“Borderlands 2 is Diablo with guns”. You can debate that all you like, but one thing cannot be denied – it’s the game of a “bajillion” guns.
That’s the official number of weapon variations available in Borderlands 2. And finding the best option out of that bajillion will be the main focus of your time in the crazy world of Pandora.
There is a plot – something involving a man called Handsome Jack and some vaults – but narrative takes a backseat here in favour of relentless combination of gunning and looting.
Every enemy downed and every box scavenged rewards players with loot. This ranges from ammo to shields or weapons upgrades and frequently the weapons themselves.
Prepare to spend the bulk of your time weighing up whether the new Jakobs shotgun you’ve found is better than the Hyperion incendiary pistol you’ve been favouring? And if not, is it worth more than the Vladof rifle you’ve been storing in your backpack? My god, that inventory size upgrade can’t come soon enough! (about two and half hours in, actually).
The tremendous variety leaves the player free to tackle situations as they see fit. Do you want to snipe from afar or get up close and personal with a shotgun? Is it better to have a high capacity shield that charges slowly or a less powerful device that powers back up at a rapid rate?
This element of choice carries over to the characters, too. Of which there are four and while they all play the same in bread and butter gunplay each offers its own special power.
Zer0 the Assassin, for instance, can cloak himself and project a holographic dummy that enemies continue to fight, leaving players free to sneak up behind them and melee attack with their sword. Maya the Siren is a master of Elemental powers, allowing her to suspend enemies in the air. Axton the Commando can deploy gun turrets and wide boy Salvador the Gunzerker (Gunzerker!) can dual wield two weapons simultaneously.
There’s also an elaborate skill tree that gives players tremendous flexibility regarding how they wish their character to progress.
But don’t let any of this deceive you – Borderlands is about shooting things. Shooting lots of things. Whether you’re on a collect and deliver mission or driving across the icy plains in one of the game’s many vehicles, you’re never more than a few moments away from LOTS of shooting.
And it’s all the better for it.
Borderlands 2 is released in the UK this Friday (September 21st).