Considering that the point of Borderlands 2 is to use the biggest possible gun on the biggest possible dude, it sure is a chatty game. Even the guns talk! It's basically a comedy; a machine-gun barrage of riffs, references, and cheeky toilet-humor. The jokes are pretty good, generally speaking, even though they have a tendency to rely on LOLspeak and juuust barely dated internet humor.

So it's a shame that the writing comes up short in such a crucial area—the main characters. Plainly put, these people are annoying as fuck.

Again: The other stuff is pretty good. The enemies? They're funny. (I particularly like the Goliath's "Welcome to die!" cry, which would be great even if it weren't also a video game reference.) Your allies? Good times. (Okay, Brick is kind of a dud, but I enjoy how Lilith is just so pumped about her new powers, and Claptrap is a gift that keeps on giving.) And your enemy? Why, Handsome Jack, his voice dripping with condescension and privilege, is probably my favorite character in the whole game.

Those men/women/robots are all written with authority and verve; the jokes are dense and the performances are strong. And yet the one character who accompanies you through the whole game—your protagonist—is an annoying loser who spouts the same few catchphrases over, and over, and over. My soldier Axton, who I thought would be a strong, silent type, will not stop carrying on; he's a fool on a level that rivals Duke Nukem. Even he doesn't sound convinced half the time.


Kudos to Gearbox, then, for anticipating this issue and giving players a way to do something about it. I didn't know about it for the longest time—I thought I was stuck with Axton for the first, oh, 30 hours with the game. By the time I started digging into the new DLC, I was well and truly exhausted by his constant mugging.

And yet right there, in the "Audio" menu, stands a single toggleable switch for "Player Callouts." I turned it off, and suddenly, Axton became the strong, silent type I had always hoped he'd be. Victory!


Perhaps you love the callouts in Borderlands 2—if so, more power to you. And hey, maybe Maya and Zer0 are less annoying than Salvador, Gaige and Axton, the three characters I've played. But as DLC continues to come out and Borderlands 2 gets bigger and bigger, I sense that more and more people are going to get sick of hearing their character yell the same dozen lines. Thankfully, we have the power to shut them up.

Shhh, Axton. Go shoot that bandit over there. Quietly. Thanks.