Borderlands 2 comes to the Mac as one of the biggest releases of the year. Not only was Borderlands 2 received with great reviews back in September when released on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, it was also brought to the Mac only 2 months later, not a common feet in the mac gaming world. Borderlands 2 was developed by Gearbox Software and comes to the Mac by the hand of Aspyr, one of the leading Mac porting companies.

In a nutshell, Borderlands 2 is a different breed of First Person Shooter. It follows the steps of the original Borderlands, bringing you FPS action combined with cool RPG elements such as levelling, different class types, looting and skill trees. Think Call of Duty meets Diablo.  But How good is Boderlands 2 on the Mac? Is it worth your time and money?

Get it from the Mac App Store.

 

Enter Borderlands 2 for Mac

Borderlands 2 (Mac)

Borderlands 2 is mostly gameplay driven, yet it tells an interesting story. You are a Vault Hunter, and your objective is to find The Vault. The first cinematic introduces you to your enemy, Handsome Jack, a guy you will quickly love to hate! He’s as funny as he’s original when it comes to killing his foes.

During this first cinematic, he almost kills you. I will not spoil the story for you, but from then on, you are set in an adventure to meet other Vault Hunters and find the Vault before Handsome Jack does. Perhaps Borderlands 2 will not win “story of the year”, but it does what it should: help the developer set the tone for the game: ridiculous characters, laid back atmosphere and overall, funny situations.

The story is only part of the fun. The other, bigger part, is the shooting and the guns! You wil develop an addiction to kill, so you can get bigger guns, so you can kill bigger dudes. As NinjaFoodstuff puts it “The stars of the game are the guns“.

Mac games Borderlands 2

There are so many guns… More than you will be able to handle! Pistols, shotguns, machine guns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, you name it! Some will burn, others electrocute, you get the idea…

As far as the campaign goes, the main thing that bothered me was the pace of the first few hours of the game. It is sooo slow! They force you to spend 2 to 3 hours with no abilities and a couple of boring pistols. This definitely kills the motivation to start over in order to try a new class.

Also, if played Solo from start to end, the mechanics can feel tiring: too much rinse and repeat (kill, loot, kill, loot).

But in summary: the gameplay is the star and it drives the game all the way.

 

Presentation

This FPS not only plays different, it looks different! The style is shader based, and this gives Borderlands 2 cool cartoonish graphics. Focus on both words: cool and cartoonish. Borderlands 2 is not trying to imitate semi-realism, à la Battlefield Modern Warfare, they are doing their own thing. Just check the screenshots in this article and you will see what I mean! In the graphics department, the game does things it’s own way, and it pulls it off.

Mac games Borderlands 2

 

Multiplayer

Everything described in the “Story” and “Gameplay” sections apply here. The Multiplayer mode is basically the Campaign mode with up to 4 friends. No competitive Multiplayer here! This is not a bad thing, as playing the campaign with friends only makes Borderlands 2 much more fun! You get to face tougher enemies with your friends in exchange for better loot.

It is rare that a modern game let’s you play the entire main campaign co-op. Borderlands 2 does it and it does it well. It is quite easy to find a friend and play together.

 

Performance

The game runs fine on my gaming setup (a Mac Pro Hackintosh build with a Nvidia GTX660 Ti card), with no major problems. The only thing that bothered me was the fact the same machine runs the game a lot better on Windows. This is not scientifically proven at all, but I estimate the Windows versions around 30% faster (I can set everything on high and play smoothly).

 

The Verdict

The Good

  • Addictive all around
  • Polished gameplay
  • Original, good-looking graphics
  • Great Multiplayer

The Bad

  • Slow start
  • Not as fast as the Windows version
  • Can get tiring when played Solo entirely

Final Word

Borderlands 2 for Mac is without a doubt one of the best releases of the year. I will not repeat all the reasons described above, let me just say this game is fun to play, solo or with friends. The mechanics are polished and will never get in the way of the fun. We loved this game so much it won our 2012 Game of the Year Award and a permanent spot in our  Top 5 Best Shooters for Mac ranking!

Get it from the Mac App Store.