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“Borderlands 2” Needs a Second Chance

By Mitch Cohen

Throughout the summer of 2020, I played several video games in my spare time. Whether I was exploring the wasteland in “Fallout 4” or fighting zombies in “Dead Rising: Off the Record,” there was always fun to be had when I turned on my Playstation 4. One game that I spent countless hours playing last year was Borderlands 3.” Borderlands is a series of first-person shooters that focus on RPG elements including loot and upgrading skill trees. The third installment is no different, as it involves the player exploring planets to stop an evil pair of twins. While the story might’ve been weak, the gameplay was incredibly addicting and there were a ton of quests to enjoy. I loved playing “Borderlands 3” so much that I decided to play “Borderlands 2” this summer. At first, I was excited to play the predecessor of one of the best Playstation 4 games of all time. But once I started, it was far more frustrating than enjoyable.

When starting a Borderlands game, the player can choose between four different characters. In the case of “Borderlands 2,” there are six different Vault Hunters to play as. These characters include Maya the Siren, Axton the Commando, Zero the Assassin, Salvador the Gunzerker, Gage the Mechcromancer and Kreig the Psycho. I decided to go with Salvador because he could dual-wield any two guns in the game. At first, “Borderlands 2” started on a promising note, as the story was much more engaging and the firefights were hard but manageable.

Upon getting into the boss fight against Captain Flynt, that’s when my frustration began to set in. In the Borderlands games, there is a mechanic known as Fight for your Life. Whenever you are killed, you have the opportunity to revive yourself by killing an enemy. Playing as Salvador, I noticed the fight for your life timer went down faster than in “Borderlands 3.”

What made matters worse was my character’s slow reload speed. Getting through the game felt impossible because enemies were dogpiling me and I couldn’t revive fast enough. My frustration started to build more and more, as I was tired of dying over and over again. Once I got to a boss fight against a robot named W4R-D3N, that’s when I called it quits. At that moment, I questioned whether or not I would play this game again. I decided to focus on other games such as “Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2” and “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.” While these games provided me with memorable experiences, I still had “Borderlands 2” in the back of my mind during the rest of the summer.

Eventually, I gave this game another chance. This time, I chose Axton the Commando, as he seemed like a more beginner-friendly character. Initially, I was skeptical about playing this game again, as I was scared about dying over and over again. Surprisingly, I ended up breezing through the early parts of the game within two days. What made the game easier was Axton’s ability to summon a turret. This turret provided added coverage for intense firefights, allowing me to respawn much quicker.

As I got closer to re-fighting W4R-D3N, in, my nerves increased. Similar to my first playthrough, the fight was difficult. But with enough patience, I finally beat one of the hardest bosses in video game history. At this moment, the game became more enjoyable, leading me to spend the rest of summer vacation playing it.

Overall, “Borderlands 2” was a game that took time to grow on me. When I first played it, I was frustrated by frequent deaths and the inability to defend myself. Once I started over, I had more fun exploring the vast world of Pandora and finding as much loot as I could. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of both RPGs and First Person Shooters.

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