Tag Archives: Borderlands 2

Grinding Down’s Top 10 Pumpkins in Gaming

I tried to get this post done long before Halloween hit, but life got in the way, and I got distracted and well, here we are now, a week into November. Thank goodness that November is also a month where pumpkins are totally topical and appropriate, so my post about 10 cool-as-heck pumpkins in videogames remains relevant. Whew. Also, it’s finally beginning to feel like fall here in New Jersey, though I’m sure, like a leaf detaching from a high-up branch and heading gently and quietly to the earth below, its journey will be short and quickly forgotten.

Also, here’s the pumpkins Melanie and I carved a few days before Halloween that almost instantly went moldy due to the high temps here in the Garden State:

I’ll let you figure out which one I did.

And now, some other cool-as-heck pumpkins!

10. King’s Quest

There’s a dark cave full of hungry wolves blocking your progress at one point in that new take on King’s Quest, and to get through it, you need a very strong and bright light to keep the beasts at bay. Eventually, you discovered you can purchase a magical blue ball of fire from the eccentric Hubblepots in town, but need some kind of vessel to hold it. A giant pumpkin from the local garden will do just fine, and it’s both silly and awesome to watch Graham hoist the heavy thing over his head and march through the illuminated cave with newfound confidence.

9. Fallout 4

Fallout 4 is a world without holidays, despite the Christmas surprise, where radiation and destruction are the focus. Still, time exists, and time passes, and you are from a long-lost era where holidays were a big deal, something people centered around and made special. Remember, the bombs dropped around Halloween. The plastic pumpkin is a reminder of a simpler time, of dressing up not to better protect yourself against raiders and swipes from a legendary Deathclaw, but to go door to door and collect candy. There’s not many of them out in the wild, but seeing one still gives me pause. Also, it can be broken down into individual components for use in crafting, so it is not just a piece of cosmetic dressing.

8. Clayfighter

I did not play a ton of ClayFighter in its heyday, being more of a Street Fighter II dabbler and a Mortal Kombat on-looker, but see here, Ickybod Clay is a punderful name for a ghost with a jack-o-lantern head. You just can’t beat that. Also, he can teleport and throw balls of ghost goo at his opponent, which irrefutably makes this is one excellent use of a pumpkin.

7. the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

For some reason, I’ve not come across many pumpkins in my playthrough of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, so I use them fairly infrequently in my cooking sessions. But when I do, the results are always supreme. Here’s a tip: combining them with some type of meat will get you a meat-stuffed pumpkin that can restore a ton of hearts.

6. Final Fantasy VII

Okay, this might be a stretch, because I can’t seem to find any official ruling on whether the hilariously named enemy Dorky Face from Final Fantasy VII is a pumpkin-headed shuttlecock, but it sure does look like a pumpkin-headed shuttlecock to me, and so it is making the list. You fight a bunch of them in the Shinra Mansion in Nibelheim, and their main attack is called “Funny Breath,” which causes confusion. Huh. I wonder if they’ll show up again in the Final Fantasy VII Remake, which is obviously never going to come out.

5. Costume Quest 2

It should come as no surprise that pumpkins are prominent in both Costume Quest and Costume Quest 2, games highly passionate about pumpkin time. I decided to go with the latter title, if only because it is somewhat fresher in my mind because of what I did with it during last year’s Extra Life event. Also, all the Achievement artwork is carved pumpkins.

4. Minecraft

There’s something about a square pumpkin that honestly cracks me up. Thanks, Minecraft. Keep on being square.

3. Borderlands 2

Look, I’ll just come out and admit it, but the only DLC I played for Borderlands 2 was the first one called Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty. I had a good time with it and have continued to dabble in the game, but never got any more additional content. Which is a shame, because it sounds like Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep is a lot of fun, and the smaller add-on called T.K. Baha’s Bloody Harvest is ultra-fitting for this post. Zombie T.K. Baha, last seen in a piece of DLC for the original Borderlands which I also did not play, sends players off to fight Jaques O’Lantern, a giant pumpkin boss who gives out new character customizations as rewards for being beaten. Sounds cool to me; however, Borderlands 3/Borderworlds needs a gun that endlessly fires giant, flaming pumpkins. Please make this dream a reality.

2. Stardew Valley

Ugh, I really do need to pick Stardew Valley up again and at least see it through to when grandpa is supposed to visit or whatever. Yet, after completing the community center, I feel like I’ve done the thing. The big thing. Anyways, that’s a topic for another post. Pumpkins are big in the game, especially during the fall season. They grow 13 days after being planted and are one of three crops that might produce a giant crop version, along with cauliflower and melon (see above). After Starfruit, it has the second-highest per unit base price of all the normal crops, which makes it important if you are looking to be rolling in a coin bank. Oh, and you can also make a jack-o-lantern by combining a pumpkin and a torch to keep things spooky year-round.

1. Animal Crossing

Jack, the self-proclaimed Czar of Halloween, is a character from the Animal Crossing series–except for Wild World–who loves candy, naturally. Especially lollipops. He appears once a year for Halloween, from 6:00 PM until 1:00 AM the following day. Jack distributes spooky furniture to the player, which can only be obtained through him, and it is all very orange and pumpkin-themed, and I believe I got every piece for my copy of New Leaf, but it’s been many years now since I played, so I can’t confirm this. I’m also scared to look for fear of getting sucked back in. Either way, he’s a real cool gourd-wearing dude.

I’m sure there are lots of other cool-as-heck pumpkins out there in videogame-land. How about you tell me of the ones you love or think rock. Please do so in the comments, and I’ll try to respond before any of them get moldy and start caving in on themselves.

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2017 Game Review Haiku, #30 – Tales from the Borderlands, Episode 1 “Zer0 Sum”

2017-gd-games-completed-tales-from-the-borderlands-zer0-sum

Vault key deal goes south
For Rhys, Fiona, and friends
Zer0 loves haikus

I can’t believe I’m still doing this. I can’t believe I’ll ever stop. These game summaries in chunks of five, seven, and five syllable lines paint pictures in the mind better than any half a dozen descriptive paragraphs I could ever write. Trust me, I’ve tried. Brevity is the place to be. At this point, I’ve done over 200 of these things and have no plans of slowing down. So get ready for another year of haikus. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.

Ten mimic treasure chests I passionately hate

gd mimic treasure chests post

Treasure chests are difficult to resist. They come in all shapes and sizes, more times than not offering the potential for greatness–gold, armor, weapons, whatever. Most people don’t leave behind rotten vegetables in their fancy treasure boxes, and so you are more or less guaranteed to walk away a richer player. Unless that treasure chest is actually a mimic in disguise, and then you’re thrown for a loop, battling with what once held your dreams of a new item or chunk of change to make a down payment on that fancy, street-side abode back in the hub city.

I passionately hate mimics.

Real quick, some history. Mimics took shape back in the good ol’ days of pen and paper roleplaying, which I enjoy from time to time, but I’m more visual despite having a decent enough imagination, preferring Talisman or Descent. Mimics are a type of fictional monster, initially birthed in Dungeons & Dragons. They are portrayed as being able to change their shape to disguise themselves as an inanimate objects, most commonly as treasure chests. Mimics also have a powerful adhesive that holds fast to whatever touches them, allowing the mimic to beat the creature with its powerful pseudopods. That latter characteristic did not seem to follow over with mimics as they transitioned into videogame enemy fodder.

Over my years of gaming, I’ve crossed paths with a number of mimics, all of which I passionately hate. This is a list of some. Forward, with the disgust!

Mimic-ffix

Here is a mimic treasure chest from Final Fantasy IX that I passionately hate.

319928-dq8_cannibox

Here is a mimic treasure chest from Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, called a cannibox and originally introduced in Dragon Quest III, that I passionately hate.

rogue galaxy mimic chest capture

Here is a mimic treasure chest from Rogue Galaxy that I passionately hate. Look at that nasty blue tongue.

rogue legacy intro-4

Here are mimic treasure chests from Rogue Legacy that I passionately hate.

cc 140px-Big_boxer

Here is a mimic treasure chest from Chrono Cross that wants to punch me. I passionately hate it.

wild arms 3 mimic 69-34

Here is a mimic treasure chest from Wild Arms 3 that I passionately hate.

dark cloud king mimic

Here is a mimic treasure chest from Dark Cloud that I passionately hate.

mimic legend of grimrock 2

Here is a mimic treasure chest with a lot of teeth from Legend of Grimrock 2 that I passionately hate.

Mimic Borderlands 2

Here is a level 60 killer mimic treasure chest from Borderlands 2 that I passionately hate. Shoot it in the glowing green part.

suikoden 1 mimic chest slot man

Lastly, here is a mimic treasure chest from the original Suikoden, affectionately called a slot man, that I passionately hate.

Have I missed any key mimics from some of your favorite roleplaying games? If so, let me know in the comments below. During my search, I came across a few screenshots of mimics in the Dark Souls series, which I’ve not yet played and am now feeling less inclined to deal with, but maybe they aren’t too tough to battle. Ha, that’s a joke. From what I understand, they are brutal.

Turns out, with videogames, you can go home again

assassin's creed 2 back to acre gd

I’m not one hundred percent sure who the “they” is, but they often say you can’t go home again. It’s a phrase I think about a lot, with plans to eventually draw a short little comic involving children, forest monsters, and cranky parents about the notion. At 31, with my life going through unexpectedly grand changes and my head occasionally thinking the worst of worst thoughts (a taste), all I truly desire is to go home. For comfort, for repose. My home now, meaning the one where I eat and sleep and sigh and take pictures of my cats, is characteristically cold and full of empty rooms. No, the home I’m talking about is the one I grew up in, the red-bricked, two-story structure that sat square in the middle of a T-cross section in a small, neighborly town. From my bedroom window there, I saw all kinds of traffic: vehicle, foot, animal, love.

The idea of returning somewhere can be both physical and mental. I physically want to go back into that house and sit on my childhood bedroom’s floor, my back against the wall just under the windowsill, the same way I’d sit for hours either on the phone with my high school girlfriend or killing time by playing the guitar and scribbling down mopey song lyrics. This is something my body is calling out for, a hunger pain. I also mentally want that time back, that feeling of safeness and irresponsibility, even if I rarely acted on it, and those voices, the sounds from below. It can’t really be replicated, at least not when it is constructed entirely around emotions and personal experiences, but going back, if I’m to believe A Separate Peace, can be healing.

Turns out, videogames occasionally make a good effort at bringing the player back “home.” I was recently taken aback by this, and the feeling it gave has been stuck in me, just under my skin, for a couple months now, itching to be scratched. I thought I’d write a bit about it, as well as some other games that have attempted to bring things full circle over the years.

Let it be said, and let it be said in red lettering, there be major spoilers ahead for the majority of the listed games. Read at your own risk.

Assassin’s Creed II

Let’s start with the game that gave me this blog post topic to begin with. Again, I’m coming to Assassin’s Creed II late, having only played the bread parts to this meat sandwich of stabbiness. Anyways, after completing some assassination missions and then training in a current day warehouse with Lucy, something goes wonky, and you find yourself back in Acre, the setting for the first game in Ubisoft’s now long-winded series. Not only have you returned to where it all started, you also are in control of Altair, not Ezio. Your mission is to follow a figure running away from you, and that includes climbing up a tall tower and seeing the city for all it is.

I had a moment of hesitation, believing this to be a dream sequence, the sort that you watch unfold, but take no part in. Eventually, I strode ahead, and it was business as usual, but tingling surfaced as I jogged past people from another game, another time period. I wouldn’t say I recognized anyone or any building in particular, but the feeling remained nonetheless–I’ve been here before. Strangely, if I had popped in the game disc for Assassin’s Creed, I might not have felt the same way, and I guess that says something about sleight of hand, of transportation.

Borderlands 2

The ramshackle town of Fyrestone in the original Borderlands is where it all started for your choice of vault hunter. You return there in Borderlands 2 to find it a changed place. Handsome Jack, everyone’s favorite man to hate, has turned Fyrestone into a slag-soaked junkyard since Hyperion moved into the area. At his orders, the town was renamed to Jackville and preserved to mock the original Vault Hunters, although robots were also sent in to kill any remaining inhabitants. The layout remains very much the same, but it’s darker, drearier, and, most importantly, more dangerous.

You don’t approach Fyrestone the same way you did in the first game, only realizing where you are once you are in the main area where you used to shop for shields and new guns and turn in missions on the job board. It certainly took me by surprise, but I didn’t have much time to stand around in awe as angry robots began to occupy my attention.

Suikoden II

Oops, I already wrote about this moment.

BioShock Infinite

It’s a short, but powerful moment. At the very end of BioShock Infinite, Booker finds himself in Rapture, the underwater utopia-gone-to-Hell from the original game in the series. Having recently replayed the game over the Christmas holidays, the moment did not feel as impactful as it first did, but when you don’t know it’s coming, it packs a doozy. There’s not much to explore or see while in Rapture a second time–it is, after all, just another doorway, and the game is over at this point, so no more combat to be had–but after spending a solid number of hours in the clouds, knowing you are deep underwater, in an oh-so-similar world once more is a thrill.

Chrono Cross

Okay. I’m stretching it here with Chrono Cross, considering it all happens within the same game, but visiting the same location in different, alternate timelines still does give off a nostalgic tingle. Like, it’s both the same and changed, a feeling of being out of place somewhere deeply familiar. There’s Home World, and there’s Another World. I love it. Plus, just before you go off to fight the Time Devourer, you do stumble across the Ghost Children, which are the ghosts of Crono, Marle, and Lucca from Chrono Trigger, so it’s a blast from the past, though a bit somber.

Got any other examples of returning to locations from previous games? If so, shout ’em out in the comments below. These were all I could think of and have actually experienced thus far, but there’s gotta be more. I can’t be the only one that wants to go home again.

Borderlands 2 level cap will increase, but at a price

borderlands 2 level cap increase

Well, it’s finally happening. The level cap in Borderlands 2 is set to increase from 50 to 61 on April 2, 2013. Woo, yay, and exploding buckets of confetti! Well, no, maybe not all of that. This has process has taken longer than many Vault Hunters first imagined and hoped for, as this change required re-balancing, re-tuning, and re-testing the entire game, according to Gearbox Software. Granted, I don’t remember how long after the original Borderlands came out that we got a level cap increase, but I do remember this much: it was free.

That’s right. You’ll be able to gain more levels past 50, but you will have to chalk up $4.99, unless you have already purchased the Season Pass, which I have not based on the lackluster second and third DLC packs. Phooey on that, and phooey on me. Granted, you get more than just the level cap increase with this purchase, as powerful new “Ancient” E-Tech relics and rare Pearlscent-grade weapons will now be found within the Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode (more on that in a sec). Pearlscent-colored weapons are originally from Borderlands though I never found one back then.

At this point into Borderlands 2, I don’t really play as much as I did during its initial months out, especially when I had some friends online also playing, like Lee Bretschneider and Thomas Rothlisberger. My specifically specced Siren has been capped at 50 for awhile now, and I’ve been lucky enough to find and trade for some amazing legendary guns like the Rapid Infinity through friends and farming. Even got a (now nerfed) Bee shield all on my own. Anyways, I’ve felt pretty over her at this point since there’s no more room to grow, and I have been tinkering with an Assassin character (somewhere around LV 25), but it’s not how I like to play. So I’d love a chance to get back and see my Siren enhance her abilities and get even crazier weapons and take down bandits in the upper 50s.

Now, alongside this paid level cap DLC, Gearbox is patching Borderlands 2 with some free additions. Here’s the list they’ve come up with:

  • Adds new items to the Black Market:
    • One additional ammo upgrade for each ammo type, at 50 Eridium each.
    • Two more backpack storage space upgrades, at 50 and 100 Eridium respectively.
    • Two more bank storage space upgrades, at 50 and 100 Eridium, respectively.
  • Increases the maximum amount of Eridium players can hold from 99 to 500.
  • Adds a new playthrough balanced for top-tier play: Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode.
  • Various bug fixes.

Hmm. So, Gearbox is giving us a free third playthrough, but for most Vault Hunters, by that point you’re probably capped or near the cap. And so this is their way of nearly forcing you to buy the paid level increase; otherwise, there’s no point to UVHM. I do like that I’ll be able to expand my bank and backpack a bit more though increased Eridium doesn’t matter to me as I never go after those raid bosses. I beat Terramorphous the Invincible once, and that was good enough.

I don’t know. I’m rather conflicted over this. Five bucks to continue strengthening and playing with a character I love? Sure, it’s not a high cost whatsoever. It just feels rather undermining. Ugh. We’ll see. Chances are high I’ll get this, though maybe not just yet, as the fourth DLC won’t hit until the end of June, and a lot of my continuing on with Borderlands 2 depends on what that is and how it changes things for good.

Taking down Terramorphous the Invincible one tentacle at a time

beat terramorphous for the first time

I’ve always been a little sad knowing that I’d never be able to take down Crawmerax the Invincible from the original Borderlands by myself, as well as the fact that we’re now long ahead of that game and chances are highly unlikely I’d ever get a sizable group together to raid it for the rarest weapons on Pandora. Evidently, there was a way to glitch the thing through protective terrain, but that strategy has since been nerfed or just isn’t consistently reliable. I remember trying to take him on once with my Commando and the fight not lasting very long. Also, I doubt I can ever go back to the original Borderlands now that I’ve come to appreciate the enhancements made in Borderlands 2.

That said, I’m pleased with what we (hellomightydog, Burger2862, and myself) accomplished last night, taking down Terramorphous the Invincible. No, really, we did. We worked together, fired a lot of bullets, respawned a bunch, hid behind rocks, and hooted and hollered when the big ol’ baddie fell and swooped off the cliff’s edge. Disappointing loot aside (only one Legendary dropped and nobody really wanted it), this was the real reward:

borderlands 2 thresher thrashed ach
Thresher Thrashed (30G): Defeated Terramorphous the Invincible

It was not easy. It took about an hour, and the most frustrating part was that we got Terramorphous down to one-fourth health, but then I ran out of ammo and had to leave my perfect hiding spot to grab some more, quickly dying at the same time everyone else did, giving Terramorphous full health in one sad gulp. So we went at it again, this time with me using a newly acquired LV 50 Infinity (never runs out of ammo); I stayed in one spot and never not held down the trigger button. At one point towards the end of the fight, my finger began going numb.

Using the rock hiding spot glitch, the fight isn’t too challenging so long as your other team members keep the beast busy and distracted, but there are a few moments where it can get real hairy. If all other team members die, Terramorphous will eventually make its way over to me and find a manner to hit me behind the rock. So, it’s important to keep shooting it. Also, shoot the tentacles, but try to leave a few with very little help for Second Winds. And be prepared to fight off a few miscellaneous tentacles after you take Terramorphous down; we were checking out the lame loot when, out of nowhere, a couple tentacles began damaging us. As if.

Other than that, yeeeeah. We did it. One raid boss in the bag. Maybe Hyperius the Invincible is up next? Ha. Maybe…

2012 Game Review Haiku, #30 – Borderlands 2, Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty DLC

Pirate-themed desert
Home to back-stabbing captain
Anti-climatic

For all the games I complete in 2012, instead of wasting time writing a review made up of points and thoughts I’ve probably already expressed here in various posts at Grinding Down, I’m instead just going to write a haiku about it. So there.