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Borderlands 2 was ahead of its time

We didn't know how lucky we were. "Hi, this is a decent improvement on the original," we thought back when Borderlands 2 came out in 2012. Large class system. Tones of weapons. It was really fun. We did not understand that Borderlands 2 would end up being a framework, so many games would build on and yet fail to live up to. We didn't understand that it was so special.

Borderlands 2 took things from MMO's, such as color-coded rarity levels and raids, but reduced the skittiness of traveling by adding jumping vehicles straight out of Halo. It worked both as a co-op experience for friends who wanted an excuse to hang out online and a solo game. It had a long tail of DLC, timed events like $ 1

00,000 Loot Hunt, and endgame challenges like Digistruct Peak, as well as overpower levels for players who had maxed out everything else. Although the foreseen "game as a service" was in its own way an eternal game. There are still at least 5,000 people playing it at any time on Steam, even today.

At the same time, Borderlands 2 is very much 2012. When the siren class's character, Maya, stains an elite enemy, she shouts "we have a badass in here!" Like the Neil deGrasse Tyson reaction. Axton, the character of the soldier class, sometimes says "You get a ball and you get a ball!" like Oprah but for murder. There is a double rainbow Easter egg, and pirate-themed DLC features ninja pirates for God's sake. Borderlands 2 is a museum of memes from the beginning of 2010 & # 39;

Woah, it's a full rainbow.

It's also heavy with pop culture references, but there is a line between the two. The vehicles in Captain Scarlett & Her Pirates Booty DLC are designed to resemble the Jedi Return shale. It's just a reference. When Gaige, the mechromancer-class character, shouts "Unlimited Power!" As a million picture macros of Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith, it's a meme.

Now, several years later, I find the dated-ness of these memes fun charming. I haven't heard anyone say "Garbage Day!" or reference trap cards in ages, but here they are in Borderlands 2, frozen in meme amber.

Neverending story

Of course it wasn't all memes. We would not have looked after departing NPCs who say, "I have to go, my people need me" if they were not in a game that held us around with an eternal cascade of sweet fleet. The sniper rifle, which shoots acid balls in three round bursts when zoomed. The gun is being read almost immediately and is stable as a stone. They kept us playing through True Vault Hunter difficulties through several DLC packages across hundreds of hours.

Play a lottery for so long and build inevitably degenerate. An example of this was The Bee, a shield with a decent chance of escaping a propaganda radio control in the Boneyard area of ​​Arid Nexus. Named for Muhammad Ali's famous quote (a reference, not a meme), The Bee gave bonus damages per month. Shots and were massively overridden if they were combined with weapons that had a high fire rate. That's what everyone did when they figured out how to rear it. Borderland Developers Gearbox dealt with the exploitation that an MMO developer would and did put it down, rather than just letting it slip like devs maybe into a more typical first-person shooter that was not meant to be played for years.

While Borderlands 2 is definitely an FPS, judging by these standards misses its appeal. Its enemies possess only rudimentary tactics, throwing grenades to players behind the cover, but otherwise does not do much to coordinate. The rooms you are fighting them into are deliberately samey, with exploding barrels keyed to various elemental damage types located in every bandit stronghold. The point is not to throw the AI ​​out, but to transform your character into an effective mathematical engine to melt them.

Shielded enemies are susceptible to electrical attack while armored enemies can be melted by corrosive. Fire attacks are best against enemies who have no special defense, but lots of regular health, and Borderlands 2 has no shortage of fleshy mushrooms. Anyone who takes damage from slag will take bonus damage from any non-strike that follows. Juggling all these things, working with other players or switching between weapons, grenades and forces with various forms of injury can feel more like playing Final Fantasy or Pokemon than Half-Life. "Maya uses a gun that shoots rockets. It's super efficient!" (It's both a meme and a reference to you).

It is a 40K boltgun, yes.

That's not to say it's bad to be a shooter. Borderlands 2 does not do RPG stuff to get the numbers to void your ability to aim. If you land a shot at a person, it doesn't matter what your pistol's statistics are, you landed that shot. Enemies take bonus damage if you hit them where they are weakest, and goliath will insane and attack their allies if you jump out of their downed buckets. Expectations for FPS players are taken into account, with dopamine hit of RPG progression stored on top.

Just push me

Other runners still struggle to recreate what Borderlands 2 did right. The Division games have dull lots, all knees and weapons that do not even explode as grenades when they are thrown. Warframe is a completely different game for opening hours before it gets well, and Anthem never does. Destiny's NPCs always try to remind you of their personalities each time they come up, but most of them are forgettable. The ghost is just Claptrap for boring people.

However, the gearbox today is not the gearbox in 2012. Borderland's second author, Anthony Burch, does not write Borderlands 3. The second game creative director Mikey Neumann has also left the studio (although he came back to help make Borderlands 3's trailer). And between the release of Borderlands 2 and now Gearbox has been responsible for foreigners: Colonial Marines and Battleborn. It is tempting to lower our expectations a little.

This trailer really looks like classic taste Borderlands, though. Some have expressed disappointment with this knowledge, but a game that suits the template would be preferable to one seen for all the worst trends in modern shooter shooters. A Borderland game with combat cards, micro-transactions and a confusing number of different currencies? No thanks. I'd rather stick to their weapons.

And what about memes? What does 2019 have to contribute-jokes about unused things in your inventory "spark joy"? Bandits Imitate Powerful Shaggy Instead of Quoting Hamlet? I wrote it as a joke, but now I think of what would rule. Still, memes are not the same carefree internet tapes, they were when Borderlands 2 came out, and the idea that someone at Gearbox should postpone those who have been granted bigots is a depressing thought.


When Borderlands 2 was new, I played it with friends. We had a blast, and to my surprise I realized that I was interested in the story, not just the shooting. I made another sign just to go through it solo, chasing audio books and hanging on Handsome Jack's every word.

That's what stands out when I compare it to the loot shooters that followed. I can't imagine doing the same thing in Division 2, a game where even fans don't care about the plot. Although Borderlands 2 adopted the shovel of the modern boulder, I would have nothing too much as long as it was thought that it was worth having an archery, a villain you love to hate, and a plot that feels like it is built for something.

Also, the song that plays over the opening credit must reign, but it is a given.

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