Borderlands Part 12: Rescue Roland

By Shamus Posted Thursday Oct 5, 2017

Filed under: Borderlands 52 comments

The player reaches the imprisoned Roland at the end of the dam. The Hyperion robots have him in a plot forcefield and the player has to deal with the constructor robot to free him. As the name suggests, the constructor robot makes other robots.

This Dam Fight

That's the constructor bot in the middle. I'll give you three guesses where you're supposed to shoot it. The glowing cyan thing on top is Roland's force-field prison.
That's the constructor bot in the middle. I'll give you three guesses where you're supposed to shoot it. The glowing cyan thing on top is Roland's force-field prison.

This fight is a little wonky. There’s a save point right before the fight, so you respawn nearby if you die. That’s nice. The problem is that there isn’t much ammunition around. It’s a long, long battle across the top of the dam, and I’m often a little low on bullets by the time I get to Roland. There’s no way to replenish your ammunition before the fightThere are few boxes around, but those are a very small supply compared to the upcoming fight..

If you’ve been picking up loot along the way, then you might be able to switch to some trash weapon to get you through. For example, if you’ve depleted pistol and shotgun ammo with your two main weapons, then maybe you can get through by equipping a crappy assault rifle. But it’s not usually very fun to go into a major boss battle equipped with trash weapons. And of course, this is a boss fight so trash weapons might not be strong enough to get the job done. This fight in particular is all about doing damage as quickly as possible so you can hurt the boss before the next wave of mooks appears.

You can jump back to town to refill, but the fast travel point here is one-way. Guys respawn when you change zones, which means you’ll have to re-do the entire fortress all over again – both inside and on top of the dam – in order to get back to the bossThis happened to me on my first run through the game. I didn’t pick up on the detail that yellow travel stations were one-way, and so I had to re-do the entire dam. I was not happy.. And by the time you get there, you’ll probably be right back where you started: Standing on the threshold of a boss fight and low on ammunition.

It’s not that this fight is “too hard”. Sometimes it’s a breeze, and sometimes it’s a bit of a slog. But how difficult it is usually comes down to luck: What quality of weapons are you using, and are they ammo-hungry? Have you been spending your inventory upgrades on backpack space, or ammo capacity? If you happen to be relying on a shotgun and an SMG then you’ll probably be fine. If you’ve been relying on assault rifles and sniper rifles then you’re going to be starving for bullets before you’re done crossing the dam.

The constructor also has a way of eating bullets. In a normal boss fight you’re usually dealing with a boss that has a fixed pool of health. But the constructor can just keep spawning in reinforcements. Kill two robots, then back off because you’re low on health and shields. By the time you’ve recovered there are two more robots on the field. You’ve just spent a bunch of bullets and made no progress towards killing the boss.

Shame that I did this fight at night. I wish I'd captured daytime versions of these screenshots for clarity. Here the boss is creating a couple of mooks.
Shame that I did this fight at night. I wish I'd captured daytime versions of these screenshots for clarity. Here the boss is creating a couple of mooks.

Also, this is one of the spots in the game that can really highlight the difference between characters. Axton can summon a turretWhich has infinite ammo as long as it’s active. that will keep the mooks busy, which allows him to focus his attention (and his ammunition) on the boss. Meanwhile Maya’s power will let her hold one of the mooks still for a few seconds without damaging it, which is of very questionable benefit here.

It kind of comes down to DPS: If you can do enough damage to the mook robots to brush them out of the way quickly, then you’ll have a few free seconds to work on mama bot before she spews out more mooks. But if you’re too slow – either because you’ve got lousy aim, or because your weapons are trash – then this fight will go from “challenging” to “insurmountable”.

This might be a deliberate design decision. This is one of the few boss fights in the game where you can explicitly fail within the story. If the fight takes too long then Hyperion swoops in and takes Roland away. He’s thrown into the Hyperion Friendship Gulag. You can then go to the gulag and try the same fight again with slightly more favorable terrainThe gulag is more open, so you can engage at a distance. The fight at the top of the dam is more confined.. It’s possible this fight is here as a hurdle to make sure you’ve got enough levels / skill / gear, and to encourage you to level up a bit more if you’re falling short in these areas.

That’s fine, although I really think there should be a bullet vending machine before the fight.

The Warrior

This conversation is about two and a half minutes long, but you don't need to sit still for the whole thing. You can run off to your next objective marker if you're not interested. You'll still get the important bits over the radio.
This conversation is about two and a half minutes long, but you don't need to sit still for the whole thing. You can run off to your next objective marker if you're not interested. You'll still get the important bits over the radio.

Once everyone is back to town, Roland sets up the plot for the rest of the game:

Jack is trying to open a new vault. He’s using the vault key from the previous game. In Borderlands 1, you spent the game collecting the pieces of the key. Then you gave it to Tannis for no reason and she turned around and gave it to the bad guy. The bad guy opened the vault with it. After the finale, you collected the vault key and… gave it back to Tannis for some reason?

Well, that’s twice she’s been entrusted with the vault key and twice the bad guys have taken it from her. Jack took the key from her between the last game and this oneTo be fair, this time they had to beat her instead of tricking her..

In the previous game, Tannis explained that the vault was only available to be opened for a brief window, once every two hundred years. In this game they’ve retconned things a bit so that the key can only open a vault once every 200 years because it needs to “charge up”. This is understandable, since the previous game had kind of written the story into a corner.

It turns out that speeding up the charging process requires a ton of eridium, so Jack is running a huge mining operation to gather the stuff.

Why Is Borderlands Funny?

Hammerlock's arm was bitten off by some local wildlife. In the Pre-Sequel we learn that it was sort of his fault for releasing an invasive species onto Pandora.
Hammerlock's arm was bitten off by some local wildlife. In the Pre-Sequel we learn that it was sort of his fault for releasing an invasive species onto Pandora.

Why Is Borderlands Funny? If you ask some people, they’ll tell you it isn’t. That’s fair enough I guess. If someone tells you a joke and you don’t laugh, then the joke wasn’t funny. End of story.

When people talk about the game being not funny, the most common moment cited is the quest from Sir Hammerlock where he tasks you with finding a new name for Bullymongs, the four-armed snow beasts that harass you out in the wilderness.

The quest goes like this: Hammerlock hates the name “Bullymong”, and he suggests “Primal Beasts” as an alternative. He has you kill a few to “test out” the name. When Primal Beast” doesn’t work out for various reasons, he switches to “Ferovore” and has you kill some more. Eventually that falls through. Frustrated, Hammerlock suggests “Bonerfarts”.

Yes, “Bonerfart” is an idiotic and childish name. And for some people it was so childish it was irritating. Do you really expect me to laugh at the word Bonerfart? Do you think I’m a ten year old? But for me the joke wasn’t the joke, it was the context for the joke. It’s a lot like the humor in Leisure Suit Larry and how a change in gaming culture (or I suppose simply the existence of gaming culture) destroyed the framework on which that humor was originally built.

I didn’t laugh at “Bonerfart” either. But I did laugh when I saw that the in-game HUD was participating in the joke by updating the interface with Hammerlock’s new names. That was unexpected, silly, and fun. It made me laugh.

The HUD is in on the joke.
The HUD is in on the joke.

A bit more humor came from the fact that Hammerlock is (supposedly) a scientist who speaks in a British-ish accent. Americans tend to associate that genre of accent with upper class culture, so having this upper class scientist acting childishly added another layer of absurdism to the whole thing. Also, there was the ridiculous notion that a zoologist would ask you to “test out” a proposed species name by having you kill some of the creatures in question.

I’m not trying to convince you the quest was funny. I’m just trying to show where I think the humor was coming from.

Back in 2013 the Student Game Developer Alliance hosted a talk by Borderlands 2 lead writer Anthony Burch where he talked about comedy in games, “Anthony Burch – Dying is Funny, Comedy is Easy“. You can watch the archived talk on YouTube:

Click to watch the talk on YouTube.
Click to watch the talk on YouTube.

In the talk he asked the question, “Why aren’t more games [trying to be] funny?” and then went on to propose a few possible answers. It’s a good talk and worth a watch. Don’t let the supposed two hour running time scare you off. The video is only 40 minutes long (not sure why YouTube is misreporting it) and his talk is only the first 20 minutes. The last half of the vid is one of those useless Q&A sessions where the A’s don’t make sense because the people asking the Q’s weren’t given microphones and thus can’t be heard on the recording.

I agree with his point that most games are mechanically funny. You often play as an absurdly powerful avatar of destruction, and that absurd level of power suggests a humor we never see in the game.

It’s hilarious when Skyrim bandits say “It must have been the wind” and resume their patrol with six arrows sticking out of the side of their head. It’s goofy when guards in Hitman fail to recognize the huge bald murderer they’re chasing because he’s suddenly wearing a different color suit. It’s wacky when you make a bad turn in Grand Theft Auto and punt a pedestrian into opposing traffic. It’s silly fun when you put a live grenade into Three Dog’s pocket in Fallout 3. Games are often asking us to ignore these humorous situations or images so they can continue their “serious” or “epic” tale. Why don’t more games just embrace the lunacy? Why set the tone of the story against the tone of the gameplay?

I think this Bullymong quest is a good example of why. If this was just another boring quest to kill X Bullymongs for arbitrary reason Y then the vast majority of people wouldn’t complain. Critics and players would just shrug, “Quests are just an excuse for gameplay. Who cares if it’s boring and predictable?” Sure, story nerds like me might fuss a little, but most people won’t care.

On the other hand, if you make a joke and it doesn’t elicit a laugh, then people will notice and they will complain. The audience has decided they’re okay with a serious quest that doesn’t really work for emotional or logical reasons, but they won’t be nearly as charitable with a joke that doesn’t get a laugh. I guess this makes sense. A boring quest is just boring, but an un-funny joke is irritating. Choosing to go for comedy makes failures more visible and more damaging.

Still, I really wish a few more games would embrace the inherent absurdity in their mechanics. There are so few genuinely funny games. It feels like it would be a safer bet to go for comedy than to fight for mindshare in the already crowded market of anger and fury.



[1] There are few boxes around, but those are a very small supply compared to the upcoming fight.

[2] This happened to me on my first run through the game. I didn’t pick up on the detail that yellow travel stations were one-way, and so I had to re-do the entire dam. I was not happy.

[3] Which has infinite ammo as long as it’s active.

[4] The gulag is more open, so you can engage at a distance. The fight at the top of the dam is more confined.

[5] To be fair, this time they had to beat her instead of tricking her.

From The Archives:

52 thoughts on “Borderlands Part 12: Rescue Roland

  1. newfren says:

    Whole post on the front page boss.

    1. TheJungerLudendorff says:

      Shamus ran out of HTML tags, and now he has to hike it back to the server farm to get more.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        And then he has to re-write the whole article, and by the time it’s done, he’ll be low on tags again.

  2. Khizan says:

    If you use Maya’s Phaselock ability on an enemy that can’t be phaselocked, it immediately takes a pretty hefty shot of damage. In that example, you may well be better off hitting the boss with it and ignoring the add.

    1. Exasperation says:

      Also, by this point you should be a high enough level to be doing AoE damage with Phaselock (level 11 if you go Cataclysm, 16 if you go Motion – the screenshot shows a character entering the fight at level 16). In order for Phaselock to be useless in this fight, you have to be both deliberately choosing not to upgrade it and ignoring its basic mechanics.

      1. Idonteveknow says:

        Pretty much. Maya is an absolute beast during most boss fights. It sucks that her ability doesn’t disable bosses, though it is understandable. So instead you get to nuke the boss with a huge hit of damage once every 20 seconds (and save your ammo in the process).

  3. Kylroy says:

    Perfect example of why there aren’t more humorous games? Deathspank. I love isometric RPGs, I love them on console, I love couch co-op. But my love of all of these things could not overcome my distaste for the game’s relentlessly juvenile sense of humor.

    1. Supah Ewok says:

      Same thing for me and Divinity: OS. I found the “comedy” insipid and uninspired. I played to what I guess was the end of the first act, then bailed. I’d had my fill of the gameplay, and there was nothing else to hold me in the game.

      Granted, the story didn’t matter when I played co-op and had a ball then, but I could never get a consistent schedule for that.

      1. Sartharina says:

        … I always loved the humor in the Divinity games, because it embraced absurdity, without being “look at how stupid this is!”.

        One of the best gags in the original “Divine Divinity” was one of the very first quests – Opening access to the first ‘dungeon’ sent a pillar flying into the sky. You probably don’t think anything of it at the time.

        But at the VERY END OF THE GAME – in the final cutscene showcasing your victory – the pillar lands again, right in front of you.

        1. Christopher says:

          That sounds pretty great.

      2. Michael says:

        I looked at DOS’s humor as more of a baseline weirdness for the setting, rather than actual comedy. To be fair, I’m not sure that’s an intended approach, or if we’re really supposed to be laughing at this stuff.

        Then again, I find the Resident Evil games downright hilarious, so… *shrugs*

  4. Chad Mercer says:


    If someone tells you a joke and you don't laugh…

    When Primal Beast”…

  5. Zekiel says:

    Quick story question – if the “joke” at the end of Borderlands 1 was that you opened the Vault and there was just a monster inside… how does Jack know the same thing’s not going to happen this time?

    1. Russ says:

      The headline (“The Warrior”) for that section of the article kind of touches on the answer, but then there isn’t any detail about it. Basically Jack knows that there’s a monster in the vault. In fact, he’s counting on it. Apparently if he opens the vault in the correct way, he gets to control this ancient alien superweapon. Of course he’s only going to use his warrior monster for the causes of good, so why are you stupid bandits even worried about it?

    2. Nixorbo says:


      He’s actually counting on it.

      1. Locke says:

        Related spoilers for the Pre-Sequel:

        It turns out he’s done this before. He took parts from the monster killed at the end of the first game and turned it into a doom laser.

  6. Zekiel says:

    I wonder if one of the reasons for the lack of comedy games is that comedy is generally funnier when experienced in a group setting. I find that true myself – I’ll laugh more at a sitcom or romcom if I’m watching it with my wife than if we were watching it solo. (And I understand that’s why laughter tracks exist – unless that’s a myth?)

    So therefore jokes in single-player videogames are likely to feel less funny than the same jokes in a co-op game.

    BUT (anecdotally) co-op videogames seem to generally work best when there is an absolute minimum of talky-stuff (which is generally where jokes are going to be found) since players will just talk over it anyway.


    1. Abnaxis says:

      That’s actually a really good point. I don’t think I ever played BL or BL2 alone, and I felt like the comedy did do well with me. Not sure how it would have gone without the other player on the couch with me…

    2. Lisa says:

      I suspect I’m in the ‘different’ category here. I can enjoy something with others, but I’m just as likely to laugh (out loud) at things I find funny when I’m watching alone.
      Which isn’t so great when my partner is asleep …

  7. Christopher says:

    I’ve avoided that video whenever it’s brought up. It takes something to watch a video by the comedic writer of a game that I didn’t think the comedy was any funny in. It’s like watching a Peter Molyneux talk on how to deliver on promises. (But I watched it now anyway). I guess a big part of the problem for me is that I saw a lot of the comedy coming, or didn’t think it was unexpected. Oh boy, Borderlands called something Bonerfarts, what will they think of next, maybe call stuff Badass? Though I’d also argue that the gameplay in Borderlands is not inherently funny to any degree. It’s a loot shooter. You spend half your time looking at numbers and rummaging through cupboards after guns, and the other half pointing at something and shooting with the triggers, and none of that is inherently funny, at least to me. It’s a far cry from the stupidity in Saints Row 3’s missions where you ragdoll through a street, have a shootout while skydiving or is suddenly stuck in a wrestling match with a giant luchador.

    The one joke in the game that did land for me is that Splinter Group mission that sounded like a bunch of regular mutants but suddenly revealed itself to be a Ninja Turtles reference, and it worked well because all the words you needed for the twist to work was already in use in the game world.

    But because there are so many jokes and practically none of them landed, the game’s writing got on my nerves to an incredible and unusual degree. I’d agree that that is the main reason more games don’t attempt to do pure comedy, besides not a lot of video game people being comedians. Like yeah, some people are gonna laugh, and there are tons of people that think Borderlands 2 is funny. But then you get people like me, who’d normally be just indifferent, but now firmly connect Borderlands 2 with super annoying humor and terrible jokes and post wet towel posts about it on a video game blog and are still skeptical about Tales of Borderlands despite assurances that no really, it’s super funny.

    On the plus side, some developers do know how to have fun. Nintendo does a lot of silly writing and jokes around their fun gameplay. Capcom is an entire company built around larger than life characters. Platinum Games have a lightness and bounciness to everything they make that sells the idea that yeah, they’re making these games to be funny first. But what they’ve got in common is that while some of that is outright jokes in writing, a lot of it is not, it’s mood and gameplay and music and presentation. I think that might be at least a little bit of the difference in why you love the Borderlands 2 comedy while I don’t, Shamus, and also why you don’t “get” the comedy in stuff like Resident Evil 4 or is that hot on Nintendo.

    I remember that boss fight, and I think I did the exact same thing you did and managed to teleport out. Not a highlight of my playthrough, that’s for sure. Never knew there was a failstate like that, though.

    1. Adrian Burt says:

      Saints Row 2-4 are the only modern games I can think of where the humor in the gameplay harmonizes with the humor in the story.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        What about telltale games like sam and max and tales from the borderlands?

        1. Echo Tango says:

          Did Tales From The Borderlands even have anything funny in the mechanics? I seen to remember that game being a mostly straight game, with some occasional funny sections for a change of pace, and some LoL-meta-game-joke sections that felt out of place. Mechanics were 100% straight as far as I can recall.

      2. Christopher says:

        They’re very good at having you do stuff that’s fun or funny and adding humor on top of that. I think “modern” is the keyword here, because a lot of modern stuff tries to avoid being “gamey” and tries to be “cinematic” instead. Games that don’t care about that stuff a lot can often have a good synergy between the story comedy and gameplay comedy. You can have cutscenes of the main character knocking people into the sky Team Rocket style through a window, and then do that in gameplay yourself with a super move.

        Saints Row is so good at making funny cutscenes and setpieces and also making you feel like you’re playing with all the cheats on, even when you’re not. I love the upgrade to the basic pistols that just make enemies pop up into the air and spin.

    2. Echo Tango says:

      Like any genre, comedy is broad, and has many variations. Also, what works for one person, won’t work for somebody else. For me, the Borderlands jokes felt, like Hey Ash Whatcha Playin’, juvenile and random. On the other hand, I can enjoy other comedies like Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, which is also very random, but pulls it off better as an absurdist comedy. I also have friends who swear up and down that Borderlands is one of the funniest games they’ve played.

      1. Christopher says:

        Totally, it’s just a matter of taste, or sense of humor rather. I’m not gonna say anyone is wrong for laughing at something I’m not, I’m just gonna try and not be rude when people ask me what I thought about the Deadpool movie.

  8. WWWebb says:

    The constructor was the boss fight where I finally pulled out that rocket launcher I’d been saving just in case. That worked so well I made a habit of keeping a rocket launcher in my backpack.

    The humor in Borderlands depends a lot on the player accepting the tone of the setting. The individual jokes don’t have to land, but if enough of them do you’ll get into the mood of the game and then everything is funny. The problem is that it’s hard to have a solid warm up act and pace your jokes when the player is free to run off in whatever direction they want.

  9. Nick-B says:

    What really amuses me the most about the “Bonerfart” joke, is that the smaller baby Bullymongs are renamed “Bonertoot”. That, really, is taking the joke all the way, and I approve. The bonerfart joke itself was boring, but at least they analyzed it a bit more and applied an adolescent descriptor for the joke.

    1. Will says:

      The punchline for me was the return to the status quo, which Hammerlock resignedly explains as his publisher telling him he can’t call them “bonerfarts”. “Bonerfart” itself is boring and immature, but the interjection of a serious, mature perspective into a game which is end-to-end immature was at least discordant enough to elicit a chuckle.

  10. Nessus says:

    I feel like the constructor bossfight really needs to be separated from the fight across the top of the dam for this discussion.

    The constructor bot was an odd big difficulty spike that had me frustrated and confused the first time I played it, for all the reason Shamus mentions. On later playthroughs I “got it” more readily, but IMO it’s meta bad design to have good design that feels like bad design on a first playthrough.

    The fight across the top of the dam, however, was one of the most satisfying parts of the game for me, with a pacing that kept me energized, and great sense of escalation to the action, all set to super blatant John Carpenter tribute score (I find the 80’s fetishism that’s been going around these past few years kinda baffling, but sometimes that stuff legitimately works, and BL2 did this “before it was cool”, so they had a legit reason instead of just being trendy). It’s a mook corridor, but it’s a FANTASTIC mook corridor.

  11. Duoae says:

    I would make the argument that “go kill 5 of X” quests, regardless of how they are presented or grammatically phrased, are all ‘bad’.

    Just because the writers of Borderlands 2 spent time and effort sprucing one up with ‘witty’ dialogue and background doesn’t make the content any better.

    I’d also argue against the notion that people would ignore this quest if it was just “go kill 5 of X”… there would just be nothing to speak about in an article or between players – they would focus on other aspects of the game instead.

    In fact, if anything, IMO the writing team wasted resources spending time on this quest that goes nowhere and does nothing.

    Maybe I’m being a bit harsh?

    Full disclosure: I didn’t find this quest funny, rewarding or interesting.

    1. Sartharina says:

      That’s what he meant by they’d ignore it – They’d never talk about or focus on it, not that they’d never do it.

    2. Scerro says:

      Seems to me like the Humor of Borderlands just isn’t for you. I remember playing the quest and the simple fact that there was a whole dimension and it poking fun at the typical “Go Kill X” quests that it was pretty funny.

  12. Supah Ewok says:

    Adventure games seem to be where most of gaming’s funny stuff is. The old Sierra and Lucasarts games, Sam & Max, the Broken Sword series, Phoenix Wright. Really, the only adventure games that come to my mind that don’t put on a filter of comedy, or at least of the surreal, are the Telltale games. Hell if I know why that’s the way things are, but if I feel like having a laugh with a game’s writing, I pull out an adventure game.

  13. Langis says:

    South Park – The Stick of Truth might be the only funny game I’ve ever played, to be honest. Not necessarily just the cutscenes/dialog which is expected considering who wrote the game, but some gameplay/story mechanics were really funny.

    I don’t think any other game has made me laugh.

    Borderlands 2 has a bad habit of inserting nonsense randumb humour and wordy dialog into quests that feels like added padding to what should be filler dialog. If you try to be funny at all times you just end up failing.

    1. Syal says:

      Kingdom of Loathing made me laugh way back in the day. Stupid fun.

    2. Zekiel says:

      My not-very-long list of comedy games would be:
      – Tales From the Borderlands
      – Portal 2
      – Psychonauts
      That’s it.

      1. Christopher says:

        Portal 1 is probably funny, but by the time I played it everyone on the internet had spoiled every joke in the game through memes. It’s like that one joke from Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy all over again, only now it’s the whole book.

  14. MikhailBorg says:

    Interesting that so many folks here didn’t think much of the humor. I’ve played plenty of shooters, and wasn’t interested in BL. But when I bought my girlfriend BL2 for her PlayStation and watched for a while, the humor’s what sent me to Steam for my own copy.

    At NekoCon a couple of years back, Ashly Burch as Tiny Tina hosted a few other BL voice actors at an ad-libbed Tea Party panel. I could listen to her do that all day.

  15. Drew says:

    The whole bonerfart quest was really an in-joke among the development team anyway, and as with many in-jokes, they don’t always land if you’re not in on the joke.

    Me? I find adolescent humor hilarious, as long as you commit to it, and they absolutely committed here, so it worked for me. For others, well, it’s a sidequest you never have to complete if you hate it, so at least there’s that.

  16. Galad says:

    This might be a topic for a larger conversation, but here goes anyway:

    Do you think we could get another game in this series, as good mechanically, and story-wise (YMMV) as BL2?

    1. Echo Tango says:

      If you had enough budget, sure, anything’s possible. There’s been decades of Superman media, Spider-Man media, etc. There’s nothing stopping anyone from making a fifth Borderlands game. Personally though, I’d rather go with an alternate timeline or parallel universe, so I could cherry-pick the parts I liked and abandon the things I didn’t. Somebody just give me a two million dollar budget. :)

      1. Francis-Olivier says:

        Personally I still think there’s a few good stories that could be told in this universe. We still don’t know what’s up with the various clifhangers and the supposed doom that was coming even though I’ll admit it doesn’t interest me that much. And there’s still a few companies we haven’t gone up against. Really anything as long as we get away from Pandora for a while.

        And yeah I don’t see any reasons why we couldn’t have an other sequel as long as the budget is there. Whether it’s good or not would mostly depend on the writters so it depends if Anthony would still work on the series and/or if the Gearbox writers stay sobers.

  17. AdamS says:

    Maybe it's because I haven't done any NG+ yet, but I've gotten past this boss fight with every class and not once did I fail to rescue Roland before the Hyperion bots take him away. I didn't even know there was a failure mode to this section! I had a hard time in some parts of these games, but not in any of the parts that held you up. Weird.

    1. Shamus says:

      It’s REALLY hard to fail that fight. It takes the barge a long time to show up. I didn’t know about it until someone else told me about it.

      I let Hyperion win just to see it happen, and it was kind of interesting how much dialog they put into this bit of the game that most people will never see.

  18. Geebs says:

    I actually thought “Bonerfart” was quite funny. What I really didn't find funny was the name “Bullymong”; the third syllable has some pretty unsavoury connotations where I'm from.

    Borderlands 2 is mostly the French and Saunders of comedy games, though, in a “if I wave my arms around and shout incoherently, that's hilarious, right?” sort of way.

  19. djw says:

    I didn’t care for the bonefart joke, and I was a tiny bit appalled at the butt stallion joke.

    The gameplay carried me through those two spots, and later on I thought that Tiny Tina was hilarious. Mr. Torgue is also quite funny, though he needs to be taken in small doses.

    I also though Scarlet (I think that was her name, the pirate chick from DLC) was funny in places as well.

    The humor in the game is hit or miss, but since it does not take itself seriously, and there is a lot of other stuff to do, I can get past the bad jokes and enjoy the ones I like.

  20. Sardonic says:

    I didn’t watch the video, so I could be missing the point, but based on your summary I’m not sure I agree with the idea that games like Skyrim or Hitman should be trying to be funny to be in harmony with their mechanics. I think the reason the arrows sticking out of a bandit’s face are so hilarious is that the game presents the clearly absurd situations as deadly serious important story time. The joke is at the game’s expense, and the more the game is in on it the less of a joke there is.

    imagine bandits yelling things like “Must have been the wind. The wind sure is… pointy” after failing to find you when you’ve shot them full of arrows. That could potentially be funny, especially if the odds were 1/10000 that a bandit says that . But if they did it every time, it would be groan worthy. Making it a variation of the same joke doesn’t help, either, because the more you saturate the game with this kind of “haha, isn’t it funny that the bandits respond in such a ridiculous way? Don’t worry, we’re in on it too!”, the less of a contrast there is between the presented seriousness of the world and the completely surreal goofiness that comes out of the open gameplay.

    I also think the claim that the designers of games like Skyrim don’t work hard enough to integrate the surreality of the mechanics with the seriousness of the story is dubious. I’m quite confident that the developers found many of the ridiculous situations that crop up in these games. They probably even had in-jokes about specific scenarios that happened to them while testing. Then, they left those things in. Because they didn’t need to be changed. They’re already hilarious. By not integrating the two worlds of gameplay and story, they’ve intentionally injected humor into the game.

    This isn’t to say Borderlands’ style of humor isn’t allowed or isn’t funny. I just think that we would lose a lot of the humor that already exists in our games if every game was like Borderlands. Though, full disclosure, I did not find Borderlands funny and, though I haven’t played 2, I’ve also never heard a joke from 2 that even made me chuckle. Just not my style of humor, I guess.

  21. Lars says:

    Funny games? I’m longing for another Oddworld game. Abe’s and Munch’s adventures were really funny. In character, story and gameplay. New ‘n Tasty was a fine remake of Oddysey – But I want something new.
    What happend to Oddworld: Oddwar?

    1. Francis-Olivier says:

      There’s Stranger’s Wrath that I think is part of the Oddworld universe. No idea if it’s good I just heard it exist. Also I just realised it’s an old xbox game so you can see I’m not really current in my gaming experiences.

  22. Zak McKracken says:

    I think it was a Moviebob review of “Logan” which made the case that that movie and “Deadpool”, were both signs of the superhero movies “growing up”. Similar to Western movies that used to be a little cheesy, until they got all grim, then got parodied and had their tropes inverted (stories where the lone rider wasn’t a romantic hero but a pretty desperate sucker, like True Grit).

    I’m thinking that maybe something like that is due for a lot of video game tropes. But as with every trend, it has it’s time. If there are enough people out there who aren’t yet done with the current set of tropes, it will be hard for the genre to move on, but it eventually will.

  23. CrypticSmoke says:

    So, started playing through this game again thanks to your articles, and damned if it isn’t somehow more fun in single player.
    (Maybe the low key music and combat encounters give the comedy time to breathe, whereas every multiplayer game I’ve ever played defaulted to “lol XD” in a matter of seconds.)
    Anyway, seeing it laid out like this let me turn a previously annoying box into a cakewalk.
    (Had that awesome corrosive pistol you get from Tina’s sidequest, so I’d dump a mag of that into the boss’s face, and juke around the crates to lead the adds away. Few rounds of that and it went down pretty easy considering I was right at the expected level.)
    So yeah, uh, thanks for that.

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