The Wall Street Journalreview, mainly for comparing it unfavorably to Call of Duty. Probably no one reads the WSJ for video game reviews, but it still sparked angry comments of the apples-to-oranges variety from Borderlands fans.
The boys of Penny Arcade got into a bit of an argument over the game, with Tycho describing it as "obviously perfect," and Gabe annoyed at the questing and loot systems.
Tycho: People used to ask me what I liked about Donkey Konga, what was so great about it, which made me scrunch up my face. This is a game where you beat bongos with your friends; it needs no justification. It justifies itself. Fuck off. Well, Borderlands 2 is a game where you play bongos on enemy faces, at range, with firearms. You and friends can even shoot the same face. When the face has been completely, um... played, treasure comes out. Again, you know, I didnt know we had to convene the Council of Elrond on this shit. That all sounds pretty good.
Roland at times, who tends to stumble around for words. Most prominently around Lilith.
Gaige's first ECHO portrays her as a nerd, complete with tech talk and snorting laugh. One of the crimes listed on her wanted poster is "Excessive Adorability. Even after killing her Rich Bitch rival, and effectively becoming a wanted criminal, she still has time to be in awe over having 20,000 subscribers. What a gal.
Lilith turns out to be a massive nerd, highlights going to her awkward ECHOs recordings with Roland during the In Memorium quest and Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon's Keep.
The Son of Crawmerax has her affectionally doting on Mordecai's new bird Talon, even while he's biting her skin hard enough to draw blood.
Captain Scarlett is noticeably awkward in an endearing way. At one point she makes a "No fatties" joke and spends the rest of that sidequest apologizing for it.
Scarlett: I actually prefer overweight men.
Alternative Character Interpretation: Did Handsome Jack really think he was doing good things throughout the game? Was he too blinded by his ego to believe what he was doing was wrong? Or is he a bastard who willingly abused and lied to his daughter, destroyed Pandora to create his own personal paradise, and did most of his evil deeds For the Evulz?
Handsome Jack's abusive childhood causes a lot of these. Is Jack a monster who imprisoned and manipulated his daughter solely for his own gain? Or does he genuinely care for her well being, but doesn't know how to do so in a healthy way?
Are Handsome Jack's brief moments of petting the dog glimpses that reveal that traces of his humanity remain and he isn't a total monster or are they deliberately staged by Jack to provoke sympathy from other characters (and by extension, the player)? Creators of the game have supported the former interpretation.
The password to the building where Angel is kept is revealed to be "I love you" and what it means exactly depends on exactly how the player interprets Jack's intentions.
Moxxi's actions in Rakkoholics Anonymous. Did she try to get the booze for her own personal gain, was it out of concern for Mordecai's well being after losing Bloodwing, or was she trying to spite her ex-boyfriend after a particularly messy breakup?
Handsome Jack. Foreshadowed copiously though; all his fights in the backstory and in the game up till then aren't direct, and Angel tells you several times what a coward he is. The fight is more difficult in the second playthrough, though.
Piston. The Badassasaurus is a decent challenge/threat, but Piston himself a complete pushover, and deliberately so.
Professor Nakayama. To be fair, he does tell you over the ECHOnet that he's pretty scared and unprepared for you as you finish the story missions, but when you end up fighting him, he falls down the stairs, and you can easily shoot him as it happens. Or if you don't, he dies anyway from falling down the stairs. Largely averted with his secret weapon boss which you fight prior to him though.
Arguably the Warrior. Despite the incredible build up to a fight with the Warrior, if you have a fast-firing weapon that does enough damage, (preferably a powerful Jakobs assault rifle, as the Gatling Gun and Cannon variants are especially good) you can make the Warrior submerge into the lava with enough damage, before he can even attack once, especially on Solo. Or camping out with a decent Sniper Rifle and snipe its glowing chest plates from a far enough distance. This makes a normally incredibly difficult and climactic fight pathetically easy to the point where the Crystalisks are arguably more difficult than the Warrior itself. This is true even on True Vault Hunter Mode and the even harder Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode.
Parodied in the "Victims of the Vault Hunters" sidequest. Sparky Flynt, the son of Captain Flynt, gathers together six of the deadliest assassins in the galaxy to get revenge on the Vault Hunters. However, the Running Gag is that all of the assassins are already long dead by the time the player encounters them. Sparky himself ends up being the final boss of the questline, but as expected, he's a complete pushover.
Vermivorous the Invincible can put up a hell of a fight if you can get her to appear, but if you don't want to struggle through the process of actually killing her, you can cheat to cut straight to the looting process.
On Tundra Express, she can be ran over and killed instantly by trains if you lure her onto the tracks.
In Caustic Caverns, you can lure her into the giant doors between the mines and caverns, close them, and then reopen them to instantly kill her.
Anvilicious: In Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, Mr. Torgue wants to take part in the game, but Lilith is suspicious of him being a "fake geek," just in it because it's popular. The quest line ends with her realizing he shouldn't have to prove himself. This, of course, mirrors the problems some real-world female gamers claim to have had to deal with.
Anthony Burch: I've found the whole "fake geek girl" thing alternately interesting and depressing, so there's a quest about it in Tiny Tinas Assault on Dragon Keep. It's called "Fake Geek Guy," because my writing is about as subtle as a sledgehammer. To the face. Of your grandmother.
Best Boss Ever: The BNK3R. It's a huge target, has lots of health, and all of its attacks are highly telegraphed. This means you get to shoot things a lot but aren't in too much danger; the perfect Breather Boss to cap off the frantic level that came before it.
The mission where you rescue Roland from atop a dam. It's likely your first encounter with loaders, or else the first time en masse, and the pace is frantic but manageable, especially since there's bandits mixed in and not too many badass enemies. So you get to plow your way through loads of an entirely new enemy type with 5 crit spots that explodes when it dies (with awesome music in the background), and to top it all off, there's a satisfying (but difficult!) boss battle waiting at the end. Best of all is when you've got an Infinity to plow through everything.
Opportunity city. The enemies are tricky, but it contains some of the game's funniest writing, and has numerous missions in a small space, so lots of things happen while you're there without too much backtracking to bog it down and bore you. There's also a chance for a Giant Mook to spawn at the end of one of those quests, which makes for an epic closer. Not to mention the fact that it's one of the first opportunities to REALLY piss off Jack, which is extremely satisfying.
Lynchwood. While the difficulty almost lands it in That One Level territory if you're not expecting the dynamic Level Scaling, the atmosphere, layout, and pacing of this wild west-style dungeon make it VERY fun to play through. The Sheriff is extremely fun to fight against — she even considers you a Worthy Opponent. And the best thing about this is that her secret stash always opens, so you can restock fairly quickly once you get attacked by dozens of eager bandits trying to take advantage of the free power vacuum.
"Where Angels Fear to Tread" Part 1 is widely regarded as the funnest level in the game, beginning with a full-on assault on Control Core Angel with Loaders, Constructors, Hyperion Soldiers and a Badass Constructor, with ridiculous amounts of of loot chests along the way. After this trek up to Control Core Angel? A boss fight against the aforementioned Best Boss Ever. This then culminates in a fight for survival while Loaders constantly spawn in as you survive long enough to destroy Angel's Eridium injectors. And after all of this? Angel dies, Roland is killed by Jack and Lilith is captured.
On the DLC side, it's "Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep" which starts as the funniest Affectionate Parody to Tabletop RPG in an FPS Action RPG you ever imagine. It's also well written, and heart-touching in the end. It also happens to house some of the best weapons in the game.
Breather Boss: Mister Boney Pants Guy is the first "boss"note he has his own HP bar that takes up the upper part of the screen like the other bosses in the base game that you can actually kill in the Tiny Tina: Assault on Dragon Keep DLC, but he is smaller than the regular Skeletons you encountered early, and has relatively lower health than the Badass Skeletons. Killing him even grants you an achievement.
"The Once and Future Slab", Chapter 13 of the main story. The mission prior takes place in a brutal linear gauntlet full of Hyperion forces and the most annoying animal enemies in the game, with no shortcuts made for replay runs. It also has a boss that makes use of all elemental attacks and happens to be a mutated, brainwashed ally. This mission, on the other hand, involves a relatively fast run through a bandit camp to make contact with their leader who happens to be an ally in disguise. Much hilarity and Large Ham antics ensue, and The Thousand Cuts also happens to be the home of "Shoot This Guy in the Face". Funnily enough, the hidden Echo logs for the Vault Hunters also reflect this; the Wildlife Preserve has Maya's logs, which narrate her being manipulated by The Order for financial gain, culminating in her breaking the leash and going to Pandora to learn about Sirens. Handsome Jack is dead-serious on having Maya hunted. The Thousand Cuts has Salvador's logs, which tell a comical story about Salvador evading a mob execution thanks to a Hyperion invasion, and ends with him brutally crippling a Hyperion goon all Played for Laughs. Handsome Jack laughs off this tale and simply puts Salvador (as well as the other two vault hunters) on a bounty list.
"Toil and Trouble", Chapter 16 of the main story. The previous mission is a highly varied and brutal series of challenging objectives that introduces Hyperion's proper military force. It's also the most emotionally draining sequence in the entire game, for reasons covered in spoiler tags throughout the Borderlands pages. "Toil and Trouble," by contrast, is a good-old-fashioned shoot 'em up mission with tons of bandits and hilarious mission writing that actively requests that you complete the mission in the most Troperrific way possible. After what you've been through lately, it's a very welcome change of pace and return to the goofy bandit slaughter of the early game.
In the Dragon Keep campaign, the level Hatred's Shadow comes between the Marathon Level that is the Mines of Avarice, and the incredibly painful gauntlet known as the Lair of Agony. Hatred's Shadow involves fighting off Orcs and Knight-type enemies, both of them fairly tough, but not nearly as unfathomably resilient as the skeletons, and the level itself is relatively short. Even the Handsome Dragon is a pushover compared to the Sorcerer's Daughter.
One of the ECHOs you retrieve for Tannis during a quest has her talking about surviving an interrogation and how the people torturing her "killed" some chairs she grew to like. Perhaps because she's crazy to begin with, or due to the trauma from their interrogation techniques (aka beating her up), she mentions one of the chairs saying "I love you Patty", before its gets sat on by one of the torturers. She flat-out says earlier on that she is in an open relationship with both of them.
Averted with Moxxi and Innuendobot: at one point he apparently watched a romantic comedy and has become obsessed with her. Moxxi is rather put off by this (understandably, as she is technically his mother), and has you destroy him (which isn't as mean as it sounds, as she plans to just take his A.I core and rebuild him minus the creepy obessesion.)
In Sanctuary, you'll see a stand that sells ECHO tapes of "This Just In!", which is blatant Hyperion propaganda hosted by the irritating Propaganda Machine Hunter Hellquist, who always finds a way to spin your latest accomplishments into pro-Jack news. Late in the game, you get a sidequest to finally set the record straight. This means killing him. Hunter Hellquist is also a source of The Bee Shield, providing more reason to kill him over and over.
In general, players recommend bringing in any source of Slag whenever you play in Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode:
A slag Rubi is considered mandatory equipment by a lot of people. What character you are playing as doesn't matter, except for whether or not a bayonet attachment is mandatory as well. This is due to its red text effect: whatever damage you do (from any source) while holding the gun will heal you for 12% of the damage done, and if the gun is slag, then everything else is going to do more damage, meaning you get healed more as well.
And with Assault on Dragon Keep, there's the mission-specific Grog Nozzle. It does about a fifth of the damage that other level-equivalent pistols do, but with the caveat that 65% of all damage done to the slagged target of the Grog Nozzle heals the player. Suffice to say, Claptrap's not likely to get his wizard beard....
The Slagga, a legendary Bandit SMG that is dropped from the Hodunks, is considered compulsory equipment for Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode, as it reliably slags anyone, even more reliably than a Maliwan slag gun. Couple it with Bandit's characteristic massive magazine size and the increased power of slag in UVHM, and you have your new BFF for all classes.
The Magic Missile is another related entry as a grenade mod, given that it has the potential to throw multiple homing projectiles at a time, and automatically renews its ammo count over time.
And this goes along with the characters' Skills, since each playable class has at least one way to slag enemies without relying on gear (Gaige's Interspered Outburst, Maya's Ruin and Scorn, Axton's Double Up, Zer0's Death Bl0ss0m, etc...) Most character-specific UVHM guides are written in a way that you'll need those slag Skills for this mode, even if you have to respec from your accustomed build from Normal Mode or TVHM.
A Double Penetrating Unkempt Harold — a pistol that will effectively fire a staggering 14 explosive shots for the cost of 6 ammo — is also borderline mandatory equipment for every character as well. If even one bullet hits, the unlucky victim will take as much damage as if every bullet had hit. A Salvador that is properly specced for pistols Gunzerking with both a DPUH and a slag Rubi (or Grog Nozzle) can effortlessly kill any raid boss by himself. This build is known as "Pistol God".
Health gating. As long as you are over 50% of your max HP, you cannot die in one hit. By keeping your max HP in low number and damage high, you can easily heal at least 50% of your HP with every hit from a Grog Nozzle or Rubi, making you unkillable.
Zer0 can use any good repeater or revolver in conjunction with a Pistol-buffing class mod for a decent pistol build, but Maggie, a legendary Jakobs revolver, becomes a damage-dealing annihilator in his hands.
For Rocket Launchers, for those who have absolutely no way to get to the bosses that drop the Maliwan Norfleet, the Bandit Badaboom is the safer choice. It drops reliably from King Mong, found in the Eridium Blight, and only uses one rocket round per shot despite launching a salvo of rockets, as opposed to the Norfleet, which uses three. It's safe to say that this is one Bandit weapon worth using.
When it comes to manufacturer and weapon combinations, most would say that Jakobs Pistols, Dahl and Vladof Assault Rifles, Hyperion Shotguns, Maliwan and Dahl Submachine Guns, Jakobs, Vladof, or Maliwan Sniper Rifles, and Torgue or Vladof Rocket Launchers are the way to go (aside from the Norfleet and Badaboom). For E-tech weapons, most people agree that Submachine Guns and Rocket Launchers suffer the least consequences as a result of their unusual changes to their weapon strategies.
The game in a nutshell. You're on a death planet, either as a super-powered Siren, a psychopathic soldier who blew up the dignitary he was supposed to protect, a maniac that wields two guns and kills people for fun, a haiku-spouting cyber-ninja who-may-or-may-not be a robot, a teenage girl who lopped off her left arm to make summoning her floating killer robot easier, or a raving, insanity-spewing sadistic psycho who sets himself on fire for power. And you have to fight a bizarre, evil, and generally sociopathic organization with no regard for human life, a ton of maniacal, murderous bandits that occasionally spout movie quotes and recite lines from Hamlet, and the wildlife of said death planet. Helping you is a 13-year old that likes explosives a bit too much, a conniving, conning weapons dealer who explicitly says "No Refunds," a doctor without a medical license or morals, a man who likes to punch things to death, a drunken sniper, another incredibly powerful Siren, and a soldier who used to date said Siren. Oh, and you have to kill a god. Did we mention the midgets? because there are totally midgets in there, too.
Character-wise, Krieg, Salvador, Tiny Tina, Tannis, Gaige and Handsome Jack probably represent this trope the best.
With the wasteland setting that pulls less punches than it probably should there's a lot of this. Certainly the pirate involved in "child-schmafficking with some schmannibalism on the side" comes to mind.
"Kill Yourself". Handsome Jack will literally pay you to commit suicide for his own amusement.
Playing as Gaige can yield a lot of hilarious moments when you sit back and digest the implications. This is most obvious during Lucky's Wake, where the Hodunks tell a 18 year old girl to get drunk and shoot up a funeral.
Admittedly, most countries outside the US have a drinking age of 18. Its not outside the realm of possibility that Gaiges home-world has similar laws. Also, Pandora probably has no legal drinking age.
In the Wedding Day DLC, you're tasked with, in this order, kidnapping a baby, getting drunk (off of vintage whiskey), then dangle said baby over a mixing blade while shouting random things (ranging from hilariously bad insults to flat out swearing) to get it to cry. To make it more hilarious the one who suggested this quest, Ellie, actually wanted you to drop the baby in; it's a long story. Moxxi had to pull her back, saying that while the Vault Hunters have done some questionable things, there are certain lines you just don't cross. You can, of course, do all of this as Gaige, where the above implications makes you practically dance on the line.
Designated Villain: The only reason Anton Smith is trying to kill the Vault Hunters is because they're messing with his publicity stunt. In fact, he's actually trying to make Torgue look good by letting him be the one to kill Wattle Gobbler.
Difficulty Spike: The Arid Nexus/Badlands feature a substantial boost to all enemies' deadliness. Not coincidentally, this is when you start to meet Hyperion's professional troops and large numbers of SGT, WAR, JET, and Badass Loaders.
Tiny Tina and MISTER TORGUE seem to be the most popular characters with the fandom. In fact, part of the reason Mister Torgue's so popular is the fact that he instantly bonds and becomes friends with Tiny Tina.
Butt Stallion doesn't even appear on-screen, and the horse is hilariously popular. At least partially because people want to actually see what a living horse made of diamonds would actually look like. And during Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, fans get their wish.
The Sheriff of Lynchwood was popular enough with cosplayers and the fandom to be Promoted to Playable (as Nisha the Lawbringer) in the Pre-Sequel.
Gaige's Dad never actually appears in the game, only in Gaige's ECHO logs (which were online, not even in the game itself as Gaige was a DLC character), but everyone agrees he's the coolest father ever for bringing Gaige cocoa while she works, supporting her plans to "take that bitch down" after her rival ripped off her invention, helping her bust out of custody when she's arrested for Accidental Murder, and sabotaging the ship of an assassin sent to kill her in the Son of Crawmerax DLC. He's the dad every young adventurer girl would want.
Epileptic Trees: A common fan theory suggests that Krieg might be Tiny Tina's father. While there aren't any concrete evidences, it boiled down to the coincidence that Tiny Tina's father and Krieg are both experimented on by Hyperion, and that's basically the main common point. In fact, Hyperion is known to have done a lot of experiments on anything judging by the various ECHO logs you can collect. While another minor claim was that the slag experimentations could have just mutated his face and form just like what physically happened to Bloodwing. Afterwards, it was debated that various lines of Krieg might be referring to someone, particularly a female or a child. For example his lines like "Martyr for my little one..", "THE TINY ONE AND THE SAD-FACED MOTHER AND THE BLUE TATTOO FOREVER AND EVER!" (when Moxxi asks if Krieg had someone he loved), and "She can taste the bloody hatred!" (in the A Meat Bicycle Made for Two trailer) made fans believed that he has a unique connection to Tina. But nope, none of the game's writers confirmed any of these wild guesses, and a portion of the fandom believes that Jack has already killed Tina's parents long ago. This theory was finally Jossed when Anthony Burch later stated that both of Tina's parents are dead.
Esoteric Happy Ending: You kill Jack and The Warrior, and Lilith survives, but the vault key reveals that scores of other planets have vaults, each of which may well have its own Eldritch Abomination inside. There's also the problem of the bandits and monsters still being out there to pose a threat.
Even Better Sequel: The game takes everything that made the first Borderlands so great, and puts it on steroids. The enemies are bigger, the fights are tougher, the story is better and the ending is actually satisfying. The game mechanics for the character classes are just much more interesting and varied. The environments are more varied. Mission objectives are varied (for a given amount of "go here, kill stuff", it's surprisingly diverse). Enemy types are varied. Guns are much more diverse, with brand names having highly distinctive gimmicks between them. New characters are very well written, and returning characters are given new life through better writing. It's just better in every possible sense. The only thing most players agreed was a step down was playing solo as even in solo there are one hit kills and the game doesn't change the Fight-For-Your-Life mode to reflect the lack of other players.
Evil Is Cool: Handsome Jack is without question the most popular character in the series and is considered one of the best villains in modern gaming. This is thanks to his hysterical douchebaggery, unique personality, and a fantastic performance by Dameon Clarke.
For some inexplicable reason, fans are in agreement that Krieg's name before going insane is Craig.
While she's never actually seen using it, and it's Marshal Friedman in Sanctuary who gives it to you as a quest reward, the Sheriff is frequently depicted wielding the Law revolver as her primary weapon (though you can also get the Law from her as a Rare Random Drop, so it's not entirely out of nowhere).
This game treats Krieg's multiple personalities as Funny Schizophrenia. However, according to Borderlands 3's "Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck" DLC, Krieg has a massive inferiority complex and believes the Crimson Raiders all hate him. This may add a small layer of discomfort while playing as him, knowing that deep down he's likely judging himself through the entire game.
The Dragon Keep setting has a lot of character Expies, notably with Roland as the White Knight. In this case it's actually a front for Tina coping with losing Roland in the main story. Among the other ersatz character designs are Salvador as the dwarves and Maya as pixies. In Borderlands 3, Maya would also get killed in action.
Rats can be frustrating to fight for various reasons. First and foremost is their speed and twitchy movement patterns. The midget rats are the worst - they're not only fast and ridiculously accurate, but they're also really small targets that aren't burdened by a heavy shotgun or axe like their bandit counterparts.
Surveyors are a real pain to fight unless they're healing another enemy, since it's virtually impossible to hit them until they're flying directly at you and will probably get a shot off at you before you can drop them.
Rakk. They're very easy to kill, sure, but they almost never show up until you're already fighting something far more dangerous, leaving these things to dive-bomb you and thump you around and block your vision while keeping your shields from recharging. Worse if you're standing near any sort of cliff or a bridge without guard rails, the Rakk's attack is strong enough to knock you off most cliffs even if you're a reasonable distance from them (to say nothing of the aforementioned bridges).
Skags aren't particularly threatening, but they always attack in large packs to hound you from all sides, their weak points are tough to hit, and some of them can pelt you from long range with slowing attacks. They also have a chance of spawning with various elemental affinities (mostly fire and slag) which they can then grant to other skags nearby.
You will learn to hate bandit Technicals and Buzzards in The Dust, especially when you're out farming for certain legendary weapons.
Savage Hunters are probably the most frustrating breed of rank-and-file savage. They run if they see you coming and their javelins stun you when they connect.
Archers in the Tiny Tina DLC. Individual ones usually aren't a threat, but you will almost always run into groups of them. Unlike with bullets fired from guns, the arrows are hard to see if you're not watching the archer fire at you, and most of them wear a helmet which protects them against at least one headshot. They're extremely accurate as well compared to the gun-wielding mooks you're used to in the base game, so you should get used to strafing and jumping around to throw off their aim. Arrows can also stun, greatly lowering movement speed. They also come in Skeleton form, which means parts of their body resist ordinary gun damage!
Leaping off of that, enemies in general become this once you reach the dungeon level of the DLC, simply because there's so darn many of them you can face as many as 50 in a single room! , Especially if you haven't powerleveled (the DLC's level cap at 30 on normal mode) beforehand, because many of the skeleton types can put you in "fight for your life" with only a couple of hits!
For the Captain Scarlett DLC, we have the Sand Worms, which behave similarly to Threshers. However, the Sand Worms can spawn indefinitely if you stay long in a sandy area, and any attempts at killing them with your Sandskiff will also damage your ride. Other than that, you can encounter several of them at once in the small platform where you fight the Leviathan. Sure, they are there to help you with Second Winds should the Leviathan down you, but the Sand Worms can be more of an annoyance if you can't deal with them fast enough while also avoiding the Leviathan's attacks.
Goddamned Boss: BNK3R is a massive Damage-Sponge Boss that poses surprisingly little threat for its placement in the storyline. However, fighting it solo can be quite a chore as its arena has several places where you can fall off or get pushed off by BUL Loaders, and the constantly-spawning Loader enemies will eventually include an EXP Loader that can easily take you by surprise while you're focusing on the boss.
Harsher in Hindsight: During the course of the main game, Jack mentions several times that he will destroy Sanctuary and makes it a priority over everything else. While he doesn't live to see it, Sanctuary does indeed get destroyed at the end of Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary, the sendoff DLC for this game.
Hilarious in Hindsight: Tiny Tina's voice sounds rather similar to the (in)famous "Catch me outside" girl. Even better, that phrase would be completely in character for Tina to say.
It's Hard, So It Sucks!: Or this game's version of the Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode to be precise, due to the sheer increase in enemy stats rendering a lot of builds and equipment obsolete and forcing a fairly monotonous playstyle. Those who've played the UVHM of The Pre-Sequel first before 2 would be surprised that enemies have Regenerating Health, which can make fights longer than intended.
Quite a few characters, some of them being basic enemy types.
The Psychos aren't entirely aware that what they're doing is wrong. Comes off with a Fridge Horror if you think that some of them could be like Krieg (who has a sane personality). Among the named Psychos, Flesh-Stick has at least a sense of awareness in what he's doing. Before Tiny Tina killed him? Flesh-Stick says sorry for selling out her family. Lastly, the Midget Psychos being chained into the Nomads' shields implies that Psychos are being tortured by whom they are even known to be allied with.
Nomads just want you to fuck off, and sometimes prefer that you killed them so that they won't bother being with their fellow Bandits and Psychos anymore.
Most of the Loaders aren't even built for combat, a broadcast in Opportunity city even has Jack suggesting that Hyperion Engineers take the shot for them.
Hyperion Engineers are just trying to do their (very morally questionable and overly destructive) jobs, while you as the Vault Hunter raid their bases.
In one quest Tannis tells you the history of the Dahl Corporation's presence on Pandora while you push a minecart(long story). In it she notes that the bandits you see are not just the convict laborers that Dahl brought with them, but also scientists, workers, security and businessmen. When Dahl left the planet they just abandoned them, and the ones that did not get broken did not survive...
Despite being the main villain of the entire series, Handsome Jack has quite a large fan following. Some see him as an example of a Jerkass Woobie; despite his generally horrible attitude and utterly horrific oppression of Pandora and his own employees, his intentions were good at the start, and some consider his evilness only a result of circumstance, not of his own choice. There's a lot of back-and-forth arguing on this, as other fans consider his actions unforgivable and completely his choice after a certain point (a commonly cited moment from The Pre-Sequel was killing Gladstone and his fellow scientists because of the possibility of someone maybe being a mole, though others point out that years prior to the series he locked Angel up to get ahead in Hyperion as soon as her mother died, which of course we only have his word is Angel's fault).
Handsome Jack for his rather humorous-yet-dark taunting and questionable actions all throughout the game and offscreen, from start to finish. Add those with Dameon Clarke's amazing voice acting and portrayal of the character makes Handsome Jack be acknowledged as one of the best villains of all time, as detailed here. Admit it, even though you kill him by the end of this game, Jack has at least entertained you with his persona for hours all throughout your quest.
The Sheriff as well, as although she's a merciless, sadistic, puppy-murdering cowgirl, she enjoys fighting you, is very attractive and is popular enough that Anthony Burch said that he regretted killing her off.
"THE LAVA'S RISING, GET TO HIGH GROUND!"Explanation One of the most Narmy quotes that is also repeated a lot in the Final Boss fight against the Warrior is Lilith's warning every time the lava rises up from the stage to the point that it get's easily remembered by fans every time one brings up the fight scene, or when one gives the most memorable line from Lilith. As such it has also spawned several memetic photo and video edits mocking Lilith.
"Still Waiting for Borderlands 3"Explanation The fan catchphrase for around the 7 years gap between the release of Borderlands 2 (September 2012) and Borderlands 3 (September 2019). Although the release of The Pre-Sequel and Tales broke the hiatus, avid fans still waited for the actual mainline sequel. Now that this game has been released, no one is waiting anymore, thus the phrase becomes a Discredited Meme, though it still applied to the Steam release of 3 for six months.
Misaimed Fandom: Though created in 2 to be an absolutely murderous psycho, Handsome Jack rapidly became a fan favorite, and soon one of the most popular and well-liked characters of the entire franchise, much to Burch's frustration. The Pre-Sequel and Tales played into this to some extent, giving Jack a more likable attitude and more fleshing-out than in 2. That said, Tales ultimately reveals that Jack, even as a more pleasant-seeming AI, really hasn't changed and is just as bad as he was in 2.
Whether it was murdering Helena Pierce and Roland, turning Bloodwing into a monster that the player is forced to survive until Mordecai can sedate hernote which results in Jack detonating the collar he put on her, or his horrific treatment of Angel, Handsome Jack has definitely crossed the line in one way or another.
During the Clan War quest chain for Ellie, both Mick Zaford and Papa Hodunk / Tector cross it during their quest lines by hiring the Vault Hunters to do outright horrific things to the rival clans (burning people alive in their homes also killing innocent racers and massacring a family as they mourn the loss of a loved one). Even before that, the ECHO logs in the dust show that Papa and Mick did horrible things that turns a small problem into a brutal war - mainly, Papa Hodunk kidnapped some Zaford children and drowned them to death and Mick Zaford raped Papa's wife and may have ate her. By the end, you don't know if Mick, Papa, the Vault Hunters or Ellie have crossed the line. It really shows how something as simple as a bar tab and a bet over a stock race can make people monsters. Or maybe it's just Pandora.
The sounds that simultaneously play whenever Zer0's B0re skill procs across multiple targets (or hitboxes). As the sounds play like the bullets richochet from multiple directions at once, so does your damage rise, making it more satisfying to be able to kill multiple enemies with one shot. This becomes evident when you spec on a B0re build taking out the BNK3R.
This sound also plays during other events where a player's skill would deal more damage, but not as a critical hit (like Salvador's Money Shot).
Narm Charm: The Main Menu Theme can be a relaxing Awesome Music for its usage of the guitar, which reminds players that this is indeed a Space Western game... Until Claptrap is phased from out of nowhere, then speaking while the background music is still playing.
Claptrap: I gotta pee.
Paranoia Fuel: "Hyperion urges you to not think about the fact that your current body is only a digital copy of your original one, which died the first time you respawned. Don't think about it!"
Roland's death. Especially if you played as Roland in Borderlands 1, or if you were playing here as Axton, who shares some similar role and gameplay as him.
For Mordecai players, it was everything that happened to Bloodwing. That entire level is like a slow-turning knife in the guts, especially once you get the Hope Spot when Mordecai manages to tranq Bloodwing. And then Jack detonates her collar.
Helena Pierce's death, as heard in an ECHO recording. To underscore, instead of the usual post-mission quip upon turning the mission in, all you get is a poignant "Helena Pierce never made it to Sanctuary."
Polished Port: Unlike the original (which the two major issues were inability to change FOV and setting aim down sight to toggle instead of hold), Borderlands 2's PC version was absolutely decked◊ with options for the player's varied preferences, and pretty well-optimized for a 2012 title (though some settings are FPS killers for low-end machines, such as the PhysX settings and changing post-processing settings through .ini outside the game itself could made the game run better.)
Porting Disaster: The Playstation Vita version is a good example of everything that can go wrong when porting a console game to a handheld. The framerate tops out at a pitiful 20 FPS despite the graphics being downgraded to "late-era PS2" quality, the inventory text is almost unreadable due to not being scaled to the Vita's screen, crashes and freezes are common, and co-op mode only supports two players. Patches have since fixed the most egregious issues, but gamers looking to play the game on the go are better off buying the Legendary Collection for Nintendo Switch.
Claptraps were initially despised in the first game. Thankfully, this game tones down his (the one surviving unit) Annoying Video-Game Helper tendencies and he's given plenty of Take That, Scrappy! moments throughout the game that make players pity him.
A number of weapon types were given massive overhauls and buffs from the first game. The most basic and obvious examples being the Launchers, which pack far more firepower, Shotguns, which have been given a range/accuracy increase (especially the Hyperion ones), and the Pistols, which were merged with the Revolvers, allowing them to share the same pool of ammo, as well as being made more powerful in general.
The Scrappy: Most players side with the Zafords over the Hodunks at the end of the Clan War arc for a number of reasons:
The most practical of which being that siding with the Zafords offers far better weapons (a Difficult, but Awesome weapon from completing the sidequest and a beneficial gun, the Slagga, as a random drop from the Hodunk boss. While the Maggie dropped from the Zaford boss has its fans, absolutely nobody will defend the dumpster fire that is the Landscaper).
Players also find crashing the Zaford funeral to be in poor taste, a far more cruel act than setting the Hodunks' homes on fire, and find that the Hodunk's enthusiasm for incest to be unsettling.
The Hodunks also have a personal beef with the main quest givers, Scooter, Ellie, and Moxxie, and are heavily implied to be part of the bandits that constantly attack the player in The Dust. The Highlands, on the other hand, are completely free of bandit raiders, and the Zaford bar is adjacent to Overlook, which implies that some of its patrons and members are from that sorry town. Not helping matters is Tector Hodunk appearing in Tales from the Borderlands meaning that either the Hodunks won the clan war or Tector survived.
With the Mad Moxxi and the Wedding Day Massacre, this is averted, as both the Hodunks and Zafords are painted in an equally comically sociopathic light. Though this puts the canonicity of the Clan War arc into question, as both families are alive and well.
The DLC raid bosses originally could only be fought once a day. This restriction was later patched away.
The Badass Token, for only adding increments of one percent or below stat boosts for each token redeemed, invoking some tedious Stat Grinding as well.
The Golden Keys. Only obtainable by registering real-life codes into the game, and once that code is used up, those keys cannot be reobtained, ever. Not even a hard reset can bring them back, and the golden keys are basically Loot Boxes in every way but real-life expenses.
The changes in Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode. Enemies can now regenerate health over time, and are generally more resistant to damage. Their levels will always match the levels of the player who has the highest level of the bunch, creating some serious compatibility issues between players (though luckily, missions and item drops are similarly made to scale). The effects of slag, by contrast, is increased threefold, which increases target damage significantly. Suffice to say, this creates a lot of reliance on slag; if it isn't slagged, it's too tough to take down. This also makes being slagged a death sentence, making items like the Chulainn not worth using in spite of its incredible dual-element capabilities. In short, the game is now so difficult and so reliant on one mechanic that it's enough to rub people the wrong way.
Gaige's "Interspersed Outburst" skill is treated as a separate damage instance different from your currently-equipped weapon, which makes farming the weapon-specific Badass Rank (BAR) challenges for Badass Tokens more difficult that intended. If you've managed to kill an enemy with the Outburst skill's digisplosion effect first before any other bullet, that kill won't be counted towards the weapon challenge. If you even try to farm said BAR challenges on lower difficulties with a high-levelled Gaige, that would be difficult as the Outburst can One-Hit Kill the targets first. Because of this skill's bugged interaction, Gaige players have since then opted into removing points from Interspersed Outburst whenever they attempt to farm any weapon-specific Badass Rank challenges.
Take this video guide for example, that lists 10 of the worst or "scrappy" skills in the game that players should not spec into, especially in harder difficulties:
Axton's "Duty Calls" - The buffs only work on non-elemental weapons, in a game wherein elemental damage types deal higher damage outputs than non-elementals. Besides, there are so few end-game Jakobs weapons that could benefit from this.
Salvador's "I'm Ready Already" - It provides up to 25% cooldown reduction to Gunzerking. But there are two other skills that reduce the Action Skill cooldown such as "Get Some" and "Yippie Ki Yay". And if you could kill enemies fast enough, these two skills make the flat 25% reduction obsolete.
Zer0's "Unf0rseen" - While it makes your decoy explode with a shock damage, it only comes in handy against melee enemies, and other ranged enemies might not even bother to attack the decoy. Other than that, shock damage only works against shielded enemies, and not enough to deal with other enemy types. It's not even capable of slagging your enemies, which is a needed element in UVHM.
Maya's "Backdraft" - It adds fire damage to Maya's melee attack and adds a fire nova explosion. Problem is, Maya doesn't have a melee-centric skill tree nor gameplay style. It's just better off leaving the melee roles to other Zer0 or Krieg players since they can do the job of killing enemies with melee than Maya.
"Zer0's "Kill C0nfirmed" - Your critical bonuses get improved the longer you aim down the sights. However, aiming down the sights slows down your movement speed and tightens your point of view. It also takes quite a while to build up stacks.
Krieg's "Bloody Revival" - You deal more in Fight for your Life state when using assault rifles. These two conditions are completely niche and situational enough, as it would limit your gun usage when downed. Not to mention that the "Light the Fuse" skill would replace Krieg's Fight for your Life state, making this completely useless when both skills are spec'd into.
Axton's "Laser Sight" - Your turret can have up to 50% increased accuracy. But this skill alone doesn't fix two of the turrets problems - It has a quite short duration and its turn speed is too slow, consequently making it too slow to seek any targets.
Krieg's "Fuel the Rampage" - This skill is only beneficial when playing solo, as you could rampage more often when enemies damage you thanks to it giving Cooldown Manipulation. But it has quite a negative drawback of enabling Friendly Fire, which means your teammates can now potentially damage a Krieg player who spec'd on this skill. As such, people won't spec into this in multiplayer, otherwise the Krieg player would be downed more often if the teammates use quite a number of area-of-effect / damage-over time abilities and weapons. Not to mention the fact that you could be harassed by Griefers who would shoot the Krieg player down just to frustrate them.
Gaige's "One Two Boom" - Deathtrap can shoot a large electric sphere that explodes on a wide radius only when you shoot at it. Problem is, you really can't control when Deathtrap uses this and you must rely on the AI, he takes quite a long while to charge it every time and the sphere also travels very slow.
Krieg's "Hellfire Halitosis" - It overrides your melee attack with Krieg breathing fire on the nearby enemy. But looking at Krieg's other skills, there are more ways to lit enemies on fire, even from afar. Again, much like the reception to Zer0's "Unf0rseen", this skill could have been more useful in UVHM if it deals slag damage than fire.
Self-Imposed Challenge: Players have made plenty of this. There's some of the common challenges such as one-life runs and melee only runs. Notably, there are challenges that are unique for the game such as:
Non-Badass Run: Disabling the Badass Rank percentage bonuses that your profile has accumulated from completed challenges. As the bonuses make all of your characters much stronger than when you first started, subsequently making the game easier, players disable them to experience the actual difficulty being presented.
Allegiance Run: Use items from one specific manufacturer only. So if you decided to use items from Hyperion only, you can only use Hyperion items. There's two sub-types of Allegiance Run: Casual, which allows the usage of items manufactured by Anshin, Pangolin (both are shield only manufacturers) and Eridian (they only made relics); and Absolute, where you're banned from using items from Anshin, Pangolin, and Eridian (aside from, sometimes, their manufacturer's Allegiance relic).
Scavenger Run: If an enemy drops an item, the player must replace the currently equipped item with whatever item that they dropped. If a player founds a chest or a boss drops multiple items, the player can pick one item that they like the most from whatever loot was found on the chest/dropped by the boss.
Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: The slot machines in Sanctuary, especially if you're running 2-player co-op. Go to town, turn in quests, spend the next hour wasting time and money on the slot machine, hoping for some rare gear to keep.
So Okay, It's Average: Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt is widely agreed to be the weakest of the DLCs. It's short, and filled with frustrating gameplay elements like large circular area waypoints, Demonic Spiders, some of the weakest unique weapons of any DLC, and minimal Fast Travel stations coupled with wide, large maps. On the other hand, Nakayama's voice acting is wonderful and the swampy climate is as fresh as the forest and swamps setting of the first Borderlands DLC Dr. Ned's Zombie Island.
Special Effect Failure: While all of the user interface, heads-up display and menus are rendered in-game this time around to prove that the ECHOnet device is indeed a Diegetic Interface, the idea of rendering menus in-game can be rather wonky at times when it would include other visual artifacts on the screen such as nova shield explosions. The most egregious cases include Deathtrap covering a large part of the screen◊ or Krieg covering the entire right side◊ due to his large size. Sure, one can just simply drag the mouse around to adjust the models, but it is still cumbersome to do an extra step just to have a comfortable view of the interface.
Stoic Woobie: Moxxi. She straight up admits at one point all her sexual banter is coping mechanism, and when you tell her Roland is dead, she's very clearly Trying Not to Cry.
"Stop Having Fun" Guys: While you can indeed finish the Normal and True Vault Hunter modes by relying only on a single skill tree, the Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode could shake up your playstyle due to the generally increased difficulty, level scaling, enemy health regeneration, and a reliance on the slag mechanics. And with a finite amount of skill points, it takes quite a while to make the most optimal build on this mode, as you'll need a way to regenerate health and slag your enemies, especially if you are playing alone. Players have since then made guides on what is needed for UVHM, specifically the character skills being tiered to "must have" or "worst" skills. This video in particular lists 10 of the worst or useless skills in this game, that even says players should not spec on these because they are overshadowed by better skills.
Surprisingly Improved Sequel: While the first Borderlands was an excellent game in itself, Borderlands 2 seemingly goes out of its way to just be a better game in any way it can. A few specific points:
Far less backtracking; though it exists, it's spread out over a wider area, often opens up new areas for the player to visit, and you usually don't have more than two missions in a spot. The DLC maps also have fast travel points.
The environments are more diverse, with locales ranging from snowy tundras to green hills and city scapes, a far cry from the constant grey deserts. The DLC maps provide even more themes.
Weapon types and weapon manufacturers have much more of an identity, making their perks and differences far more notable. Weapons in general have been given more intuitive buffs.
The writing is more consistent in tone and style, and the plot is conveyed much better to the player by virtue of not putting most of it in the "mission complete" window.
On the DLC side, "Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep" is this for Borderlands 2 and all of its previous DLCs because of it being an Affectionate Parody on Tabletop RPG that was ended in a heartfelt last goodbye to Roland after Tiny Tina accepts his passing. That, plus it opens the floodgates for more weapon farming.
Likewise, there are those who view the DLCs to be better than the base game because of a feature introduced post-launch - That is, your playable characters have unique dialogues when interacting with NPCs or objects, making them more connected to the story. This is something that gets passed along in The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 3, as the characters have scripted dialogues in the main stories themselves.
That One Achievement: "Challenge Accepted" is an achievement/trophy that requires you to finish at least the first level of every non-location-specific challenge from the base game. The problem with it is that you can't start completing some challenges until you've progressed in others- for example, to start on the "Kill enemies from long range with shotguns" challenge, you must first kill 750 enemies up close with a shotgun (However, the game tracks that one anyway, and you'll likely complete it by the time you unlock it)- and one of the challenges is to kill an enemy that rarely spawns, as mentioned in Last Lousy Point. It can be pretty frustrating at times. With the added Prestige mechanic (that allows you to reset the Challenge progress of a character from scratch for grinding Badass Tokens again) after completing 85% of all challenges, this can leave players in a dilemma where they would choose whether to retain their challenge progress as-is for this achievement, or reset for more chances at grinding permanent Badass bonuses. Among the non-level specific challenges required includes reviving a fallen teammate once, trading once, and winning a duel once. This requires interaction with a second player that can be cheesed with a second controller and profile creation on a console, but requires playing with registered friends on Steam.
Though Maya came to Pandora to learn more about Sirens, there is no development or interaction between her and Lilith, or between Maya, Lilith, and Angel. Which is odd, considering that only six Sirens can exist in the universe at any given time; you'd think that they would at least take some time to chat or get some unique dialogue. Similarly, Roland and Axton have similar histories and fighting styles, but they also get no unique dialogue to acknowledge this.
In general, despite each of the Vault Hunters having their own distinct identities and backstories, they don't interact with the story or get any dialogue whatsoever outside of combat, through ECHOs that can be found on different maps detailing how they got to Pandora or standing around long enough for them to comment how bored they are doing nothing. It isn't until later DLC that they interact with other characters or are even acknowledged individually.
Michael Mamaril is a tribute to a fan of the same name who passed away, and his in-game persona is said to be a Vault Hunter much like the player. However, you only ever see him hanging around Sanctuary, and he isn't involved in any missions whatsoever, when he could easily be assisting you like the previous game's Vault Hunters do.
Troperiffic: Two examples that are not the game itself:
Anarchy is the skill version of this. A good amount of Gaige's tropes relate to her Anarchy stacks and how many she has.
Toil and Trouble is the quest version. The game even suggests you do it in the most trope filled way possible, including an optional Unflinching Walk objective.
Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep is a whole campaign's trove of this.
Dukino the skag. The "chubby" variants of enemies can also fall into this.
The Stumpy enemies of Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep are basically midget versions of the much larger treant enemies. With their small limbs and short stature, they quite move slowly and are hardly a threat. They'll attack you if you're close enough to them but will mostly move around in seemingly inoffensive random directions than charging at you, making them seem rather adorable with their long roots coming from the top of their heads resembling long strands of hair with blue-glowing eyes underneath.
Claptrap. He is universally despised, yet wants to be accepted. During the mission "Claptrap's Birthday Bash", nobody except for the player shows up for his birthday party. Another mission in Hammerlock's DLC has the player look for another functioning Claptrap unit. Said unit was eaten by a Skag. After you make the skag hork it up, Claptrap finds out that the unit is long dead. And then the corpse explodes for no apparent reason other than to rub more salt in the wound.
More traditionally, Angel. Once the character's backstory is known, you will despise Handsome Jack if you didn't already. Made worse in 3, thanks to a sidequest titled Childhood's End, detailing Angel's first experience with her powers.
As of her DLC Tiny Tina cements her place here. The entire Assault on Dragon's Keep is gradually revealed to be born out of her attempts to deal with everything bad that happens over the course of the main game. It's like looking into the mind of someone with PTSD, because... it is.
Mordecai's anguished reaction to watching Bloodwing die will make you feel sorry for him and hate Jack even more, and it's no wonder he sends you on a sidequest to fetch him some booze. It doesn't help that he also has to cope with Roland's death shortly after that. As if that weren't enough, he gets infected with the flower virus in Fight for Sanctuary (he gets better at the end).
Gaige, based on her backstory: basically, she was bullied by Marcie Holloway, who even stole her robot plans for the science fair, which made Gaige mad enough to shove her into her robot, which malfunctioned and killed her. Despite it being an accident everyone blamed Gaige for her death and her father helped her go on the lam (a reasonable attitude given almost all of the "cops" in universe are really just amoral stooges of the various Mega-Corp s.) It's pretty amazing she has managed to survive at all, let alone be so upbeat all the time.