TLDR: I loved Borderlands two and I’m going to start a replay with a different character, which i almost never do.

I had fun with Borderlands 1, but was basically pushing through by the end trying not to fall asleep.

B2, on the other hand, I was very engaged in the entire ride through, although it seemed well balanced and the game ended when it should, even including the side quests.

Improvements -

The writing! I think I heard a reference to Anthony Burch writing in Borderlands 2 from hey ass. Whatcha playing episode, and he got some award?

Experience tiers, which I didn’t initially like because it wasn’t explained, but basically the quests are more important than farming enemies for experience, so you get much more engaged with the stories because you’re following quests instead of trying to kill enough boring enemies in the same way to get high enough of a level to destroy future enemies.

In any case, the writing that I did like in Borderlands 1, was perfect in 2. Not too long, always funny, always engaging, every character very well defined, which brings me to my next point:

The voice acting was hilarious and perfect, again, very well defined and idiosyncratic for every character, just so much fun to listen to. Every time handsome Jack pops up. It’s fun to listen to him be an a******.

The quests were so much more satisfying. At the end of the first game, I was basically just following marker to marker without caring what anybody said or what was written down just tapping through to the next wavepoint until the quest was finished.

In Borderlands 2, Even if I accidentally clicked through the introduction to the quest, I would go back and make sure to read because I know that the paragraph introducing and explaining the quest is funny and that the quest is going to be rescuing lab experiments and I have to find a particular valve or putting together a treasure map with a weird lure, rather than just find the bigger bad guy punch him to death.

Driving was huge - I was not into driving in Borderlands 1 and got really bored and irritated every time I had to drive. I felt like the aiming system was complete dog s***, and it was just not very fun to drive around in general, like the handling was terrible.

I loved driving around the Borderlands too and was actively bummed out whenever. I didn’t get a car, but it made perfect sense and they used the car just enough so that the game wasn’t too easy. But you could still boost and race around however you wanted, or chase down a beer van. So much fun driving, such a huge improvement from the first game.

Larger levels with more interesting landscapes in them, each level felt much more unique than the entire The first game to me, like each area had its own style to a degree I hadn’t seen before.

I can’t remember a single place from the first game, but I’m going to remember the different style of the underground bug. Bunker and the dust and all these other places that had an impact on the personality of the game.

Lastly, art is more efficient, not as many bold lines emphasizing the comic book quality, which is carried through more by the personality of the game instead of by the specific art.

    • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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      7 days ago

      I was blown away by the improvements over Borderlands 1, I wouldn’t think you could improve every aspect as significantly as they did without feeling disordered, but every aspect worked together to make this game play like a violin.

      It was a very impressive sequel, I think the best sequel I’ve ever played, at least off the top of my head

  • Deconceptualist@lemm.ee
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    7 days ago

    I thought the weapons were a big step down in BL2. I swear 50% of the guns I found were gimmicks (e.g. throw it as a grenade to reload) but not actually all that effective.

    Torgue weapons were especially bad. Yeah I know everyone loves Mr. Torgue and explosions are fun, but those guns are so inaccurate they can’t hit anything >2 meters away. I’d take a weapon that can reliably hit a target any day.

    The devs also got rid of the Atlas and S&S brands from BL1. Those were almost always my pick unless so it was a real letdown to see them missing in BL2.

    • ArxCyberwolf@lemmy.ca
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      6 days ago

      Torgue weapons also can’t get critical hits, which really lowers their potential damage output. I never use Torgue unless it’s something like the Unkempt Harold. Especially frustrating are weapons with Torgue barrels that shoot these terrible grenades or rockets that (again) can’t crit. What good is a Jakobs rifle with a Torgue barrel over literally any other barrel?

      • ryathal@sh.itjust.works
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        6 days ago

        The ability to do aoe damage is a pretty good bonus, but the bullet speed was so awful it rarely helped. Also there weren’t many areas where torque weapons aoe was better than just throwing a grenade or usinga rocket launcher. The ammo costs for rockets were also absurd.

    • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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      Oh interesting I dug the weapons “upgrades”, as they were presented.

      The elemental effects and restore effects were much more balanced than 1 for me.

      I do think the grenade to reload was a bad mechanic(because I blew myself up with the rocket launcher 20 times…funny every time), but I can’t call it a gimmick since I don’t know any other games that had that mechanic.

      • Deconceptualist@lemm.ee
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        I remember enjoying the elemental guns (Maliwan) a lot in both BL1 and BL2. It’s a shame it took till the Pre-Sequel to add ice!

        I’d argue the throw-to-reload mechanic isn’t in other games because it’s a gimmick.

        The other letdowns in BL2 were A) the Hyperion “reverse kick” guns that were only accurate after you emptied most of the magazine, and B) the 3-barrel Gattling guns with magazines that were way too small to be worth spinning up. I swear these together were 25% of my pickups and just a waste of time. It feels bad to die while you’re actively holding the trigger right in the baddie’s face.

        Many of the legendary guns and unique grenade effects were pretty fun in BL2 though. Those were both solid improvements.

  • Chozo@fedia.io
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    7 days ago

    If you haven’t already, you should also give the DLCs a try. Each of them are really good, though the Tiny Tina DLC is easily the best of them.

    • tonylowe@lemmy.sdf.org
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      7 days ago

      Yes! I was hoping someone would mention the Tiny Tina DnD campaign. Tiny Tina is my favorite in general, but that DLC made me appreciate her character in subsequent play throughs even more. Her laugh kills me.

    • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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      7 days ago

      Okay rad, thanks. I don’t usually do DLCs either, but this was so much fun that I’m willing to give them a shot.

      • A_Union_of_Kobolds@lemmy.world
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        7 days ago

        Oh they’re fantastic. Tiny Tina’s and Torgue’s especially. Oh man, and the Mechromancer and Krieg!

        BL2 is one of my all time favorite games, like many others here. It’s nearly perfect.

        • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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          7 days ago

          Haha, oh that’s awesome.

          Thanks.

          Let’s go nitpick.

          I can literally only pick out one systematic problem of BL2, which is every now and then I would pursue a side quest that cannot be actionable unless a previous quest is activated, but there’s no indication that the previous quest has to be activated.

          So I wasted hours, because the game is so captivating, running around in circles jumping on top of houses that shouldn’t be jumped on to activate part of the map that shouldn’t be activated because there was no indication that I was doing the wrong thing because the quest told me to go there when in fact it was a different quest.

          What’s yours?

          • A_Union_of_Kobolds@lemmy.world
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            7 days ago

            Two (well, three) things later games improved on, for all their faults: slag and the map. 3 removed the former and vastly improved the latter, as well as the split screen menus being actually legible. Slag was really just a damage gate that felt obligatory on everything endgame, and the map became 3D and much easier to parse quickly.

            I’d forgotten about those kinds of issues with following some quests, that was definitely irritating too

            Still, I love BL2

            • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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              That’s so funny, I assumed slag wouldn’t work on bosses and never tried the whole way through.

              Haha, I guess that would have made it easier.

              • A_Union_of_Kobolds@lemmy.world
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                Yeah, once you’re on your second and third playthroughs of New Game + it’s obligatory for everything gig. You’ll want a good slag weapon to swap to constantly. Which is very irritating with only 4 slots, it becomes harder to cover all your bases.

                • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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                  6 days ago

                  Okay, that’s good to know, thanks.

                  I’ve switched to the siren and I’m just using a sniper rifle right now, but I’ll keep that in mind for when I start getting my ass kicked.

  • Drusas@kbin.run
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    I preferred the more subtle humor of the first game, along with the weapons and characters. The only thing I really preferred from the second was auto-pickup of money, which was a huge QOL upgrade.

    I think I have fully completed the first one four times. Maybe five?

    • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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      Huh, I had the opposite reaction.

      I enjoyed the jokes in 1, but the subtle humor specifically was so constant in 2 throughout that I paid much closer attention to the mission details, voice acting and pretty much the whole game from start to finish so I wouldn’t miss any asides, references or muttered grumbles.

      Definitely agree on qol, auto-pickup of ammo/cash was a good move.

      • zaphod@sopuli.xyz
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        5 days ago

        In Borderlands 1 very few NPCs speak, you have to read stuff. In Borderlands 2 everyone is constantly talking, never shutting up. I like both games, but Borderlands 2 can be a bit much sometimes compared to the first game, almost feels flanderised, but I think that actually started in the Borderlands 1 DLCs.

        • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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          Maybe, I haven’t played any of the DLCs and remember a lot of talking in bl1 also.

          I kind of wished for a way to turn off the character spoken dialogue every time I used my action skill in bl1.

          I played as the assassin in 2, and at least he was quiet.

          Great points, I’m kind of curious to go back and give BL1 another shot in a couple months or something and take all of these into account.

    • Nima@leminal.space
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      7 days ago

      i disagree. i think people come down way too hard on BL3. it does suffer in a few writing areas, but the game is an absolute blast.

      i am a huge fan of borderlands and BL3 is a good game. at least try it.

      • rbesfe@lemmy.ca
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        7 days ago

        BL3 is good gameplay-wise, but the awful writing just kept pulling me out of it. If I wanted a meaningless looter-shooter I would go play Destiny.

        • Nima@leminal.space
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          7 days ago

          i am sorry that was your experience, but mine wasn’t quite that terrible. i had a lot of fun with the goofiness. I hate some characters, but i love others.

          I had such a fun time with the single player campaign and i absolutely love DLC. and multiplayer is always amazing.

          just two different experiences.

        • conciselyverbose@sh.itjust.works
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          5 days ago

          I don’t even need mediocre (let alone good) writing in games, for the most part. I can ignore it and not care.

          But Borderlands 3 is just sniffing their own farts so bad I can’t stomach it. Kind of liked Tiny Tina though.

      • fjordbasa@lemmy.world
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        7 days ago

        Personally, I found the villains to be obnoxious. Handsome Jack had that great “love to hate” quality, whereas BL3’s villains are just annoying. Overall I just found the story and writing in general to be not nearly as entertaining.

        • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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          7 days ago

          Dang, That’s exactly what I liked about BL2 and didn’t like about BL1. Handsome Jack, definitely nailed it, like I cannot imagine the writing, characterization, anything being better than that specific plot in the game it was in.

        • bionicjoey@lemmy.ca
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          7 days ago

          I think they recovered from this a bit in the new Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands game. Will Arnett does a great job as the BBEG. Who would have thought a disgraced member of the magician’s alliance would make such a good dark wizard?

          • tiredofsametab@kbin.run
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            7 days ago

            I ran into a number of bugs in that game and got frustrated (I can’t recall what exactly, anymore). It’s the only one where I didn’t roll another character to play though again in a different playstyle. It’s great they did it mostly remotely during covid, but that they couldn’t be arsed to fix the bugs left a bad taste in my mouth.

        • NoIWontPickAName@kbin.earth
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          7 days ago

          I loved the commentary on Social Media culture and its ability to mindwipe people into mindless followers who don’t question what they are told.

          Don’t forget to like, subscribe, and obey!

      • moreeni@lemm.ee
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        7 days ago

        The writing is very mediocre. It’s a decent game with better graphics and more gun variety, but dialogues are so bad they annoy people to the point of losing any desire to play further.

        • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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          Oh dinger, The writing is probably the most improved aspect of BL2, it elevates every other part of the game.

          Okay, thanks.

          I might still check it out, but it’s good to have realistic expectations.

        • tiredofsametab@kbin.run
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          7 days ago

          The writing but also the direction; there was apparently a lot of work by the writers that got cut leading to some of the mess that’s there today.

        • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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          7 days ago

          Man, I remember hearing about borderlands 3 bragging about how many guns they had when the game was coming out, and I was like oh man what a bad idea.

          So it’s gratifying to know that it was a terrible idea, because they already had too many guns with too little differentiation.

          And the writing is so good in two, and the delivery is so good in two, that if they are not matching that, then they shouldn’t try to make another sequel.

          That’s sad. Not having played BL3 yet, it’ll be hilarious if I play it and disagree with everybody, although obviously I doubt it.

      • Shialac@lemmy.world
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        7 days ago

        To me BL3 was waaaaaay overbloated with content, but lacking in writing. There is so much to do, but I didnt care about most of it. Some of the DLCs are decent

        • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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          7 days ago

          Dang. Thanks the writing on 2 really changed m mind on the whole series, I was going to give it a 15-minute check, but then it hooked me and then I started paying attention and realized the writing was phenomenal.

          I don’t think too much blame can be attributed to the production team for writing. Specifically, I think that’s a very mercurial recipe

          • SacralPlexus@lemmy.world
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            7 days ago

            In my experience BL2 is the peak of the series because the writing is so good. Pre-Sequel, BL3 have some improved gameplay mechanics but the writing is so bad in comparison that they are forgettable. BL2 is top tier.

            • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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              Dang, That’s interesting, because I couldn’t imagine better gameplay mechanic, but I know that better writing is impossible without lightning in a bottle.

              The writing really was at the top of my list because it blew me away.

              And I want to specifically mention the voice actors as well, they f****** killed this game.

              Thanks, I appreciate it

              • SacralPlexus@lemmy.world
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                7 days ago

                The gameplay stuff (iirc) was pretty trivial things like better storage of guns, etc. Really nothing big. Since you’re so into BL2 I want to second what others said about the DLC - all of them are worth your time I believe but Torgue is fantastic and save Tiny Tina for last.

                • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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                  That’s great to hear. I’ll take a break because I went through one and two within 10 days or so, but I’m definitely going to bear this in mind when I regain the gusto.

                  Thanks.

    • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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      7 days ago

      Good to know, Im pretty surprised I want to replay Borderlands 2 at all since I almost never do replays, but I’m definitely going to give it a whirl.

      The only other sort of recent game I replayed was outer worlds

  • ryathal@sh.itjust.works
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    6 days ago

    Two has better polish, but I think it’s pretty inferior on the technical side. You rarely get good random drops in 2 and the level scaling was awful. One was clearly a lower budget experimental title, but the gameplay loop was tighter and more satisfying than 2.

    • RealFunAtParties@lemmy.world
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      Yeah this was my experience too. Despite there being “billions of guns”, I rarely found much variety in viable options. I would never get excited about greens dropping; even blues were often ‘meh’ in TVHM. There seemed to be tighter bounds on weapon stats so there really was not much to be excited for in moment-to-moment drops.

      This is all besides the observation that some manufacturers tended to be a lot worse than others. Jakobs & Maliwan were leagues ahead of Dahl & Bandit guns, regardless of my character & skills invested in. The other ones fell somewhere in the middle. The few exceptions were unique weapons but those tended to have specific conditions to get which would be the same every playthrough, guaranteed.

      As you said, the scaling was worse, which really exacerbated the drop quality problem. It only got worse at higher levels where the number differences in gear from level to level got massive; even if you found something really good, you would need to trade it out soon.

      I remember in BL1, there was this one bandit who kept shredding me, like he killed me several times. I was excited to bring him down so I could get his gun (another mechanic I missed from the first game). When I finally did, I was too low level but also was surprised to find it was only green rarity. When I was able to use it though… damn. This thing chewed through ANYTHING and fast, and my SMG ammo just as fast. 😂 The best part was that I got to use it for a long time before it was outclassed.

      I liked BL2 and think it had more interesting enemies, areas, and the story was more engaging. I just wish that since it’s a “Looter Shooter”, that the “Looter” part of it was more exciting.

      TLDR; Yeah.

    • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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      I didn’t notice much difference in drop rate, I regularly picked up slightly improved weapons as I went through both games.

      I much prefer the story-based experience of 2 to the static farming of 1 and most other games, but I was very confused and frustrated by the scaled low experience received from weaker enemies until halfway through the game because it’s a relatively innovative mechanic that is never introduced or explained.

      If the experience leveling was explained organically in game, which I think they could have done easily with a couple of lines, I would have enjpyed it from the jump, knowing that I didn’t have to worry about waiting around in any one area to farm exp.

      I had the opposite experience with the gameplay itself, two seems technically on its game to me where I felt 1 was very bare-bones.

      I’ll have to go back after some time passes to look at 1 again.

      I tried a second playthrough of one but got bored almost immediately, whereas I’m going through 2 with gusto right after completing the first playthrough.

      • ryathal@sh.itjust.works
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        In 1 any random enemy could drop purple or orange weapons, I don’t think I ever saw that in 2. In 2 you had to level up enemies or farm bosses to get any decent loot (or slot machines).

        • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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          I don’t pay a lot of attention to the colors, but there are definitely purple ones in 2.

          I feel like I wouldn’t have noticed the orange among all the yellow.

          In 2 I got standard shotguns that were 250* 10 pretty early on, and a sniper rifle that shot a thousand at level 15 and then a sniper rifle that shot 2000 damage at level 20 or so.

          I feel like both games had so many powered weapons lying around that I didn’t pay much attention to maximizing power, though.

  • kurcatovium@lemm.ee
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    7 days ago

    I’ve played 1 many moons ago and remember I really liked it. So now you’re telling me I should install 2 and burry how much hours in it? Just as I finished Diablo 3 yesterday…

    • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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      Yes, 2 was a completely different and better experience for me.

      Clearly going for the same thing, but now that they know what that thing is, and while I liked B1, the whole experience with Borderlands 2 was so much better.

      Which actually includes the experience tiers, which I didn’t like because it wasn’t explained, but basically the quests are more important than farming enemies for experience, so you get much more engaged with the stories because you’re just following quests instead of trying to get high enough of a level to destroy future enemies.

  • mossy_@lemmy.world
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    7 days ago

    You should try the Pre-Sequel! I feel like it further improved on the combat and each of the playable characters is awesome in their own way. At least at the top end, “ultimate vault hunter mode” or whatever it’s called, seemed more balanced in terms of enemy health instead of being reliant on priming every enemy with slag.

    • bionicjoey@lemmy.ca
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      Honestly I wanted so badly to like The Pre Sequel but I hated it.

      The humour is significantly worse. It seems like it relies on Australian slang or something because a lot of it just didn’t make sense or wasn’t funny to me. They would say stuff that had the timing and tone that I recognized was supposed to be a joke, but it would just fall so flat I couldn’t even tell what the joke was supposed to be.

      The movement felt extremely floaty and bad. The only maps where I had any fun were the space station levels where the gravity was normal. I distinctly remember the moment I put the game down and didn’t pick it back up again was when I ran out of content on the Hyperion station, and I knew that if I wanted to advance the story I needed to go back to the moon.

      The level design is horrible. In BL1 and 2, I basically never got stuck in level geometry and needed to kill myself to respawn and free myself. But I needed to do this like once every hour or two in TPS. And I only died to falling into death pits rarely in the prior games, while it was probably the number 1 cause of death for me in TPS.

      All that being said, I do like the character building and the story of Handsome Jack’s rise to power.

      • mossy_@lemmy.world
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        I wouldn’t say the humor replies on Australian slang (outside of a couple sidequests), it’s just not funny. That being said, you could try the DLC which takes place in claptrap’s brain and thus doesn’t have any space australians.

        I get what you’re saying about the floatiness, but I liked it as a gimmick with the air boosting.

        • bionicjoey@lemmy.ca
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          I wouldn’t say the humor replies on Australian slang (outside of a couple sidequests), it’s just not funny.

          Okay, phew. I was worried I just didn’t get the jokes or something.

          I get what you’re saying about the floatiness, but I liked it as a gimmick with the air boosting.

          If it had been for a few smaller sections it’d have been more tolerable. Like how some games use water levels or low gravity levels as like a bonus area. It should not have been the game’s whole schtick.

      • ArxCyberwolf@lemmy.ca
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        6 days ago

        I found the maps to just be too big. Doing many of the story and side missions are an absolute chore (the Bosun’s ship in particular was a low point in this respect) because of how much running you have to do. At least in 2 the maps were filled with things to do and had varied environments that kept things from feeling same-y. I’ve beaten 2 many times, but never felt the urge to replay TPS. The game just feels like a slog.

      • tiredofsametab@kbin.run
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        I found it funny as someone from the US. I think there were only a couple of things that relied so heavily on Australian slang.

        I also don’t recall ever getting stuck in level geometry.

    • Varyk@sh.itjust.worksOP
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      Geedang I haven’t heard of any of this, I only knew about the main games.

      Thank you! I’ll definitely look that up