Oh Pandora, how I love you and yet how your inhabitants hate me so. Yup, it’s time to dive back into the world of Borderlands 2 thanks to the Game of the Year edition and its corresponding strategy guide from BradyGames. Thankfully, I have wanted to check out the new classes and see how they handle the madness that is CL4P-TP
If this is your first foray into the world of Pandora, spend some time with the basics and class portion of the strategy guide. There is so much info crammed into here that it will make life on this crazy world that much easier. Those who have already tread through the world once, the class portion gives some nice details on the two DLC characters that is worth a look.
Due to how much content is in the GotY edition, the main storyline receives its own section. In here, readers will find plenty of content on how to tackle the main objectives of the original story. Each mission starts with a small briefing on what needs doing, complete with rewards and a listing of optional missions. While working through this area, pay close attention to the subtle text under some of the screenshots as these captions tend to offer up small hints that can make life a heck of a lot easier in certain situations. The pages are also littered with information, which had me pausing the game a fair amount to read, digest, and formulate a plan. There were even times I’d just sit down, read a few pages, and then get into the game.
Following the main game are the DLC campaigns. These follow the same formula as the main walkthrough section, but the DLC badge on the left page and yellow highlighted edges help distinguish them.
Those who have a need for completing every task set before them will find the optional missions next. These are not nearly as detailed as the main and DLC sections, but I found them detailed enough that I could tackle them while working on other objectives. It does take a bit of page turning and planning to make trips into the wasteland efficient, but once I got into a groove, the planning became relatively painless.
Completing the strategy guide, we find the weapons, bestiary, and secrets areas. These are separated out by main game and then DLC, which makes navigating the encyclopedia of death dealing that much easier. In the secrets portion, there is a handy breakdown of all the combat, weapon, and general challenges. There are also pages of pictures with all the unlockable heads that players can use to customize their character looks.
I believe the item I appreciated the most was how easy it was to navigate this guide. With the bounty of information scattered about, the side color markings made it easy to quickly find the specific portions I was in need of. Further aiding in this Waldo hunt, the bottom of the DLC walkthrough clearly stated what DLC pack I was looking at.
The thing I love the most is that everything from typography, page coloring, and artwork all tie this book into the art style of the game. It just feels as if this is the manual that was not included with the game. Even items such as the developer quotes are in little Gearbox Software boxes, complete with company logo. The little touches like this might not be evident at first, but go a long way in building a cohesive experience.
While I love the bulk of the Borderlands 2 Game of the Year strategy guide, I have a few issues that really bug me. First off, the return of the confidential weapons. Why on earth would the authors/publisher deem it necessary to block out content from a guide that consumers pay money for? For those a bit lost, as was the case in the original Borderlands 2 strategy guide, in the weapons section, there are certain weapons that are “listed” but are blacked out with a classified banner. I can easily go to any fan website and find the information on this “classified” weapon, so why block these details?
The second gripe I have comes at the construction of the book. More specifically, the pages themselves. The paper stock almost feels like tissue paper, it is that fragile. Compared to the thicker, almost waxy coated, pages from the original Borderlands 2 strategy guide, this is a major downer. I was compelled to flip through the book while being conscious about how vigorously I was treating it. It seems like a minor thing, but with how pretty the guide is, it is something that drug down the experience.
I am satisfied with the quality , and quantity, of the content in this guide, granted the construction could use a bit of a second gander. I don’t hesitate in recommending this to fans of this series as it is a nice collector’s item. Just keep in mind that if you plan to hunt down every item, you’re still going to need access to your favorite fan site.
SGR Rating 3/5
Author: Doug Walsh & Casey Loe
Editions Available: Hardcover
Acquired via Publisher