|Engine||Modified Unreal Engine 3|
|Release date(s)||NA September 18, 2012
AU September 20, 2012
EU September 21, 2012
JP October 25, 2012
|Genre(s)||First-person shooter, action role-playing|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer, co-op|
|Media/distribution||Optical disc, download|
Borderlands 2 is an action role-playing first-person shooter ("loot and shoot") video game that was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. It is the sequel to 2009's Borderlands and was released for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and OS X platforms. As with the first game, Borderlands 2 players complete a campaign consisting of central quests and optional side-missions as one of four "vault hunters" on the planet Pandora. Key gameplay features from the original game, such as online collaborative campaign gameplay; randomly generated loot, such as weapons and shields; and character-building elements commonly found in role-playing video games are found in Borderlands 2.
The game was released to critical acclaim on September 18, 2012. Downloadable content for the game has also been released subsequently.
Borderlands 2 builds upon the gameplay elements introduced in its predecessor, Borderlands. It is a first-person shooter that includes elements found in role-playing games, leading Gearbox to call the game a "role-playing shooter." At the start of the game, players select one of four new characters, each with a unique special skill and proficiencies with certain weapons. After this, players take on quests assigned through non-player characters or bounty boards, each typically rewarding the player with experience points, money, and sometimes a reward item. Players earn experience by eliminating foes and completing in-game challenges (such as getting a certain number of kills using a specific type of weapon). As they gain levels from experience growth, players can then put skill points into a skill tree that features three distinct specializations of the base character. As with the first game, Borderlands 2 features a procedural-generated loot system, whereby weapons and other equipment dropped by foes, found in chests, or offered as quest items have numerous statistics that are generated randomly, affecting factors such as weapon damage, accuracy, magazine size, and added effects like elemental damage. Randy Pitchford, noting that the procedural system in the first game generated 17.75 million possible guns, claimed that the variation in Borderlands 2 is much larger.
Returning gameplay features from the first game will include the 3-branch skill tree, class-mods, and four-player online cooperative modes. New features include a more expansive and customizable weapons system, reworked four-seat drift-able vehicles and vehicle physics elements.
In addition, the artificial intelligence (AI) system has been reworked for the game. Non-enemies will populate the game world more often and will travel around different locations depending on the time. According to Gearbox VP Steve Gibson, enemy AI will encourage teamwork, such as flanking, as well as taking cover when wounded, though lower level enemies like Psychos will still embrace the mentality of "Wow that's a gun! I want my face in front of it!". Shooting enemies will stun or cripple them depending on where they are shot, such as shooting a Hyperion robot's arms will cause the arms to fall off, impairing its damage-dealing capabilities. For a change, enemies will be intelligent enough to climb and traverse difficult terrain to pursue the player. Enemies will also be able to interact with each other. For example, certain enemies can heal their teammates, boost their shields for defense, or use them as shields to protect themselves.
Five years have passed since the events of Borderlands, when four Vault Hunters, a Hunter, a Soldier, a Siren and a Berserker, were guided by a mysterious entity known as "The Guardian Angel" to the Vault and confronted an alien abomination known as "The Destroyer". After defeating The Destroyer, a valuable mineral called "Eridium" started flourishing through Pandora's crust. Handsome Jack, a member of the Hyperion Corporation, secures this new resource and makes use of it to take over the corporation. Now, Handsome Jack rules over the inhabitants of Pandora with an iron fist from his massive satellite built in the shape of an "H", always visible in the sky in front of Pandora's moon. Meanwhile, rumors of an even larger Vault hidden on Pandora spread across the universe, drawing a new group of Vault Hunters to the planet in search for it.
The opening cinema introduces the four new Vault Hunters as they ride a train on Pandora. However, the train is a trap set by Handsome Jack, and it explodes. The surviving Vault Hunter regains consciousness in a frozen wasteland and is found by the last remaining CL4P-TP ("Claptrap") unit. The Guardian Angel contacts the Vault Hunter and instructs them to accompany Claptrap to the city of Sanctuary, and to join the Crimson Raiders, a resistance movement, in order to defeat Handsome Jack. Claptrap and the Vault Hunter are able to escape the frozen wastes after defeating Captain Flynt, the local bandit leader, and retaking Claptrap's boat. Along the way, Handsome Jack taunts the Vault Hunter, while the Guardian Angel offers advice and comfort.
Upon arriving at the gates of Sanctuary, the Vault Hunter is asked to rescue Roland, now leader of the Crimson Raiders, who has been captured by a bounty hunter called the Firehawk. The Vault Hunter meets the Firehawk, who turns out to be Lilith, whose powers as a siren have been significantly enhanced by the new supply of eridium. Lilith informs the Vault Hunter that Roland was actually captured by a group of bandits. After fighting through the bandits' territory, the Vault Hunter rescues Roland and returns to Sanctuary.
Roland and Lilith learn that the Vault Key is being transported aboard a Hyperion train, and task the Vault Hunter to retrieve it. To accomplish the mission, the Vault Hunter enlists the aid of former Vault Hunter Mordecai, and of Tiny Tina, a psychotic explosives-obsessed thirteen-year-old. The Vault Hunter derails the train, but instead of finding the Vault Key, encounters Wilhelm, a powerful Hyperion human/robot hybrid and the game's first major boss. After Wilhelm's defeat, the Vault Hunter recovers his power core, which Roland recommends be used as the power source for Sanctuary's shields. The core turns out to be a trap; it allows the Guardian Angel, who is working for Jack, to lower the city's shields and render it vulnerable to a bombardment from space. Lilith saves Sanctuary, which was originally a large spacecraft, by activating its engines and teleporting it away; for the rest of the game, Sanctuary exists as a flying city in the sky.
Jack's true plan is revealed: to open Pandora's second Vault and unleash The Warrior, a powerful creature controlled by whomever releases it. Additionally, he is forcing a siren to help him charge the Vault Key more quickly than usual. Angel communicates with the group in Sanctuary, and despite hostile treatment from Roland, divulges that the Vault Key is kept with her in a Hyperion facility. She also shares information about the formidable defenses of the facility. The Vault Hunter embarks upon a series of missions in order to assemble what is needed to overcome these defenses, including obtaining an upgrade for Claptrap, visiting the Hyperion city of Opportunity, and enlisting the aid of Brick, now leader of the Slab clan of bandits. During the process, Mordecai's pet bird Bloodwing is captured and killed by Handsome Jack; a grief-stricken Mordecai vows revenge and joins the other three former Vault Hunters at Sanctuary. Roland and the Vault Hunter assault the Hyperion compound and meet Angel, who is not only a real person, but a siren, and Handsome Jack's daughter. She requests to be killed in order to stop her father from charging the Vault Key and gaining control of The Warrior. Handsome Jack sends in waves of security forces in order to protect his daughter, but ultimately, Roland and the Vault Hunter, with the help of late arrival Lilith, successfully kill Angel. An enraged Handsome Jack teleports in, kills Roland, and captures Lilith, whom he forces to resume charging the Vault Key in Angel's stead. Lilith manages to teleport the Vault Hunter out of the facility and back to Sanctuary.
Mordecai and Brick decide to learn the location of the second Vault and confront Handsome Jack and The Warrior. While the Vault Hunter travels to the Hyperion Information Annex and obtains the Vault's location, the two steal a Hyperion ship. The Vault Hunter approaches on foot, battling elite Hyperion security forces, while Brick and Mordecai are shot down but left alive. Ultimately, the Vault Hunter confronts, battles, and defeats Handsome Jack himself, but arrives too late to prevent him from opening the Vault. Handsome Jack summons The Warrior, a gargantuan dragon-like lava creature, and orders it to kill the Vault Hunter. After a long battle, the Vault Hunter defeats the Warrior, and executes Handsome Jack in the aftermath.
Brick and Mordecai arrive just as Lilith attempts to destroy the Vault Key. However, she accidentally activates a secret information bank containing a huge map of the galaxy with several hundred Vaults marked on it. Lilith remarks that there is "no rest for the wicked" before the screen fades to black.
Like its predecessor, Borderlands 2 initially features four playable characters. New to Borderlands 2, however, are two new characters available as downloadable content.
Salvador is a "Gunzerker", who resembles Brick from the first game in abilities, but instead of using massive melee power to decimate enemies, Salvador can dual-wield any combination of guns. His skills can be upgraded so that he can throw multiple grenades at once, regenerate massive amounts of health and ammunition, or attract the attention of enemies with a double middle finger taunt.
The second character, a siren named Maya, has an ability called Phaselock which suspends and immobilizes enemies in midair and resembles Lilith from the first game in abilities. Her abilities revolve around the game's elements (fire, electricity, corrosion, and slag.) Her Phaselock can be upgraded to create a firey explosion upon engaging or even convert enemies into temporary allies.
The third character, Axton, is a commando character who relies on turrets to decimate his enemies and resembles Roland in abilities. Most of his abilities are geared towards upgrading his turret. Axton's turret can be armed with additional gun barrels, can detonate upon deployment, or stick to walls and ceilings. One particular skill tree allows two of the turrets to be deployed at once.
The final character, Zero, is an assassin capable of creating a decoy of himself and becoming invisible for a short time. At the end of this process, he is then able to unleash a critical hit on an enemy with his sword or gun. He is skilled with sniper rifles and pistols, and is similar to Mordecai, one of the playable characters from the original Borderlands. His skills can be upgraded with emphasis on sniping or using his Deception ability as a primary method of damage-dealing with melee attacks.
A fifth playable character (available as a downloadable content), Gaige, is a red-haired cyborg girl and a "Mechromancer" who can summon a D374-TP "Deathtrap" – a hulking, floating machine made of scrap parts, originally designed to be a "bully deterrent". Her skills upgrades can be used for wide array of attacks for her Deathtrap (having a mounted laser or performing an Explosive Clap for close-ranged enemies); or having her shots bounce any surface and hit their target or increase in damage after consecutive kills at the cost of accuracy.
A sixth playable character named Krieg, released on May 14, 2013 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, is primarily a melee character and modeled as a playable Psycho, using skill trees such as Bloodlust, Mania and Hellborn.
The four player characters from the first game, Roland, Lilith, Brick, and Mordecai, all return in the form of NPCs that the new characters will encounter on Pandora, or in various missions. Non-playable characters like the Guardian Angel and Claptrap return to aid the player during quests. Characters from the first game such as Scooter the mechanic, Dr. Zed, and the insane archaeologist Patricia Tannis join new faces such as the cyborg Sir Hammerlock and Scooter's sister Ellie as quest giving characters.
Following the unexpected success of the first Borderlands, which sold between three to four-and-a-half million copies since release, creative director Mike Neumann stated that there was a chance of a Borderlands 2 being created, adding that the decision "seems like a no-brainer." On August 2, 2011, the game was officially confirmed and titled as Borderlands 2, with Anthony Burch announced as the writer the next day. The first look at the game was shown at Gamescom 2011, and an extensive preview was included in the September edition of Game Informer magazine, with Borderlands 2 being the cover story. Like the first game, Borderlands 2 was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games, running on a heavily modified version of Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3. The game was released on September 18, 2012 in North America and on September 21, 2012 internationally.
Gearbox revealed that they would be honoring a late fan of the game, cancer victim Michael John Mamaril, with the addition of an NPC named after Michael in the sequel. Additionally, Gearbox posted a eulogy to Mamaril in the voice of the game character, Claptrap.
Controversy regarding sexism hit a month before the game's scheduled release after Gearbox designer John Hemingway told Eurogamer: "The design team was looking at the concept art and thought, you know what, this is actually the cutest character we've ever had. I want to make, for the lack of a better term, the girlfriend skill tree. This is, I love Borderlands and I want to share it with someone, but they suck at first-person shooters. Can we make a skill tree that actually allows them to understand the game and to play the game? That's what our attempt with the Best Friends Forever skill tree is." Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford responded to the controversy on Twitter, saying "There is no universe where Hemmingway is a sexist - all the women at Gearbox would beat his and anyone else's ass." Randy Pitchford also tweeted: "I'm sure Hemmingway is getting noogied now, but not his fault. A personal anecdote has been twisted and dogpiled on by sensationalists."
Since its release, several PC patches have been published to address technical issues and improve overall gameplay. On November 13, 2012, patch 1.2.0  was released to fix several game issues such as the infinite golden key glitch. The most significant of these is the overpowered "The Bee" shield which was given reduced capabilities and effectiveness.
Aspyr handles porting Borderlands 2 patches for the Mac and has stated there will be a delay on synchronizing new patches from Gearbox Software. When the versions are out of sync, Mac users will be unable to join or host games with PC players until both games are on the same version.
Marketing and release 
On August 20, 2012, it was announced that a four issue Borderlands comic would be released in November 2012 to tie in with Borderlands 2. The miniseries is to be written by Mikey Neumann and published by IDW. It tells the story of how the original four Vault Hunters came to be together at the beginning of Borderlands, filling in their backstory and setting up the events of both games.
A 4.6 GB portion of Borderlands 2 became available for pre-load through Steam on September 14, 2012, allowing customers to download encrypted game files to their computer before the game was released. When the game was released, customers were able to unlock the files on their hard drives and play the game immediately, without having to wait for the whole game to download. Borderlands 2 will also be available for download on the PlayStation Network on its release date for retail price.
Downloadable content 
There will be at least four packs (not including Mechromancer and Premiere Club) of downloadable content (DLC) made available for Borderlands 2 over the coming months, all packs should be available before June 2013. The Borderlands 2 Season Pass allows users who purchase it to access the four DLC packs for Borderlands 2 at a reduced cost compared to purchasing them separately as soon as they become available. The Mechromancer character class is not included. A complete version is expected to hit the stores after the four DLCs are released.
Mechromancer Pack (Premiere Club) 
The Premiere Club was a pre-order bonus that comes with golden guns, a relic, a golden key and early access to a fifth playable class, the Mechromancer. The golden key can be redeemed in game to open a special, golden case that includes rare guns, shields, or mods. On October 9, 2012, it became publicly available as a downloadable content pack. As of October 17, it was renamed as the Mechromancer Pack.
The Mechromancer, later revealed to be named Gaige, was first revealed at PAX East 2012 and planned as post-release downloadable content for October 16, 2012, but was released on all platforms a week earlier.
Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty 
Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty is the first post-release downloadable content pack and includes new campaign content. The content was released on October 16, 2012. The storyline takes place in a vast desert that used to be an ocean. Captain Scarlett, a Sand Pirate captain, works with the player to search for Captain Blade's Lost Treasure of the Sands, whilst repeatedly informing the player that she will eventually betray them. It also introduces new raid bosses like "Hyperius the Invincible" and a new hovering vehicle, the Sandskiff, which can only be driven in the DLC areas.
The pack received mixed reviews. IGN called it "a good add-on that doesn't quite live up to expectations", criticising the large number of fetch quests and enemies very similar to the ones found in standard Borderlands 2. However Kotaku called it 'new and exciting', praising the story and the new vehicle.
Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage 
Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage is the second downloadable content pack and was released on November 20, 2012. The campaign's plot is centered around a new Vault discovered in Pandora buried in the center of the "Badass Crater of Badassitude" that will only open "once the champion of Pandora feeds it the blood of the ultimate coward". To find this "champion", Mr. Torgue, CEO of the Torgue weapons manufacturer, sets up a tournament in which the player character can compete. It features appearances by Tiny Tina and Mad Moxxi. The new areas also feature a new weapons vending machine, which sells high-end Torgue weapons exclusively and use a new currency called Torgue Tokens. The characters and storyline of Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage bear a strong resemblance to those found in World Championship Wrestling, and Mr. Torgue in particular has been interpreted as a homage to wrestler "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
The pack received positive to mixed reviews. Joystiq reported the pack's quest to be unexciting and in some cases "downright weak". However it praised the character of Mr. Torgue, referring to him as "interesting and breathtaking". Kotaku found it less entertaining than the previous DLC, criticising the repetitive side quests, but ultimately stated that it was "still an entertaining experience that I'm happy to sink more hours into the game for". However, Vincent Ingenito of IGN stated that "everything you love about Borderlands 2 is here in abundance", praising the "breakneck pace" of the action and length of the campaign.
Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt 
Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt is the third downloadable campaign add on and was released on January 15, 2013. The title, screenshots, and details were leaked on December 14, 2012. It chronicles side character Sir Hammerlock going on a quest to find rare animals of Pandora and his battle with evil witch doctor Nakayama, who is attempting to create a clone of Handsome Jack.
The pack received mixed to negative reviews. IGN found it to be the "weakest add-on Gearbox has put on the table for Borderlands 2 thus far", criticising unfunny dialogue and the new enemy the Witch Doctor, noting that it is "exhausting to the point you're better off saving time and ammunition by running away". They ultimately gave the pack 6.9/10. David Hinkle of Joystiq found the pack to have "dashed expectations", heavily criticising Nakayama and the quest design. However conversely, Hinkle praised the Witch Doctors, noting that "aren't unfairly tough, making them perfect for those late-game battles".
Psycho and Ultimate Vault Hunter packs 
On March 23, 2013 Gearbox announced two new downloadable content packs for Borderlands 2, only one of which is part of the Season Pass. The first pack is called the Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack. It adds a level cap raise from 50 to 61 and a new game mode called the Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode. This is a third playthrough mode that supersedes playthrough 2.5 and scales all enemies to level 50-61. It became available on April 2, 2013. It comes as a free download for all players who purchased the Season Pass.
The second pack, the Psycho Pack, contains a sixth playable character for Borderlands 2 - a Psycho named Krieg. Psychos are psychotic enemies fought during the main Borderlands 2 campaign. He is a primarily melee focused character with an action skill called "Buzz Axe Rampage", which boosts his melee damage and causes him to regain health whenever he kills an enemy. It was released on May 14th, 2013 and is not included in the Season Pass.
Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep 
Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep will be the fourth and final piece of downloadable content released free for Season Pass holders, although not necessarily the final DLC released. Not much is known about it yet, outside of the fact that it involves a tabletop game similar to Dungeons and Dragons. It will be released on June 25th, 2013. With the release of the Psycho Pack, Gearbox teased the release of the pack with a video showing Tiny Tina and three of the four original Vault Hunters from Borderlands play a tabletop game called "Bunkers and Badasses". The title was later leaked by Gearbox lead writer Anthony Burch in a now-deleted tweet.
Comic series 
Four issues of a comic miniseries, Borderlands: Origins, were published in print and digitally in November 2012. The series was written by Mikey Neumann and published by IDW. It tells the story of how the original four Vault Hunters came to be together at the beginning of Borderlands, filling in their backstory and setting up the events of both games.
|Computer and Video Games||8/10|
Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 90.50% and 91/100, the PC version 90.10% and 89/100 and the Xbox 360 version 89.29% and 89/100. IGN awarded the game a 9.0 out of 10, praising the game's sense of humor, world structure, and RPG systems, while feeling disappointed by the game's lack of meaningful visual customization and the sharing of loot during co-op play. They stated that the game had roughly 30 hours of gameplay, and was worth playing multiple times. IGN also nominated the game as one of its ten finalists for Game of the Year 2012. Game Informer gave the game a score of 9.75 out of 10, claiming that the game is one of "the most rewarding gaming experiences" of the current console generation. Borderlands 2 would go on to win X-Play's game of the year.
Borderlands 2 was one of the best selling games of 2012 with a total shipment of over 5 million copies since the game was released in September 2012.
Borderlands 2 has been nominated for five awards at the 2012 Spike TV Video Game Awards: "Best Xbox 360 Game", "Best PS3 Game", "Best Shooter", "Best Multiplayer Game", and "Best DLC" (Mechromancer Pack). Actor Dameon Clarke was also nominated in the "Best Performance By a Human Male" category for his role as Handsome Jack. Finally, Claptrap was included in the viewer's choice "Character of the Year" category.
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