There have been plenty of good First-Person RPG games such as Deus Ex, Fallout 3, Stalker, Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, System Shock, and Vampire: The Masquerade–Bloodlines. However, none of these had the power to draw in non-RPG gamers like the unexpected hit Borderlands. Was it because it was just a good game? Not really. It succeeded for the simple reason that it did to the FPS RPG genre what Diablo did to RPG games—make them accessible to the masses. The original Borderlands had RPG elements, but instead of dominating the gameplay, these RPG mechanics built upon a shooter foundation. At the core, it was a competent shooter whose depth was enhanced with excellent customisation and deeper playing strategy enabled by its RPG roots.
Combat is even more gun happy now
If it ain't broke, don't fix it
The familiarity trickles down to the main characters, with the same classes returning for the sequel. Maya is a siren replacing Lilith from the first game. Her abilities are more focussed on the offensive side, with Phaselock being a more aggressive form of the original's Phasewalk that lets her suspend enemies in a bubble, thereby opening them for attack. A hulking dude by the name of Salvador fills in for the berserker from the first game. Termed as the gunzerker now, this new class does away with its melee focus and embraces guns instead. The idea is to wield two guns, lob multiple grenades at the same time, while also regenerating ammo and shield by the truckload. Borderland's Roland has been replaced by Axton, who is a commando depending on auto turrets to cut down enemies. Zer0 is an assassin similar to Mordecai, who depends on stealth and sniping skills to get the job done.
The skill tree is deeper and complemented with Badass Ranks
Plenty of RPG goodness
Although each character has a speciality, unlike traditional RPG games, Borderlands 2 keeps the experience inclusive by letting anyone pick up any kind of weapon and be good at it right off the bat. Having said that, each character class comes with its own signature style that affects gameplay greatly. The siren, for example, adds elemental attacks such as fire, electricity, and slag to the weapons. The assassin will favour deception and invisibility to slink up to an enemy and deliver critical damage, whereas the gunzerker goes for an all out gung-ho approach to tackling enemies. The three-pronged character skill tree similarly opens up a range of abilities that deliver very potent results when carefully combined with your strengths. Once again, the game is more lenient on those messing up their skill points by letting you respect the skill tree for a small fee at any given point in time.
Boss enemies are notoriously tough without friends
The weapon of choice
The more challenging missions give you really powerful weapons and shields. This loot drop mechanic, which made the first game so appealing, is one of the main driving forces in this game. The original's procedural loot generation engine was capable of generating over 17 million unique weapons by various permutations and combination of damage, accuracy, magazine size, in addition to ancillaries such as recoil, ammo consumption and elemental damage. The sequel promises even more unique weapons, but you really won't notice the difference because there's no real way to come across the same weapon twice, given the odds. It's hard to explain, but going off on a tangent in the quest of a slightly more powerful weapon tends to get way more addictive and time consuming than you can imagine.
Bullywongs serve as canno fodder to mine XP
More fun in co-op mode
Updated 21 May, 2013, 8:08 pm IST
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