The answer is no.
When development studio Gearbox Software released Borderlands three years ago, no one could have predicted the amount of success the game would have. The first-person shooter RPG was praised for its emphasis on the loot system, beautiful visuals and feeling like a single player MMORPG. Despite its amazing gameplay, the game was criticized for its lack of focus on a proper story and character skills. With Borderlands 2, Gearbox nipped those issues in the bud.
Borderlands 2 opens on a freight train with a new team of Vault Hunters fighting their way to Handsome Jack, a man who rose to power in Pandora after a rare mineral emerged when the original Vault Hunters opened the vault and defeated The Destroyer. Unlike blindly running around looking for clues on how to get into the vault like in the first game, players will be tasked with recruiting powerful allies to help in the liberation of Pandora. These characters include original and returning characters from the original Borderlands such as NPCs like Scooter and Moxxi and playable characters like Mordecai and Lilith.
The writing in Borderlands 2 is nothing short of award-worthy and absolutely hilarious. This time around, the story feels much more real and has players believe that there is much to lose if Handsome Jack succeeds in his quest to open the Vault and take control of The Warrior, an ancient monster that would be under the control of anyone who unleashes it. The story is a mixture of silly humor and hard-hitting twists.
We didn’t know much about Roland, Lilith, Brick and Mordecai in the first game. Their inclusion as essential characters in Borderlands 2 makes learning about these characters enjoyable but in order not to make the same mistake, Gearbox has made sure to scatter ECHO recordings around Pandora detailing their lives before coming to Pandora. For the sake of spoilers, I won’t go into details about each character but if you’re wandering around the planet with nothing to do, I suggest searching for these tapes.
Classes in Borderlands 2 are similar to those in Borderlands. Salvador the Gunzerker can hold any two weapons at a time, Axton the Commando can drop a turret in the midst of battle, Maya the Siren can use her Siren powers to suspend an enemy into a different dimension and Zer0 the Assassin can produce an illusion of himself while he invisibly slays his adversaries. Gunfights never become a bore because there are many ways you can go about defeating your opponents, with even more scenarios available in co-op.
One of the biggest problems in Borderlands was character building. Though each class was unique, the skill trees weren’t exactly distinct. In Borderlands 2, however, whichever skill tree you decide to build for your character will affect the way you play the game. I played through the game as Maya the Siren and chose to build my character as more of a defensive character, putting emphasis on shield recharge and delays, damage deduction and the duration of my Phaselock. The other trees would have put emphasis on my character being a healer or adding damage to elemental weapons. Each of the four classes has three unique skill trees, which technically means there are 12 classes at your disposal in this game.
In addition to the improved skill trees, Borderlands 2 also has a Badass Token system. There are hundreds of challenges you can complete throughout your playthrough, such as dealing a certain number of electricity damage or saving a certain amount of money. Completing these challenges earn you tokens you can spend to increase your maximum health, gun damage, recoil reduction, shield recharge rate and dozens of different other perks. During my first playthrough, I got my badass rank up to over 2000 and there are still plenty of challenges left at my disposal to complete.
The multiplayer co-op framework went pretty much unchanged in Borderlands 2 although now you have the ability to change your online status from “online”, “LAN”, “invites only” and “offline” so you can keep those pestering ninja looters out of your game. Playing online runs like a charm, during my sessions with friends and strangers alike, I hadn’t run into any sort of lag or glitches.
The number of minor improvements in the game makes the experience more enjoyable. Unlike in the previous games, players can now crawl during their Fight For Your Life gig when killed. There is also a fine for dying and being revived and how much money is taken out of your bank depends on how much money you have. In the start of the game, it may be a minuscule amount such as a dollar but towards the end of the game once you’re a baller, expect $3,000 to be right out of your pocket. Enemies that kill you will also be restored to full health upon your revival, making your staying alive more crucial than ever.
Character customization has improved as well. You can find new skins and heads, collected from exploration and completing challenges, to put on your character. Those with Borderlands save data are in for a special treat and will be rewarded with an exclusive skin available at the start of the game.
Borderlands 2 offers a lengthy campaign with a plethora of side quests left at the player’s disposal. Needless to say that the game is an ideal sequel, preserving everything the original did right while making much needed improvements. While there’s really new in this game, I enjoyed playing the game on my own whereas I always felt like I needed a partner to enjoy the first. And as advertised, there are a bazillion different guns in this game, although 99.9% 0f those guns suck.
- Better single-player experience
- Great story with interesting twists
- Humorous writing
- Improved UI
- Badass rank is awesome
- Class skill trees actually affect how you’ll play the game
- Loads of replay value