he was significantly more gung-ho about it than I was. But Borderlands 1 was absolutely unsuited to playing with random people. You needed to specifically run with a given individual or group of individuals on a consistent basis with any particular character. And I’ve no one to do that with.

    • AngoraFish says:

      I am still struggling to see where developers got the idea that they need to cater for multiplayer. From the evidence that I’ve seen, such as Demigod, single player is still the preferred mode of play for most people, yet far too often single player is neglected in favor of the multiplayer experience.

      • Xzi says:

        Well I think people are confusing multiplayer with co-op. Almost every newly released game contains some multiplayer element, but games which focus primarily on co-op play are a rare breed these days. And no, MMOs do not count in this category. Which is why, even as a guy who prefers a single-player experience, I don’t mind seeing more modern co-op releases. At the very least, it gives us the greater variety in our gaming experience which used to be the norm. And I applaud Gearbox for the effort.

        • Ragnar says:

          Agreed. I actively seek out good co-op games, because there’s haven’t been that many of them if you exclude MMOs.

          How many co-op FPS games are there for PC? Gears of War and Borderlands? Sanctum?
          Red Alert 3’s the only co-op RTS I know of.
          For ARPGs we have Titan’s Quest, Diablo, Magicka, and soon Torchlight 2.
          There’s Rayman Origins and Trine as co-op platformers.
          This is not a very extensive list.

      • MrLebanon says:

        what evidence does Demigod provide? That game was so broken

      • The Random One says:

        Publishers told them that if they don’t add multiplayer every single player will cash in their game at Gamestop on the very next day. If you need any proof that it works, just open up the tacked-on multiplayer mode of any mostly single-player game a few months after its release and notice how it’s full of people who would have traded the game in immediately but love the multiplayer too much, and definitively not a barren desert consisting of ten people spread across three servers!

        (Speaking in general, of course; Borderlands’s an entirely different beast.)

    • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

      It’s okay, the first Blands was great fun in single player despite what some say. I’m sure the sequel will be just the same.

  10. Premium User Badge

    cspkg says:

    Couple of followup questions – how much of a grind does the main quest feel like? Ie are the side quests worth our time? Also, did the Zero character still feel rubbish once you got the cool guns? And is the frequency of awesome weapon dropping better than the first game? Ie you always have something to look forward to?

    I wasn’t originally planning on getting this game. I played the original in coop and enjoyed it, but hated the holy hell out of the grindy feel of it all. Also, it took ages between getting good weapons, so the incentive to keep going was really dependant on the gun you had. Mine was a fast firing machine gun, but it was frustrating looting when you got nothing to even rival it.

    If these things are better this time, I’ll get it.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      > did the Zero character still feel rubbish once you got the cool guns?

      No – that was sort of my point. Once I had a couple of guns that I liked, and worked well with Zero, it was much better.

      Initially the game does feel pretty grindy. As I said, I think the opening few hours are pretty weak. But it picks up, and when it does the game is strong.

      • Premium User Badge

        cspkg says:

        Thanks for clearing that up Jim. Also, how does the frequency of ‘better’ weapon-dropping feel this time?

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          I honestly can’t tell any difference, but there just feels like there are more weapons overall.

          • Premium User Badge

            cspkg says:

            Thanks Jim. This goes in my Steam account tomorrow afternoon, when I next get some free time. Thanks a lot. ;)

            After the recent xcom and ftl recommendations, RPS is responsible for all my games expenditure since last week.

          • Premium User Badge

            felisc says:

            yeah and i just realised dishonored comes out in 3 weeks too. when will this madness stop ?

          • Premium User Badge

            cspkg says:

            @felisc, I had my eye on Dishonoured the day I saw it! But yes, I’m a poorer but happier man. :)

          • Stromko says:

            I’ve already got some stand-out favorites among the new gun types added. I like the minigun rifles even when their stats suck, because whee, minigun! And the Hyperion weapons, with their ‘accuracy starts out crap and gets better if you keep firing’, tricky but powerful.

            Don’t like most of the explosive element guns and their tendency to fling out relatively slow-moving rockets instead of proper fast bullets, and the cannons or grenadier rifles that fling out a bunch of bouncy grenadelings — I can never seem to actually get hits on enemies with them in the heat of combat, and even if they stand nice and still I can’t hit their crit locations with bouncy grenadelings.

          • thebigJ_A says:

            Funny, I feel just the opposite. The Hyperion guns are terrible. Let’s waste half a clip before we can hit a barn door, yay! Minigun rifle: One shot, aggro all the enemies, wait an eternity for the second, then third etc. By the time you’re firing at a useful speed, the gun’s kicking like a mule and situation is entirely different from the one you were firing at. Blech.

            Rocket bullets, though. Whee!

  11. Premium User Badge

    Tom De Roeck says:

    All of this begs the question: is there still the “2.5 playthrough = gold” mechanic, where one would have to play through the game thrice to get to all there is?

    (or in fact, to quote the person that I heard it from, “to the good gameplay”)

  12. CaspianRoach says:

    It’s “Cel-shading”, not “Cell-shading”.

  13. Turin Turambar says:

    So, How is the leveling system in the game? Broken like in BL1? In the first part, if you do all the sidequests, you get a higher level than the designers thought and the main quest line was absurdly easy. Part of the problem is that there is an intrinsic damage buff/nerf when a level A thing fires at a level B thing, if A > B or viceversa.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It’s very similar, although I think the issue is more than if you don’t do at least a couple of the sidequests, you aren’t in a position to push all the way through the story.

      • Magitek says:

        I had nearly forgotten about this. Over-levelling totally killed the original borderlands for my group.

        You could barely touch a side-quest without enemies turning grey. The game is at its most fun in coop when hell is breaking loose and people can actually die; once everything becomes grey it becomes a long and boring game of whack-a-mole.

        Really hoping they sorted this issue out, being forced to opt-out of the side-quests to maintain game difficulty was very frustrating.

        • MattM says:

          The damage adjust based on lvl always felt too large in the first game. I think the lvl system was the biggest gameplay weakness in the first.

      • MikoSquiz says:

        ..uh oh. The leveling system was what ruined the first one for me – oh, no, you can’t play with this friend of yours because he’s played for 20 minutes longer than you have, so he can one-shot enemies that can one-shot you. No, you can’t play with your other friend because he’s a mere level 20 and you’re a level 22, so he can’t even damage enemies at your level. It’s too late to do that quest you got six seconds ago because you’ve leveled since then and the enemies are all grey now. It was ridiculous.

        • Dominic White says:

          Yep, these are all the problems that I had with Borderlands 1, and I’ve been asking journos these questions CONSTANTLY about Borderlands 2, and NOBODY FUCKING ANSWERED. It’s literally game-breakingly bad design. No sidekicking system, no level scaling. It means that if you’ve done too many sidequests you end up literally invincible, and if you’re not constantly playing with your co-op buddies, then when you next play together, only the host is going to be the right level, and anyone below is going to get one-shotted constantly, and anyone above is untouchable.

          It was the single worst thing about Borderlands, and it’s the one thing that nobody wants to acknowledge. Not even in huge reviews.

          • Magitek says:

            Some related information:
            “Damage does not scale, or at least it takes more than 5 levels before any modifiers kick in, as best I can tell, there are no level modifiers. Not to say someone with gear 10 levels higher or lower than the given content won’t have any issue, but it is not the stonewall of bullshit that was in BL1. You do not have to worry so much about moderating levels between a group anymore. ” Source: Kiggles, Somethingawful forum.

            So it’s not all bad news.

          • Baines says:

            From the Destructoid review, which was overall as (overly?) positive as everyone else has been, it sounds like the level system is still broken. As is co-op levels, with the game basing everything on the host’s level.

            Mind, the Destructoid review at one point praises how great the game’s balance is, only to later spend a section talking about balance issues in the game, so the whole review might need to be taken with the typical Destructoid-sized grain of salt.

            Also strangely absent from reviews is the Physx issue.

    • Screamer says:

      Why do all the internet angry men complain if level scaling is not implemented, but as soon as it is, like in Bethesda games they go ape shit?

      • The Random One says:

        Because enemies scaling to your level in a single player game and your co-players scaling to your level in a coop game are two entirely different things.

      • Turin Turambar says:

        Because this game is mainly a FPS, not a RPG.
        Because the chose to greatly affect the game balance and difficulty with the level of the entities.

  14. Flint says:

    Everyone kept saying that the first Borderlands really required co-op as well, and I found playing it alone to be a superior experience so I’m not that worried. Although I do have some friends lined up for a separate group campaign too so we’ll see.

  15. Miodrag Kovachevic says:

    As someone who didn’t enjoy the first one in either single-player or multi-player, should I consider giving this one a shot? I don’t dislike mass mindless shooting (I enjoyed titles like Painkiller and Bulletstorm), but I was bored out of my mind with the first Borderlands. But I’ve had enough sequels I’ve liked more than their predecessors to know that things can change for the better.

    Basically, is this more of a Diablo experience, or more of a FPS experience? The first one was more of the former for me and I didn’t enjoy that.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      If you didn’t like the original you won’t like this. Borderlands 2 is very much an exaggeration of everything that was in the original, including the dungeon-crawler feel.

      • Miodrag Kovachevic says:

        That’s the impression I got, but wanted to make sure. Thanks for the reply and review!

      • Kablooie says:

        Exactly the answer I was looking for, as I didn’t care for BL1 very much. The loot system was terrible, sure you can have “millions of guns”, but when each one differs from it’s brother only subtly, is just a slight variation on a theme, it sucked. The spawning system, if you weren’t plodding along on a quest, was terrible also, it wasn’t a sandbox open world (with randomized landscapes, foes, and bosses, as was touted prerelease) with tons of enemies to extinguish; it was truly a wasteland, empty, and deadly boring.

        What I wanted was a Fallout3 styled sandbox combined with Diablo2’s awesome loot system, and Borderlands is NOT that.

        Seen a lot of people comment (here and elsewhere) about how much they loved BL1, and I say, good on you, here’s more of the same, enjoy. Me, I’ll wait until it’s priced around $10.

  16. Stevostin says:

    2 things :

    1) I find it interesting how while praising coop you end up playing SP a lot. And you’re a computer game journalist with probably a long friendlist of people who can and want to play it on your time zone. Now unless you have some partner in crime for coop because say your a student, coop is mostly a just for the show feat.

    2) What about the gun feel ? Is it still as crappy as 1st borderland or has it improved ?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      > 1) I find it interesting how while praising coop you end up playing SP a lot. And you’re a computer game journalist whith probably a long friendlis of peope who can and want to play it on your time zone.

      It was pre-release review code. Only three people on my long list of friends had the game, and they are busy people. Normally though, yes, I would be able to play co-op with friends far more than I was able to here. It’s hardly a “feat”.

      > 2) What about the gun feel ? Is it still as crappy as 1st borderland or has it improved ?

      Since the “feel” depends entirely on the variant of gun, that’s hard to answer. If you mean “is it still a cartoony parody of real gun action” then the answer is yes.

      • Stevostin says:

        Thx for you answer. I already made a point once about how coop is IMHO marginal for most players (and stats seems to prove me right, except for pickup coop) because very unlikely, so I won’t repeat myself. Also I’ve yet to understand how it would be more fun in coop, but I don’t get that in Diablo either (maybe because “more loot” doesn’t compensate for me the loss for atmosphere and the looser link between personnal performance & results that comes with coop) – so that’s probably just me ^^.

  17. Magitek says:

    In the original they touted a million weapons, which was all very fine and well, but the variety of guns that actually operated differently was pretty low.

    When I had played the original, I was hoping for less graphical variety, and more .. dogs shooting bees when they bark sort of random weapons.

    Has gun randomization in this respect improved much with Borderlands 2?

  18. Premium User Badge

    felisc says:

    *picks up spyglass* Friends i can see three ships filled with borderlands 2 copies slowly making their way towards the coast of old Europe. Seeing as the wind is strong, they should arrive in 2 or 3 days. Now if only we had a way to exchange these things immediatly through some sort of magic communication…

  19. andytizer says:

    It’s a shame that the Europe release is still so far away, especially in this age of international digital distribution..

    If anyone has the game already, please visit to http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Borderlands_2 for Borderlands 2 bugs, fixes and workarounds on PC. If you discover a new fix, please add it in, no account required.

  20. Wedge says:

    Sounds like a bargain binner then. Especially since it’ll have a truckton of DLC to go with it this time next year. I say that because I have NO interest in playing co-op. As someone prone to micromanaging everything I do, it’s just not a feasible way for me to play an ARPG.

    And you make it sound like they never adjusted the inane level based damaged scaling that renders statistics irrelevant when you will always die in two hits and take two-hundred to kill an enemy a few levels higher than you…

  21. popej says:

    Jim, have they resolved the over-levelling problems that blighted the first game? Ie, getting too much experience and making it too easy? We might not be able to tell until we get DLC I guess.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      As I mention upthread, it’s very much the same. And you will need to be within a couple of levels of a co-op buddy to keep up, too.

      • Dominic White says:

        And my potential purchase evaporates, just like that. It was awful, amateurish design in the first Borderlands, and the fact that they’ve not made any attempt to fix it makes me believe that it may have even been intentional. Quite why they *want* players outlevelling content, or getting one-shotted by weak enemies in co-op is beyond me, though.

        • Magitek says:

          Some related information:
          “Damage does not scale, or at least it takes more than 5 levels before any modifiers kick in, as best I can tell, there are no level modifiers. Not to say someone with gear 10 levels higher or lower than the given content won’t have any issue, but it is not the stonewall of bullshit that was in BL1. You do not have to worry so much about moderating levels between a group anymore. ” Source: Kiggles, Somethingawful forum.

          • Mman says:

            From what I’ve played so far what Magitek quoted seems to be the case. Levelling still seems to make a very notable difference to survivability, but it seems quite toned down from the original where I recall that even 1-2 levels difference when entering an area made it impossible/trivial.

            Early in the game I even accidentally wondered into an area that was somewhere around level 11-13 at level 7, and while I got slaughtered very quickly I actually managed to kill a couple of things and was doing reasonable damage; whereas from what I recall of the original you would literally do about 1-2 damage to enemies with that kind of level difference in that game.

        • Baines says:

          From what I recall, the ability to outlevel content in the first Borderlands *was* intentional. It was part of the RPG design that they wanted, that you could power-level to get through an area even if your FPS skills weren’t up to the task.

          The problem was that level was *way* too important in Borderlands, with a ton of levels, a couple of levels difference being a major advantage/disadvantage, and the whole game built around a particular leveling speed (that was only made worse with the DLC, as they weren’t figured into the leveling speed).

        • mouton says:

          Same here. The fixed diablo-like difficulty level was my biggest problem in Borderlands. Steamrolling through the game kills all the fun for me. Oh, I guess playthrough 2 is more challenging, but I am not going to grind through your normal to get to you inferno.

  22. lumenadducere says:

    The original Mass Effect also had achievements that gave you percentage bonuses to gameplay. Plus they also unlocked skills for subsequent characters – so you had Adepts with assault rifles, etc.

    Also, staggered releases suck. I’m teaching English in Japan and the game isn’t out until October 25th. Meanwhile my friends back home are already playing and they’ll likely be done by the time I get my hands on it. Arg.

  23. Premium User Badge

    AmateurScience says:

    Someone got out of the wrong side of bed this morning.

    Have an eHug: [hug]

  24. UncleLou says:

    I never finished the first one, but it was more because the niggles grated after a while rather than a fundamental problem I had with the game – the UI, the tedious, always-delayed-a-bit hoovering up of money, ammo, etc., and a few other things I have forgotten.

    At least the UI seems to have been fixed, the other things I don’t know. I’ll find out I guess. :)

  25. Crazy Hippo says:

    im glad to hear that the game is even better in co-op. i spent far too many hours playing the first one in co-op with various friends and had an absolute blast with it.

    but why o why do so many games that i am interested in come along at the same time, X-Com, BL2, dishonoured, far cry 3, AC3? It hurts my wallet, but its a good pain! :)

  26. Discosauce says:

    You think waiting three extra days is bad? Here in Japan, the game doesn’t “unlock” for another month. No doubt all of my friends living out west will be all finished playing by then. The same thing happened with Skyrim, and though I even went so far as to ship over a physical, western copy from the states, Steam wouldn’t let me play it until the official Japanese release date.

    Then again, at least I’ll be able to play Borderlands 2 on Steam *eventually*. Unlike, say, Dark Souls, which is not available for purchase on Steam from within Japan.

  27. Xizor says:

    Why are we Europeans getting the game 3 days later when we’re downloading off the same servers the Americans are? I don’t understand, it makes me mad. Makes me want to download the pirated copy and go SCREW THEM THEY DIDN’T WANT MY MONEY ANYWAY!

    Apparently it’s even worse other places. Not cool.

  28. RaffyS says:

    Just saw the claptrap letter. Kudos Gearbox on adding some sweet PC options and finally letting me push my GTX 680.

  29. zebramatt says:

    Great review! Stoked to get this game now. (As a traditional single player kinda guy, it’s been a toss-up between this and Dishonoured for a while. Evidently I’m going to have to [a] get both; and [b] bite the co-op bullet!)

    Couple of typos:

    “It helped, of course, that this fluke coincided with the point at which the game stepped up, dropped and army of bleeping, burning, crawling-along-the-ground-when-crippled robots on me…”

    — “an” army

    “…this is really a game about firepower, and the powers of the Maya and Zero, while effective, are really interesting enough to shift the focus from simply being able to put down a lot of damage very quickly.”

    — “aren’t” really interesting enough

  30. Yosharian says:

    I have so many games already that ‘require’ friends in order to be good. I don’t think I can buy another one.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      It’s entirely a case of personal preference, at least with the first Borderlands. I couldn’t stand the game in co-op because of the leveling system, so I stuck to single. Out of my 300+ hours in the game, maybe 4% of that was spent with other players.

  31. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    RPS, can we have a straight answer on the following:

    For those of us in single-player who like to do ALL the quests (completionists), is the second half of the game effectively broken again like in the original?

    Couldn’t Gearbox have introduced a ‘completionist’ setting, which changes the weighting of the enemy levels based on the fact you will be amassing all the XP available during the game?

    If not, are we going to have to ‘game’ it by deliberately holding back on 50% of the available sidequests? I was hoping they would have fixed this second time round.

  32. Dubbill says:

    Wow, Jim. This is a hell of a read! Good werk!

  33. FlowState says:

    Actually, he mentioned the writing multiple times, saying it was straddling the sassy/wacky axis and had him smirking even through the slow opening. After saying it had the same feel of the original game, he then implicitly mentioned it every time he said something like “the sequel is a known entity.”

    Fair enough to complain about a missing aspect of the review. Except when it’s not missing. And no, you sir can fuck off.

  34. Jim Rossignol says:

    The writing is quite good.

  35. Groove says:

    I hate to be the pedant that mentions typos, but a couple of parts of the review read in a fairly muddled fashion because of them:

    “But I strongly suspect the majority of players are going to end up as a the commando or the gunzerker, just because this is really a game about firepower, and the powers of the Maya and Zero, while effective, are really interesting enough to shift the focus from simply being able to put down a lot of damage very quickly. ”

    I believe you’re saying that Maya and Zero aren’t interesting enough, or are rarely interesting enough, but it’s possible that I could be misreading something and you’re saying that they are interesting enough? I really don’t want to be that guy, but if I’m unsure about your intention I reckon it’s worth mentioning.

  36. RegisteredUser says:

    “Co-op is what makes this game live. To miss that is to miss the point entirely.”

    So its still a crappy singleplayer game, like the first. No surprise to me, and: What a shame.

    What I wonder and want instead: Where’s the next step of games like “Rage”?

  37. SuperNashwanPower says:

    I played Borderlands 1 on my own and loved it.
    I played Borderlands 1 on my own and loved it.
    I played Borderlands 1 on my own and loved it.

    THREE TIMES I SAID THIS. For emphasis.

    • Zanchito says:

      I didn’t find Borderlands 1 single player all that great, this is one game where multiplayer IS just better (at least for me). My main problem is I can’t really play anything multiplayer because I have a crap erratic schedule, so I can never have a stable play group. :(

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      I totally agree with you. I think it depends on the player’s mentality. For me, the game was fine SP because:

      1) The essential activity does not change. You are always grinding through enemies. ALWAYS. Sure, some abilities sync well with each other, and ideally the classes shouldn’t overlap too much, but functionally they are each just a killing machine. Adding more players justs adds more players; it intensifies the experience, but does not change it.
      2) The essential activity is fast-paced. Compared to other FPS games, I’d put Borderlands’ gunplay closer to Doom than STALKER. There’s not much challenge, but things don’t slow you down much, either.
      3) The leveling and loot systems give you something to work towards at all times. I’m the kind of person who enjoys the constructive nature of developing characters and find enjoyment from it even when other aspects (such as plot) might not hold my attention.

    • grundus says:

      I didn’t have the internet when I was younger but I was given a copy of Quake III Arena… I played the absolute crap out of that on single player only. It broke my brain to the extent that I loved Borderlands offline possibly more than online, though online was hilariously fun.

  38. inspirius says:

    So did anything ever happen with RPS’s No Oceans campaign? I was really looking forward to at least knowing why we get most of our releases after the US even if nothing actually changed.

    Did anything happen?
    Did anyone actually speak out about why?
    Is it a giant conspiracy and everyone is keeping schtum?

  39. db1331 says:

    “Worse, there’s no way to co-op with chums at a different level. You will need to be in a couple of levels of each other for it to work. And that can mean waiting, catching up, creating new characters, and so on. When co-op is such a vital part of the game it seems baffling there there is no level-lending sidekick system to make this easier.”

    This bugs me. In the original, we had to replay most areas 3 times to get everyone back on the same page. They should include a toggle to turn off XP gains, so that if one of your group wants to jump on when nobody else is around and just look for some cool new weapons, he can do so without out leveling everyone.

  40. KilgoreTrout_XL says:

    I agree that the first portions of the game are a little slow. For me, it was when I was sprinting and longjumping away from two dozen psychopaths across a huge flotilla of destroyed boats and ruined buildings and I destroyed a half dozen exploding barrels as I ran and was able to turn around midair and use my shiny new firepistol to light the ones who weren’t yet on fire from the barrels on fire, and THEN realized that the person who was always screaming when i was duel-weilding was my gunzerker guy. I started laughing to myself at 3:30 in the morning.

    I wish your backpack could hold more guns though. Also, more fast travel would be nice.

    And yes, Jim, I didn’t hesitate to pick the zerker at the character screen. Seemed pretty obvious. I’m a genius.

    /sips coffee

    • RegisteredUser says:

      In BL1 you could just edit the hex value of total backpack slots iirc, and then carry more.

      If you/we are at all lucky, you may still be able to do this (without having to resort to more major hacking like opening the database “willow” files with a more hardcore tool and then screwing around inside of them).

      With all their loveletters to the PC, did they make any indications towards actually being open, moddable(or at least keeping their datafiles/files unencrypted)?

  41. Jenks says:

    This game is sounding great, I can’t wait to pick up the GOTY edition next year that includes all the DLC. That sounds backhanded, but I can’t justify full price + dlc x2 for me and the old lady. They’ll get my money eventually though.

    • Zanchito says:

      Indeed, I’m holding on because of DLC bleeding.

    • Vorphalack says:

      Nothing wrong with that at all. I’ve been doing that for years, mainly because I hate buying incomplete games, but also because you don’t have to worry about system specs so much.

  42. Bhazor says:

    And it looks like it has the same problem as Borderlands.
    The randomised weapons aren’t random enough.

    You have a sniper rifle that fires 0.5 seconds faster and causes enemies to x with x being somekind of continous damage. Congratulations! You’ve seen everything the guns have to offer.

    Where are the gas grenades that cause halucinations? Wheres the “Call of Nature” crossbow that releases magical pulses that cause hundreds of rabbits to burst out of the ground? Where are the guns that trigger violent thunder storms? Where are the rockets that explode into clouds of homing wasps? Where are the melee weapons that cause enemies to shatter like they were hit by the 8 bit tank from Saints Row 3? Wheres the richocheting shuriken machine gun? The flamethrowers that create sentient fire elementals with every kill? The revolver where every bullet turns into a tiny jet engine and propel the enemy backwards across the map? The bullets that become faster and more powerful when they pass through an enemy or wall? The shotgun that slows down time?

    Until they appear Resistance an Serious Sam are still the better co-op games.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Bunny Gun FTW

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      It sounds like you want a game that plays similar to Saints Row 3. There is such a thing, it’s called SAINTS ROW THE THIRD YOU SHOULD GO PLAY THAT.

      • zerosociety says:

        Is it wrong to want the gameplay mechanism to reinforce the theme and tone of the game? Everything is ZANY! and SASSY! and BADASS! but on top of deeply conservative MMO-esque stat-grind number pushers. It’s like if SR3 had the driving mechanics of Forza.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      That takes time, money and imagination, though. Changing a few numbers is much easier.

    • Squishpoke says:

      I’ve always wanted a fishbowl gun that fires a wet sloppy fish at the enemy. If the enemy gets hit with a fish, they explode into hundreds of other fishes. If THOSE fishes touch any other enemies, they also explode into a bunch of fish and so on so forth.

  43. Vorphalack says:

    TB just put out a short video on the quality of the options menu:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak7Sqs_ituU&list=UUy1Ms_5qBTawC-k7PVjHXKQ&index=1&feature=plpp_video

    Looking good for the PC this time around.

    • KilgoreTrout_XL says:

      Thanks, I enjoyed that. I never played the first one and didn’t know about how bad the PC version was or the love letter from claptrap thing (i just read it- pretty funny).

      But yeah, I opened the menu last night and was shocked anyway. It’s pretty damn impressive. The only recent game that I can think of that had more is Witcher 2, and I didn’t understand most of those anyway.

  44. phenom_x8 says:

    Cannot wait for PES 2013 review. I hope you don’t missed it,guys!

  45. Premium User Badge

    Hammers says:

    Does anyone who’s played it know if there is the option to play co-op locally in split-screen? Pretty sure I read somewhere that you wouldn’t be able to but it would be nice to confirm this.

    The review has confirmed how awesome this seems it will be and I’d be buying this day 1 if I could play it co-op with my girlfriend sat next to me, but if there’s no splitscreen then I’m out of luck because we’ve only got the 1 decent computer so buying 2 copies isn’t really an option.

    Really do wish more PC games would keep local co-op in mind. It’s the one thing that console versions still get right.

    • Zanchito says:

      No local co-op in either Borderlands game I fear. Pity, I know, local co-op is really fun!

      • x1501 says:

        I don’t know about BL2, but you could enable a “split-screen” workaround in the first game by tweaking one of the .ini files. Take a look:

        http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2455302

        EDIT: So far, it seems that the sequel doesn’t have this functionality. Officially, the game does not support local split-screen because of some nebulous “technical difficulties”.

        • Zanchito says:

          Wow, I never knew that! Thank you!

          • x1501 says:

            If it’s something that interests you, I’m pretty sure you can also manually enable split screen in PC versions of Resident Evil 5, Left 4 Dead 1/2 and Portal 2.

    • Squishpoke says:

      You should get Serious Sam 3.

  46. Daniel Klein says:

    Equippable achievements that give you gameplay bonuses: first done in Flagship Studios’ Mythos, I believe.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Depending on how you view equippable(in the sense of earned and useable?), RTCW: ET did that better than any other game I’ve played since in 2003, although I am sure there are other, earlier, similiar examples.

  47. Unfettered says:

    One question, is there head bob in the game?

    I absolutely cannot play games with head bob, they make me wanna hurl!

    • deadly.by.design says:

      There is head bob, but there is also an option to change it in the settings.

  48. Hatonastick says:

    It was amazing how much better Borderlands became when you had a friend to play it co-op. I played it all the way through solo and it was ok, but co-op it became a hilarious laugh-out-loud chaotic ball of fun that you’d wish would never end — especially when the two of us got a vehicle. I used to drive the Warthogs for an online PvP Halo clan and so was used to going bat-shit-crazy flat-out non-stop. So I managed to get our vehicles into places in Borderlands that they weren’t meant to go, much to my mates amusement.

    If we can capture the same sense of hilarious co-op fun (not necessarily involving vehicles) in Borderlands 2 I’ll be buying this one for sure (and making sure my friend does too)! I don’t think co-op is done enough in computer games outside of MMO’s. PvP is usually the focus and honestly I’m bored with it.

  49. boy_vip_23790 says:

    game good
    i like it
    admin review good.thank admin
    people can see more review
    http://www.hitechx.com/2012/09/18/borderlands-2-review/

  50. derbefrier says:

    I loved the first borderlands. I loved it playing it by myself and i loved it even more with a group of friends.
    I am excited to get off work so i can dig into it. I am one of those that believe co-op is always more fun than playing by yourself. I understand some peoples hate for seeing multiplayer tacked on in what seems like every AAA game these days and i sympathize with those people but for a game like borderlands whose big appeal is the co-op and its been designed from the ground up with it in mind complaining about here just seems out of place. When dragon age 3 is announced to have a multiplayer death match mode then I say open the flood gates and let the nerd rage flow.