Borderlands 2 Reviews

18 Sep 2012

The embargo on Borderlands 2 reviews has clearly lifted, as a vast assortment of critiques has been published to the 'net for our reading pleasure. Unsurprisingly, they seem to match the tone of the first one from IGN, which means they're almost all enthusiastic about the title.

Computer and Videogames, 8.5/10.
The good news is that Borderlands 2 has enough to it that the boxes win out, at least for long enough to make playing the game worthwhile. It isn't just a string of numbers - there's a character and playfulness to the world that fleshes out the underlying mechanics and gives it a twisted charm. And, if nothing else, that makes it a place you're happy to spend your time.

G4, 5/5.
Borderlands 2 is a better game than Borderlands in every imaginable way. Scoff at anyone who calls it a v1.5 update; this is really what a sequel should be. At the most basic level, you've got the same great experience that the 2009 game offered, only with much more depth and variety. Gearbox didn't bother reinventing the wheel here because the original was so freaking good in the first place. There may be a stumble here and there, but that really doesn't matter: Borderlands 2 is very much the game that every Borderlands fan has been waiting for.

Joystiq, 4.5/5.
Borderlands 2 is full of memorable moments and silly, crass folks – and if those silly, crass folks happen to be your friends, it's easily one of the best co-op experiences out there, and one of the best games I've played all year.

GameSpot, 8.5/10.
Now if all this sounds familiar, well, you must have played Borderlands before. Borderlands 2 doesn't reach far beyond its predecessor's scope, but it does do almost everything better. Additions, refinements, and fixes all combine to create an appreciably improved experience, one that fully delivers on the promise of the first game. While Borderlands felt empty at times, this sequel is bursting with content and brimming with life, making it an absolutely delightful way to spend hours and hours and hours of your free time.

GamesRadar, 4/5.
Borderlands 2 is a fulfilling experience. The improvements to gunplay and customization take it further than its predecessor. Its story gives you enough hooks and motivators to want to see it through to the end. Unfortunately, it may feel like a bit of a slog to get there, and you'll want to sort out exactly who's hosting that game between you and your online friends very early on. However, with a well-balanced squad, there are few more pleasing experiences than taking down a gigantic robot constructor through four unique skillsets. If you like to shoot, and you dig collecting loot, Borderlands 2 has enough to scratch your itch for some time to come.

Giant Bomb, 4/5.
I obsessed over the original Borderlands in spite of its flaws. Earning loot and exploring every little corner of the world became top priority for me when that game was released, and I kept up with its DLC add-ons, doing my best to ignore their decidedly uneven quality. Borderlands 2 is a better game in most of the ways that matter, but some of that is brought down by the familiarity of the experience. Perhaps some of that is on me and spending a couple hundred hours with the first game has rendered me resilient to some of the new game's charms, but as someone who went into Borderlands 2 with a sickness that I thought only more Borderlands could cure, I'm left feeling like I didn't receive a full dose this time around.

Game Informer, 9.75/10.
All of the improvements would make for a standout title even if it were constricted to single-player. Considering Gearbox has continued to put this franchise in a league of its own when it comes to co-op, it elevates the game to something more. With its unmatched co-op gameplay, intense shootouts, addictive loot collecting, expansive skill customization, hilarious dialogue, and insane level of replayability, Borderlands 2 is one of the most rewarding gaming experiences of this console generation.

The Guardian, 5/5.
I mean, when was the last time you cared about the name of any gun manufacturer in any shooter you played recently? Listen, I've played the heck out of the CoD: MW titles, and I've used a TAR-21 more times than I care to mention, but I couldn't tell you who manufactured it (not without looking it up, at any rate). The gun-makers in Borderlands 2 don't even exist, for goodness sake, and I'm already brand-loyal to one of them. That would be Jakob, who proffer the most stylish firearms in the galaxy. If you want to take down a Badass Spiderant Burner, be a Gentleman about it, and use Jakob ordinance. (Hey, Gearbox, you can have that one for free!)

GameTrailers (also coming with a video version), 9.2/10.
The voice acting does an excellent job of delivering the sharp witty banter and establishing each personality, but when you see characters in person, the stiff, unnatural gestures aren't as convincing. Also, while texture streaming is improved, there are still moments when you'll be greeted by temporarily blurry citizens or environments. Musically, the score fits this futuristic frontier well, setting the tone with spaghetti western sensibilities that move aside for dark, gritty synthesizers when the action starts to heat up. Everything that was great about the original Borderlands has been amplified and improved to make Borderlands 2 more focused, more satisfying, and utterly hilarious. Whether you're playing alone or with friends, the brash outlandish attitude will keep a smile on your face, and as soon as you're done, you'll want to instantly start another character and do it all again.

Official Xbox Magazine, 9.0/10.
Borderlands 2 features an insane amount of content. Expect to spend at least 40 hours finishing the main story campaign, and much more than that to complete all the optional missions. Once you beat the campaign, you can replay the game in harder Vault Hunter mode with your veteran character for even better loot and rewards. And trust us, you probably will.

And its UK version, 9/10.
The words "awesome" and "badass" are used a lot in this game, but Gearbox has earned the right. When you gunzerk into a crowd of bandits, get killed, and your shield's nova kicks in, wiping everyone out and bringing you back to life, you'll think so too.

Xbox360Achievements, 91/100.
Borderlands is back with a vengeance then, and it'll coax you back into feverishly collecting every little piece of loot you can find, grabbing the best guns, comparing their stats and building your burgeoning vault hunter from the status of struggling whelp to badass killer. Like its predecessor, Borderlands 2 is a shooty looty triumph, with that same tongue-in-cheek spark and compulsive gameplay that made the first game such a joy, married to an even greater wealth of content and visual fidelity. It's simply impossible not love Borderlands 2, with the original game's charm intact and a much-needed dose of variety making it an absolute must buy.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun, scoreless.
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.

Polygon, 7.5/10.
Co-op and excellent writing make Borderlands 2 worth checking out, but it can't escape occasional bouts of fatigue and repetition. It creaks somewhat under the pressure of needing to be more without the lightning-in-a-bottle newness that propped Borderlands up. The shooting still lags behind other first-person frontrunners, and combat too often feels like an afterthought in Borderlands 2's enormous world. It's often mired in the design problems of the genres it borrows from.

Borderlands 2 is unquestionably a better game than Borderlands. The new emphasis on elemental weapons and dismemberment make for better combat scenarios, and the constant character improvement is a great push forward for players looking for long-term rewards. But sticking around for those payoffs requires more patience than I'd hoped.

Machinima, 9/10.
The wacky world that Gearbox has built really shines in Borderlands 2. It doesn’t just work as a means to deliver funny lines of dialogue, though. Here is an established universe providing ample free reign to contrive silly gameplay mechanics that defy both first-person shooter and role-playing game conventions in way that has me convinced we’ll be seeing a lot more Borderlands in the future.

Strategy Informer, 9.0/10.
Say what you want about the original Borderlands, it sold enough to bring us another one – for the most part the second game has fixed or improved the things about the original game that let it down. Beyond that though, this is one funny, entertaining game that should hopefully provide you with plenty of entertainment over the coming weeks, especially with DLC already planned and on the way. Alone it can be a bit grindy (you could say that about a lot of games mind) but even if you just have one friend to play it with, you’ll find your money well spent. Just don’t try taking on Terramorphous by yourself. Seriously. Don’t do it.

EGM, 9.5/10.
Blisteringly funny and endlessly entertaining, Borderlands 2 is everything the first game should have been—and a whole lot more.

Videogamer, 9/10.
On paper, this sequel reads much the same as the original. But it's not - it's a vastly superior game with a sharper focus, better quests and more enjoyable blasting. Borderlands 2 is a gamer's game, so if you like shooting things, levelling up and exploring every cubby hole across a massive, varied world - if you love games, basically - then it's definitely for you.

ZTGD, 8.8/10.
Borderlands 2 is the epitome of sequel-itis. Nothing about it screams revolution of the series, but at the same time, it remains a fairly fantastic experience. If looting and shooting for 30 hours sounds great to you, and you enjoy the shooting mechanics, it is a no-brainer. Playing with friends is a blast, and the humor is outstanding. This is a finely crafted sequel that will likely impress all fans of the original. If you even remotely enjoy the genre, you owe it to yourself to jump back onto Pandora and hunt down some vaults.

Canadian Online Gamers, 90/100.
Borderlands 2 is one heck of a game. The improvements are many, the narrative is well written and told, and the game’s characters are voiced by some great voice actors. Add to this the addictive nature of searching for loot and ability to play the game’s story and sidequests with friends online, and you have all the elements of an excellent game. That being said, the overall experience is affected somewhat by the unexpected technical issues I mentioned earlier in this review. At the end of the day Borderlands 2 is a game that should be played, as the fun factor is high, the addictiveness is through the roof, and the game provides hours of gaming entertainment.

Gaming Nexus, 9.5/10.
No, the truth is that Borderlands 2 doesn’t suffer from much of anything at all. Gearbox made one of the most original first person shooters ever when it made the original, and while Borderlands 2 may be less original by virtue of its nature as a sequel, it’s still a welcome relief from the wide world of gritty realistic military shooters, and gritty unrealistic space marine shooters. Indeed, Borderlands 2 is the Adult Swim of shooters compared to the HBO that is Halo, Call of Duty, and Battlefield.

VG247, scoreless.
Incremental upgrades and rewards drive progression like never before, and when coupled with the strategic options that come with elemental gunplay, it’s hard to find yourself getting bored or wandering listlessly without purpose.

An emphasis on plot gives all of these ingredients reason to exist, and as a full package it’s hard to find many games that can match Borderlands 2 in terms of sheer content, entertainment value and fluidity.

Gearbox Software has created one of those rare sequels that truly does advance the original IP, and at a time where creativity can sometimes seem lacking in the triple-a arena, that is something worth shouting about.