I rather enjoy the series. I put in a lot of time in the first one, and double that in the second. There are DLC through the nose, and right now the entire series is on sale on Steam for ~$15. Great value. Course, the timing is due to Borderlands 3 being announced.
There are some interesting bits of this series, namely that the 2nd in the series really hit some amazing high notes for the time – and really kicked off the looter/shooter genre. 2012 also saw Diablo 3 (yes, it’s that old) and Torchlight 2, and I think it fair to say that D3 really missed the target with the loot mechanic that year. It gave Borderlands 2 a chance to really go for it. The DLC covers a pile of stuff
- New areas
- Extra levels
- New items & rarity
- New stories, bosses, skins, secret loot (headhunter packs)
This was a neat variation on New Game+. The level cap ended up at 72, but by completing a specific level at max level, you could increase the enemy/loot level by 1. Every completion added another level, up to 8.
Enemies could then spawn 1-8 levels higher than you and come with some pretty heavy damage reduction values – starting at 10% and up to 99.2% – full on damage sponges. An important bit here – enemy damage did not scale like this. They did marginally more damage, but the real challenges was their increased hit points.
Simple concept – you had guns, shields, and relics (stat boosters effectively). Each “type” aligned with a particular set of “manufacturers”. If you wanted elemental damage, then you wanted to find Maliwan brand weapons. The stats of the weapons then were rolled within a range of that manufacturer, a factor based on the rarity of the item. There were 8 ranks by the end. Really, that meant that all Rank 3 Maliwan Pistols had the same stats, but Rank 4 had better stats. Though a Rank 3 Maliwan Pistol was certainly a lot different than a Rank 3 Bandit pistol. And better effects – rank 8 weapons had different ideas. Send a shock, shoot multiple bullets, launch grenades… all sorts of stuff of different value to different classes.
While all guns could be used by all classes, each particular class came with a skill tree to differentiate. Zer0 was a ninja sniper, and his signature move was to lay a decoy and boost his stats for a short period. He had 3 skill trees that focus on sniper kills, melee kills, or improving his signature move. It ended up with a build focused on a particular playstyle. Salvador, for example, with the Money Shot and Inconceivable skills was a boss killing machine.
Also helped having 4 weapon slots to change your damage potential. Keeping a sniper rifle in the back pocket, or a minigun for those tight fights… always fun.
Are there gamers who don’t know who Handsome Jack is? As much as I re-ran missions for loot in the game… I always knew who the main bad guy was, and what he was trying to do.
Plus, Tiny Tina is scarred on my brain.
I couldn’t bother telling you the story of the Division, Destiny, or Anthem. The premise in each, sure. The actual story and point?
Moment to Moment
It’s an FPS. Enemies had a fair chunk of variety but it always resulted in the standard “shoot before dying” gaming model. The game was an in-your-face gun fest, and defensive play wasn’t really a strong point. Enemy AI was pretty dumb, but made up for it in sheer volume.
As the game levels progress, the complexity of the enemies increase, and random boss-like enemies can spawn. It is generally well balanced for the normal mode missions. After that… it gets pretty crazy.
Bosses are full of interesting mechanics, and there’s plenty of variety between them. There’s plenty of movement in each of them, so just finding a sniper’s nest and unloading guns isn’t a viable strategy. The Warrior battle (last main mission boss) is an amazing experience of avoiding telegraphed attacks, and finding the right time and position to do damage.
Should be pretty clear by now that I have an itch for a good loot game. I’ve put in enough hours in D3, Path of Exile, and Grim Dawn (there’s a new expansion!) to know the systems I like. I do enjoy shooters (or perhaps better said action games), and Anthem’s combat system is hard to beat. But it’s loot system is just pure rage, and after a month of dumb, I’m moving on.
I picked up the Handsome Jack collection and will giving that a go for the next little bit, see if it’s enough to scratch the itch.