I’ve finished one playthrough of Borderlands 2 and I’m in the middle of a second.  (I previously gave some early impressions, and also discussed the game’s interesting partial embrace of immortality.)  I’m mostly doing it single-player as Ash is busy right now, which is fine because I can be a lot more leisurely in single-player mode, and appreciate the level design and dialog.

I read an interview where Randy Pitchford says they had three times the resources to spend on the game.  It shows– it’s really pretty:

At least we got off that glacier

For a shoot ‘n loot, BL2 has quite a lot of characters and story.  I sometimes wonder why the planet only has one to four persons who can actually accomplish anything, from delivering packages to taking out evil megaCEOs, but that’s common to almost all video games (with the notable exception of Stalker).

Initially I didn’t like demoting BL1′s player characters to NPCs.  Those folks were us, after all.  But thinking about it, I think it was a smart design move.  It avoids having to explain why your level 50+ character is suddenly a nothing, and it gives us some characters we care about.  (If we don’t get to play them, we at least want to know that they’re doing well.)

(Weirdest revelation, though: Mordecai is Latino??  I don’t recall anything along those lines.  Though he looks amazingly like a Peruvian friend of my wife’s, so that I usually named my Mordecais after Carlos.)

Strangely, it seems that they’ve greatly reduced the number of guns you find.  In BL1 there’d be crates all over the place; here they’re fairly rare, and enemies don’t drop as many either.

One big personal complaint: of the four player classes, I only like one, the Siren.  That’s one third as many as in BL1.  In BL1 I also liked Mordecai and his Bloodwing, and Brick’s fist berserker mode.  I tried Zer0 but a) his special skill seems really lame, at least at low levels, and b) he talks annoyingly when he does it.  I should try Gunzerker, but it sounds dumb– the rest of the game is all about guns, it’s better when the skills are not more guns.  In both games I found deploying a turret boring.  Well, there’s a new class coming later this month.

Many of the voices, the music, the dark anti-PC humor, as well as the general emphasis on guns and good times, give both games a kind of Southern atmosphere.  Or maybe Texas, given the harsh desert climate in most of the maps.

The last minutes of the game suggest that the sequels, if any, could explore a bunch of othet planets.  That sounds fun but awfully ambitious… it’s not going to feel like a galaxy exploration thing if there’s just, say, two levels on each planet.  We’ll see…

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