Borderlands 2 First Play-through Complete

Borderlands 2 Transformers
There are many references to pop culture in Borderlands 2. Transformers and Ninja Turtles to name a few.

It took us about 60 hours, but Graev and I have finally finished our first play-through of Borderlands 2!  We played through the entire game multiplayer co-op on the Xbox 360, linking up to play for several hours a day whenever we could squeeze in the time.

Borderlands 2 has a lot to offer.  The game is extremely long for a quasi-RPG.  60 hours for the first play-through is just the beginning if the pop-up after beating the final boss is to believed.  Apparently New Game+ (NG+) is when the real game begins because there are new enemies, better loot, new content, and a much more difficult experience.  The world in Borderlands 2 is also quite big.  There were only two zones I hated out of about 20 or more I enjoyed.

Gameplay is very basic.  You shoot monsters, bandits, transformers, and other sorts of bad guys with the goal of completing quests and finding better loot.  The loot-hunt can be a shallow experience.   I think Gabe from Penny-Arcade mentioned the whole game was a loot simulator that could be played by simply looking at a weapon and seeing if the arrows are green or red to indicate an upgrade or downgrade.  That’s true, you can play it that way, and Borderlands 2 relies heavily upon the compulsion to always find better guns, but there’s another half.  Like Diablo, one must enjoy the act of slaying baddies.  I enjoyed killing the monsters just as much or more than I did that drive to find my next upgrade.

My biggest gripe about Borderlands 2 is the story.  At times it was completely overshadowed by the two aforementioned gameplay elements.  Only a small handful of the quests were interesting from a story or ‘what’s going on’ perspective; Many of the quests were fun because the boss or area were neat. The questing is an archaic kill 10 skags formula which doesn’t help their storytelling capabilities.

Blowing stuff up, driving off cliffs, gambling, working together to exploit weaknesses in enemies, building my character’s talent tree, and laughing hysterically at the zany humor made up for the shortcomings.

Borderlands 2 Co-op works well
Borderlands 2 co-op works really well since the game feels designed for multiple people.

For those of you interested in how the co-op went, Borderlands 2 accommodates people playing together perfectly.  Quests are shared when picked up and turned in, Eridium (a currency you’ll need) is shared, and you can teleport each other when zoning.  The basic currency is shared, but drops like guns aren’t shared, though, so you’ll want to make sure you aren’t being greedy. [Update: When I say shared I mean that it gives to both players a share.  If a gun drops, that isn’t shared because only one person can have it.  Not to be confused with individual loot which is not in the game.]  Playing together is a lot of fun because the game has so many opportunities to actually utilize two people.  Driving vehicles, for example, is 100% better when you have someone manning the turret or sitting in the back shooting at vehicles giving chase.

I don’t devote 60 hours for one play-through to just any game.  That’s a way for me to look back and realize that I had a blast with Borderlands 2 so far, and I’ll continue to enjoy subsequent play-throughs.

  • I’m enjoying the game as well though not as much as you because I haven’t been able to play with anyone on a regular basis. Solo the game is still decent but not nearly as compelling as the co-op. Unfortunately the only two people I play with shot past me in levels and there is no mechanism in place that allows us to play together.

    If there was some sort of sidekick system in place (whether its up or down) I’d rate it way higher than I do now. As a solo game BL2 is maybe a C+/B-. When you get to play with others it seems to get up to an A- in fun but I haven’t experienced coop for more then a few hours in the early game so that may change mid/late game.

  • For what it’s worth, basic currency and ammo is shared in co-op. It’s only gun/item drops that aren’t.

    As long as you’re playing with friends, that works fine. In a pub game, a purple/orange drop will get pounced on, no matter who it’s good for. I wish the game had gone for the Diablo III style of loot drops, but since I play co-op with friends, it’s not that big a deal after all.

    Playthrough 2 is much harder, and when you complete that, the entire game scales up to level 50+ and gets even harder. There’s plenty of replay for those who enjoy it. For those that don’t, it’s still worth the $60 for the first playthrough, IMO.

  • @Prunetracy: When I say shared I mean one of us picking it up gives it to both of us. Graev is telling me I’m misusing the term, but it doesn’t make sense to me to say that something is shared if only one person gets it. We are now in a heated debate over what “sharing” means. There isn’t individual loot like Diablo 3.

  • After an hour of debate the only conclusion we could reach was that loot is ‘FFA’ (Free for all) and money/eridium are ‘jointly’ looted. We can’t agree on what sharing means.

    An item drops, we share the drop — that is to say, we share in its visibility, uniqueness and singularity — but the item itself is not shared. First come, first serve, and hopefully you’re nice enough to “share” the overall sum in the long-run.

  • Have to disagree with your opinion about the quest writing. I thought there were a lot of really terrific side quests and all of the main quests were cool.

    In particular, I was actually invested in the death of Bloodwing and the levitation of Sanctuary, and a good example of quality side quests would be the Clan Wars one.