Borderlands 2 is the most fun you can have without taking your clothes off and IS THE stand out title for Mac Gamers at present. Aspyr Media did an incredible job porting this game for the Mac community and should be very proud of what they have achieved. Having the full support of the Steam client is a very handy feature for playing co-op with friends because what is Borderlands without friends?
Let’s start with the options menu to see if this is just a mere console port. Thank the gaming Mac gods that this is anything but that! The options menu is plentiful with ways to tweak your Borderlands 2 experience. The video menu is bursting with options to tweak. Screen resolution allows you to pick from 640 x 480 to 1920 x 1080 which is pretty standard for todays 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 and Ambient Occlusion is a personal pet-peeve. 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 controller 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 for your device, 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 communtiy to take Big Picture Mode seriously. We attempted to play the game with a keyboard & mouse and it works well but with the Magic Mouse we really struggled when it came to aiming down the sights and shooting. Anyone who is still using the Magic Mouse for gaming should be looking to move away from that.
Borderlands 2 picks up five years after the original Borderlands when Vault Hunters defeated an alien abomination named ‘The Destroyer’. After the defeat of ‘The Destroyer’ a mineral named Eridium started flourishing across Pandora. Handsome Jack (the protagonist) starts to secure this new resource and uses it to take over the Hyperion Corporation. With the corporation now under his control, Jack sets his sights on Pandora. Meanwhile rumors start spreading around Pandora about there being a potentially new and, even bigger vault that draws in our four new Vault Hunters, but Handsome Jack is waiting for them. Jack lores the Vault Hunters (your player) onto a train and after a quick cutscene you find yourself being shown the ropes by fan favourite CL4P TRAP.
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 game that means more for a lot of looting. 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 quests as you are sent off across all corners of Pandora to complete all manner of tasks from ‘kill this guy’ to fetch and carry quests. We are introduced to some fantastic characters along the way in the form of Tiny Tina, Scooter and Handsome Jack obviously who is definitely a shoe in for villain of the year. 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.
The visuals within this game are simply stunning! We don’t think we are taking it too far in saying that this is the best looking game out there for the Mac. This is down to the comic book inspired aesthetics which gives the artists at Gearbox true freedom to express themselves in creating these wacky characters and harsh environments. On a technical note we had no problems running this port at all on my Mid 2011 iMac, with 4GB RAM, Intel 2.5GHz i5 and a AMD Radeon HD 6750M 512 MB. We managed to set the textures to high and had the frame rate set to ‘Smoothed’. As we stated before, we experienced no graphical tearing and had hardly any significant frame rate drops even when we had multiple enemies on screen. The only time we did experience any difficulties with the game is when connecting to a poor host connection when playing co-op but that cannot be helped even though it can be infuriating when you’re lagging or you lag out completely.
The sound design for the game is generally phenomenal. The music selections are excellent and fit the mood of Pandora perfectly, even the general sounds of Pandora’s environment are so great that a Skag actually sounds menacing! The real stand out feature for sound is the voice acting. Again, we are mentioning his name but Handsome Jack is absolutely nailed by Dameon Clarke, he is definitely rivalled by CL4P TRAP voice actor David Eddings though 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 per character there will also be a fifth playable character as well as four DLC packs for the game. This all adds up to making Borderlands 2 the title us Mac gamer’s have been waiting for. Mac gamers do not hesitate and jump in for some gun totting, loot whoring, chaotic fun as it will be the best video game purchase you will make this year.
This game was played on a Mid 2011 iMac with 4GB RAM, Intel i5 2.5GHz CPU and a AMD Radeon 6750M 512MB GPU. Running the game on ‘Smoothed 22-60 FPS’ and High texture qualitys.
Minimum system requirements:
- Operating System: 10.7.5 (Lion), 10.8.2 (Mountain Lion)
- CPU Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo (Dual-Core)
- CPU Speed: 2.2GHz
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Hard Disk Space: 13 GB
- Video Card (ATI): Radeon HD 2600
- Video Card (NVidia): Geforce 8800
- Video Memory (VRam): 256 MB
- Peripherals: Macintosh mouse, keyboard & Xbox 360 controller