Monday, November 03, 2014

Play-Through Reviews-Borderlands:The Pre-Sequel Part 2

Subtitle: Quest of the Pumpkin-chunkin' Gun.

Jumping back to Pandora's moon, the repetition of Borderlands has kicked into full gear. Fetch and kill quests. Go here. Shoot some stuff. Pick up the items. Return it for XP, money, and possibly an additional reward. This is what prevented me from completing Borderlands 1 the first time, the endless repetition. I think what kept it tolerable in the second game was the dialogue and witty banter of the characters. Right now going through the same motions feels like a chore. You would think that after 30 plus years of gaming evolution we would have moved beyond the fetch quests. I was hoping that the Pre-Sequel would offer something more, an alternative to XP gains, but it doesn't. And that is a bit disappointing.

Character dialogue has not been assisting in the struggle, either. Because the game works as a flash-back from the point of view of Athena, virtually all conversations involve her. It's rare that the others get a chance to speak outside of their combat one-liners. You would think that Wilhelm would have something insightful to say to the quest-giver that looks like Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon. But no. You receive the disembodied voice of Athena, without a word from the other 3 PC's. Frankly, it sucks. I understand that Athena is the story-teller, but that doesn't mean the other characters should be completely removed from the process. It feels even more awkward if you don't choose Athena, or if she's not involved in your party. Then you have to wonder why Claptrap isn't taking charge and talking when he should be.

Maybe this will change with the addition of Doppleganger/Clone Jack with the DLC that was announced at PAX Australia. I'm doubtful, but it'd be nice if at least stunt-double Jack could get a few words into the main-story dialogue and knock Athena down a few pegs.

Aside from the run and gun woes, we jumped into the Halloween event to pick up a special weapon: a shotgun the lobs pumpkins at explodes on impact. Is it great for a level 15? Not really, but it's amusing and makes me giggle like the 5 year old that I am. Not to mention seeing the bad guys run around with Pumpkin heads, and having explosion barrels with pumpkins adorning them. At least Borderlands has not lost it's charm there. I appreciate the sillyness of the weapons and the OZ kit that farts when you buttslam. Yes. I have an OZ kit that farts on occasion, adding corrosive damage to enemies within range. It also gives 100% resistance to acid and corrosion, something that seems to happen a lot on the moon, so it seemed like a good fit. So thanks Gearbox and 2K Australia for keeping the humor alive in the little things.

Right now I'm in grinding mode. The primary story line really hasn't progressed, and it's more about helping the citizens of Concordia, the main home-point on the moon, and jumping up a few levels before the next major plot point. No big bosses to fight. No entertaining banter. Just shoot and loot.

Also a lot of driving around. Those vehicles are weird and do not control well on the moon. I don't know if it has to do with the differing gravity or what, but they remind me of less-then-steller times I had with the Mako from Mass Effect. The Moonbuggy and Stingray. While the lasers and homing missiles are cool, they do not make up for the weird physics. I think what annoys me the most are the boost systems with each vehicle. Like in previous Borderlands, you can get a speed boost with the Moonbuggy to help launch you over cliffs and ravines to the next checkpoint. Unlike other Borderlands, the speed doesn't really seem to work. Most of it seems to rely on timing and damn luck. I have spent more time planning out jumps over the lava-filled pools then I really ought have. With the Stingray, there isn't a speed boost, but a super jump. Which basically means you have to clear out EVERYTHING in your path to take a long start before you hit the edge of the cliff and THEN jump. Because enemies will kill you while you're on your vehicles. That has not changed. And the less there are in your way, the better. Overall, they're just clunky vehicles to roam around with on the moon. They don't provide stability and you feel like you're spending more time running over hills and trying to orient yourself versus being productive. Kind of like the Mako. Except it was much more difficult to destroy the Mako. In Borderlands? It only takes a few well timed hits for your ride to go kaboom.

What's up next: More moon traveling and maybe we'll hit a key plot point. Maybe. Right now I'm rating the game on the meh scale. It's more fun with friends, still weird solo if you're not Athena.


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