Borderlands 2 Game Poster Image

Borderlands 2

Co-op, sci-fi 1st-person shooter rains blood and body parts.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Borderlands 2 wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Positive messages

Borderlands 2 is an action game based on a fictional universe. It's a first-person shooter that doesn't have any positive messages for its players -- it's just pure, unadulterated and visceral entertainment for mature players.


Positive role models

You play as a character named Salvador (a "Gunzerker), a mysterious fighter with deadly skills that allow him to wield two weapons to inflict a lot of damage on the planet Pandora. You don't learn much about this character, his background, or motivations but killing many thousands of creatures doesn't translate to a good role model.

Ease of play

Even if you never played Borderlands 2, fans of first-person shooters should find this game fairly easy to pick up and play. Played on the Xbox 360 for this review, the controls were similar to other games, such as analog sticks for movement and camera, triggers to fire, and so on.


Borderlands 2 features a lot of intense violence -- mainly with machine guns, sniper rifles, flamethrowers, and explosives -- and shows graphic depiction of blood and gore. During the gameplay you can cause enemies to explode into chunky bits, dismember or behead them, while cinematic cutscenes also show deadly acts of violence. Mostly human-like bandits and wild creatures, enemies scream out in pain.





The game has some sexual references, including dialogue that contains lines about your "bone," "getting to second base" and a reference to "incest." Players can also collect adult magazines during the game but they do not depict nudity.


The game contains some strong language including the words "s--t," "p--sy" and "a--hole." Some words are bleeped out, such as "God-[bleep]-ing-dammit." Borderlands 2 can also be played online, with profanity often heard in a multiplayer game.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In one mission, players consume alcohol in a bar, but it's not excessive.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Borderlands 2 is rated "Mature" because it's extremely violent, bloody, and gory. You can kill thousands of enemies, by shooting them, blowing them up, and using a flamethrower. Gamers will see "gibbed" body parts fly onto the ground. The game has sexual references, alcohol consumption, and profanity.

What's it about?

Ushering in a \"new era of shoot and loot,\" BORDERLNDS 2 is an over-the-top first-person shooter that drops players on the planet Pandora to fend for themselves against deadly bandits and alien creatures in a go-anywhere \"open world.\" As with its predecessor, the game has you take on many missions and challenges while firing at enemies and looting corpses for better gear. Borderland 2's key differentiator -- along with its unique art style -- is the cooperative nature of the game; up to four players can band together and take down enemies with multiple weapons -- and eventually defeat the notorious Handsome Jack and his corrupt corporation. Taking place five years after the original tale, Borderlands 2 also adds a role-playing element with various upgrades (namely, skills) that adds to the game's replayability.

Is it any good?


Borderlands 2 is a good game, especially if you liked Borderlands. Along with the fast and frenetic gameplay, unique visuals, and multiple modes (drop-in/drop-out, side-by-side, or online co-op (a must!)), this sequel offers many more missions and challenges than its predecessor, exceptional writing, and memorable characters and enemies. Looting baddies gives you better weapons and other bonus items and rewards. This world is generally more enticing to fight in compared to the previous game. There isn't much to complain about with Borderlands 2, except for the odd graphical or audio glitch, but it hardly detracts from the overall experience. Fans of mature first-person shooters will no doubt enjoy running and gunning through this wild adventure.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether it was necessary for Gearbox, the game's developer, to make the content mature enough to get a 17+ age rating. Wouldn't the game be as fun without all the carnage, strong language, and sexual references? Or does that add to the appeal? Wouldn't more copies sell if it were rated "Teen"?

  • What is the impact of media violence?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
Subjects:Language & Reading: following directions, reading
Skills:Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, strategy
Available online?Not available online
Developer:2K Games
Release date:September 18, 2012
Genre:First Person Shooter
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Space and aliens
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language, Sexual Themes and Use of Alcohol

This review of Borderlands 2 was written by

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Parent of a 12 year old Written byJohn Dawson October 7, 2012

Censor the gore and you are good to go.

For this game, you really just have to know your kid. If they play anything like skyrim or tf2, they should be fine. There is the issue of violence, but there is a "censor gore" option in the settings menu. This not only takes care of blood, but also the language (which by the way is nothing worse than what your kid hears in middle school). Censor gore basically turns borderlands 2 into a T rated game. The positive message is kind of a stretch, but the game is basically about overthrowing a dictator to free innocent civilians from his clutches. Now, if you ask me, the cover is the most violent thing about the whole game. I think it looks that way to attract fans of incredibly violent series like gears of war or call of duty. Also, the art style makes borderlands 2 look like a giant graphic novel, which also helps tone down the violence. I hope this helps. -John Dawson
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Parent of a 15 year old Written byLAXDad October 3, 2012

OK for mature 12+, too much of a joke to be taken seriously.

In all fairness, it's a violent game. Not as violent as games like 'Call Of Duty' and 'Battlefield 3' but it's got a lot of shooting in. The thing with the dismemberment is that it only happens when you use a sniper rifle or explosive weapon, and even then it doesn't happen often. There is a 'toggle gore' option which removes most of the profanity, excluding things like 'as*' and 'Bit*h'. It also removes all decapitation and mutilation, and removes blood from the equation as well. The only thing left on when playing with no gore is red splatters on your screen. As long as you have a mature 12+ then the game shouldn't be a problem, in all honesty, it's too over the top and cartoon like to be realistic in any way.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent of a 12 year old Written byHappyness December 10, 2013

Borderland 2 is good for your little Scout

Borderlands 2 is a cartoony, open world loot game. Like call of duty, but more tame with violence, the worst you see is a red laugh-inducing splat. It treated the mission in which you must consume alcohol lightly, just picking up the beer and making the edges of your screen have hearts. There is sexual innuendo but that will only be caught by 15+ years old. It utilises teamwork as a core mechanic, and treats it as a must, as you get better items. The bad language wasn't really noticeable, as it was either bleeped, or replaced with funny words. There is no sex, but people do flirt about 3 times. The message of "Co-op is essential" is good for a Boy Scout or such equivalent. It is very good, funny and cartoony, an excellent game, and the item stats will make you flex your math muscles.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking