Sony Computer Entertainment (PS Vita)
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
|Genre(s)||First-person shooter, action role-playing|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer, co-op|
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
Borderlands 2 is an action role-playing first-person shooter video game, developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games on September 18, 2012. It is the second game in the Borderlands series and the sequel to 2009's Borderlands. The game was released for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and OS X platforms.
As with the first game, Borderlands 2 allows players to complete a campaign consisting of central quests and optional side-missions as one of four treasure seekers, "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 in Borderlands 2.
The game was well-met by critics and was a financial success, selling over 5 million copies. Downloadable content for the game has been released, including new characters and storylines. The Game of the Year Edition of the game was released in October 8, 2013 in the U.S. and October 11 internationally, including all the previous downloadable and upgrade packs except for the new campaign. A PlayStation Vita version has been confirmed for release in 2014, and is being developed by Iron Galaxy Studios in collaboration with Gearbox.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Plot
- 3 Development
- 4 Marketing and release
- 5 Downloadable content and prequel
- 5.1 Season one
- 5.2 Season two
- 5.3 The Pre-Sequel
- 6 Reception
- 7 Sequel
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Borderlands 2's gameplay is similar to its predecessor. Players choose between different weapon types such as shotguns, snipers, assault rifles, etc. Each weapon has a unique manufacturer, and different company's weapons have different effects. A Tediore weapon, for example, when reloaded, is thrown and explodes on enemy contact, or after a short period of time before re-materializing into the player character's hands with a full clip of ammo. Players have a standard melee attack that is bound to their character. This attack can be augmented through skill trees and class mods. A player has access to an "Action Skill". This Skill is unique for each class, and the character's skill trees will influence the way action skills work. For instance, the Assassin's Skill allows him to go invisible and project a decoy of himself in front of him. His next attack, melee or ranged, will have increased damage and critical hit damage. His skill trees allow him extend the amount of time his skill lasts by killing enemies, they can allow him to deal more melee damage to tougher targets, or can specialize him a different way, and get bonuses to sniping, or a tree for both. As a player earns more kills, defeats bosses, or completes quests, experience points are collected, which can be spent on skills. When a new rank is achieved, the player earns a token that can be used to instantly increase base stats, such as fire rate, recoil reduction, damage, critical hit damage, melee damage, health, etc. These base stat attributes carry over to every character.
Five years have passed since the events of Borderlands, when four Vault Hunters, Roland, Mordecai, Lilith, and Brick were guided by a mysterious entity known as "The Guardian Angel" on the planet of Pandora to the Vault, a place thought to have been left behind by the Dahl Corporation with alien technology. Instead, these "Vault Hunters" were confronted by an alien abomination known as "The Destroyer" inside the Vault. After defeating The Destroyer, a valuable mineral called "Eridium" started flourishing through Pandora's crust. Handsome Jack, the leader of the Hyperion Corporation, secures this new resource and makes use of it to attempt to "bring peace" to the planet. 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 galaxy, drawing a new group of Vault Hunters to the planet in search of it.
The opening cutscene 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 Vault Hunters regain consciousness in a frozen wasteland and are found by the last remaining Hyperion CL4P-TP ("Claptrap") unit. The Guardian Angel contacts the Vault Hunters and instructs them to accompany Claptrap to the city of Sanctuary, and to join the Crimson Raiders, an anti-Hyperion resistance movement, in order to defeat Handsome Jack. Claptrap and the Vault Hunters 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 Hunters, while the Guardian Angel offers advice and comfort.
Upon arriving at the gates of Sanctuary, the Vault Hunters are asked to rescue Roland, now leader of the Crimson Raiders, who has been captured by a bounty hunter called the Firehawk. The Vault Hunters meet the Firehawk, who turns out to be Lilith(an existing and playable character in Borderlands), whose powers as a siren have been significantly enhanced by the new supply of eridium. Lilith informs the Vault Hunters that Roland was actually captured by a group of bandits. After fighting through the bandits' territory, the Vault Hunters rescue Roland and return to Sanctuary.
Roland and Lilith learn that the Vault Key is being transported aboard a Hyperion train, and task the Vault Hunters to retrieve it. To accomplish the mission, the Vault Hunters enlist the aid of former Vault Hunter Mordecai, and of Tiny Tina, a psychotic explosives-obsessed thirteen-year-old. The Vault Hunters derail the train, but instead of finding the Vault Key, they encounter Wilhelm, a powerful Hyperion cyborg. After Wilhelm's defeat, the Vault Hunters recover his power core, which Roland recommends be used as the power source for Sanctuary's shields. The power core turns out to be a trap; it allows the Guardian Angel, who is actually working for Jack, to lower the city's shields and render it vulnerable to a bombardment from the Hyperion moon satellite. 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 lava, eridium, and rock creature controlled by whomever releases it. Additionally, he is forcing Angel 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 Hunters embark 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 Hunters 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 Hunters, 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 Hunters travel to the Hyperion Information Annex and obtains the Vault's location, the two steal a Hyperion ship. The Vault Hunters approach on foot, battling elite Hyperion security forces, while Brick and Mordecai are shot down but left alive. Ultimately, the Vault Hunters confront, battle, and defeat Handsome Jack himself, but arrive 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 Hunters. After a long battle, the Vault Hunters defeat 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 Vaults marked on it. Lilith remarks that "there ain't 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 are two new characters available as downloadable content.
The four player characters from the first game, Roland, Lilith, Brick, and Mordecai, all return in the form of non-player characters that the new characters will encounter on Pandora, or in various missions. Other 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, Marcus the guns and ammo merchant, 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."
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 was also available for download on the PlayStation Network on its release date for retail price.
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. An upcoming patch will add a colorblind mode to the game.
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.
Golden Keys are part of Gearbox's SHiFT rewards program. Codes are released on various social media sites that can be redeemed in the Borderlands 2 main menu for Golden Keys. These open the special Golden Chest that is located in the travel station in Sanctuary. When opened, the chest randomly produces rare equipment of the redeeming player's level.
Downloadable content and prequel
Four major packs of downloadable content (DLC) and multiple smaller pieces of content have been made available for Borderlands 2. The Borderlands 2 Season Pass allows users who purchase it to access the first four major DLC packs at a reduced cost compared to purchasing them separately as soon as they become available. Also available are two additional character classes (Gaige the Mechromancer and Krieg the Psycho), an additional arena known as the Creature Slaughter Dome, the Ultimate Vault Hunter Pack which raises the level cap and multiple heads and skins for character customization. A "Game of the Year Edition" containing the main game, all four major DLC packs, the two character packs, and the first Ultimate Vault Hunter Pack was released on October 8, 2013.
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 chest 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, spokesman (revealed in the Wattle Gobbler DLC) 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 an 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 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 Upgrade Pack
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 14, 2013 and is not included in the Season Pass.
Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep
Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep was the fourth piece of downloadable content and final part to be released free for Season Pass holders. It was released for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 users on June 25, 2013.
The gameplay revolves around Lilith, Mordecai, Brick, and Tiny Tina playing Bunkers and Badasses, a tabletop role-playing game parody to Dungeons and Dragons. The player is dropped into the Bunkers and Badasses world, and as the player progresses through the game, Tiny Tina, as the Game Master, narrates the story; sometimes deciding to modify the game world to add in a boss, new enemy or new NPC. The world is fantasy-themed, with skeletons, orcs, treants (similar to J. R. R. Tolkien's Ents) and dragons featuring as enemies.
Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep was met with considerable praise and acclaim from multiple gaming websites and journalists such as IGN.com's Vince Ingenito, who gave the expansion a 9.2 out of 10, stating that it was " Amazing" and praising its use of the fantasy elements in its narrative, humorous references to the source material, and sheer amount of content, but stated that there was not a good variety of loot to be had from fighting the endgame bosses. Despite this minor issue with the pack, IGN.com scored it much higher than the previous entry, Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt. Despite the acclaim surrounding the pack, there have been mixed reviews as well, such as the review written by Christian Donlan for Eurogamer.net, giving the expansion a 7 out of 10, one point lower than their review of Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, stating that "Without spoiling anything: does it work? Not entirely. But it is, unsurprisingly, just the kind of trick one of those special long-running TV shows might try to pull now and then - a bit of heavy-handed schmaltz to break up the glib anarchy, a lunge at tonal variation to bring depth to some increasingly harshly delineated cast members." Despite the mixed feelings towards the narrative and themes of the pack, Donlan's review also praised the humor and entertainment value of the pack, stating that "New U stations now babble about necromancy, loot chests can hide mimics and often come with many-sided dice stuck on top, there's a really great joke about punching stuff, and you're carried through it all by that endless ebb and flow between shooting things and picking over their corpses. Is Dragon's Keep fun but lacking surprises?".
Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2: Digistruct Peak Challenge
Released on September 3, 2013, the DLC increases the level cap from 61 to 72 and introduces the Digistruct Peak Challenge, a new map where Patricia Tannis will let players fight high-level enemies (which they can "over level" to create an "impossible" challenge) to earn new loot. A free update prior to DLC's release has added additional backpack, ammo and bank slots, to be purchased from the black market. This is not included in the Season Pass.
T.K. Baha's Bloody Harvest
Gearbox planned to release three "Headhunter Packs" by the end of 2013. The first was called T.K. Baha's Bloody Harvest, bringing back the character last seen in Borderlands's Zombie Island of Dr. Ned DLC. Zombie T.K. Baha will send players to fight Jaques O'Lantern, a giant pumpkin boss who will give new character customizations as a reward for being beaten. It was released on October 22, 2013.
The Horrible Hunger of the Ravenous Wattle Gobbler
The second Headhunter Pack was released on November 26, 2013 . It is a parody of The Hunger Games and Thanksgiving day in which players have to compete in a tournament organised by Mr. Torgue and defeat a giant turkey monster.
How Marcus Saved Mercenary Day
The third additional "Headhunter Pack" was released on December 17, which is about finding Marcus's missing gun shipment train. Gearbox would also like to continue producing new Headhunter Packs in 2014, but an official announcement will depend on the financial success of the three packs released in 2013.
Mad Moxxi and the Wedding Day Massacre
The fourth Headhunter Pack was released on February 11, 2014. It is about two Goliaths, one from the Zafords and one from the Hodunks, falling in love. A spin on the Shakespearean tragedy Romeo and Juliet, it also features new weather effects and some new enemies.
Sir Hammerlock vs. the Son of Crawmerax
The fifth, and final Headhunter Pack was released on April 15, 2014. In the DLC, Sir Hammerlock, Brick, Mordecai, and Lilith are on a vacation on Wam Bam Island, but soon “a monstrously large beast kidnaps the scholarly hunter and pulls him underground,” the announcement reads. ”Fortunately, Crazy Earl and Mordecai are on hand to help recover the mustached colleague, provided you do a few favors for them first.” The DLC culminates in a battle against Crawmerax Jr., the son of the great crab worm from original games The Secret Armory of General Knoxx add-on, who's seeking vengeance on Lilith, Brick and Mordecai.
In April 2014, Gearbox announced that 2K Australia was developing a direct prequel to Borderlands 2, featuring four henchmen of Handsome Jack as playable characters: Athena the Gladiator, Wilhelm the Enforcer, Nisha the Lawbringer and the robot Claptrap, "the Fragtrap". Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is set on Elpis, the moon of Pandora, and its story will cover the rise of Handsome Jack to power. New game mechanics include the lack of gravity and the use of oxygen tanks. The game is to be released for PS3, Xbox 360 and Windows PC in the third quarter of 2014.
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, and has become the best-selling game in the history of 2K Games, with 8.5 million copies sold by February 2014.
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. Borderlands 2 would go on to win "Best Shooter", "Best Multi-Player Game", "Best Performance by a Human Male", and "Character Of The Year".
Borderlands 2 wound up with five D.I.C.E. Awards nominations at the 16th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards, including "Game of the Year", "Action Game of the Year", "Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction", "Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay", and "Outstanding Achievement in Character" for the characterization of Tiny Tina. At the ceremony, the game won only one award for 2012's "Action Game of the Year". 
In October 2012 Gearbox stated that, while there is no actual progress on Borderlands 3, they do have ideas on where the series could go.
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said in February 2014 that Borderlands 3 was not being worked on, but other Borderlands-related projects were. According to Pitchford, "we know we want it and we know it should exist, but we don't know what it is yet."
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