Take a Side: BL2 or BL3?

I’ve been playing the Borderlands series since day one, and personally, I’ve enjoyed every title, TPS and TTWL being the hot messes that they are. Have there been issues? Yes. Have they all been addressed? Infuriatingly no, but we all continue to play.

I’m curious, though: it seems like the general consensus is that Borderlands saw its pinnacle with BL2, but I’ve talked to many who maintain that BL3 was absolutely worth the 7-year wait. What do you think?

Is BL2 or BL3 better, and what tilts the scale for you?


The eternal debate.

Personally I prefer Bl2 and it boils down to the feeling of the experience in term of atmosphere and writing, though Bl3 is more sophisticated in technical/gameplay terms it failed to top the absolute blast that was Bl2 in term of immersion in a crazy SF/post apo world.

It s not pure nostalgia either, I replayed Bl2 entirely just before Bl3 release at the occasion of Commander Lilith, I was surprised by the amount of fun I had and all the jokes still making me laugh despite knowing it by heart and having done the campaign countless times before. Then I played Bl3, it was good, but that was all, and I thought "did I just had more fun replaying Bl2 for the nth time? " Yes I had more fun with my washed out Bl2 campaign than with the brand new shiny Bl3.
When I think about it, I reckon that a franchise gets old after a while , using the same set up , the same ideas with small gameplay variations and technical improvement just get unsurprising after a while.
So despite all its flaws, Bl2 just hit the right spot and I don’t think it ll ever be topped off because it has a sentimental value, it has a feel behind it because it brought just the right improvements compared to Bl1 and bring so much laugh and wtf moments. The number 3 came too late, and despite improvements in gameplay and technical aspects it fell short in term of writing/atmosphere and was not as endearing experience as the 2. This said I still played the hell out of Bl3 and have no regrets, but now I feel it s time to move on and this franchise has nothing left to give me thus the very little interest I have in TTWL or even an hypothetical Bl4, the concept of BL were new and fresh at the time of the first one, the 2 improved it significantly and capitalized on the experience, the 3 gathered the last embers and now there is not much left, unless some revolutionary idea is introduced to the franchise, I d call it a day.


I don’t regret any of the time I spent in BL2 and will still replay it coop if I have a friend who wants to experience it.

But for me, BL3 has been so much more fun. I’m kinda burned out on it now / for now (other new games I need to play), but that’s mainly because I put more hours into it than any game in the past decade. That doesn’t mean I have more than other folks here haha, but for me, I put in a ton (about 750 hours I think, vs 550 for BL2 in total).

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Writing: BL2
Gameplay, builds, endgame: BL3
DLCs: draw, BL3 if there wasn’t Assault on Dragon’s Keep

I would find it hard to go back to BL2 for a host of reasons, largely because of the gameplay improvements but also the fact I have to go through the story 3 times to reach endgame (where there is an over-reliance on slag and less builds are viable).

I think there’s a huge amount of nostalgia which clouds the issue for people. Handsome Jack, Tiny Tina, the writing in general… If BL3 had that, it would be the clear winner.


BL2 no contest. I prefer almost everything about it. The gameplay, skill tree design (mostly), enemy design, map design, difficulty, playthroughs, replayability, story, characters, writing, character design, and art direction.

There are some things BL3 does better like endgame activities, DLC campaigns, and weapon design. But after really thinking about it and putting aside nostalgia, I genuinely think BL2 is the better game by a lot. I can go hours talking about why if I wanted to.


I’ve talked a lot about this since BL3’s release, so I won’t rehash that.
All I’ll say is; I started a new Siren in BL2 this morning. I have not launched BL3 in more than a year.


It definitely seems like nostalgia/sentiment plays a big part in most people’s decision.

I find it interesting that no one has mentioned the dramatic differences between BL1 and 2. Loot variety exploded in atomic proportions, weapon efficiencies were completely overhauled, and the UI of BL2 was almost unrecognizable compared to BL1 (all in the very best of ways).

BL2 to TPS saw no major changes. TPS to BL3 saw some change (sliding, grappling, “shininess,” blah blah blah), but these are things that, had they not been implemented with the newer generation of computer processing, would’ve ended the Borderlands series on the spot. And then, of course, BL3 to TTWL has seen no positive changes whatsoever. Sure, grenades are spells now, and melee weapons exist (even if they’re completely worthless for anything but utility), but these are just masks of the same recycled resources.

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The coop of BL2 was vastly superior to any title since. I’m still not sure why they changed it to its current state. I know they’ve been trying to push their own interfaces for a while, so maybe that’s where it began? Dunno, but I miss it. SO much.

BL3 feels better to me. It had its issues (and still does), but it plays smoother, looks better, and the endgame content sets a new standard for replay value, imo.

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Yeah, three playthroughs was a bit much for me, as well. Still, it felt like three runs of BL2 still didn’t take as long as two in BL3. It was such a needlessly long and boring campaign! The writing has never been amazing, but man was the BL3 storyline rubbish. Fantastic endgame content (bugs and glitches aside), though.

I still can’t get over how dependent BL2 was on slag, though. Without it, literally every build crumbles at OP10. It locked players into one, maybe two potential endgame builds, and for a series that’s built around variety, that always felt a bit boxy to me, ya know?

Yeah, relaunching the campaign for any Borderlands title is a difficult task, but for BL3 it is especially so. That storyline was just… what’s the best word? Abysmal? I got through all four roles and called time of death. BL2, as I see it, is the best campaign where BL3 redefined the standard for what endgame content should look like.

I have given my reasons as to why I would take BL2 over BL3 many times here but that there is one of the major reasons.

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IMO the only thing wrong with bl3 was mayhem, anyway i like them both and if it wasn’t for mayhem i’d probably still be playing .

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What do you not enjoy about the mayhem modes in BL3? Do you think it’s any different than the OP modes of BL2? Or Chaos Levels of TTWL?

I know I’m not the only one who has not bought Wonderlands, partly because it’s not on steam and partly because of a lack of confidence in what the product would be. If it never comes to steam, I have no intentions of ever installing the Epic Game Store on my PC again. Not a fan.

Aye Aye!


All the above I relate to, and I will add this:

when I was introduced to BL2 it was with an experienced player on coop, so I missed most of the story until I went back and completed a solo campaign. I was basically left in the dust otherwise. Any person I introduced to the game who had been playing FPS games with no RPG element glossed over the story too. They were more interested in the combat loop. And that part of the game in Borderlands 3 flows well enough that the game seems much easier to people.

I have been meaning to mention this for a while, but Mayhem Mode feels like it was made to emulate some of the Mods that were made after the BL2 UPC that added new aspects to the game, as well as the Mutator Arena in TPS, and crossed that with the difficulty changes that OP Levels were meant to provide across the whole of the game. I can see why people who have only played Vanilla Borderlands or the more straight forward rebalancing mods or reworks would not be fans of Mayhem Modifiers.

If we look at the series, OP levels were a one-time thing, and UVHM and more than 4 Vault Hunters is now exclusively a Handsome Collection (BL2 and TPS) thing.

I say judge them all by how it feels playing the game at level 48-50 (38-40 in Wonderlands) to get a sense of how the games were meant to be balanced. That also means excluding any gear that drops at higher levels than that. The games were made with those levels as the benchmarks for the initial gaming experience at launch and it makes sense that with each level cap change the game would have to be rebalanced a bit, and any new gear would be prebalanced for the changes in the game.

So yeah, right around the end of play through 2 aka TVHM where it applies, how does the game feel balance and flow wise? These games are about mobbing mostly, with some bossing here and there. Dynamic boss encounters have come a long way from Master Gee to Zarpedon to Katagawa Jr.

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op modes in bl2 was fine i like it , mayhem in bl3 imo was out of control you couldn’t choose your mayhem unless you spent 30 min or more finding what fit for the player and it also screwed up any balance in weapons , perhaps they should have offered an ultra hard mode instead . Chaos chambers in TTWL is the same thing over and over and over, sooner or later boredom takes over . but this just how i felt about the games .


I personally think mayhem made a lot of the weapons unusable and weak. I started a new playthrough from level 1 and all of the weapons seem balanced and do good damage

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True but then you see a plasma coil at lv 14 that does 200 base damage with 600 elemental damage 1 shooting everything up until around lv 40. Really makes you think they might have over did it.

Also as far as the debate goes I think BL2 is superior in a lot of aspects, Targeted farming is a lot more enjoyable and since legendary items are not constantly raining from the sky.

BL3 improvement like being able to mantle/customizing weapons, Mail system/Brand loyalty programs are all great but don’t make me want to play the game over BL2


While I completely understand what you’re saying about how the weapons in the game are balanced according to the release day level cap and so forth, in my mind, the issues they’ve had with balancing just represent the laziness and lack of foresight on the part of Gearbox. And not just Gearbox, but every game developer in the market today.

If you know you’re going to introduce content to increase lvl cap which could potentially unbalance the game, then why in the world would you balance your game-upon-release according to anything but that final mode? What it sounds like you’re saying, is Gearbox didn’t know what it was planning for any of the Borderlands installments until after they’d been released, and we know for a fact (at least with BL3 and it’s DLC road map), that this has not always been the case.

Now I’m not going to argue the fact, that some weapons in the Borderlands series were never intended to be “strong.” Many are just gimmicks, some were created to commemorate events or celebrate people, and I have no problem with that whatsoever. The games need that kind of fun, and the players require that sort of variety. Too many of the balancing issues, though, are a direct result of poor planning, lazy coding/math, and/or a rushed release date.

We waited s e v e n y e a r s for BL3, but personally, I would’ve happily waited longer to get a finished product with even half the issues that BL3 had upon release. TTWL might be a decent game someday, but Gearbox would’ve been much better off holding its release until Q4 2022. As it stands, they are bleeding money and player loyalty, and veeeeeeeery few game developers can recover from that wombo combo.

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I hear ya, and I felt the same way until they finally fixed it so that when new players join a game, the mayhem rolls didn’t reset. Before that, though, mayhem modes were so painful. After, I really didn’t have any complaints. If I was struggling with a particular roll, I simply took that to mean that my build wasn’t quite there yet.

That’s how it’s always been with the Borderlands games, imo. It’s a grind getting the loot you’re looking for, but when it eventually pops, it’s so satisfying to be able to handle anything the game throws at you.

TTWL and it’s Chaos Chamber, on the other hand, is a crapshoot the likes of which Gearbox has never attempted to peddle. Zero variety, no alternative game modes, looting that renders the game almost entirely worthless… yeah. I respect that Gearbox put in the work to craft an installment from the comfort of their own homes amid a global pandemic, but to call it anything other than a money grab, especially given what we now know about the game and it’s future, is just a delusion.

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