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Six things I have learned in Borderlands 2

by John Keefer, shacknews.com, Sep 18, 2012 10:15AM PDT

Now that you've read Steve Watts' review of Borderlands 2, see what tips and tricks John Keefer has for those journeying to Pandora.


I have about 38 hours invested in Borderlands 2 on PC so far, and make no mistake: It is an investment. Every time I die, I'm paying that stupid Hyperion terminal my hard earned cash to resurrect me. You see, I'm not that great at first-person shooters, but there is something mesmerizing about Gearbox's latest sequel in the Mad-Max-style world of Pandora. I die and keep coming back for more.

I'm not sure if it is the wildly sarcastic off-color humor, the colorful crazies and monsters I must subdue, or just the fact that I get a certain rush when my assassin pulls the trigger on his sniper rifle for a nice crit hit and a shower of blood. Something is making me a glutton for punishment, and there in lies the beauty of Borderlands 2. Even if you suck at an FPS (I do) or haven't been to Pandora in the original (raises hand), you feel like Michael Corleone as the Godfather: "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!"

I have learned a few things in my time with the game and I offer them now as a sort of last will and testament. I know I will die again, as the game is that unforgiving. But if I can impart just a bit of wisdom to save a few souls some cash, then here it is (expert players should forgive me if I'm overstating the obvious):

1) Change weapons often: While my sniper rifle works great on long range baddies, bosses or badass mobs can only let you get a couple shots off before you need to move. I find myself changing weapons four or five times through a fight to find what works best on a boss. So keep a good strong array of weapons in your backpack.

2) Keep different elemental weapons handy: Some bosses and mobs have shields. Having a weapon that deals shock damage will quickly deplete those shields and help on machine mobs. Fire weapons will do extra damage to flesh so high hit-point human bosses will be vulnerable. Corrosive is good on armor and vehicles, while slag coats an enemy and allows extra damage while it is coated.

3) Kite enemies near explosive objects: Pay attention to your environment and if enemies or bosses move near any of the numerous objects in the game that explode, use one shot to blow it up. The extra firs, corrosive or electrical damage over time is just one more weapon to help you survive a bit longer.

4) Don't be afraid to experiment: Try out different weapons, shields and class mods to get the best combination. While one item alone may not seem formidable, using it in conjunction with another can offer much better results. A turtle shield can give you a lot of extra damage blocking power, but the loss of hit points may be a turnoff. Used in conjunction with an class mod that increases hit points will make it more attractive.

5) Move, move, move: Yeah, I know moving is essential in an FPS environment, but it bears repeating if you aren't as comfortable with the genre. It can become too easy to stand in one place and take the heat instead of strafing, sprinting or just getting out of the way.

6) Try different tactics: Borderlands 2 forces you to adapt or die. If one strategy doesn't work, try another. The definition of insanity is repeating things over and over and expecting a different outcome. And while the game's style, characters and play can be termed as slightly insane, it doesn't mean your tactics have to be.

Borderlands 2 is a tough game, but it is also too much fun to let frustration or a certain ineptness with a genre keep you from giving the game your time--and a substantial investment of in-game currency.

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