About the humor in the game...

#1 Posted by Abendlaender (2764 posts) -

So, let me start by saying that I really enjoy the game. But there are a few things that I don't really understand. There will be a few very minor spoilers ahead, but just sidemission stuff and nothing important.

Obviously the humor in Borderlands 2 is supposed to be dark and silly, but there are a few scenes that are.......just weird. Like listening to a guy screaming for his "mommy" while being eaten alive? Was this supposed to be humorous? In the Gangwar quest for Ellie you kill some guy (well, duh) and then "enjoy" listening to his father (?) crying and telling you that he "never did anything to anybody" and that he "always had a smile on his face" (fyi, he doesn't know you killed him). And I just don't really understand what they are going for in these scenes. Are they trying to be legitimately tragic and serious or is it just me, not getting the joke? There are so many audiologs about people getting tortured, and sometimes I understand what's supposed to be funny about this but.....I don't know. I guess it's unfair of me expecting Borderlands 2 to be funny all the time, but I just don't see much sense in these scenes and they just feel out of place for me.

I'm not saying, that these scenes really hurt the game in any way, shape or form, I just really don't understand why this is in an otherwise completely goofy/stupid game. What are your feelings about this? Am I just overreacting?

#2 Posted by hbkdx12 (779 posts) -

They created a huge challenge for themselves in going from Borderlands 1 to 2, 
 
The first game had zero story but was quite humorous. 
 
In creating two, they needed to increases the story as well as increase the humor that borderlands 1 had. So what you get is this kind of weird dichotomy where it seems like they're trying too hard on some of their jokes/funny moments but other times they're clearly trying to create some kind of emotional resonance with the story and it just doesn't always mesh very well all things considered

#3 Edited by Tennmuerti (8005 posts) -

Those things are not meant to be funny. They are meant to show that Pandora is a really violent and a fucked up place is all.

Not everything is meant to be funny 100% of the time.

There are just parts that are plain dark. Others that are plain funny. Sometimes the 2 mix. It's an unhinged violent existence.

#4 Posted by Arbie (1449 posts) -

What said. I found even most obviously humorous things to be edging towards black comedy. I think I'm yet to come across the really dark parts of the game though.

#5 Posted by OneKillWonder_ (1693 posts) -

I agree that it can be a weird juxtaposition of comedy and drama at times, though it didn't really bother me that much. What I was surprised by though, was how the game actually elicited an emotional response other than laughter from me more than a few times. Some of those audio logs you find can be unsettling. Towards the end of the game, things become even more serious, and Handsome Jack does and says some things that solidify him as a truly despicable person (as if he wasn't already). I think he was an outstandingly well-written villain that I loved to hate. 
 
Big spoilers ahead!
 

#6 Posted by mlarrabee (2886 posts) -

Couching brutality in comedy often serves to make it more gruesome. Soft monsters have the sharpest teeth.

When Claptrap told me about Captain Flint torturing him, I wasn't too perturbed; after all, robots can't feel pain. But when Flint started having his next victim's cries mark the time, he suddenly disgusted me, and killing him became more than just the only way to proceed.

I don't know whether Gearbox understood or intended for that to be conveyed, but that's how the "comedy-soaked" pieces of torture and death affect me.

#7 Posted by AbsolutHysteria (41 posts) -

It just seems to me that they were trying to go for a (what I call, dont laugh if i'm wrong), a "shakespeare" approach. That is have heaps of violence, gore etc in order to give off a negative mood, then try to hit people with a little bit of humour. That way, any funny bits will be considered hilarious. Plus, Handsome Jack seems to be more of a jerk, almost a Joker like character, laughing at the sordid world around him.

So yeah, what everybody else has said.

#8 Posted by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -

The whole thing is a satire. Its not supposed to be funny its supposed to make you think. Borderlands is the Modest Proposal of our time. But instead of overpopulation they are making jokes about Internet culture, sex, and violence. The whole game is bringing to light these topics by shoving as much of it into your face as it can.

#9 Posted by triple07 (1196 posts) -

I find the humor is pretty hit or miss. Sometimes it makes me laugh, sometimes it makes me roll my eyes, and sometimes it makes me question what the fuck they were thinking at the time. I haven't run into all of the stuff you're talking about but I have noticed some of the same stuff. Sometimes it just comes off feeling kinda gross.

#10 Posted by ShaggE (6334 posts) -

I really enjoy those moments. The dissonant tone works for me. In fact, one of the earliest audio logs sets up that Joker-like mix pretty well (when Handsome Jack degrades and humiliates a woman before shooting her and mocking her dead husband). It really is a bit unsettling against the backdrop of zany robots and Breaking Bad references, and it made me forgive the Butt Stallion stuff that came shortly after. I mean, you've got to have SOME weight to it, no matter how tiny, or else the entire plot is an inconsequential joke delivery system.

#11 Posted by laussica (181 posts) -

A lot of the jokes are lame and I can just ignore them, but tiny Tina is just horrible

#12 Posted by StarvingGamer (8016 posts) -
@rebgav A lot of people seem to be going out of their way to single her out specifically, even the duders on the bombcast. It might have something to do with the nepotism. Personally, I found her to be very enjoyable in an Adult Swim kind of way.
#13 Posted by ripelivejam (3546 posts) -

i'm actually really intrigued by this discussion and am looking forward to playing through now. kinda digging the apparent edge they've given the plot, even if it is hit or miss.

so far i haven't encountered any painfully unfunny moments, and a few laugh out loud moments (mainly scooter :) )

#14 Posted by JasonR86 (9609 posts) -

What humor?

#15 Posted by laussica (181 posts) -
@rebgav
I have no issues with the voice actor, I think hey ash, what you playing? Is a pretty good
But the lines she said were pretty stupid, maybe I just had high hopes for her Because I heard Ashely burch was doing the voice acting and was just let down by the script
#16 Posted by musclerider (588 posts) -

For me I just found it really disgusting and awkward when Jack talked about taking a guy's eyes out with a spoon as the guy's wife and children cried around him. For the most part I found the game pretty humorous but things like that went a little far for me.

#17 Posted by JasonR86 (9609 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@laussica said:

@rebgav I have no issues with the voice actor, I think hey ash, what you playing? Is a pretty good But the lines she said were pretty stupid, maybe I just had high hopes for her Because I heard Ashely burch was doing the voice acting and was just let down by the script

Eh, it's video game exposition. The game generally does a pretty good job of wrapping it up in outlandish personalities so it isn't as dry, tired and generally soul-destroying as most of the plot advancement and quest giving in the medium.

I guess that you mean you didn't like her patois, her dialect, whatever you want to call it. I think that's more of a matter of taste than a quality issue, I don't think that it would be accurate to say that she's poorly written.

This is a bit of an aside but does anyone else remember just how incredibly upset everyone got when Jessica Chobot was announced as a voice actress in ME 3 and yet no one has been up in arms about the Ash lady being a voice actress in Borderlands 2? Funny how that works.

Anyway, back to the discussions.

#18 Posted by JasonR86 (9609 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@JasonR86 said:

This is a bit of an aside but does anyone else remember just how incredibly upset everyone got when Jessica Chobot was announced as a voice actress in ME 3 and yet no one has been up in arms about the Ash lady being a voice actress in Borderlands 2? Funny how that works.

Anyway, back to the discussions.

I don't think it's really comparable as one is an on-screen "personality" and the other is a comedic actor with a small body of work to prove it. I think that, in this particular instance, the results speak for themselves.

I suppose. As someone who has experienced both at a distance they look very similar. In my brain they both generalize as on-screen video game media personalities. Just somehow one isn't as allowed to be a voice actress as the other.

#19 Posted by JasonR86 (9609 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@JasonR86 said:

@rebgav said:

@JasonR86 said:

This is a bit of an aside but does anyone else remember just how incredibly upset everyone got when Jessica Chobot was announced as a voice actress in ME 3 and yet no one has been up in arms about the Ash lady being a voice actress in Borderlands 2? Funny how that works.

Anyway, back to the discussions.

I don't think it's really comparable as one is an on-screen "personality" and the other is a comedic actor with a small body of work to prove it. I think that, in this particular instance, the results speak for themselves.

I suppose. As someone who has experienced both at a distance they look very similar. In my brain they both generalize as on-screen video game media personalities. Just somehow one isn't as allowed to be a voice actress as the other.

I think that Chobot was already derided by a vocal contingent for how she came to the attention of the videogames press in the first place, so even if she had been a meritorious, qualified casting choice there would have been furor regardless.

I find it hypocritical. To me it sounds like people picking and choosing when they want to stand up for an opinion.

#20 Posted by JackOhara (227 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@StarvingGamer said:

@rebgav A lot of people seem to be going out of their way to single her out specifically, even the duders on the bombcast. It might have something to do with the nepotism.

If that's the case then those people are being really dumb. Burch clearly has talent, the fact that her brother is on the writing staff for the game couldn't be less relevant to her ability to do the job.

I could be wrong, but I think people are talking about the writing of the character more than the actor delivering the lines.

#21 Posted by Worcanna (90 posts) -

I would say that it speaks volumes about the writing if it is having this effect on people. The idea of handsome jack in general being 2 parts "oh my god" to 1 part "that's so funny" is a act of writing i haven't seen done and you have to give them credit for even attempting it. The game has to be bold and in your face, they can't start being soft when it comes to the hard stuff as it's just not the way of it. I guess that is what hits you harder, that you simply aren't expecting it at all. I will admit that it gets soul-crushing with how hard it hits you later on but they do have to build up Jack so much more. Really ramp up the want to kill him and that is what makes the writing so good to me. :)

#22 Posted by JasonR86 (9609 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@JasonR86 said:

@rebgav said:

@JasonR86 said:

@rebgav said:

@JasonR86 said:

This is a bit of an aside but does anyone else remember just how incredibly upset everyone got when Jessica Chobot was announced as a voice actress in ME 3 and yet no one has been up in arms about the Ash lady being a voice actress in Borderlands 2? Funny how that works.

Anyway, back to the discussions.

I don't think it's really comparable as one is an on-screen "personality" and the other is a comedic actor with a small body of work to prove it. I think that, in this particular instance, the results speak for themselves.

I suppose. As someone who has experienced both at a distance they look very similar. In my brain they both generalize as on-screen video game media personalities. Just somehow one isn't as allowed to be a voice actress as the other.

I think that Chobot was already derided by a vocal contingent for how she came to the attention of the videogames press in the first place, so even if she had been a meritorious, qualified casting choice there would have been furor regardless.

I find it hypocritical. To me it sounds like people picking and choosing when they want to stand up for an opinion.

I'm not sure that I agree (though I'm not sure that I understand.) It was unfair that people crapped all over Chobot before seeing the fruits of her labors but I don't see how it follows that it is hypocritical that the same people didn't come out against Burch, given that she's a known quantity with a popular, long-running comedy series on the internet. If she was an unknown quantity, or well-known for some unrelated discipline then I could see where you were coming from.

I'm probably stretching it a little bit. I found the Chobot complaints idiotic. I thought it was the noise coming from children who don't like IGN and don't like the fact that she was a model who fell into a job. But if I remember right the primary issue most people had with the ME 3 situation was that Chobot wasn't a normal voice actress. So an amateur who hadn't earned the position was given the position and it wasn't fair and whine whine whine. Now from what I've heard from you Burch isn't as much an amateur as Chobot was. But she's not a voice actress either. So if that was truly the issue people had then those people are hypocrites to me.

But I don't think that was the real issue with Chobot. The issue was that she worked for IGN and was a model who fell into a job. It was a a dumb viewpoint then and still is.

...but I'm stretching too. I'm sure Burch earned the position. My issue isn't with her. It's with fans.

#23 Edited by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@JasonR86 said:

@rebgav said:

@JasonR86 said:

@rebgav said:

@JasonR86 said:

This is a bit of an aside but does anyone else remember just how incredibly upset everyone got when Jessica Chobot was announced as a voice actress in ME 3 and yet no one has been up in arms about the Ash lady being a voice actress in Borderlands 2? Funny how that works.

Anyway, back to the discussions.

I don't think it's really comparable as one is an on-screen "personality" and the other is a comedic actor with a small body of work to prove it. I think that, in this particular instance, the results speak for themselves.

I suppose. As someone who has experienced both at a distance they look very similar. In my brain they both generalize as on-screen video game media personalities. Just somehow one isn't as allowed to be a voice actress as the other.

I think that Chobot was already derided by a vocal contingent for how she came to the attention of the videogames press in the first place, so even if she had been a meritorious, qualified casting choice there would have been furor regardless.

I find it hypocritical. To me it sounds like people picking and choosing when they want to stand up for an opinion.

I'm not sure that I agree (though I'm not sure that I understand.) It was unfair that people crapped all over Chobot before seeing the fruits of her labors but I don't see how it follows that it is hypocritical that the same people didn't come out against Burch, given that she's a known quantity with a popular, long-running comedy series on the internet. If she was an unknown quantity, or well-known for some unrelated discipline then I could see where you were coming from.

I think it is exactly the same situation. But several reasons why no one reacted the way they did with Chobot are probably

  • Chobot was used for her looks, literally, she was body scanned into the game.
  • Chobot worked for IGN.
  • Chobot was touted by EA in their trailers for the game.
#24 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

@Dagbiker said:

  • Chobot was used for her looks, literally, she was body scanned into the game.

Ashley Burch is also pretty hot man...or uh...is that just me?

#25 Posted by Dagbiker (6939 posts) -

@TheDudeOfGaming said:

@Dagbiker said:

  • Chobot was used for her looks, literally, she was body scanned into the game.

Ashley Burch is also pretty hot man...or uh...is that just me?

Yes, but in that, everyone thinks shes hot so i'm not even going to try kind of way.

#26 Edited by bybeach (4725 posts) -

Ashley Burch is a weird looking chick in a rather natural pretty way, and I will never be the same after she thought she was taking a dump on her brother's bed because she knew he could not rip himself away from Guitar Hero to stop her. Wasn't his room though, turned out to be hers...MISTAKE!!!!

I coped w/Tiny Tina, especially when listening to the bandit who killed her parents and in context of the game. It was obese Ellie and her almost obsessed or ingrown maybe hatred of her Clan in Clan Wars that threw me. I blew it off and went on. I might return, someone told me it was referenced off a Fistful of Dollars and it's Japanese movie counterpart.. Right now I am dealing with a Thresher called Slappy that is kicking my ass rightfully so because I did not come prepared. My fault.

And yeah...sorry for Mordacai..the sniper, sorry for the spelling also. I already read the other spoiler much earlier but I am not surprised. The game story wise is a mixed bag, and Jack is a higher dimensional asshole than I have heard initially. Overall I give Borderlands 2 a good/very good grade. It tries a lot of things to the point this works/that doesn't, even on an individual basis.

#27 Posted by RubberBabyBuggyBumpers (713 posts) -

i laughed my ass off on the side quest to give out meds for the people of overlook, which evolved into some other fetch quests, and eventually into one to test fire a mortar. i didn't expect anything to happen to david. when the unexpected happened, i laughed real hard. {=oD

#28 Posted by stryker1121 (1346 posts) -

The humor in BL2 is pretty hit and miss for a game this size, as you'd expect. The writing is pretty good, and I've laughed out loud a couple of times at Scooter's and Handsome Jack's lines and a few other few things here and there. THe text for quests is actually quite a bit funnier that the spoken stuff IMO.

#29 Posted by Robo (773 posts) -

As I play more of this game and see/hear more from the cast of characters, I have to agree that some of the humor is just kind of...cheesy.

Much of it is great...but some comes off like some middle-aged marketing exec trying to play to "the kids" with terrible memes and pop culture references that miss the mark entirely (like Claptrap's shitty dubstep comments). It doesn't help that a lot of the dialogue feels neutered, like it's sanitized for prime time TV or something. It wasn't as noticeable in the first game, but in this one they dance around even so much as a "shit" so much that you can't help but notice it.

It's like a company going for 'street cred' by hiring Nick Cannon for an ad campaign.

Regarding Tiny Tina and Ashly Burch's performance: Personally, I don't think there's much really wrong with it. Tina is manic, somewhat perverted, immature yet precocious, and...let's say imaginative. But her character works. Especially with Ashly's ridiculous delivery. She's funny without relying too much on the reference crutch, though I did appreciate the "Shawty you da best...you da- you da best."

Unfortunately, for every genuinely amusing line or character in this game so far there's a lame one.

Also, Jack is more of an outright dick than he is funny. Most of what I've heard from him I've had to ask whether he's supposed to be amusing or simply annoying and sadistic. Either way, I'd take pleasure in gutting him. So mission accomplished there, I guess.

#30 Posted by wewantsthering (1551 posts) -

I think both games had great comedic moments or lines, but are very inconsistent at delivery funny jokes. Also: Preference. Apparently most of the GB crew hates Tiny Tina, whilst I thought she was one of the more humorous characters.

#31 Posted by JackOhara (227 posts) -

As an aside, I find the thread title to be misleading as it implies the game has humor in it

#32 Posted by dudeglove (7688 posts) -

@Abendlaender:

Well when you consider that this idiot wrote the game, you shouldn't be surprised. Despite being lead writer for BL2 he had no experience in writing for games in the past. What credentials he does have is that he graduated from a college that nobody has ever heard of because it's in the middle of nowhere, had his own videogame podcast along with his sister who (surprise, surprise!) voices Tiny Tina. Burch was basically told by Gearbox that all he would have to do is take Borderlands 1 and make it 2 times better. Gearbox probably should have realized that two times zero is still zero.

Here's a few choice tweets from his twitter account for a deeper understanding of the mind of its writer. His choice of avatar alone should speak volumes .

============

============

===========

============

Turns out he's a Brony too. Go figure.

So there's your answer as to why this game is hit and miss in places.

#33 Posted by HellBrendy (992 posts) -

3 things gave me the biggest laughs: Turning in the first mission. Heh. Claptraps joke about my mom just after that (ZING!) and Claptrap again yelling at you for not enjoying a terrible pun he keeps coming returning to on a sidequest. The pun, and jokes, are really bad, but they are supposed to, and that whole event with Claptrap continually yelling at you for not enjoying it actually made me giggle quite alot.

Tiny Tina is just unfunny, Sir Hammerlock is generally great. Oppressed memories ahoy!

#34 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (3558 posts) -

I enjoyed reading all of those tweets above. What you have to realize is that most of the writing in Borderlands 2 is just there for character and mood. It's designed to be overly wacky, and not every "joke" is really supposed to be something that you literally find yourself laughing at.

There are a handful of really funny moments, but most of it just seems intended to be fun, not some sort of laugh riot.

#35 Posted by JoeyRavn (4949 posts) -

@dudeglove: Yeah. Anthony Burch is not my favorite person by any means. He's always been too pretentious, arrogant and holier-than-thou, if you ask me. Ash is more of the same, really.

Borderlands 2 is one of my favorite games this year. 80 hours clocked on Steam and it's still as fresh as the first time I booted it up. But the pleasure I get from it certainly does not derive from its humor. The gameplay is terrific, the story is solid (and a lot more touching than I was expecting), but the humor is hit or miss at best. I've had some chuckles here and there, but that's it. I'm fine with it, though. I come to this game for the customization, looting and shooting, not for high comedy.

#36 Posted by Nev (540 posts) -

I had no problem with the humor, as internet memes have never been something I gave a damn about in any way to make me angry or pleased. I smiled at a few lines in the game, otherwise I shot shit and had fun.

#37 Edited by Mcfart (1550 posts) -

@Abendlaender said:

So, let me start by saying that I really enjoy the game. But there are a few things that I don't really understand. There will be a few very minor spoilers ahead, but just sidemission stuff and nothing important.

Obviously the humor in Borderlands 2 is supposed to be dark and silly, but there are a few scenes that are.......just weird. Like listening to a guy screaming for his "mommy" while being eaten alive? Was this supposed to be humorous? In the Gangwar quest for Ellie you kill some guy (well, duh) and then "enjoy" listening to his father (?) crying and telling you that he "never did anything to anybody" and that he "always had a smile on his face" (fyi, he doesn't know you killed him). And I just don't really understand what they are going for in these scenes. Are they trying to be legitimately tragic and serious or is it just me, not getting the joke? There are so many audiologs about people getting tortured, and sometimes I understand what's supposed to be funny about this but.....I don't know. I guess it's unfair of me expecting Borderlands 2 to be funny all the time, but I just don't see much sense in these scenes and they just feel out of place for me.

I'm not saying, that these scenes really hurt the game in any way, shape or form, I just really don't understand why this is in an otherwise completely goofy/stupid game. What are your feelings about this? Am I just overreacting?

Well here's another example:

Remember Claptrap's Birthday mission? Did you feel a little bad for him there?

Well at the beginning of the game, Claptrap said that although he was programmed to sound ecstatic, he's actually really depressed.

@musclerider said:

For me I just found it really disgusting and awkward when Jack talked about taking a guy's eyes out with a spoon as the guy's wife and children cried around him. For the most part I found the game pretty humorous but things like that went a little far for me.

True, and in another mission, Jack asks you to save his grandmother from some thugs. When you do so, you find her corpse, and Jack makes a joke saying "Thanks for killing those guys! Now I don't have to pay them"!

The thing that I (and some others) didn't realize is that Handsome Jack is basically a "Super Heel" in wrestling. He does everything he can to make you boo him, and it makes that final kill that much more exciting. They didn't do anything to make Jack the "sympathizable villian" like many others. No, he's just JBL. He was designed to be hated, and the grotesque descriptions of his killings help make that image.

#38 Posted by dudeglove (7688 posts) -

@JoeyRavn said:

@dudeglove: But the pleasure I get from it certainly does not derive from its humor. The gameplay is terrific, the story is solid (and a lot more touching than I was expecting), but the humor is hit or miss at best. I've had some chuckles here and there, but that's it. I'm fine with it, though. I come to this game for the customization, looting and shooting, not for high comedy.

Pretty much my thoughts too. Borderlands 2 falls into that whole Eric Wolpaw quote of "Just because the writing is bad doesn't mean the game is".

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