Running around by myself and shooting skags, bandits, and spiderants in Borderlands is fine…if a bit repetitive, a bit predictable. A little lonesome. But the game clearly demands co-op action during it’s boss battles, something I don’t have access to, making these grand set pieces either extremely hard or totally lame.
Take for instance the Rakk Hive, the wondrous beast shown above. I love it’s design, and the eyes on the thing remind me a lot of the Ohmu from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Except this is no gentle beast; it’s a monster of a monster and will attack you in a variety of ways, spewing Rakk from its body, too. I’m guessing a great co-op strategy would be to divulge tasks, meaning one player handles the flying Rakk, the other goes for the thing’s eyes for critical hits, and the rest can move around to distract it or protect their fellow teammates. What did I do all by my little soldier self? I stood behind a rock and shot. Then I reloaded. Then I shot some more. Reloaded. Shot. Reloaded. Pew pew pew. Reloaded. Shot. Shot. Shot. One more shot. Oh good, it’s falling over now, dead. Level up!
It was not very exciting, I’m sad to say.
Let’s look at another boss battle: Baron Flynt. Man, what a toughie. And the quest was marked at a difficulty of normal, but still…a toughie. Flynt wields The Boom Stick, a deadly combat shotgun that can deplete your shield in about two hits. He’s also quick on his feet. The battle zone is multi-tiered, making it easy to avoid him by dropping low or running high, but if you don’t attack him constantly he shield recharges and then what’s the point of it all. This would have been a good time–nay, a vital time–to have another player in the mix to shoot him from behind or toss grenades or whatever, but alas I had to resort to a lot of hiding and running. Thankfully, I’m Roland and have the turret action skill, which, as he says from time to time, “It’s like having another soldier on the field!”
Yes, my co-op partner is a stationary turret gun. Wee!
It took me about 30 levels to truly see that Borderlands is a co-op game, through and through. When I bought it, I was hoping it had a deep enough–and fun enough–single-player mode to warrant the purchase. Alas, it’s thin. Rakk wing thin.
But I’m soldiering on (pun intended) because the numerous quests do keep me busy, and I do see myself becoming a much better FPS player with each level earned. That or I have just found powerful enough guns to keep me alive and well through most firefights. Also, as of last night, I found my first orange-colored weapon. That’s pretty exciting…except it was a shotgun, and I am not interested in using close-range weaponry. I prefer shooting from a distance. But I think I’m getting closer to the Vault; I just hope I can make it through by myself.