Borderlands 2 feels and plays a lot like the original Borderlands — only better. So it seems appropriate to call it Borderlands 2.0 due to the fact that the title is only an improvement upon the first. And there is nothing wrong with that. A sequel doesn't have to be innovative compared the original, it only needs to improve upon what made the original so special.
From story to mechanics, Borderlands 2 improves upon everything from the first title. Remember wishing you had a bank back during your first adventure in Pandora, well now you have one, or how about a shared stash between all your characters, yup, you've got that too. The world of Pandora in the first Borderlands was empty, not only in color but in personality. Sure there were a few memorable characters, but it always felt lifeless. You received most of your quests from a bounty board and you bought everything from vending machines. This time however, things are a little different. You can buy items from characters and also interact with NPCs, something non-existent in the first Borderlands. This is all fine and well, but the main improvements for me were the skill trees and Handsome Jack.
The antagonist's sadistic and humorous personality makes him an enemy you love to hate. His constant insults will make you laugh, while his actions make you angry. With improved mechanics and a stronger cast of characters Borderlands 2 proves to be a great sequel, if not the best of this generation. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, because the RPG side of this game has only gotten better.
Another huge improvement are the character's skill trees. Each one feels unique from their counterparts, and this time around they feel useful. The commando's 360 degree spinning turret is an insurance policy that will get you out of any situation, a huge improvement over the turret form the original. The gunzerker's ability to duel wield may not sound too impressive, but if you use his skill tree right it is possible to never die, he becomes a glorified bullet sponge. Compared to the berserker from the original game — which was pretty much useless — the gunzerker can be at times simply over-powered.
Lilith's phasewalk was by far the most useful skill in the first Borderlands, and the new siren Maya is just as useful. Her phaselock ability is versatile, you can revive partners, bind powerful enemies, or set scores of foes on fire with multiple elements. Finally the Assassin's deception skill. If you played Mass Effect 3, it is pretty similar to the Slarian's Cloak. While your enemies are focused on your deception, you are free to run around and pinpoint enemies weak points and deal massive critical damage.
All of these characters are just newer versions of the characters from the first game. Gearbox listened to the players, and improved everything that was lacking in the first Borderlands. This is exactly how a developer should make a sequel.
Sadly not all sequels are like this. Dragon Age 2 is a prime example. The game discarded all the things that made the original so charming and fun. Dragon Age 2 is truly the antithesis to what Borderlands 2 stands for. And that is a game that keeps the spirit of its predecessor, but to also make it more accessible and fun.
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