Borderlands 2 Review (PC)

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅28-09-12
Conclusion – Out Of This World?

PC gamers approaching the franchise for the first time will be doing so with trepidation, but they need not worry. Gearbox have crafted a game which oozes personality through every pixel and is arguably much more suited to the PC than any home console.

Handsome Jack, villain of the piece

Rather than the legion of card-board cut-outs from many other modern video games, characters in Borderlands are extremely well fleshed out. Unique models and voice acting help, but each is also imbued with a unique personality memorable in its own right – from a stoic Roland, de-facto leader of the Resistance, to the playful Ellie extremely happy with her independence well outside Sanctuary. Gearbox chose not to just start a-fresh in the sequel, but rather build on the original game and adding the especially deviant Handsome Jack, who exhibits Kefka-levels of maliciousness and insanity at times. The voice acting is top-notch, with Jack’s character once again able to be singled out for special praise.

It would be simple for the game to descend into farce, or for Handsome Jack to morph into a a perverse anti-hero – thankfully it doesn’t and he doesn’t. Almost from the first quest the narrative is tone-perfect, and for all the character idiosyncrasies their interactions are spot-on. Lighthearted moments make the darker parts all the more dark, and whimsy still has a place.

Even the smallest character has their own splash screen

Those expecting a deep RPG experience will be disappointed with a lacklustre skill/talent system and no crafting to speak of; it’s more like Torchlight meets Doom than Skyrim meets Gears of War. With the exception of sometimes rather frantic gameplay, the graphical style, loot-hunt and often tongue-in-cheek humour is the hook for Borderlands 2, not character crafting and world exploration.

We should flag up a few words of caution: players will need to persevere with the game before it begins to pay-off. The first two hours of gameplay are pretty linear with relatively sparse action, your one constant companion: the dulcet tones of an infuriating robot who you are charged to protect. It’s a poor advertisement for an action-RPG-FPS that doesn’t come into its own until you reach Sanctuary, by which time you start to see some of the more exciting weapons types available and excitement levels step up a notch.

Borderlands 2 is an accomplished and flavourful First Person Shooter which would benefit from being less linear in structure. Gearbox have chosen a niche graphics style which sets it apart from modern games, and backed that up with attention to detail and fully supporting the PC version. With dozens of hours of solid content and more DLC to come, it’s well worth a look to fans of the genre.


+ Almost Unique Graphical Style
+ Fast-paced gameplay
+ Engaging Story
+ Co-op Multiplayer
+ Multiple classes
+ Consistent Character Progression
+ Huge variation in weapons


- Weak talent system
- Only one interactive class skill
- Region rather than open-world game world
- Some aesthetic features only available to NVIDIA card owners

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