Posted: March 30
Somewhere along the line, something went seriously wrong with the direction of this game. While the original Borderlands was nothing groundbreaking, it was greater than the sum of its parts; a cohesive, run-and-gun action RPG that pulled the quest for better loot out of high fantasy dungeons and into the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Borderlands 2 on the other hand feels like it was originally supposed to be a console MMO (that was then canned when Gearbox got the message that MMOs don't make money anymore) and instead repurposed it into whatever this mess is.
Let's start with the most glaring gameplay issue: weapon proficiencies have been removed, resulting in everyone being mediocre with every weapon type. Throughout my playthrough of the campaign, the majority of my weapons felt like they were spraying wildly; even rockets from launchers would come out at random angles, often missing a target ten feet away from me. Instead you get Badass points, a system designed to reward you with stat upgrades for doing arduous tasks such as breathing or shooting bad guys. Sure it might sound cool to have more options, but when you're made of paper and all your weapons spray like you're trying to shoot with a jackhammer it feels more like you are disabling handicaps instead of improving your character. The worst part is these stat increases have diminishing returns and you are forced to spread them; less chosen stat increases appear more often when you rank up, preventing you from rapidly increasing in any one stat. Your Badass rank is account-wide, meaning all characters will gain their buffs. If you're somehow addicted to this game, that's great for your alts, but I was obvious dead weight for my veteran allies online.
Loot options feel much more constrained in BL2. Gearbox can brag about the millions of guns but when the only worthwhile weapons are at the top rarities, who cares about all the blues and greens? Weapon effectiveness seems to dropoff a lot faster in BL2 (probably because of no proficencies), with the only weapons worth using more than 5 levels being uniques and legendaries. Of course these weapons should be the best and last for a long time... but why should I be expected to pull serial codes from internet social media to get a guaranteed "worthwhile" weapon? I saw a single legendary weapon drop during the 25 or so hours I spent playing through the campaign and even that was a mediocre rifle that was unusable after a few hours. The majority of the game I was using quest rewards because they were the best weapons I could find. Again, who cares about the millions of guns when I'm using generic handouts from NPCs anyway?
Of course all of this is just the surface of the problems with this game. After years of patches there are still tons of bugs (mouse cursor doesn't appear with a controller plugged in, getting stuck in surfaces, mouse movement breaking, various broken textures), the writing is terrible with all the characters being turned into unlikeable jerks, the story is way too long and padded with checkpoints for fetch quests, map edges are poorly defined resulting in seemingly random death pits, character classes are blander, weaker, and more boring than the original... the list goes on. I honestly hated this game and I just wanted to finish it because my brothers did. I would not recommend this miserable experience to anyone.