Borderlands 2

Developed in the United States by Gearbox Software
Published by 2K Games
Released in 2009 for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360

Borderlands 2 is an outright upgrade from its predecessor, and this would normally be a very good thing.  But when you’re anathema to first-person shooter design, a slow, aesthetically messy, and meme-sputtering Diablo-caliber progress quest, that doesn’t mean much.  Combat is still slow and one-dimensional, the guns still sound and feel like the latest in paper-clip-shooting technology, success is defined largely by the quality of your gear and character level, and the ability system is easy to break.  In spite of this, weapons are still fairly distinct, leaving some fun choices to be made in adapting the random loot table to the character development process.  The whole circus is wrapped in a frenzy of voice acting, designed for those long walks where you aren’t shooting things, and is largely hit or miss.  In essence, it’s the Wal-Mart of video games: Everything may be flimsy and cheap, but look at all the choices!  And that’s enough to win the modern video game audience.  Try it on extreme caution.

★★