Words can’t exactly explain how excited I am for Borderlands 2, out next week. The original is one of my favorite of all times, a game that allowed split screen co-op in an age where that was increasingly frowned upon.
I played through it a half dozen times with different characters on different difficulties, enough to recognize some of its flaws. Yes, the sequel looks to improve on the original game in many ways, but there are a few points I want to make sure they don’t miss.
It’s cool to hate on Diablo 3 these days, but there are some things that game does that Borderlands would be wise to remember. Though B2 wants to be better than both its predecessor and D3, they should keep these items in mind.
Scale Difficulty Better with Party Size
F*** this guy.
For the most part, difficulty scaling wasn’t terrible in Borderlands, with the exception of the super late game DLC addition in General Knox’s armory. Crawmerax the Invincible was a really cool boss concept. It was one-uber creature that was super hard to kill, and as such, would drop the best loot. Unfortunately, the only plausible way to kill him was to get a team of four high level players together. Trying to solo or duo him was downright impossible unless you had the most godly gear, and if you did, you didn’t even need to get the sort of loot he dropped. Even after spending hundreds of hours in the game, I never did end up beating him, and that’s a frustrating experience for a big fan of the game like myself. You can solo Diablo by yourself, and the same should be true of even the toughest bosses of Borderlands. It should still be hard, but it at least still should be possible for many players.
Weapons Aren’t the Only Cool Pieces of Equipment
New pants! +10 to ass.
Borderlands 2 promises guns, guns and more guns. That’s all well and good as the focus of the game, but I think they could learn a thing or two from Diablo’s gear system. Yes, weapons are important, but why can’t we have cool pieces of chest armor, boots or shoulder pads we could find that help boost our character’s stats? Class artifacts and mods are an okay start, but they wouldn’t really need to exist if different types of gear was available. Finding new weapons is cool, but gearing your character in other equipment is fun too. I understand Borderlands has some appearance customization tools this time around, but it’s still not what I’m talking about in terms of actual loot.
Enemies Themselves Should Drop Good Loot
Someone is very good at neatly organizing chests on Pandora.
This was one of the biggest problems for me with the original Borderlands. After level 30 or so, enemies simply never, ever dropped any good loot. At all. Rather, the best items were to ONLY be found in one particular type of chests, and even boss battles left you hanging, giving you usually one “unique” weapon that was half as good as what you were using. Diablo 3 may have the opposite problem where chests are worthless, but their idea of getting increased magic find as you do a run of a level killing powerful enemies is a good one, and getting good loot from tough monsters is the most fun aspect of that game. Borderlands should give us good loot from both chests and enemies, not just one or the other.
Make Money Worth Something
Yayyy, bullets to last me the next two missions.
What did you use money for Borderlands? Not a whole hell of a lot. It allowed you to restock on ammo annnnd…I honestly can’t think of anything else. All the guns sold in the vending machine stores were generally pretty terrible. There was little reason to actually collect cash, and as such, money drops seemed worthless. Diablo’s solution to this is the Auction House. No, no, no, I don’t want them to do that. But the point is that gold in Diablo is indeed worth something. Rather, I think the solution is increasingly the quality of items in the shops so they’re actually worth buying. Or you could purchase upgrades for your vehicles or something of that nature. Just so long as there’s something you can use money for other than just refilling your bullets, which seems unproductive.
Let the Characters Speak
But why do you like to punch so much Brick?
Diablo 3 has an incredibly lackluster story to be sure, but in it the central characters are at least allowed to speak. Contrast this to Borderlands where practically the only time you heard your character say anything was yelling “WOO HOO!” as they blew some bandit’s head off. It goes without saying that Borderlands 2 needs to improve in the story department, but giving the main characters actual lines will tie players to them more, and help foster an engaging story when it seems like your hero actually has a brain.