Borderlands 2!

Good news for fans of the original Borderlands: Borderlands 2 does exactly what is expected of a sequel to a successful game. It keeps what worked and tweaks what didn’t. In this case, the artistic style, humor, and overall gameplay, as well as split-screen co-op, are alive and well. In all honesty, my husband and I still haven’t finished the original since we only play co-op, and rarely have time to spare together, but we put in Borderlands 2 tonight for a few hours anyway.

My first issue is at character selection. Once we were done watching the intro video, I realized that our daughter had a surprise in her diaper for me. While I ran upstairs to get a new diaper, my husband fooled around with his character selection, looking through outfits and heads. When I returned, the screen was paused. Why? Because the game has a countdown to how long you can take! I wound up with only 45 seconds to pick which of the four characters I wanted to play and look through as many outfit options as I could. Not nearly enough. Why is there a timer there, anyway? Is it really necessary?

There are a couple things I noticed in this playthrough that either weren’t in 1, or I just never found the options. For one, you can change which direction split screen splits- horizontally or vertically. While I was never a fan of vertical from 1, it turns out that it actually is the better choice for us. Also, you can trade with your partners by holding down the “B” button. We used to just drop our items so the other could pick it up.

When enemies drop loot, all the minor (non-equippable) items like ammo and money will be automatically picked up when you get close. You don’t have to run through the field, picking up individual or groups of items. Another good option, one I’d recommend for any RPG-like game, is the distinction between story and side missions. I always try to complete all the optional missions before story missions because sometimes they are unavailable after a point… at least in other games. When the game lets you know that a mission is optional, it works for both the completionist, like myself, and the speed-player.

The last subject I’ll touch on tonight is Badass Rank. I have no idea how you accumulate it beyond completing challenges. Perhaps that’s it, but for some reason my husband has some 30 ranks more than me. When you purchase badass skills with the tokens, those skills will transfer over to other characters you create as well. Figured that out when I decided I didn’t really want to play the Assassin afterall.

My hint? When you reach a new area, and possibly more frequently than that, check your challenges (last frame of your HUD), near the bottom. There are location-specific challenges that you can complete for more Badass Rank points. Some include searching for the telescopes that are spread throughout the land, or entering an area in an odd way (like tightroping across the chain rather than calling for the ferry). It’s definitely a good idea to at least know there are additional things you can do, rather than missing out on some easy challenges.

Just 2 and a half or 3 hours in, and these are the achievements I’ve racked up so far:

First One's Free First One’s Free (Secret)- Completed the first mission

Friendship Rules Friendship Rules- Revive someone from “Fight For Your Life!” that is on your friends list

Not Quite Dead Not Quite Dead- Reach level 5.

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