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February 2nd, 2013, 03:51
I just finished Borderlands 2 playing as a sniper Assassin solo the whole way through. I didn't get any DLC or pre-order bonuses. Overall it was good stuff but it had some problems that are really going to annoy some folks.

Like the first game, the characters are WAY over the top and quite well done. Several characters from the first game return along with several new ones. Your arch-nemesis, Handsome Jack, is very well played and has some interesting motivations.

Unlike the first game, the story is well done, too. There are plot twists, betrayals, and an ending that's really fun instead of a total let-down like in Borderlands 1. In fact, the story is good enough that it actually makes the story from the first game interesting!

The quests are typically weird and fun. They're still mostly the standard fetch this, go trip that lever, kill this other boss stuff but that's the basic ingredients of RPG quests. It's how you write and execute them that makes the game fun and this game does them very, very well.

There are also a LOT of them. It didn't take long to figure out that I needed to start skipping quests if I wanted to have any challenge doing my story quests. Even skipping some quests, I got 70 hours out of the game so I definitely got my money's worth.

While there are a lot of different zones, there are way more quests than zones. If you can arrange for quests in the same zone to be done at the same time you can save yourself some repetition but the game doesn't make that easy. Some quests won't even open up until after you go through the zone the first time. This is unfortunate as the enemies you face are mostly the same ones spawning in the same locations.

My biggest con against this game, though, is the save system. I don't know if its the console roots or the multiplayer but the practical upshot is you get a terribly weak checkpoint save system. I guess it does save your character when you pass a checkpoint but it also saves when you quit out of the game so, unless you're prone to crashing, all the checkpoints do is update your respawn point. Worse yet, they don't really even do that in a permanent way. If you quit out of the game, you'll find yourself at the starting point for the zone when you come back in.

I found this out the hard way. Early on in the game I was doing a story mission where you go through something like 7 checkpoints. It was pretty rough and I had to go to bed at the 5th checkpoint. The next night I start up the game and found myself with all the loot and experience I had when I quit but I was standing clear back at the start of the hostile zone. I almost rage-quit right then and there! I got used to the save system (quiting and restarting can be a handy way to get back to civilization fast) but it was a real problem throughout the game. If it gets late and your half way through a mission your choices are to lose all the progress you made or to leave the game running all night long.

The other big annoyance is respawning. Enemies don't just respawn when you quit. They don't just respawn when you leave a zone and come back. They actually respawn after, oh, maybe 15 minutes. Loot left lying around de-spawns, too. However, any loot boxes you've opened do NOT respawn. If you forget something and have to run back to a previous area, you can find yourself having some major ammo issues.

Gameplay variety is a strong point in this game. Your skills change how you play, the loot you find can really change how you play, and different enemies require very different tactics. I never really got bored except a few times when I had to go up against the same enemies in the same zone with the same weapons and skills.

The graphics are… well… comic book style right down to the black outlines. I never really liked that style but they do a pretty good job of it. The music they had was good but they needed more of it.

Overall, a good RPG/shooter. It could have been nicer (especialy wrt the save game system) but the story and characters are strong enough to cover for the problems.
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