Last week, I had a post about Fire Emblem and the difficulty in the series as a whole. Also last week, I left off the last GOTM (Game of the Month) post saying I would talk about difficulty in Borderlands 2. Keeping with the theme, I’m going to discuss just that.
From looking at different games, there are a few different ways to handle difficulty. Games can be made harder by adding things, like more enemies, increasing health and damage of enemies, and so on. Alternatively, they can take things away like certain tools and weapons. What is often hard about making multiple difficulties for games, is the amount of effort that goes into the changes. These changes can’t be in only one place, it’s gotta be applied and scaled through the whole game, otherwise it will be too much or not enough of a difference.
Fire Emblem has modes and difficulties that influence how the game plays. The main difference between the modes is whether or not your characters die/retire when they are defeated in battle. The difficulties then change how much strategy and RNG you have to rely on for coming out on top.
Borderlands, however, does their difficulty slightly different. There are three difficulties: Vault Hunter Mode (VHM), True Vault Hunter Mode (TVHM), and Ultimate Vault Hunter mode (UVHM). On top of that, they also added in Overpowered Levels. VHM is the basic difficulty, your character starts at level one and you are introduced to the difference mechanics the game has to offer. By the end, you’ll roughly be around level thirty. From there, TVHM allows you to go back through the game again, keeping all of your character’s progress. By the end of this difficulty, your character will be somewhere around level fifty. Finally, you can do this a third time in UVHM. This difficulty allows for everything to scale to your level. But the main difference is the use of slag, an elemental status effect that makes enemies weaker to other damage types. UVHM also makes you think more about how to specialize your character and get used to learning some more strategies in order to go through the story again because the difficulty really ramps up from here.
Finally, we move onto the OP levels. With the addition of the Raid on Digistruct Peak DLC, OP levels were introduced into the game. Upon reaching the end of the mission for this DLC, you can increase the difficulty even more by raising the level of enemies to be higher than your character level. For example, a max level eighty character at OP level five would be fighting enemies around level eighty-five. Currently, you can get to level eighty, and OP level ten. A weapon at level eighty will not be as strong as an OP level one weapon. What is interesting about this is that it provides more challenge and more opportunities to make your character more powerful.
What I enjoy about this system is that items increase in power exponentially. At the beginning of the game, not only are you limited in what you can get, but also the levels of things don’t matter as much. As you get further and further, not only do you have to start to specialize in things, you also have to constantly update your items. This, and some of the other mechanics mentioned previously, come together to add depth and replay value. I’ve put too many hours into this game myself recently, and over the years as well.
Thank you again for reading! Next week, as the month comes to a close, I am going to discuss my criticisms of the game. As much as I enjoy this game and series, there are flaws, in my opinion. Until next time, I’m going to continue grinding for the next eternity in hopes to get slightly more powerful.