How To Handle ‘Borderlands 2’ And Its Supposedly Impossible Difficulty

So, with my review out of the way, I’ve been playing Borderlands 2 purely for fun. And I freely admit, it’s a hard game. There are moments, especially since I’m going solo on the game as a Commando, that are damn hard. I’m dying a lot, I’m not afraid to admit. It’s got a tough difficulty curve, which is what happens when you mock a developer for making a game that was “too easy”.

That said, I have to admit I’m baffled by what I’m seeing on forums and even professional reviews about how impossible and insanely difficult this game is. The Badass system is too hard to rank up in! The bosses are impossible! There’s not enough ammo! You have to earn ammo upgrades with Eridium which is a rare drop!

Maybe it’s just a cultural thing, but come on. It’s not that hard. So for all of those complaining: Here’s what you’re doing wrong.

Not Completing Sidequests

Sidequests are generally where the glory, level grinding, and loot really are. For example, on one sidequest, I collected eight chunks of Eridium just from random drops from low level goons. Similarly, sidequests tend to reward you with rare guns. One of the more infamous sidequests making the rounds ended with me securing a shotgun with an instant reload time and a high elemental effect.

If nothing else, sidequests push your overall level up, which means you’ve got more health, more damage, and that loot drops will yield better weaponry, not to mention an easier time of it in the story quests.

Not Using A Variety Of Guns

Look, we all have favorite weapons and strategies. For example, I’m a backshooting dirtbag, so I’ve got a sniper rifle that I love and use on a regular basis. But eventually, yes, I am going to run out of ammo, which is why I’ve also got a scoped assault rifle that basically fires grenades, a scoped SMG that’s steady as a rock, and a scoped pistol with high critical damage. You might be noticing a theme, here.

Aside from rocket launchers, which were useless in the first game and somehow even moreso in the sequel, all of the guns have different uses, and you’re going to have to change it up at points. I’m aware this is a switch from Shoot Terrorists And Make Them Fall Down, but strategy does have a place in gaming.

Not Understanding The Weapons You Have

I recently had to finish a quest that was an enormous pain in the ass because I was stuck with an assault rifle that chewed through ammo like it was candy. As soon as I could ditch it, I did. It had a healing effect, but the ammo loss just was not remotely worth it.

You need to understand the guns you have: Their benefits, their drawbacks, and especially how they suit your play style. For example, I’ve got a gun called the Ornery Judge: It’s a pistol that I should have ditched by now, except it’s got a good scope and a 63% Critical Hit bonus. I can drop enemies twice my size with a few shots to the face. That’s a keeper, at least for a while.

Not Understanding The Badass System

Yes, I understand that right now, you think a 1% boost in gun damage is effectively worthless. But it’s to your overall damage.

That’s really the thing. As you progress in the game, the overall effect of the Badass system becomes much more vividly clear… not to mention awesome.

Not Using Class Mods, Eridian Relics, And Shields

Class mods make a difference, not least because their bonuses stack. Currently, I have a “Pointman” class mod for my Commando that regenerates health at a decent rate, which stacks with a skill I have that recovers health when my shield is full. Similarly, Eridian Relics are basically class mods without the class requirement.

Finally, shields are pretty important. Don’t just look at numbers: Look at the damage they inflict or their other capabilities. It makes a difference.

Not Moving Cautiously

Here’s another useful strategy. Get a scoped weapon, pull it out, and scout the goddamn terrain. While enemies may not appear on your mini-map right away, the game generally has them patrolling the turf, so you can line up a nice critical hit and pick off the strongest guy in the area before the others go after you.

If I sound a little sarcastic, it’s simply because while I understand difficulty is subjective, and the game is giving even hardcore shooter fans a challenge, they’re not the ones complaining about the difficulty.

The reality is that the game isn’t that hard, in absolute terms. Death is a slap on the wrist, ammo is everywhere, and if you move through with reasonable strategy, you can generally handle what it throws at you. It’s just a little troubling that people are complaining so much about a game requiring you to, you know, think.