Borderlands 2 | Gaming reviews, news & interviews
With more guns than an NRA catalogue, this is a team game with a psycho sense of humour
It’s been a good month for lovers of bootylicious action games, where the swag is plentiful and the guns are ridiculous. With its novel Grindhouse aesthetic, Borderlands 2 comes hot on the heels of last week’s similarly loot-obsessed Torchlight II, replacing that game’s swords and skeletons with sniper rifles and caterwauling midgets. It also has one of the best, most stylish opening sequences I’ve seen in a game for a long time.
Lured by the call of the charismatic and treacherous Handsome Jack, your character (be it the weapon-obsessed Gunzerker, the sneaky Assassin, the magical Siren or the turret-spawning Commando) embarks on a mission to uncover a mysterious alien vault. However, you soon find yourself blown up and abandoned in the middle of a snowy wasteland, at the mercy of a perkily unhinged robot called Claptrap.
From there on in it’s a long and slightly lonely road to civilisation, which is where the game really opens up. As much fun as it is careering through the wilderness collecting increasingly awesome kit, the constant bombardment of weapons and objectives can feel a little exhausting, particularly when there’s no one else around to help clean up. This game clearly has multiple players in mind.
Your character’s motivations are also a bit confusing. You’re simultaneously on the run from Handsome Jack whilst hunting for him and his mysterious vault. If that isn’t confusing enough, you’re soon roped into a resistance movement on behalf of a grim guy named Roland, whose audio logs are about as rousing and charismatic as a fart in a jar. (Handsome Jack’s frequent audio interruptions, on the other hand, are hilarious.)
With bandits spouting lines like “Give me back my hit points!”, while their shotgun-wielding midget chums trip up under the weight of their own guns, this is violence with a real sense of humour and attention to detail, right down to the robot porn in Claptrap’s arctic hideout.
Borderlands 2 requires dedication, and - if played alone - many hours of your time, but when the action is this slick it's an easy game to give yourself over to. So when you unpeel yourself from the sofa with a rumbling belly and a dazed look in your eyes, you may feel annoyed at how your free time has evaporated – but you'll almost certainly be back.
- Borderlands 2 (2K Games) developed by Gearbox Software. Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
Home isn’t where the heart is in this overly ambitious shooter
Chaotic, cartoony, co-operative carnage
A clever card game that benefits from a digital makeover
Spit and polish trumps bodge it and scarper
Nintendo makes a surprising choice for its first mobile app
Snap defeat from the jaws of victory in this hardcore RPG action adventure
Open world means open season in this massive online apocalyptic shooter
An entertaining spin on a well-worn formula
Become a beast master in a caveman caper and lose yourself in a quirky but quality shooter with great multiplayer potential
A colourful and fun take on the survival sim
Small thread, big heart
A tactile puzzle of ingenious construction