I already know what I’m doing when the evening rolls around. Like any respectable gamer, instead of going out to a crowded bar and spending more money that I should on drinks, I’m playing the videogames that I sparsely have time to on weekdays. What’s even better than that, I’m playing Borderlands 2 with a few friends of mine.
Borderlands 2 garners a lot of respect from me because it knew exactly what it wanted to be. With the first Borderlands, Gearbox managed to create an interesting framework for a co-op game, but the enemies were repetitive, the visuals were saturated with gray, and the story so forgettable that you wouldn’t be blamed for forgetting if you were on a mission or you just happened to find some Psychos by the side of the road. So for Borderlands 2, they decided to stick the landing completely and refine the co-op game into its perfect form.
The first thing I notice when booting up Borderlands 2 is that it’s full of color. The first game had a great art style, but suffered from a palette full of gray and brown, making the world of Pandora feel drab and lifeless. However, the sequel characterizes its world a lot better with ample use of bright blues, greens, and oranges that give you a better sense that this IS supposed to be a rollicking adventure on an alien planet with your friends. Not to mention that the story is leagues above it’s predecessor due to the emphasis put on characters that ride the line between being funny and being incredibly annoying. Jack steals the show, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t stolen right back by the likes of Ellie, Tiny Tina, and Sir Hammerlock. I can see why plenty of people can see this as trying too hard to be funny, but I do think that was the goal from Anthony Burch when writing these characters, so I tend to be a bit forgiving in that respect.
The gameplay department for the sequel is bolstered with new enemy types, and better map layouts for taking down those enemies. In any given battle, you will probably encounter six different enemy types, all of which can be dealt with in different ways. My favorite enemy is the Goliath, which can be sent into a rage to take down any living thing that is nearby. As its body count gets higher, it gets stronger, and harder to take down for the player, but also yields far better loot. And most enemy encounters usually happen in an interesting arena that allows you to fight from different elevations, bait enemies towards different status-inflicting barrels, or encourage you to use a certain kind of weapon.
These additions yield a far better experience, but what keeps me playing to this day has got to be the wealth of content. The version of Borderlands 2 that I play comes from The Handsome Jack collection, which includes all the DLC they released for the game initially, which was more or less a metric fuckton of content. A lot of Co-op games are great, but they’re usually contained to being weekend affairs. Hell, one of my favorite games of all time is Castle Crashers, and you can beat that in a day with a buddy on your couch. With Borderlands 2, there finally existed a co-op game that could take my friends and I weeks to get all the way through. The potential for good memories you can make with that much time on the clock is sky high, and it’s one of many reasons why I love this game so much.
So tonight when I hop online, I’m going to boot up Borderlands 2, and shoot the shit with my friends whilst hijacking a train. It’ll be loads of fun, and if nothing else, it’ll at least be a good way to kill some time.