Recently, I’ve started replaying Borderlands 2. I played the original a looong time ago, liked it a lot, but found it incredibly hard. I was also kinda screwed by a weak computer that ended with me never actually being able to leave the Arid Badlands and enter the next area – every time I did, the game would freeze then crash. Still, I liked the darker humor and Skags are pretty cool creatures.
Before I continue, there’s spoilers ahead. Just so you know.
Borderlands 2 is supposed to be a sequel but there’s something off about it.
On the plus side, its character abilities feel better. Phaselocking is a far better ability than Phasewalking, which I swear half the time didn’t even work. The melee character ended up being a DLC exclusive, replaced with the almight Gunzerker, but Gunzerking is a ton of fun, and Psycho seems like a blast to play as, especially with all the explosions and stuff. Zer0 is cooler than Mordecai, even if he feels a bit, well, edgy. Honestly I never got the bird thing, I know it was supposed to be an outdoors-man TF2-Sniper-like thing, but it was all lost on me, and was lost even further when we find Mordecai before meeting up with Tiny Tina.
The gameplay also feels a bit smoother, and the difficulty more bearable, but I think that’s just me. The addition of DLCs is hit and miss, but they’re overall very good. There feels like slightly less guns, or at least slightly less randomness to the guns, because of the way that gun types are linked to gun brands. Also Eridium weapons are gone, partially replaced by E-Tech weapons. But E-Tech weapons are fancy normal guns, are annoyingly rare and half the time they’re not that great anyway. Also most of them are Spiker guns. Give me a Splatgun over a fricking Spiker gun any day of the week. On the flip side, it means that there’s less completely and utterly useless weapons, but most of them end up being sold anyway.
Speaking of lack of Eridium, the Eridium-based enemies are missing too. I find that particularly odd, because the whole story of Borderlands 2 is that the vault opened in Borderlands 1 made Eridium appear all over the fucking place, and that the actual vault is elsewhere. Story-wise, the whole of Borderlands 2 feels very disjointed and disconnected from the Borderlands story. One of the sacrifices made in Borderlands 2 is the humor, it goes from somewhat dark with the odd in-your-face bit, to being completely in your face and meme-y, not to mention much louder. Claptrap really doesn’t help.
The whole story goes from a treasure hunt, where people thought great treasures were kept inside a giant vault and were guided there by some sort of mysterious guardian angel, only to find a giant monster that needs to be destroyed; to a race against time as there’s another vault that needs opening too. Atlas are the bad guys in the first game, and Hyperion in the second game, but the whole journey feels rather… unrelated. It’s not a sequel we’re playing (even if we bring back the old Vault Hunters), it feels like we’re kinda… rehashing the previous game? I don’t know, it all just feels off.
The worst thing though is Lilith. Seriously, I fucking hate her. She’s the most off-putting character in the game. The Borderlands 2 Vault Hunters are either dull (Commando, Siren, Mechromancer), edgy (Zer0) or actually alright (Gunzerker, Psycho), Mordecai is a drunk and Roland is just tedious, but Lilith manages to have that horrible, cocky, Scout-like attitude which makes me want to punch her in the face, while at the same time she runs around abusing her good looks.
Story-wise though, she’s even worse. She’s actually to blame for the entirety of Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel! I don’t want to go on too much, but basically, rather than talking to Handsome Jack and saying “dude, maybe this is all a bit crazy?”, she decides to go for the traitorous route and betray him, driving him insane and causing him to do all that crap in Borderlands 2. Then she goes and wastes her time killing bandits while becoming addicted to Eridium, before ignoring Angel’s clear-as-day instructions to not help Roland and the Vault Hunters and NOT GO TO THE BUNKER. What does she do? Exactly the opposite. Roland dies, Handsome Jack captures her and nearly wins. And she shows almost zero remorse throughout the entirety of her existence, even to the point that she blames Athena in the Pre-Sequel for what SHE did.
Still, if you ignore the story, it’s a really good shoot-em-up. My biggest complaint though is that the difficulty can seemingly jump at random, and things can down you almost instantly. True Vault Hunter and Ultimate Vault Hunter make this worse, although Ultimate Vault Hunter mode means everything scales at around the same level as you, so it’s not so bad.
Also, try to avoid getting run over. Best way to instantly get downed.