Borderlands 2 | Video game review
A couple of weeks back, we hired Amundsen High School freshman Sebastian Johnson as a "strike intern" during the Chicago Teachers Union strike, and he wrote a great piece for us about the ten best video games to play with your kids. Given that he already runs a gaming site, we felt we should keep him on as our resident game critic. Here's his first review.
Developer: Gearbox Software; ESRB Rating: M for Mature; Price: $60.
First of all, let me get this across: This is not a good game. This is the best game. Ever. Being a huge fan of the first Borderlands I couldn’t wait to get this game. And it did not disappoint.
The graphics in Borderlands were simply not as strong as other shooters. While they were fine, the environments were bland, somewhat blocky, and lacked that shiny extra coat we expect from today’s games. In Borderlands 2 they completely revamped the graphics. It still has that cool comic book look, but it also has a greater array of textures, colors, effects, and it all has that extra coat that makes it look almost real. Also, there’s a greater amount of environmental diversity, so you can go from the sandy desert of the Dust, to the snowy mountain tops of the Southern Shelf, and even the shiny skyscrapers of Hyperion’s City of Opportunity.
Unlike Borderlands, the story in Borderlands 2 is really good. In Borderlands it was not as good as it could have been, lacking real direction until the end. However in Borderlands 2, the story is a driving force. It follows you, a treasure hunter looking for a long lost vault, who is betrayed by the main bad guy, Handsome Jack (CEO of Hyperion), who tries to kill you. He’s digging for the vault with his mega-huge company, trying to rule the planet and kill everyone. To fight him, you join the resistance, meet up with entire original cast, and try to stop him from reaching the vault. The story is so good and impeccably written you will want to get through the story missions and find out what happens next. This is rare for a video game, especially a triple-A big budget one.
This is the heart and soul of this game. The gameplay is the biggest part of what makes this game different. A perfect mix of RPG leveling and skills and FPS shooting gameplay. It’s like the ingredients of a Reese’s peanut butter cup: Neither one is the dominant force, but rather both are equally represented. You can choose one of four classes, each with its own power move and skills, and each is better with certain types of weapons. Speaking of weapons, this time around there is as many as 75 million guns in the game. Add to that the incredible amount of player and vehicle customization, new enemies, and awesome new equipment types, and this game really packs a punch with gameplay that could easily topple any Call of Duty or Halo.
Borderlands 2 manages to pack so much into one disc it’s amazing: millions of weapons, expansive open world locations, hilarious writing and characters, and the new antagonist that you will hate with a passion. This game is what other developers should use as the blueprint for future games.