Borderlands 2, the sequel to the original 2009 smash hit 'role-playing shooter', was just officially released a couple of days ago and so far it is holding its own against its predecessor. The comic book style graphics are back along with the outrageous humour, the role-playing elements and the gazillions of weapons.
I pre-ordered the game the day before its release (September 18, 2012) although I didn't get any pre-order bonuses because apparently they were 'sold out'. And actually, that's okay with me because I'd rather play the vanilla version of the game so I don't enjoy any benefits that other gamers who bought the game after the release date might not have. This way, most everybody's on the same page when they follow my official walkthrough.
And how am I enjoying it so far? It's great! I've been pushing hard through the game starting the morning of the release date going solo as Zer0. It's visually spectacular, action-packed and definitely tougher than the first game. However, I was a little disappointed by the paltry avatar customization options. It seemed we were going to get something a little more than simply a choice of headgear and body suit color (That's it. I'm not kidding.) No worries though because the game is not about what you look like but how it plays.
Speaking of playing, the game runs fine almost maxed out on my rig.
A. Here are my specs:
- AMD Phenom II X4 955 3.2 GHz CPU (Quad core)
- ASUS M488T-M/USB3 Motherboard
- SATA2 Seagate 7200 1 Terabyte Hard Drive
- 650 watt ATX Truepower TP-650 Power Supply
- Kingston KVR 1333MHz DDR3 Memory (4 Gigabytes)
- Radeon 6850 1 Gig Video Card
- Plantronics Headset
- Cheapo mouse, keyboard, DVD drive
I have Physx Effects on Low because I read that only Nvidia video cards handle this option well and I also turned Anisotropic Filtering down to 8X simply because I thought it looked better. Everything else is maxed. I do get an occasional stutter step right at the beginning when restarting the game and firing a gun for the first time (not sure what that's about) but it doesn't persist.
The hit directional indicators are much more subtle now compared to the original Borderlands which displayed a big red flashing bar on the side of the screen relative to the direction of the attacking enemy. This is something that really bugged me in the original, enough to speak of it in my original Borderlands review.
Now, it's a much more subtle textured bloody splatter thing (*chuckle*), so subtle in fact that I thought they had done away with directional hit indicators altogether so clearly that's a change I'm really happy to see.
As for the game difficulty, it's definitely cranked up a notch. They threw a little mini-boss at me within the first 15 minutes of the game and then I had to square off with a couple more major bosses by the time I reached level 6. This is challenging because, as with the first game, your Action Skill only becomes available after you reach character level 5 so you have precious little time to practice with it before you're taken into some major battles.