Being a Borderlands fanboy and proud of it, I have been getting asked by a lot of people if Borderlands 2 is worth getting. You’d think, as I did, that I’d be shouting ‘Why the hell are you even asking me this and not just playing it, you poor Borderlands-depraved person you!’
Having not had much of an opportunity to play it and experiencing so little of the game when I was getting asked this question, I found myself meeting peoples questions with a humble ‘Yeah, it’s good, man.’ – a phrase that felt odd to say out loud.
‘Oh no,’ I thought, ‘what the hell happened to my passion for this game?’ I had a level 10 Zero at this point, due to pesky real life obligations getting in the way, and for the life of me couldn’t figure out what was holding me back from enjoying it and shouting it from the rooftops. Well, I’m here now to remedy that.
My first problem? Only being level 10. For some reason it had slipped my mind completely how the progression worked in the first game. I was so used to playing on my high-level characters, dealing death in moments with my ridiculous fire rate, courtesy of a great class mod and powerful weaponry. Going into Borderlands 2, I had foolishly expected to be running around the starting areas decimating hordes of psychos with ease. When I found myself very much under-geared, my already stupidly high hopes felt like they were being trodden on. The fact that my first choice of class was a melee-specialised Zero probably didn’t help the situation at all.
Gritting my teeth and venturing forth, determined to push through the low-level blues, there came a point where things started to make sense.
One of my gripes at such a low level was the fact that Zero’s skill tree seemed to favour either straight-up melee strategy or straight-up sniping. My favourite way to play Borderlands 1 was with a ‘Gunslinger’ Mordecai, specialising in pistols and being able to unload a thoroughly deadly clip into any enemy, never really finding myself overwhelmed. With the enemies in Borderlands 2 having much, much better A.I., not to mention the fact that enemies become exponentially harder as more allies join the fight, I was downed quite frequently.
At this point, I felt restricted to the point that I almost abandoned Zero in favour of another class that would have a talent tree that specialised in a certain gun type. This, I thought, would be the equivalent of my Gunslinger – straight up power, using the weapon that I wanted.
It was only later, upon finding a variety of different class mods, that the way that the talent trees were structured was actually really cool and offered a tonne of freedom.
I found that the developers of the game had actually catered much more to the playstyle I preferred after all. Exploring the skill trees some more and experimenting with different weapons, I found that I was actually able to become a much, much more powerful ‘Gunslinger’ than I had imagined. This, coupled with some beautifully outrageous melee damage numbers had me feeling badass once agian.
I’m yet to explore the other classes fully, as I’m motivated to get Zero to a higher level so I can really make full use of his skills. I can tell from what little I’ve experienced already though, that each of the classes leaves their Borderlands 1 equivalents in the dust.
From what I’ve been hearing and reading lately, the general consensus with Zero is that he is extremely powerful however you build him but requires a good deal of cunning to play due to his natural tendency to die a lot. This is absolutely fine with me as one of the best things about Borderlands for me is all of the daring, movie-esque, skillful maneuvers that you can pull off. I’m talking about the moments when you find yourself being chased by 4 psychos and manage to destroy them all in seconds with clever use of positioning and your deception skill, or when you are seconds from death and running very low on ammo and land that essential crit on a badass enemy you’ve been battling with for the last 5 minutes.
All of these moments are frequent in Borderlands 2 and no matter what class you play, you’re going to experience them, albeit quite differently depending on which of the classes you pick. Regardless, you’re guarenteed to have plenty of moments where you’ll be screaming ‘Oh my God! Please tell me someone saw that!’ down your headset mic.
A lot of passion and love has gone into this game and the more you play it and the deeper you immerse yourself in the world and gameplay, the more you find yourself happily trapped in its immersive fun.