Borderlands 2: A Comprehensive Review


Borderlands 2 is a first-person shooter (FPS) action role-playing game developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. It is the sequel to the 2009 hit game, Borderlands, and was released in September 2012 for various platforms, including PlayStation, Xbox, and PC. The game is renowned for its unique blend of genres, combining the fast-paced shooting mechanics of a first-person shooter with the depth and character progression of a role-playing game, all wrapped in a distinctive cel-shaded art style.

In this comprehensive review, we will delve into the pros and cons of Borderlands 2, providing a detailed analysis of its gameplay, storyline, graphics, and overall player experience. We will also guide you through the basics of playing the game, along with some top alternatives for those who might be looking for similar gaming experiences.

Pros of Borderlands 2

  • Engaging Story and Characters: Borderlands 2 features a rich and entertaining storyline set on the planet Pandora, filled with memorable characters and compelling narrative elements. The game’s humor and wit are one of its standout features, with quirky personalities like Handsome Jack and Claptrap adding a layer of charm to the game.

  • Dynamic Gameplay: The gameplay in Borderlands 2 is a seamless blend of first-person shooter action and RPG mechanics. The game offers a vast array of firearms and grenades, each with distinct attributes, allowing players to experiment and customize their loadout. The dynamic gunplay keeps the game fresh and engaging, with various enemy types and boss battles adding to the excitement.

  • Extensive Character Progression: Players can choose from four different character classes, each with its unique skill trees and abilities. The character progression system allows for a high degree of customization, letting players tailor their characters to their preferred playstyle. This variety encourages multiple playthroughs, as you can experiment with different character builds.

  • Cooperative Multiplayer: Borderlands 2 is built around cooperative multiplayer gameplay. Teaming up with friends or other players online is not only encouraged but often essential for tackling the game’s tougher challenges. Cooperative play adds an extra layer of fun and strategy, as players can combine their unique skills and abilities.

  • Massive Content: Borderlands 2 is packed with content, including the main story campaign, numerous side quests, and multiple expansions or DLC packs. This means there’s an abundance of gameplay, and the DLCs introduce new locations, characters, and storylines, further enhancing the experience.

  • Unique Visual Style: The game’s cel-shaded art style gives it a distinctive and eye-catching look. The bold, comic book-style graphics contribute to the game’s charm, setting it apart from the more realistic visuals of many other FPS titles.

  • Memorable Loot System: The game’s loot system is a core part of the experience, with a seemingly endless variety of weapons and equipment. The excitement of finding rare and powerful loot is a driving force in the game, and it keeps players engaged and motivated.

  • Replayability: Borderlands 2 offers tremendous replayability, thanks to its character classes, skill trees, and the New Game Plus mode (True Vault Hunter Mode). Players can continue to level up their characters, discover new weapons, and face tougher challenges, making it a game that you can sink hundreds of hours into.

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Cons of Borderlands 2

  • Dated Graphics: While the cel-shaded art style is distinctive and unique, the graphics in Borderlands 2 may appear dated to some players, especially when compared to more recent AAA titles. However, the visual style’s charm compensates for this limitation for many.

  • Occasional Performance Issues: On certain hardware configurations, Borderlands 2 may experience performance issues, including occasional frame rate drops and visual glitches. It’s essential to have a well-optimized system for a smooth experience.

  • Some Repetition: Like many open-world games, Borderlands 2 can occasionally feel repetitive, especially when tackling side quests or farming for loot. The grind for better gear may not be appealing to all players.

  • Limited Character Interaction: While the game boasts a colorful cast of characters, the interaction with them outside of quest dialogue is somewhat limited. The open-world nature of the game means that many characters remain static and don’t react to the player’s actions.

  • Learning Curve: The game’s unique blend of genres and the extensive character progression system may be overwhelming for newcomers. It takes some time to grasp all the mechanics, making the initial learning curve relatively steep.

How to Play Borderlands 2

Getting started with Borderlands 2 is relatively straightforward, but mastering its mechanics and diving deep into the game’s content can be a bit more challenging. Here’s a step-by-step guide to playing Borderlands 2:

  • Platform and Edition Selection: Choose your platform. Borderlands 2 is available on various consoles and PC. Ensure you have the appropriate edition of the game, which may include expansions or DLCs.

  • Character Selection: Begin by selecting your character. Borderlands 2 offers four distinct character classes:

    • Axton the Commando

    • Maya the Siren

    • Salvador the Gunzerker

    • Zer0 the Assassin

  • Each class has unique abilities and skill trees, so pick the one that aligns with your preferred playstyle.

  • Learn the Basics: The game’s tutorial section will guide you through the basics of movement, shooting, and using your special abilities. Pay close attention to this, as understanding the core mechanics is crucial.

  • Customization: As you level up, you’ll earn skill points to spend on your character’s skill tree. Customize your character’s abilities to match your playstyle. Experiment with different skill combinations to find what works best for you.

  • Gather Gear: Borderlands 2 is all about loot. You’ll find a wide range of weapons, shields, and grenades as you progress. Always be on the lookout for better gear, as it can greatly impact your effectiveness in combat.

  • Missions and Side Quests: The main storyline missions will lead you through the game’s central narrative. Additionally, there are numerous side quests to complete, which offer valuable rewards and add depth to the world of Pandora.

  • Cooperative Play: Borderlands 2 is best experienced in co-op mode. You can team up with friends or join online games to tackle challenges and share loot. Cooperation can make the game more enjoyable and more accessible, especially during challenging encounters.

  • Challenges and Achievements: The game includes various challenges and achievements, which can be both fun and rewarding to complete. They often involve specific actions or tasks, so keep an eye on the list and work towards them as you progress.

  • Exploration: Don’t rush through the main story. Explore Pandora, as there are hidden areas, Easter eggs, and secrets to discover. These can lead to unique loot and interesting encounters.

  • Progression Beyond the Main Story: Once you complete the main storyline, consider playing in True Vault Hunter Mode (NG+), which offers more challenging enemies and better loot. You can also explore the various DLCs to extend your gameplay experience.

Top 5 Alternatives to Borderlands 2

If you’ve enjoyed Borderlands 2 and are looking for similar gaming experiences, here are five alternatives to consider:

  • Destiny 2: Developed by Bungie, Destiny 2 combines FPS gameplay with MMO elements. It offers a rich, interconnected world, extensive character progression, and cooperative play, making it an excellent alternative to Borderlands 2.

  • Borderlands 3: If you love Borderlands 2, the natural choice is its successor, Borderlands 3. It retains the series’ core elements while introducing new characters, weapons, and environments. The humor and art style are consistent with the franchise.

  • The Division 2: Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is a tactical shooter with RPG elements set in a post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C. It offers a strong emphasis on cooperative play, character customization, and loot hunting.

  • Diablo III: While Diablo III is an isometric action RPG, it shares similarities with Borderlands 2 in terms of loot-based progression and cooperative multiplayer. It’s an excellent choice for those who enjoy character customization and hunting for rare gear.

  • Rage 2: Rage 2 combines the open-world elements of Borderlands with fast-paced FPS gameplay. It offers a unique world, diverse abilities, and plenty of action. While it’s not as humor-driven as Borderlands, it’s a good choice for those who enjoy action-packed shooters.


Borderlands 2 is a unique and engaging gaming experience that successfully fuses first-person shooter mechanics with role-playing elements. With its humorous narrative, vast array of weapons, and extensive character progression, it has secured a special place in the hearts of gamers. While it may have some dated graphics and performance issues on certain systems, these limitations are often outweighed by the game’s charm and content.

If you’re looking for a game that offers humor, cooperative play, and endless loot, Borderlands 2 is an excellent choice. However, if you’ve already explored Pandora and are seeking something similar, the alternatives mentioned above can provide different but equally enjoyable experiences. Ultimately, the world of gaming is vast and varied, and there are plenty of options to suit your preferences and playstyle.


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