Flaws with Borderlands: A love hate relationship

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Flaws with Borderlands: A love hate relationship

Post  Dwlr on Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:56 am

Borderlands is a massively flawed game right down to their sales pitch of "Bazillions of Guns" or for the sequels a compounding of adding "more" guns. Let us start from the top with that slogan shall we? Sure if you count all the possible part combinations they have a lot of "guns", but can you really say they're different guns? In the legal sense I'd say sure, but in the moral sense I call Gearbox out on trying trick their customers. Of the "Bazillions" of guns only a few are actually usable and by the end of the game you can count out anything that is Green or White outright of the Blue guns you might have a few "unique" flavor texted guns who's properties propel them to be vastly superior than their suggested rarity, but as a general rule they're out too. Purple weapons get a bit tricky and vary depending on the installment on their effectiveness end-game, but only a few specific styles work, so lets call it a generous 1/10 of Purples actually work so what does that leave you with? That leaves you with the items deemed Legendary or Higher as your usable weapon pool. Are you feeling cheated by their "hook" yet? Well if you aren't think about what they are calling a unique gun for a moment. A Sniper Rifle with the same Damage, same Accuracy, same Firerate, same Manufacturer, same Magazine Size, but a different level of magnification on the scope to them, that's a unique gun. Sound fair to you? Seems like the same gun to me. How about a gun with everything the same except a different clip size? Yep different gun according to them. So if you take a practical approach to their "hook" and call their puffery where you see it well then there about 100 usable weapons and that's being pretty generous when some of the flavor texts simply affect the number of rounds in a Burst on a Dahl weapon or the level of Zoom a Sniper Rifle has, if want to say truly unique weapons then I'd say there's about 25 usable ones among all their weapon classes and even then they don't necessarily behave differently from usable weapons in a different class.

Now lets move onto actual gameplay, the characters are touted to be unique, but are they really? In Borderlands 1 each character sort of had their own weapon specialty and started with different weapon classes to start building different proficiencies early on, but in the end it didn't exactly matter every character could max all weapon proficiencies and the weapon specific skills weren't really enough to make a good weapon not be a good weapon for every character it just served to setup characters to be outright broken when sporting a specific weapon. So the gameplay is pretty vanilla from character to character in Borderlands 1 or am I forgetting something? Oh right Action Skills. The Action Skills may have been unique, but did they really impact anything in Borderlands to the point you needed them to be successful? Nope, you really didn't need any of them, they just served to make an already easy game easier and of them only 50% of them affected gameplay in any real sense since Mordecai and Roland were just "click action button to use action skill" and then you just continued on with the same gameplay. Did they even get it better in Borderlands 2? Not really Zero's Action Skill only really affect playstyle for a specific build, built around Melee, Maya's skill was another "click" skill for a mundane non-playstyle affecting change, Salvador's Skill simply served to make him broken otherwise since you didn't usually need to aim since hipfire tends to be good enough it just gave you another button to hold, Axton's skill had some attempts at uniqueness from being a Roland clone, but only if you took a specific build and it didn't scale with the DLC to keep up. Gaige's Action Skill scaled abysmally, but was more or less a "click" skill for mundane non-playstyle affecting change. Then there is Krieg, like him or hate him Krieg was brillantly designed being able to function in any situation unlike Brick by adding a ranged method of attack to a skill that was truly designed to be Melee based he truly had an Action Skill that defined a unique sense of play and it wasn't limited to one specific tree to be useful though it was more effective in some builds than others that's very much reasonable to expect. I'm not going to touch the Pre-sequel characters as they were simply built to be over-powered so you can imagine how that works out.

Let's talk build diversity, oh wait there really isn't any. If you want to be the best of the best you're going to be using pretty much the same build as everybody else since NONE OF THEM REALLY AFFECT ANYTHING, they're simply more power skills rather than anything unique and some skills are just blatantly better than others so much that you dig down a tree to obtain them. Gear can change things right? Nope, the best gear is pretty much the best gear and the right gear is so game-breaking any gamer worth anything has to work to die when wielding it. Mention Salvador and you get a Grog Nozzle and Unkempt Harold Money Shot Build. Lets talk about the gear, some of the gear is so broken when interacting with characters that they can literally one-shot the supposedly hardest boss in the game, looking at you Norfleet on Axton build, or gear that never should have existed in the first play like the Sponge 90+% damage reduction that also gives you infinite ammo, the Grog Nozzle you can keep by not turning in the requisite quest that gives 50+% chance to slag, heals for 64% of damage dealt and can multiply you damage potential by 8x straight up shouldn't be allowed to exist particularly if that damage heal counts from all sources completely making Salvador unkillable during Gunzerk firing a x8 effectiveness Double Penetrating Unkempt Harold in conjunction with the Grog Nozzle healing full life every time an Unkempt Harold Bullet connects, such builds are left rampant unchecked and Gearbox doesn't admit there is a problem at all when everybody uses the same gear or intentionally cripples themselves to enjoy a margin of difficulty however they scaled every enemy in mind with the broken gear so playing "legitimately" without over-powered equipment goes out the window pretty quickly.

Co-op is fun though right? Nope, if the "legit" gear wasn't broken enough hacking is completely rampant with random matches and Gearbox does literally nothing to help the players wanting a legitimate experience, even if you get a legitimate match expect to see the blatantly over-powered vanilla builds everybody uses on pretty much everybody you meet making it a with friends only experience. Playing with friends is great for some, but those lacking friends that play their console miss out on the entire co-op experience which is rather enjoyable.

Humor? Check, but after Borderlands 1 only if you're 5. Most of the humor in Borderlands  revolves around the entire planet being homosexual and juvenile aimed humor of the like and the Pre-sequel might have been funny to Australians I suppose, but it's more of the same with Australian accents and Australian based references throughout the game leaving it pretty niche in the humor category if it's funny at all despite the company that should have been doing it themselves not being AUSTRALIAN and simply having a branch there to outsource games to to make a quick buck on sub-par pieces of garbage on the reputation it had from the prequels. The pop-culture references are refreshing and a nice nod in some cases, but others are pretty strained and groan worthy rather than being "clever".

Now I spent the whole time bashing the game, so I must hate it right? No, it's actually one of my favorite games, the cell-shaded graphics give it a unique pleasantly unique feel, some of the weapons are rather enjoyable in their novelty, some of the pop-culture references are witty and entertaining and with the exception of the Pre-sequel which was a big steaming pile of second-rate exploitative trash there were actually some good characters. Handsome Jack in Borderlands 2 was a brilliant character in my opinion that was ruined by the back story in the Pre-sequel taking what was lovably hateable away from him by explaining "Hey he might not have been so bad and the Vault Hunters might not be as good of guys as they're depicted even if they were all depicted as being flawed individuals". Explaining Handsome Jack's story removed the ability for the player to create a backstory and their idea of his motivation to the things he does in 2. CL4P-TP was a witty character which walked the line between witty and annoying so well and all that was ruined in the Pre-sequel when all of his charm was trivialized as well destroying yet another beloved character. Don't get me wrong there are terrible characters as well Borderlands 2 had Tiny Tina loved by some, but truly just a character a 10 year old would have put into a game saying whatever is on their mind rambling aimlessly in an obnoxious wannabe hipster tone who lets face it really Ashly Burch only got the job and liberties she did with the character to be rambling and obnoxious because of her brother Anthony Burch, so Tiny Tina was another aspect meant to appeal to the woefully immature which is what created the disparity in her popularity dividing the community between those 13 year olds on Call of Duty that ramble non-stop and swear constantly and the actual adults or the dying breed of mature children out there that are society seems to be killing off slowly through uncontrolled parenting which create that army of screaming immature 13 year olds that grow up to be entitled immature adults who in turn raise brats exactly like them, but I digress. Borderlands is a charming romp that is a unique view on the 'treasure hunting dreamer' in all of us, it's quirky and fun despite it's many many many flaws it's still a lovable game deserving of it's many praises, a true love-hate relationship as any game has ever produced.
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Dwlr
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