I've been working on something actually serious to post here, but I'm kind of stuck on it right now so I figured I'd write something kind of dumb and easy for now. I'm mostly just writing this because the idea kept me up for like an hour last night before I finally forced myself to go to bed. Anyway, yea enjoy me rambling about Borderlands. Also, there are some spoilers as well. Whoops.
So I first got into Borderlands around the time I first really started to play FPS games. It was after I'd played Doom a million times, and The Handsome Collection had been free on PS+ so I figured, "Hey it's free I'll get it why not. People say it's good, maybe I'll like it." Of course then my dumbass decided, because I wanted to avoid spoilers, that I'd buy and play the first Borderlands before I played the second or Pre-Sequel. Just in case looking up the plot or anything for the first spoiled anything about the others.
Playing the first one was honestly a hellishly boring experience from start to finish for me. I hated just about every second I forced myself to sit through it, so by the end I didn't even touch the DLCs. Part of that may have been because I was antsy to get to playing Borderlands 2, or maybe the first is just that boring, I don't know. I don't plan to ever really give it a second chance unless I happened to have friends to fuck around and play it with.
Besides boring me half to fucking death, another big issue I had while playing was that I didn't know why I was doing anything I was doing other than "The game told me to". Go kill this boss, why? I don't know but the game has decided to tell me to go do that so I shall. Part of the problem with that is because most of the NPCs in the first game don't feel like characters at all. They just sort of feel like set pieces and the only time they speak is to give you a mission or something and then they never speak again. So then you're only being told "Hey, do this thing cause it needs to be done" with very little context for why. The whole main story I genuinely had no idea why I was going anywhere I was going, killing the people I killed and getting the shit I was getting. I'm not sure if I just didn't pay attention to something or if the game just didn't explain itself well but by the end of the game, I was surprised I had reached the end, and not in a good way.
There felt like there was no build-up to getting to the final boss. I thought maybe I had fucked something up or somehow skipped something. Nothing the main story has you do really felt like it amounted to getting anywhere, so once I hit the end of the game I felt like I was just some random person who stumbled into somewhere I shouldn't have been.
I can't think of any positives to say about the first Borderlands honestly. I didn't find the combat very fun considering a lot of the game was just fighting the same type of enemies over and over with very little variety. You fight Skags and you fight Bandits and maybe as a treat, you'll fight a few Rakk. That's the extent of the enemies I remember for most of the game. Yea there are different types of bandits, but besides Psychos they're all basically 'person with a gun' maybe a few different types of guns but still. The only time I remember fighting anything other than Skags, Rakk, and Bandits was around the end of the game there's a point you fight Crimson Lance guys, but they're basically just more guys with guns but lookout they have armor. You also fight weird alien things I don't remember the names of at the very end leading up to the final boss, those were kind of different.
There aren't any characters I started liking specifically in this one, in fact, the game kind of prematurely made me hate a handful of characters. This is definitely just a me problem and not necessarily a game problem considering I just tend to start hating or at the very least disliking characters in games that screw me over. The problem is, because of what very little I remember being told in Borderlands, Angel tells you the vault is full of loot and that's the only thing I understood. Too bad she lies to you and it is in fact kind of not. This sort of then impacts the second game, not super significantly, it doesn't ruin anything but I mean at the very least I went into it immediately not wanting to listen to a word Angel said to me. The first Borderlands also made me dislike Tannis. I dislike her less now, but I still don't particularly like her.
The game’s environments also just feel super samey. I can't think of a distinct area I remember more than the rest, it's all just trash desert. I think there might have been a weird underground like city thing made out of scrap and shit, but I also might be remembering something else entirely. I think there might have also been an area with a lot of water and some giant flowers or something. Maybe. I have no idea I can't remember what was the first game and what was any of the others because the first game was just that indistinct.
I probably should have played the DLCs, at least just because they came with the Game of the Year edition, but I hated the main game so I figured I wouldn't bother. People told me they were good, and maybe they would have improved on the issues I had with the main game, who knows, I sure don't.
This one is very obviously my favorite out of the series, I've played it multiple times and I'm currently replaying it again. I knew a little bit about the game going into it, but not much and nothing super important. I vaguely knew Jack was a character, only because while I had been talking about playing the first game someone asked if I had met him yet and I had no idea who they were talking about. I also knew Krieg was a DLC character you could play. That was all I knew about Borderlands 2 going in. Being honest I had no reason to assume I'd like the game over the first considering I knew fuck all about it. I don't remember having any doubts about 2 being fun though.
I'm not sure what about Borderlands 2 specifically cemented it as my favorite of the Borderlands games. Obviously, it pretty much improved over all my issues with the first, so there is that. I think a big reason though is just, Handsome Jack is a great fucking villain. That and picking to play Krieg was probably the best decision I made. Playing him honestly suits my playstyle best, because like I said I was getting into Borderlands right after having played Doom 2016 multiple times. So most of my playstyle consisted of fucking never taking cover, just never stop moving, and accidentally getting right into the enemy’s personal spaces. Krieg works really well for this because he's a heavily melee-oriented character, his action skill is literally just forced melee with a giant damage buff it's really fun. A lot of his skills, depending on the skill tree you put points into encourage you to get yourself hurt to actually do better. So if you play stupidly recklessly like I do it kind of works in your favor, there's even a skill that lets you take friendly fire and recharges your action skill faster if you do. The only problem with playing Krieg though is just the fact that there probably won't be a character that’s as fun or even tops playing as him for me in a Borderlands game.
Jack was also a really big reason I enjoyed Borderlands 2 so much. He's a great fucking villain. Most games either have villains I don't give a fuck about, villains I hate to the point I don't care about their motivations I just want to kill them or villains that I like too much and wish I didn't have to kill. Jack is in a good middle ground of I really like him as a character, but I also really like to kill him more. You also never really see him in person until after you confront Angel towards the end-ish of the game. So he's just this smug asshole who tries to kill you and then spends the majority of the game taunting you, making fun of you, and just generally telling how much you're going to fucking lose. It's really good motivation for wanting to kick his ass and I love it. Handsome Jack is honestly one of my favorite Borderlands characters, even if he does spend most of the game making fun of you, he's really funny.
Borderlands 2 honestly just improved on the characters in general from the first. You actually interact with characters more often and pretty much every important story character gets a little introductory cutscene that gives you a pretty good idea of their personality. They also tend to talk to you more often, sometimes during missions, you get from them they'll tell you stuff, or some quests will specifically just have you go talk to one of them. I ended up liking a lot of characters that returned that I had no real opinion on in the first game. I fucking love Scooter and Doctor Zed and I also ended up really liking Brick and Tiny Tina.
I understood the plot of Borderlands 2 a lot better than the first game as well. I've heard people argue that 2 doesn't have good writing either, usually when they're talking about the 3rd game, but honestly it's better than the first Borderlands so I can't complain. I actually understand who the villain is, what the stakes are, and why I'm trying to open the vault. I could understand why I was being sent to new areas and killing whatever bosses I was killing in Borderlands 2 unlike the first. By the time you get to the end of the game, it feels like what you did during the game built up to you getting there. It didn't just come out of left field that suddenly the game was over and you were at the final boss.
The DLCs for Borderlands 2 are also great. The headhunter packs are fun little Holiday sets of missions and the bigger campaign DLCs are also great. I love Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep and Torgue's Campaign of Carnage the best out of the DLC's they're so much fucking fun. A few of the DLCs also added your character responding to some stuff that’s said by other characters instead of only speaking when certain conditions are met like standing idle for too long, running things over, killing enemies with crits, using your action skill, etc. It doesn't happen as often as it does in like Pre-Sequel or Borderlands 3 but it's still a neat addition to the handful of the DLCs it does actually happen in.
Overall, Borderlands 2 is my favorite out of the series and I will never not replay it. I enjoy the game that much.
I'm not even sure where to start with Borderlands 3. It was a major disappointment for me. It wasn't terrible but it wasn't good enough that I ever really want to replay it. It's not even really a case of me having super high expectations for it and then those expectations not being met because they were unrealistic or anything because I didn't have any crazy expectations. I figured that at the least the game would be fun considering 2 was fun, I'd like playing as Fl4k and that the Calypsos wouldn't be god awful villains but they definitely wouldn't live up to Jack.
I was pretty much completely right. I don't like the Calypsos, they sort of just feel like a watered-down rehash of Jack but instead of being sadistic smug assholes that you love to hate, they're just asshole social media influencers that you regular hate. They even give you a side mission that’s basically the same as the one you can get from Jack where you basically get told to kill yourself and they'll give you something for doing it. The issue is the Calypsos version of it doesn't work. If you do kill yourself you'll get a gun, the problem is either you'll already have better gear so the gun was worthless and you're now down some cash because of respawning, or the gun will be useful to you for a little bit but you'll eventually get better gear and replace it. If you don't kill yourself though, they still give you some cash. At least with Jack's version of that side mission in 2, if you jump off the edge of the map and die you'll be given some Eridium, which you need to buy upgrades for like ammo capacity and storage space. If you don't do it you literally get nothing, other than being insulted but that’s free. The side mission works better because Eridium is hard to come by, you'll occasionally get it as mission rewards and sometimes you'll find a little bit while looting shit or it'll drop from enemies but it's not super common. So there's more of an incentive to actually kill yourself and the only thing really stopping you is, do you have any dignity. I don't.
The Calypsos also aren't as entertaining and don't talk to you as often. They rarely insult you or do anything that motivated me into wanting to kill them. They were just there, usually just telling me how I'll totally join them and or asking me if I'd pretty please join them. I also feel like the game missed a really good opportunity to have a bit of a twist. The whole game Tyreen treats her brother like a piece of shit and constantly calls him a parasite and stuff like that. There's a mission, I forget if it was a main mission or a side mission but either way, you get it on Eden-6. During that mission, you pretty much only hear from Troy and not Tyreen and through a bit of it, he kind of complains about how much of a major asshole his sister is, so I was honestly kind of hoping that at some point he'd maybe ditch his sister and join the Crimson Raiders, or at least do something interesting. But no, they stay mediocre villains to the very end.
Another big problem I have with Borderlands 3 is the fact that of all the recurring characters, it's all the ones I dislike. Most of my favorite characters don't come back during the main story, Zed doesn't appear, Scooter's fuckin dead, Torgue doesn't show up. The ones who do show up get no screen time, you get a couple of missions with Brick, Tina, and Mordecai, and then you never interact with them again. There are some echo logs you can find of Krieg but other than that he doesn't actually show up in the main story. The other previous vault hunters from 2 who do show up either die shortly after you meet them or just kinda fuck off after you talk to them like twice. You never even see Axton, Salvadore, or Gaige during the main game. Fuck even in DLC so far you never see Axton or Salvadore.
I can't stand most of the new characters the game added, or I think they're new. I'm not sure if the chick from Prometheus is from Tales or not. Either way, I didn't like her, or Ava. Fuck Ava. Ava sucks. The game also made me start really disliking Lilith. There's even a second bootleg Jack in this game, he's a minor villain during Prometheus and he just feels like they wanted to have Jack back but couldn't. He looks vaguely like Jack, acts vaguely like Jack, he even talks vaguely like Jack. I started calling him Diet Coke Jack because of it.
I think there was one new character the game introduced who I liked. Too bad you interact with him once or twice while you're on Eden-6 and then never hear from or see him again really. I think his name was Cole or something. Maybe.
The story for 3 is uh, a story. I mean I'd really just describe it how I did Borderlands 2's story. I understood why I was doing what I was doing not that your character gets to have much of an effect on anything. There's a part at the beginning where you're about to leave Pandora and Lilith is just sort of chilling out in the open, with the vault key, for no reason. The COV attack because of course they do, and instead of just teleporting away like she's demonstrated she could do all throughout the second game, she just kinda fucking stands there until Troy and Tyreen manage to get the vault key from her and take her Siren powers. You can't do anything because your dumbass gets locked behind a door away from her. There are other points in the game though where your character most certainly could have done something to stop what happens in the cutscene but instead, you just stand around, like an idiot.
That's sort of the issue with the number of cutscenes Borderlands 3 has, they're all in first person so if shit happens that you clearly would have had time to stop or avoid, it instead just feels like your character sits there, and watches it happen making no attempt to stop it. For no reason.
That’s one of the big differences between 2 and 3. In Borderlands 2 there really aren't that many cutscenes besides character and boss introductions. The only other one is Roland's death. You wanna know why Roland's death cutscene works better than Maya's? It's because even though it's from first person you literally would have had no time to stop what happens to Roland. It's right after you confront Angel, everyone's talking and then suddenly boom, Jacks there, out of nowhere behind Roland and immediately shoots him. There's no possible way you could stop that short of being fucking psychic. Not to mention you're even told by Angel that there's no way Jack would go down there and confront you, so you wouldn't even be expecting him to show up.
When Maya dies though, first of all, it's kind of Ava's fault for being a little shit and also the fact that nobody thinks to even mention to Maya that "Hey y'know the villains can kind of like steal Siren powers and straight up just drain people of their life, maybe don't like get close to them yea?" So when the Calypsos show up to drain the Prometheus vault monster of its power and Ava starts mouthing off at them, Maya steps in to save her after Troy grabs Ava. Maya then gets grabbed and drained of her power by Troy and straight-up dies. It's so dumb, nothing is stopping your character from just going pew pew and shooting Troy, Ava's a little kid, and Troy's really tall so it's not like you'd risk hitting her. Better yet Ava could have just listened in the first place. Either way, Maya's death sucks, someone could have done something but instead, everyone stands around like a jackass. I don't even particularly like Maya either so I'm not annoyed that they killed a character I like, cause I have no real opinion on her.
Borderlands 3 is just a major let down for me honestly. The only good thing about it was the DLCs. At least more characters I liked returned in them, like Timothy and Krieg. I also just had more fun with the DLCs, I liked the villain in the heist one, he was interesting without being a rehash of Jack, I liked the wedding one because it was Lovecraftian horror and I'm a sucker for that shit, I never finished Bounty of Blood though the bit I played of it was kind of cool it just didn't grab my attention as well as the others, and you all know my feelings on the Krieg DLC.
I never finished The Pre-Sequel and I never played Tales From the Borderlands so I'm not gonna talk about them, overall though Borderlands 2 was really the only game of the series I really liked. The writing for 3 kind of sucked, the first one didn't really feel like a game. 2 was the only one that really improved nicely upon the game before it and was also a lot of fun. At least that's how I feel about them anyway. I didn't really intend this to be like a review or anything, I just wanted to ramble about something for a bit. I also apologize it’s 6 hellish pages of me talking about things nobody cares about.