Congenital hindsights and neurotic dialog with Borderlands 2
In a systematic manner, Gearbox the developers of Borderlands 2 have iterated on their originally revolutionary idea, and conceived a sequel that despite a ton of polish doesn’t quite hack it. The game is riddled with the worst of MMO game design, ie yo-yoing, and contains shared loot which is about as old-fashioned of a farce to co-op RPGs as you can get. These hindsights do not ruin the game, they just make the experience of co-op undesirable since the enemies scale to your level. You are better off hoofing it alone for this loot, which make the arbitrary MMO architecture seem that much more inane. The entire time playing Borderlands 2(72 hours at this point) I thought to myself how much I took Mass Effect 2 for granted.
When you revolutionize a genre, like Mass Effect did with bringing the first person shooter to a neglected genre in the way that Bioware did, I expect the polish and for the concept to continue evolving and expanding. Mass Effect 2 had all those things, Borderlands 2 sadly does not, despite the fact the first game was such a revolution. Evolution is not a revolution, my quibbles with the new Borderlands would be negated if I felt they brought enough new to the equation this time around. Shared loot and yo-yoing would be small blemishes if they had done more than polish the first formula. Some might say well the plethora of voice acting was that evolution, something they clearly invested a lot of resources but that is to me holistically bad with few spots around the edges that were funny, my favorite being the bit that Salvador hums sometimes whenever he uses his skill. The funny parts are less than 5% of the overall, which is just not funny, which is a real shame. This on top of the fact that it's full of enough dumb internet humor that I actively turn subtitles & voice over off, with plenty of immature neurotic story missions which are cringe worthy.
Borderlands 2 story feels like, much in the way Darksiders series have, a cobbled mess of a fever dream a kid had in middle school. I’ve seen various people complain about the game's live action trailers, that they should just show their game, but then I’m reminded of seeing my nephews watching the trailers. As soon as it was done they wanted to re-enact the trailer like it was a game of cops-and-robbers, making me think that while labeled mature, Gearbox clearly knows their biggest audience is pre-adolescents which shines through in the dialog. Borderlands in the end is a series that is really good at doing one thing, bringing the Diablo loot formula to a FPS, but this revolution has made it lethargic to progressing past that formula and becoming it's own.