'Borderlands 2': Initial Impressions

Three hours into playing as a Commando, and I’m a bit torn. This is, so far, everything both good and bad about Borderlands, magnified. The result is a game that’s incredibly fun to play and yet teetering on the edge of being ruined by Duke Nukem levels of stupid.

First of all, do not listen to anybody who tells you the writing is great. It’s not, at least so far, although I will say it is better and there’s the beginning of a reasonable plot here.

The humor, on the other hand, has gotten idiotic to the point where it occasionally stops being funny and starts being insulting. The original game was at least occasionally amusing as it dropped hints that Pandora was basically where corporations and governments sent everybody they weren’t going to miss to be eaten by skags. This time around, it’s all about “bonerfarts”. Ugh, if you’re going to be stupid, at least be stupid above a seventh-grade level.

That said, Borderlands 2 also offers considerably revisions to its gameplay, all of which make it even more addictive and engaging than the first one. The original game has had its classes mixed together somewhat. Zero, for example, is a mix of Mordecai’s sniping and Lilith’s sneakiness; Salvador is basically Brick with less punching; and Axton is just Roland, except white, and I’m amazed the Internet hasn’t gotten angry over that yet. Maya is fairly new: She’s good for crowd control and generally is pretty fun.

There are little touches, though, that really make the game better. The mini-map is a welcome addition, not to mention the revisions to the quest map and the skill trees. The AI is slightly better. Also the shooting has been overhauled a lot; it feels a bit more precise and reactive, making already well-done controls a lot better. So far I haven’t run into any ammo starvation problems, but I’m one of those guys who stuffs his pack full of ammo.

I’ll have more about the game this Friday.