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Ding! Borderlands 2 Levels Up

September 24, 2012

The success of Borderlands 2 worldwide, and within our community, comes as no surprise. It improves on the original in almost every way, including its most important feature of four player co-op. Yet for this gamer, it is more than just the sum of its parts. In hindsight, I became ready for this game in the same way that little children often become suddenly ready to read and within a couple of short months go from reciting the names of the letters of the alphabet, to reading Curious George cover to cover.

While my love for games like Left4Dead and the Battlefield series will never grow cold, I am, at least for the moment …tired. Those games are in the best way, relentlessly intense. They could be played “just for fun”, but that would be like playing volleyball without keeping score. Literally, it would be to take the game out of the game. Yet, sometimes we are simply too tired to give the necessary 110% to ensure victory. Sometimes, we just want to chill with some friends, have a few laughs, and effect change in a world that is more receptive to new ideas (that is, guns) than our boss often is.

Served up in surprisingly entertaining cutscenes, Borderlands 2 has just enough story mixed with just enough humor to keep the gamer smiling and wondering what’s next. The art direction is deliciously fresh, and the Pavlovian bells and whistles ensure that gamers will be motivated to fight through the deserts to discover the next plot event. It is what The Road Warrior would have been, if it had been a comedy (and a video game).

Gearbox has even figured out a way to reward the good players while not leaving the less skilled ones behind. In our too-brief session last night, we all progressed to level eight, and not one of us was left a level down for more than about 30 seconds. I was amazed. Still, at the end of the night, when we checked our “Badass” scores, it became crystal clear who was hauling who in what wheelbarrow. And neither I, nor the rest of the crew, minded a bit.

I was ready for this game. It is exactly what the doctor ordered. The Ding! in Borderlands 2 heralds not only the successful progression to the “next level” in character advancement, but a whole new era of gaming for this guy. I breathe a sigh of relief just thinking about it. I am already looking forward to Borderlands 3.

  1. 3Suns permalink*
    September 24, 2012 10:06 pm

    Of course, just after I click, I realize that I should have saved that title for the first big DLC announcement. Perhaps the title should have been “Borderlands Ding! Borderlands 2” Anyway, it is a huge improvement on the already popular first game, and it is just what I need these days.

  2. September 24, 2012 10:33 pm

    I can’t tell you how glad I am to see you guys enjoying this game. I can’t even explain how eager I am to play it.

    I’ll be home this Friday (Saturday, for you Japanese folk) so would anyone be interested in re-rolling a new character with me?

    • Blankman permalink*
      September 24, 2012 11:10 pm

      I’m your huckleberry, Grymmie!

      Great to hear that you & Johann are especially enjoying BL2, Suns! I know the first game didn’t quite resonate with the two of you even though Tim & Cornie soaked it up like crazy. Gearbox really improved on their formula. This is not a mere sequel, but the solidification of a true franchise. The Badass points & ranking system serves as the carrot that keeps you coming back for more.

      It’s an oversight that Gearbox didn’t implement a Diablo 3-type loot system where each character only picks up their own color-coded loot. Seeing players exercise greed is a complete turn-off. Creating balance to a team is essential by the equal distribution of weapons & gear. You’re only as good as those around you. I hate to sound cliche, but sharing is caring. Remember this Vault Hunters, The Blankman is always a giver instead of a taker. 🙂

    • September 25, 2012 6:18 am

      And that’s why I love ya Blankie! Looking forward to raising hell in Pandora with you!

  3. September 25, 2012 7:26 am

    I LOVE the opening sequence. The New Music (awesome) and footage (with a toast to the opening sequence from the first game) is spectacularly hilarious. It all says “EPIC Space Western here we come!!!”

    Totally agreed with Sun’s and Blankman’s comments. This game just begs for everyone to relax and have a good time.

    The ONLY drawback I have with playing co-op (and not a biggie), is that there is so much funny dialog going on in the game that I miss (because Blank and I are chatting or laughing about what was just said or just happened), that we miss the next zinger.

    Handsome Jack for President! “Butt pony… No… wait, I’ll get back to you on that one” LOL!

    My favorite arch enemy of all time.

  4. September 25, 2012 7:03 pm

    That’s why I wanted to rent it first. Couldn’t shake the feeling of: “Been there done that.” Love the series, will get it at some point. I am just glad I didn’t have to fork over $60 and then sort of force myself to play it (Like I am doing with Dead Island right now).

    I also have co-op/RPG fatigue from Mass Effect, Dead Island, etc. so the timing isn’t right at all.

    That said I love the improvements of the game and definitely see why it’s flying of the shelves right now. I think they timed it perfectly right before the AAA games to serve as a fun run before the crowds go back to versus MP. Hopefully this time around the DLC is well integrated and you can fast travel to all the points, and take into account feedback from player a lot faster than the last one.

  5. 3Suns permalink*
    September 25, 2012 8:28 pm

    You can get yourself un-badassed. This actually happened to Cornie after he had leveled up to 100+.

    The good news, is that as it says in the Shacknews post, the Badass quotient is based on challenges completed, and those records are still intact. When/If Gearbox can fix this little bug (which will feel like a HUGE bug if it happens to those who have played for 10s of hours), a Badass score reflecting your true Badassery, will be easily computed and restored.


  6. October 7, 2012 5:08 am

    I just started Borderlands 2 yesterday after finally beating Dark Souls after 110 hours (and it was glorious!), but I’ve gotta say, I’m feeling the same way as I did when I played the first game. It’s something I just cannot quite put my finger on, but B2 still feels like just as much of a shallow game as its predecessor did for me – (and feel free to disagree, as I’m stating my impressions thus far). Sure, it has immeasurable amounts of character, content, and customization, but the mechanics just feel… well, tired? I don’t even know if that’s the right word to describe it either. Granted, I’m only playing single player (as almost none of my friends own capable PCs to run *a* game, let alone *this* game), and that may be perhaps where the problem lies.. which leaves me wishing Gearbox would have implemented a multiplayer system that allowed cross platform play, such as PC to console and vice versa. Nonetheless, I’ll continue to play the game to see if my feelings change over time, but so far, I’m not all that impressed. Anyone else getting the same vibe? Just curious. I would appreciate hearing people’s (civil) feedback on this.

    • October 7, 2012 3:19 pm


      The game isn’t for everyone, so it only makes sense that some people will love, others not so much. I love RPG’s just as much as I love shooters so this game sits just right with me. Add the humor that’s in the game and it’s damn near perfect for me.

      I can see where you would think that it’s sort of re-hashed from the first. Personally I loved the first so it doesn’t bother me at all. And with the few adjustments they did make, makes it all that much better.

    • October 8, 2012 10:08 am

      The game is made to be shallow, is like the Diablo series. You simply switch environments around, have basic characters that do similar things, be made in different shapes and colors, and have dozens of weapons and mods, interchange each other to make it seem like billions.

      then you have much of the story and character interactions being an audio clip that inlays as a photo constantly. It’s so generic you can just put zombies and melee weapon and have a carbon copy game like Dead Island have the same effect.

      Now it’s not for everyone. I loved the first one because back then I didn’t play Co-op as much, much less one that had RPG elements and the stylish brand of humor. But after playing the first one so much, and playing other co-op games that have other things to offer other than the stylish brand of humor, well is just not the same.

      I can see why people would get invested in it and love it as much as they do, and I do appreciate all the improvements they made.

      but by the same token I don’t see how it will have the same lasting impact, even by gearbox fans who might eventually jump ship to Colonial Marines for a different kind of Co-op.

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