I’ve just finished playing through Borderlands with a friend in the co-op mode which Borderlands is semi-famous for. Some might argue that Borderlands was mainly intended as a cooperative experience and the fact that it has a single player mode is simply a side effect of stripping out the other players from the “main mode”. I honestly think there is something to this based on my own experience with the single player mode and the multiple sessions I’ve played with said friend. While playing the single player mode (my first playthrough) I nearly always felt the game being too easy for my taste. That being said you could assume that I am a hardcore gamer whose only pride resides in winning over my opponents - might they be computers or fellow gamers - over and over again. The shocking truth is: I am not. Quite the contrary: I am a person playing games mainly because I expect interesting story arcs. I am that kind of person that game developers might fear because I’m not that interested in playing the game as I am in seeing the story unfold.
Now if I say that I felt Borderlands being easy in single player mode I didn’t mean “I own the game so hard it almost hurts” but as in “I effortlessly walk through most sections”. I can’t say if I felt that way because the class I chose to play (a character called “Mordekai” which is a sniper) is not as balanced as he could be or simply because the scaling mechanism which works quite well in multi player sessions as evidenced by several repeated and cruel deaths experienced by us during those sessions. Still, even with two people it wasn’t terribly difficult. The game throws new great stuff (read: weapons, shields, etc.) at you like there’s no tomorrow. Incidently there isn’t as the vault - which is your goal - can only be accessed every 200 years. Anyway, you never feel underpowered which is a pleasent feeling to be honest, though the seemingly lacking difficulty could be attributed to the fact that enemy level’s are linked to the areas they are assigned to. You need to progress through the story to confront stronger foes.
Moreover you have to be aware that both me and my friend have a little completionist streak. We tried very hard and successfully to complete all side-quests fearing we might lose some of the backstory if we didn’t. Though that was justified by the fact that the already thin plot desperately needs more backstory. The outcome of all this completionism though was us being overleveled for every new area we ventured to and the quest system ranking every quest “trivial” due to that.
I recognize there being a tough edge of not forcing people to grind in order to progress easily and seriously overpowering completionist but I didn’t feel like Borderlands hit the sweet spot concerning that.
I will look into that issue further when we hit the DLCs which came with the Steam offer and as we might start a second playthrough. I’ve also read on the Borderlands wikia that there’s something avid players call “playthrough 2.5” which does in fact scale every enemy’s level. Now this sounds interesting.