Tag Archive: Borderlands 2

Darkest Pandora

If there’s one thing we learned in Borderlands 2, it’s that Pandora’s a sprawling planet with a bevy of different ecosystems supporting unheard of amounts of unique life-forms. This diversity looks to put itself on display once again in the game’s latest DLC: Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt.

After your glorious defeat of Handsome Jack, Sir Hammerlock feels that you and your fellow Vault Hunters need to be rewarded with a weekend of rest and relaxation—and nothing makes him feel better than shooting giant monsters in the face. Lucky for him, we feel the exact same way. So, the Vault Hunters are whisked away to the Hunter’s Grotto via Fast Travel and greeted by the smelliest, most bug-infested swamp you’ve ever seen. And to add insult to injury, the natives of this swamp aren’t too happy with you showing up and deciding to hunt their game. Oh, and a new Jack crony makes it his mission to wipe you out when he thinks you show up to mess up his plans, even though you had no idea he existed until now. Awkward. Have fun!

One of the most entertaining aspects of this add-on is the addition of hovercraft vehicles. After all, how else would you expect to get around a swampy marshland? The vehicles’ ability to transition from land to water—or vice versa—is critical in completing this DLC, as they offer a way to get around the half-submerged grotto with little effort, even if they’re a bit unwieldy. But these vehicles make up for their loose controls with a trio of new weapons that can be hardwired to the craft to crush the indigenous life found in and around the grotto. You can outfit your hovercraft with a corrosive grenade launcher, a shock grenade launcher, or a flamethrower, all of which clearly have their own advantages and disadvantages as you wage war in the swamp.

The most fun I garnered from the download, though, was discovering not just an entirely new section of the world, but the different enemy creature species that reared their heads (if they had heads to begin with, that is!). You’ll have to fight everything from exploding plant spores to giant scorpions—not to mention several new varieties of classic enemies like Skags.

The new tribal natives also prove a formidable threat, even if they’re similar to bandits in many ways—but they’re far less balanced than they needed to be. The natives are led by Witch Doctors, who typically control one of the game’s main elements (Fire, Shock, and so on). But they also wield the unique ability to heal themselves and the enemies around them—and they can even level up nearby baddies, too. This can often lead to a dozen or so Ultimate Badasses running around if you’re not careful, as even the most pitiful of tribal hunters can become a threat if you don’t remove the Witch Doctors quickly. However, because of their healing nature and the frequency with which they show up, they’re damn near impossible to take down. This often led me to just running past many of the tribal enemies I encountered on the way to my objectives. It often wasn’t worth the trouble to fight them, and this was a source of surprising frustration.

Besides these few moments, however, I really did enjoy this new side story. The new villain’s hysterical, and returning cameos by main game characters help the DLC feel like it’s really a part of the vibrant world of Pandora. And depending on how many of the sidequests you decide to do, you can expect somewhere between six to eight hours of brand-new content that flows along the same vein of the main game in terms of humor and gameplay, making it well worth the $10 asking price (800 MSP). So, if you love a plethora of blatant pop-culture references from the characters that inhabit the Borderlands universe, blowing up giant monsters with any combination of different weapons, or just need an excuse to hop online with your friends, Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt is a more-than-worthwhile DLC purchase.

SUMMARY: If the bulk of Borderlands 2 had you laughing till it hurt, then this DLC will certainly continue that trend. A couple of balancing issues with the new enemies introduced, however, will cause some headaches and encourage you to race through more daunting areas.

  • THE GOOD: Maintains the same humor and game play of the main game.
  • THE BAD: Some of the new enemies are poorly balanced.
  • THE UGLY: Hammerlock’s emotional barriers that prevent him from making friends.

SCORE: 8.5

Borderlands 2: Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt is available for Xbox 360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN), and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360. 

It was a weird year for games in 2012. A lot of highly anticipated triple-A titles got delayed into 2013, and although a lot of great games still came out, there wasn’t a clear-cut winner for me this year like there was with last year’s Batman: Arkham City.

Thus, the deliberations between the voices in my head continued deep into the year, coming right down to the wire. It was neck-and-neck between a handful of titles, but when the chaos finally settled down, a Top 5 list emerged of what are—in my opinion—the best games of the year. These are those games—enjoy!

Ray’s Top 5 Games for 2012

#5: Sleeping Dogs

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: United Front Games
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Mixing Batman: Arkham City’s hand-to-hand combat with Assassin’s Creed–style free-running, Grand Theft Auto–inspired open-world mechanics and gunplay, and Need for Speed’s driving sequences sounds like the ultimate videogame Frankenstein’s monster. However, unlike Mary Shelley’s rotting, mindless beast, Square Enix created an Adonis of a game with Sleeping Dogs. Although there may be little left to the imagination in terms of gameplay, developer United Front Games wove these aspects seamlessly together with an original, engaging plot—and that made Sleeping Dogs one of my must-play games of the year.

#4: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Firaxis Games
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

It’s never fun to die in games. But in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you must get comfortable with the concept of making sacrifices if you ever hope to complete it. In fact, the game kills most of your team right away in the tutorial just to help get this initial shock out of your system. After all, if humans were actually fighting a war against a superior foreign invader, losses would be commonplace. But even through all that failure, I still had tons of fun as I worked to save Earth from aliens.

#3: The Walking Dead

Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Platforms: XBLA, PSN, PC, Mac, iOS

It’s not easy to make a comic or TV show into a videogame—especially when your fanbase is as rabid as the zombies they read about or watch. The Walking Dead, however, successfully captures the spirit of Robert Kirkman’s original comic while introducing us to an entirely new slice of life in that crazed, zombie-filled world. The young heroine Clementine is arguably the best new character gaming’s seen in years—especially considering the emotional range she’s forced through—and the story’s branching paths afford dozens of playthroughs. The Walking Dead lets you know that adventure games are back—and in a big way.

#2: Borderlands 2

Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Gearbox Software
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, OS X

I’ll admit that I don’t like to play games with other people. They slow me down—or I kill them too much, and they get frustrated, and it just ends up a mess with thrown controllers, slammed headsets, kids crying to their mommies, or me sleeping on the couch. One game is the exception to this rule, though: Borderlands 2. It’s got so many moments where you just wanna go “DID YOU SEE THAT?!” and you need to share that with someone. And if you do play alone, the game doesn’t suffer for it. Throw in probably the best all-around script of the year, and this should be on everyone’s Top 5 list.

#1: Assassin’s Creed III

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC

The new naval battles perfectly balance the addictive gameplay and historical accuracy for which the series is known. The plot has more twists than a Twizzler, keeping you hooked the whole way through. The new Wolf Pack co-op mode helps strengthen an already impressive multiplayer suite. Oh, and did I mention you can now stab people in the face more fluidly than ever before? By the time you get to the fifth entry in any franchise, it’s damn near impossible to continually raise the bar. And yet, Assassin’s Creed has done it so spectacularly that I can’t help but give Assassin’s Creed III my game of the year.

Ray’s Off-Topic Awards for 2012

The People’s Champ Award
Street Fighter X Mega Man
Mega Man X Street Fighter - Header This year marked Mega Man’s 25th anniversary…and yet, we didn’t get an official game. For some reason, Capcom cannot remove their collective heads from their asses long enough to be bothered with a new title starring the Blue Bomber. It was Street Fighter’s anniversary, too, and that got a game (even if it was a piece-of-garbage crossover with Tekken). Well, Capcom may not care about Mega Man anymore, but the fans do, and one devotee in particular—a Singaporean designer named Seow Zong Hui—honored Mega Man with his own Street Fighter–infused take!
The Marlboro Man Award for Most Unhealthily Addictive Casual Game
Marvel: Avengers Alliance
I rarely play casual or browser-based games, but when I heard about one based on the Marvel Universe, I figured I’d give it a shot. Any good comic nerd would! Now, nine months after its release, I find myself breaking the level-70 barrier with my custom-created character—and I’ve compiled a true dream team of superheroes. All while devoting far too much free time (and occasionally money) to this free-to-play Facebook addiction, as I continue my quest to save the universe from the element ISO-8!
Popsicle’s “The Colors, Duke! The Colors!” Award for Most Colorful Game
Dust: An Elysian Tail
I gave this award out last year, and I feel compelled to do so again—because it would be an indignity to not mention the stunning visuals of Dust: An Elysian Tail. Its hand-drawn animation left me in awe, and when you compound this breathtaking art style with the fact that it was created entirely by one man—Jazz Jackrabbit veteran Dean Dodrill—you can’t help but admire his extreme talents in crafting this intense labor of love.

THE BUZZ: 2K Games announces the official release date of Borderlands 2 with a new trailer as well as their pre-order bonuses for different retailers.

EGM’S TAKE: With the launch of the game’s official website at http://borderlands2.com, 2K Games has revealed the new “Doomsday” trailer and in the process let us all know that the release date for Borderlands 2 will be September 18, 2012.

The release looks to avoid the holiday rush that usually starts to ramp up shortly after that date and should help the game garner more notice with new audiences who may look to jump on board the series.

The three-minute trailer, which you can check out below, also gives us a quick glimpse of all characters in the game including the previously unrevealed Axton, who looks like Roland’s soldier type, and Zero, who carries a sword and therefore is automatically awesome. We also see some of Maya’s skill tree and what unique havoc she’ll be able to unleash.

Borderlands 2 is a passion project through and through. The result is a sequel that has improved every successful aspect of Borderlands while innovating with an all-new experience,” said Gearbox Software President Randy Pitchford with the release of the news.

Along with this, 2K has unveiled the same pre-order bonus should you pre-order from Gamestop or Amazon.com. Being called the “Premiere Club”, you’ll get access to three items. The first is a Golden Key that unlocks a special item in the Sanctuary Loot Chest, the Vault Hunter’s Relic that boosts your in-game fortune hunting, and the Geabox Gun Pack, which includes a bunch of unique golden guns that should help you during your conquest of Pandora.

What do you folks think? Is Borderlands 2 on your must-have list? Does the pre-order pack help? What do you think of the new characters Axton and Zero? Let us know your thoughts with comments below!