Back and forth going around and around in circles were our conversations about what the Mac game of the year is. We had a four main criteria which each game to check to be considered, these were;
- The Port
Eventually we narrowed the field down to three games, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Batman: Arkham City and Borderlands 2. All three games are a tribute to Mac gaming and are simply a joy to play but alas there can only be one winner.
So what makes Borderlands 2 the first ever Mac Gamer HQ game of the year?
Let us tell you:
The gameplay is based around two things, guns and sweet sweet loot. It’s like jelly and ice-cream, it mixes so well together and leaves you wanting more. Now with Borderlands 2 offering over a gazillion items in the game that means “more loot for ME!”. The impressive thing is the loot is not just for weapons, it’s health stims, character skins, vehicle skins and the list goes on.
Gearbox have really taken on board and listened to the criticisms of the first Borderlands game and have given us a deeper story and more customisation options that were missing from the original game. The story is told through quest lines. You are sent off across all corners of Pandora to complete all manner of tasks from ‘kill this guy‘ to ‘fetch and carry’ quests.
The main quest line is sensationally written and well paced as it always keeps you wanting more. The side quests are also a delight and full of easter eggs for TMNT, Minecraft and Batman.
Along the way you are introduced to some fantastic characters in the form of Tiny Tina, Scooter and Handsome Jack obviously who is definitely a shoe in for villain of the year. He (Handsome Jack) real does stand out for the quality in Dameon Clarkes voice acting.
You’ll find yourself being intrigued and humoured by him one minute then the next you’ll want to strange him with his own intestines. You cannot mention voice acting without mentioning David Eddings who plays Clap Trap and he really does rival Clarke for star of the show.
With a ton of replay-ability already in the game with the four different characters having three different skill trees to customise your character from. A new game plus mode is also incorporated so when you complete the game with a specific character you get to start the game again with all your abilities. The enemies scale to this also and become far more aggressive and you get more of a sense as to what Pandora is really like.
Their is also a fifth and sixth playable character(s) to play within the four DLC packs for the game all adding considerable sizes of content. This is the way DLC should be, and we honestly don’t mind paying for DLC like this.
After weeks of discussions we came to the conclusion that was our “go to game” when we had some time to burn or just wanted to have some fun with friends.
For a game the size of Borderlands 2 with as much content as that game packs that is some feat especially with a graphical options menu as plentiful as what comes with the game. We’re massive suckers for graphical options here with Ric being lucky enough to have one of the most powerful machines on the market. It really makes the difference for those of us with powerful machines to be able to tweak with settings. That’s not to say the game hasn’t been optimised well for those of us who don’t have beastly hardware.
The options menu is plentiful with options to tweak your experience. This is anything but a mere console based port. The screen resolution allows you to pick from 640 x 480 to 1920 x 1080 which is pretty standard for today’s games. Frame-rates can be capped from 30FPS all the way through to Unlimited. Personally, we played the game on the Smoothed 22-62 FPS setting allowing for a smoother experience and letting people with more powerful hardware get the most out of the game. Texture packages are set to low, medium and high.
You can also find V-Sync and Ambient Occlusion. V-sync actually works which is surprising as most V-sync options these days are broken. The only other option worth mentioning about the video is the HUD scale option which allows you change the size of the elements within the HUD. There is a lot more features in the video section but there is just too many to mention and I feel that you could get lost in them but at the same time it is nice to see Aspyr going into that level of detail.
The controller support for the game is perfection as the Offical Xbox 360 support client is built into the game so there is no need for 3rd party driver support. Just plug in and away you go. This is the way ports should be supported with native driver support not having to rely on a 3rd party driver just so we can play games with a controller if we wish. This is something Valve need to look into if they expect the OSX community to take Big Picture Mode seriously.
Also, although the game is very power-hungry, we believe OSX update 10.8.3 improved the game’s performance, at least in our own experience.
The level of support, love and care Aspyr have taken with Borderlands 2 licence is nothing short of astounding. Borderlands 2, was released on all other formats on the 21st September 2012 with the Mac version coming a mere 60 days later on the 20th November. Now for a native port that is a very quick turn around indeed and Aspyr must have moved very quickly to secure the contract with 2K Games and then the quick turn around was fantastic.
Bringing the game to the Steam client has allowed for a larger multiplayer base for both Mac and PC players. A smart move from Aspyr knowing; what is Borderlands 2 without friends?
The App Store version of the game also now offer full MP support via Game Centre as well as achievements. The frequency of the updates and the speed at which these guys put them out their is a credit to themselves and the industry as a whole. I know for a fact they have worked weekends, evenings and bank holidays to make sure were as up to date as we can be, especially for those of us that play via Steam. That takes dedication, and for that they have our thanks.
This all adds up to making Borderlands 2 the title Mac gamer’s have been waiting for.
Mac gamers do not hesitate to purchase this game and jump in for some gun totting, loot whoring, chaotic fun as this is the best game to date to brought to OS X.
A side note would be to purchase this game via Steam if you already don’t as the added features (cloud stored saves, etc) and greater player base make for a better experience.