I'm coming to realize that I don't really understand anything. I started playing Borderlands 2 confident in the knowledge that my new computer was more than powerful enough to handle it - and then I ran into the same crippling framerate problems as I had with my last computer. So I reduced the settings to minimum, and that did nothing.
Then I got frustrated for awhile, but I sucked it up and did some internet research. By the numbers, my computer should have been able to get the job done, and there was no real explanation for why it wasn't. However, someone in a forum, with the exact same video card as me, was able to get it to work by downloading a "game booster."
I decided to try and replicate the process . . . and it worked perfectly. After I downloaded and installed Razer Cortex, I was able to play Borderlands 2 on maximum settings with 60-100 fps (why I actually need that many, I can't say).
Why did that work? Why was it necessary for Borderlands 2 and not the technically more advanced Fallout 4? I couldn't even begin to say. I wish I knew about things. Sometimes it feels like I'm just walking around in a fog, baffled by most of what I see around me and achieving clarity only in the oblivion of not giving a damn.
Sooo . . . Borderlands 2 is kind of a great game. I mean, it's still early in the game. I just got to Sanctuary, so I've only played the worst section of the game so far, but even given the comparatively weak opening, you can still see shadows of the great stuff it has to offer. Handsome Jack is an immediately and hilariously hateable villain from the second of his introduction. The writing is snappy, and thankfully as funny as I remember it. And the action (when not slowed down by an unreasonable framerate) is frantic without being overwhelming.
What makes the opening such a pain is that most of the game's mechanics are locked away for the sake of not overwhelming new players. You don't even get your main action skill until level 5, about an hour after you start. Also, the loot at the beginning is fairly underwhelming. Occasionally, you'll find a blue (rare) weapon to get excited about, but far more often you're stuck with greens and whites that, while fine as far as they go, don't really have the individual distinctiveness to become part of your character's identity.
Yet the opening is only really weak by comparison with what I know the game will become. It's a big, dumb shoot-fest with ridiculous weapon variety and a deep character customization system. It's the sort of game I could play over and over again (and, indeed, I have). I can't wait to get to the point where the brakes are off and I'm gunzerking my way through hordes of enemies in a permanent frenzy of unrestrained violence (I know I've been inconsistent on this point in the past, and I don't know if I can explain it, but Claptrap's "those were human beings, with families" fakeout cracked me up).