By the time this review is published, I will have played a fair amount of Borderlands Two. From what I have played so far, the sequel has made several improvements over its predecessor. Without delving into too much detail, the original Borderlands had comparatively bland environments. In addition to that, the classes played relatively similar except for Siren of course. Borderlands Two makes advancements in both those categories with varied environments and distinct classes.
When I first popped in the disc and began playing, I found myself in an icy environment, something much different from the dusty wastelands from the first game. As I kept on playing, my surroundings changed as well, although it is always possible to go back to places you have visited before. The graphics don't seem to have changed much from the original Borderlands and that's not a bad thing considering that the cell shaded environments were always different from your run of the mill first-person shooter.
Sir Hammerlock is one of the first NPCs you meet in the game's first icy environment
In terms of plot, Borderlands Two fulfills its role as a sequel by continuing the plot of the first game. Since the end of the first game, a corporation named Hyperion led by the megalomaniac Handsome Jack is trying to find a second Vault to exploit. Your character has to make sure that doesn't happen through whatever means necessary by joining a rebel faction lead by someone players of the first game should recognize. Claptrap is back and several characters from the first game are present in some form or the other so there is plenty of content from the first game that players can immerse themselves with.
The ever so lovable Claptrap is back to guide you through the game and make you his loyal minion
There is little difference in the way that the game plays between Borderlands and its sequel. It mostly plays like a regular first person shooter with all sorts of guns and grenades except you have a special ability that is decided by which class you play as (Commando, Gunzerker, Siren, Assassin, and Mechromancer [released on 9th October as pre-order bonus/DLC]). Enemies range from midget psychos to towering giants like Captain Flynt. Reportedly, there are around three hundred types of enemies. Some shoot, some throw rocks, some stab, and some bite (Really, they do!) The qualms that I had with Borderlands Two lay in the gameplay, mainly glitches. While fighting one of the earlier bosses in the game, I was hit and knocked off (I literally flew off) the top of a construct and ended up having to traverse all the way from the bottom to kill a dying boss. At other points in the game, enemies suddenly froze in front of objects and couldn't move.
The four classes in Borderlands Two: Commando, Gunzerker, Siren, and Assassin
Hitting on a subjective note, my playthrough as Zero the Assassin felt a lot different compared to Mordercai the Hunter in the first game (they are technically meant to be the same class). Playing as Zero, I actually felt like someone who has to use his stealth powers of invisibility and critical hits in order to survive. It's hard to explicate in words the adrenaline rush I got turning invisible, uttering, "How hilarious / You just set off my trap card / Your death approaches," stabbing a foe, taking a few well aimed shots and vanishing once again.
You may have noticed that quote I just used is a haiku. In fact, all of Zero's quotes in the game are haikus. That is only a fraction of the amount of humour that Gearbox has implemented into this game. Wait till you hear Handsome Jack's never-ending radio chatter. Sure, a lot of it is corny and crude but ironically, that's what makes it so entertaining.
Overall, I would say Borderlands Two is a good sequel to the first game. If not for the occasionally frustrating glitches or bugs, I would have no problem giving it full marks. Is it worth a buy then? I would say that if you loved the first game, then this isn't really a question. If you didn't play the first or didn't enjoy it, then I would wait for a price drop or check the first one out if you didn't play it.
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Gearbox Software
Release Date: September 18, 2012 (NA), September 21, 2012 (EU)
Number of Players: 1, 2-4 (Multiplayer)
Platforms: PS3, PC, XBox 360 (Reviewed)