Borderlands 2 is a co-op first-person shooter where you and your friends can easily jump in and out of each others games. The gameplay itself focuses on collecting inordinate amounts of loot, with each item having their own distinctive visual appeal and performance.
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Pro So much loot, that you will barely see any twice
Borderlands 2 makes it feel like Christmas every time you kill an enemy or open a chest. Whether it's ammo or health or a new and better weapon, whatever you find will reward your curiosity and pique your appetite for more. The potential to find the best loot in the most humble locations makes killing enemies and finding chests incredibly exciting and satisfying. While many loot-based games succeed due to this mechanic, Borderlands 2 surpasses the competition by delivering randomized goodies with unique appearances and stats.
The guns and items in Borderlands 2 have distinct visual features depending on their attributes. For example, a gun with a melee attack bonus might have a blade on it. The customization goes beyond pallet swapping (where the only difference is the color), which leads players to become much more attached to their guns than a bunch of polygons should make them.
You will also find tons and tons of different types of guns. Six different types of guns exist in the game. Each gun can be made by one of eight different manufacturers. Each gun is also made of five additional parts. All of which are generated randomly. With the many millions of combinations available, you never know what attributes the next gun you will find will have. This also gives a slightly different experience to each playthrough, because it’s entirely unpredictable what weapons you will find and when.
Pro Each playthrough is a different experience
Borderlands 2 is all about options. With near-infinite weapon options and four character classes, you can play the game multiple times and have a different experience each time. The classes have multiple skill trees that let you tweak your character’s moves and abilities to match how you want to play. This all adds up to a gaming experience that is difficult to beat for customizability.
Pro Complimentary classes that are great for teamwork based co-op
The varying classes and play styles are designed to work together and promote co-op play. One player may be a tank, with large guns and durable shields, while another may have medic abilities and a long-range sniper rifle. This makes for a scenario where each class compliments each other, which is a fun way to play together.
Pro Contains fun low-brow humor that can still be serious when it needs to be
Despite being an in-your-face action game with an ostensibly serious plot, Borderlands 2 features a fun-loving sense of humor. This is exaggerated in the sidequests, which feature some of the funniest and most creative writing. This helps the player dive into the main plot while also having the choice to go on sidequests that offer an expanded sense of humor.
The humor is often based on popular memes or lowbrow concepts, which should appeal to a wide range of players.
Pro Actual couch co-op that can also be played online
Those playing on local split-screen can play online with others at the same time. This way even if playing locally with a friend, both can experience online play on the same machine and screen.
Pro Stylish comic book like art style that breaks from the herd
The solid black outlines and bright colors make this game look great and stand out from other first-person shooters. The artistic style is similar to the art in comics, clean and bright and breaks with the trend of gray and brown in recent FPS video games.
Con Gameplay can become repetitive
The best strategy is often to run away, take cover, shoot, and repeat. The AI doesn't do much to pursue you, which gives the player a significant advantage and makes patience vital. It can also lead to long firefights with little actual danger – a recipe for boredom.
Con Potential lost loot due to sharing
Loot isn't reserved for each individual player when playing co-op, meaning the first person to get to the loot can take as much of it as they want. This can lead to contention between co-op players, which defeats the purpose of cooperative play.
Con Limited visual customization of characters
For a game that is full of choices, Borderlands 2 is somehow lacking in visual customization options for the player’s character. There is no way to customize the characters’ faces or body styles; for the most part all that can be changed is the color of their outfit. This can lead to online games full of identical characters, which is not only confusing but also makes it difficult to feel any sort of pride or ownership over your character.
Con Tedious to check gun stats
Being forced to check the stats on each gun you find in order to be able to compare it to the items already in your inventory can become tedious.
Con There is little actual cooperation between players
Most of the "cooperation" in Borderlands 2 is limited to shooting the same mob. There are almost no skills or perks that integrate with other characters in a meaningful way (there are a few stat bonuses, but that's pretty much it).
Con Boring bulletsponge enemies
A lot of the enemies, and especially bosses, are just bulletsponges that require no different tactics in place to beat them.