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.
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.