Looking Back: Borderlands 2

Guns, explosions, insanity and more cringe-worthy jokes than your dad can spew out. There’s only two things that phrase could be describing: A really crappy action movie you bought at PoundLand, or the Borderlands series; Thankfully we’re talking about the latter, which is a lot better and funnier than anything you could find in PoundLand, (although Osombie, a B movie about a zombified Osama Bin Laden comes tantalisngly close). 

Today, ladies and gentlemen, we’re taking a quick look back at Borderlands 2. A game that is beloved by many as one of the silliest, most over the top co-op experiences of the last few years; a game which somehow managed to take what was already seen as over the top and insane, and beat it twice over.

Sequel to the successful RPG/FPS/Loot-fest hybrid, Borderlands 2 is bigger, more colorful and boastful than the original; Much alike the Assassin’s Creed series, instead of trying something entirely different or just a spinoff, they decided to add more onto an already successful formula.

Borderlands 1’s gameplay was focused heavily on your character’s abilities meshing with their equipment, which more often than not had insane abilities such as setting enemies on fire, shooting in wave-forms, or something as simple as super-fast reloads. For Borderlands 2, however, they decided to say “screw subtlety” and go with even crazier weaponry and abilities.

The greatest example of how “out there” these weapons are in the sequel is the weapon manufacturer “Tediore”. Instead of guns that simply reload faster, they made it so that you reload their weapons by literally throwing them at your enemies and letting them explode, with a new version respawning on your hand after a few seconds – and if that doesn’t sound cool to you, you are legally dead. These weapon manufacturers also have a personality of their own; managing to add a little more spice to what, in many other games, would just be another item for you to collect. It’s little details like those that truly shape Borderlands 2 into what it is.

When it came to abilities, they didn’t fall back either; Characters are more versatile, and their abilities range from simple things like “more health” or “faster walk speed” to more direct aids like “Regenerate ammo and health over time”; all of which sounds overpowered at first, untill you meet your enemies, and learn more about the story, and just what you’re actually facing.

Unlike it’s predecessor, Borderlands 2 has a very well thought out and in-depth story, which pits you against the Hyperion corporation (who ,by the way, makes really shitty sniper rifles, apparently.) And it’s boss, Handsome Jack, AKA: One of the most entertaining villains in all of gaming.

I kid you not, Handsome Jack is the epitome of the “Magnificent Bastard”; You will hate his guts and love every single quip and insult he throws your way; His personality is excessively narcisistic, a little bit on the nutty side, and supremely entertaining. Some of the most quotable lines of the game come directly from him, or are caused by him in one way or another; And some of his stories are pretty fucked up – to say the least

That’s one of the best things about Borderlands 2, really; Every character has an amazing personality, to the point where you will find yourself liking the villains just as much as the heroes.

For that matter, there’s a lot of hidden character development inside the little dialogues between characters; Unfortunately, a lot of it is hidden inside little stuff like the Idle talk or hidden ECHO recorders, but it’s still quite interesting. Don’t believe me? Just check this out. That’s all of Krieg’s lines in the game, and some of them give you insight as to what brought him from a normal, sane citizen of Pandora into a mutated psychopath.

Oddly enough, for a game that has a reputation for being bombastic, silly and all about jokes and fun rather than anything serious, Borderlands 2 is also one of the most inclusive games in recent years. Some of you may know the small bit of trivia that Axton, one of the main characters, is Bisexual. That in itself doesn’t seem to be really all that great, after all, it’s still a pretty lukewarm way of giving some representation to people... But let’s dive in a bit deeper, shall we?

Several of the main characters of the story are shown as having some form of sexuality or dealing with relationships, wether friendly or romantic, an identified gender or simply shown having fun with the others. No character feels like they’re just a lampshade in the room who happened to get a role. For that matter, Borderlands 2 shows several gay, straight, bisexual and even people with disabilities with a lot of respect; Dare I say this? This game treats characters like real people, and that makes it into a very interesting (and overall a lot more fun) experience.

Borderlands 2 is far from perfect, of course. The constant looting and shooting can be a bit repetitive for some people – they do throw more new stuff at you, but it’s always on the same loot’n’shoot basis – and the humor is cringe-worthy (Clap-trap, anyone?), yet that’s part of it’s charm for the players that continue to enjoy this game.