Tag Archives: Borderlands 2

2012 Game Review Haiku, #27 – Borderlands 2

Vault Hunters wanted
Handsome Jack wants ’em all dead
Same story, new guns

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.

Back to Pandora in Borderlands 2

Alas, because I have a day-job and get sleepy right around 11:55, I did not make it to the midnight release of Borderlands 2 at my local GameStop, the one where I pre-ordered from. So, I went after work, which only made the day seem longer, and got lightly berated by the employee behind the counter. He said, and I quote, “Looks like you’re about 20 levels behind everyone now.” Couldn’t deny it, but that’s okay–I’ve got the weekend to catch up with the world, but it really doesn’t matter too much considering I am going at it solo instead of co-operatively.

Borderlands 2, from what I’ve experienced so far, is more Borderlands. Hence the Internet absolutely nailing it by dubbing Gearbox’s latest bonerfart… Morderlands 2. I fully support the name and will continue to do so until the game turns itself upside-down and shows me something truly original. As is, it’s more of the same, which is a conflicting emotion, as I absolutely loved–with a few caveats–the original title. Heck, I was still playing that thang all the way up to only a few weeks ago, quitting at Level 61 with no chance of slaying Crawmerax the Invincible on my own. And more of the same thing should never be a problem, especially when it fixes a few of those previously highlighted caveats, but one does have to wonder if this sequel’s entire focus was on fixing the bad and keeping everything else the same instead of enhancing it tenfold.

Anyways, in Borderlands 2, you get to control one of four new characters who are following in the footsteps of the original foursome. It’s five years after the anti-climatic events of the original game, with a man named Handsome Jack trying to steal the fame and glory, claiming he’s the one who originally opened the Vault. Besides taking over the Hyperion Corporation and proclaiming himself the Dictator of Pandora, he also left you out in the snowy landscape to die. Thankfully, you didn’t die, and you’re out for revenge, as well as to complete numerous side quests.

As Borderlands 2 came closer to release, something inside me changed. I flipped. I went from soldier to siren. In the original game, I played only as Roland the Soldier, using his turret to both deal damage and heal me immensely. Okay, okay–I tried the other three classes long enough to get their specific Achievements, but that was it. But I was perusing the online skill trees for the new characters, and something about Phaselocking seemed like a lot of fun. So, I’m Maya, and I’m learning how to play a little differently, as I always relied on a tossed turret to save the day. Now I need to Phaselock tough enemies, kill them fast, and regen health until my power refreshes. Pistols and SMGs are my mainstays currently.

Things I’m loving about Borderlands 2 right now are how dynamic and fluid the mission log updates itself on your HUD, with completed objectives being checked off and swooshed out of the way for whatever comes next. Picking up ammo and money automatically is pure genius and should have been there from the get go, but it doesn’t seem to always work. Comparing weapons is easier, but still not perfect for me and can be a little confusing managing one’s inventory at times. Also, once you get to Sanctuary, you get a bank (previously only added in via DLC) to store weapons you aren’t ready to sell.

Hit Level 10 recently while helping the Firehawk out of a bad situation. Got three holdable weapon slots unlocked, as well as extra room in the backpack. It’s all following in the same path as the original game, more or less. And here are a few Achievements unlocked so far that I dig:


New in Town (20G): Completed the mission “Plan B”


Better Than You Were (10G): Reached level 10


Phased and Confused (20G): Phaselocked 100 enemies


Tribute to a Vault Hunter (15G): Got an item from Michael Mamaril

That final Achievement listed above has a really sad, but touching story to it, making me appreciate just how much Gearbox, as a company, appreciates us, the gamers. You can learn more about Michael’s story here.

Okay. Those are my early impressions, and I’m sure I’ll be back for mid impressions and late impressions at some point. It’s that whole “one more quest” aspect that can’t keep me away despite it all being so familiar.

Experience gun selection and skags old skool style with The Border Lands

If you’re like me–or, even more terrifyingly, if you are me–then you’re pretty stoked about Borderlands 2 coming out next month. Yeah, yeah…even the whole “girlfriend mode” scandal isn’t enough to throw me off, and I’ve been recently re-soaking myself in all things Pandora-related with some further time in Borderlands, finally dinging Level 61 with my soldier on Playthrough 2 and mentally preparing myself to take on Crawmerax the Invincible…soonish.

Until then, there’s The Border Lands. It’s a “demake” of the game. Not sure who made it specifically or if it is even associated with Gearbox or 2K Games. Seems like it though. Here are some descriptive words from everyone’s favorite dancing robot:

Borderlands wasn’t always the slick, handsome bastard of a game it is today! Go old skool and play the 1989 16-bit original to see how it all began. I can’t believe how young I look!

And it is all that. You pick your character–Salvador, Maya, Zero, or Axton–and then you’re dumped into a screen to shoot enemies. All the classics are there, like skags, rakks, and those annoying screamers that charge at you with a bomb in hand. Even bosses, clearly marked with a flashing skull. In order to proceed to the next level, you must kill all enemies. Some drop loot crates, which let you pick from two new guns, each with their own abilities and shortcomings. Anything with decent range is highly recommended, as the enemies get on you fast, and you can’t move away quick enough. It really is the Borderlands experience in bite-size format. Or is that bit-size? Thank you, thank you. Try the fish.

So, it’s something to do and has a nice style to it, with great sound effects and easily recognizable sprites. Try and beat my high score of $19,720. My only complaints are as follows: 1) you can’t change the direction you’re aiming when firing a gun, you have to wait until you run out of ammo or stop firing altogether and then change positions and 2) some serious slowdown happens once eight or more enemies get on screen. Otherwise, neat-o.

Oh, and the music that plays on the main menu for The Border Lands is quite nice. I mean, I should know, considering I’ve had it in the background on a loop while writing this blog post for y’all. Can’t pinpoint if it comes from the original game or the upcoming one or if it’s a new piece altogether, but either way, it fits just fine. Enjoy, vault hunters.

The purchasing forecast of videogames for the remainder of 2012

It’s gotten to the point that this upcoming autumn slash winter, in terms of videogame release dates, is becoming a messy blur, and I can no longer keep things pinned nicely on the bulletin board in my mind. Usually there’s just one or two games I really, really want, but not this time around. Seems like everything is coming to a head to round out the year of our unmaking. Oh boy, oh girl.

And so I come here, to Grinding Down, my e-refrigerator of sorts, to jot everything down next to the grocery list so I can keep track of it all. I’m sure this is not as interesting as me trying out Facebook social games and complaining about the Energy template or writing lame haikus or talking about videogames I traded in when I was young and dumb, but I like staying organized and orderly, and this helps with those two personality aspects immensely.

And we’re off…

Borderlands 2
System: Xbox 360
Release date: September 18, 2012

Already got this one pre-ordered, which means I’ll get early access to the now controversial fifth class. You know, the one with the “girlfriend mode” skill tree, where shooting a gun near an enemy is considered good enough to damage it. Chances are I won’t play as any other class than the trusted soldier with his trusty turret, but we’ll see. Really looking forward to this one, especially since I’ve been dipping back into the original game as a late to clean up some Achievements and missed quests. Does anyone know if you can carry over some guns with saved data? I’ve got this sick acid-based pistol that obliterates armor I want to keep.

Pokemon White/Black 2
System: Nintendo DS
Release date: October 7, 2012

Um, no, I have not yet beaten my copy of Pokemon White, and so I don’t know how the story ends. I’m at the final fight area, but have to do a lot of grinding to get a team up to snuff, and that’s not a lot of fun. The fun, for Pokemon videogames and me, comes from the beginning hours, where you go out into the wild to grab your first few pocket monsters, and then begin to construct a team to your liking. There’s another reason that I now pretty much buy these Pokemon games like a natural reflect, but I’m not ready to talk about that just yet.

Code of Princess
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: October 9, 2012

Now, I’m not actually certain I’ll be picking up Code of Princess, but it does have two big points going for it: quirky characters and ATLUS. That might be enough, but I’ll hold back and see what reviews say first. Hopefully Giant Bomb does a Quick Look of it.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: October 28, 2012

Hey, it’s the professor’s first adventure–on this side of Earth, at least–in the third dimension! Think of the possibilities. Can’t wait to remove match sticks in 3D. This is a no-brainer, really. Wonder if it’ll come with another bonus mini-game like Professor Layton’s London Life. I loved that experience more than the actual game, but it still made for a crazy good package all in all.

Assassin’s Creed III
System: Xbox 360
Release date: October 30, 2012

Some time before this comes out, I’ll have to read a wiki summary for Assassin’s Creed: Revelations as I skipped that one. It seemed, from what I could tell, to be more Brotherhood, with little variation. More Brotherhood isn’t a terrible premise, as that adventure was leaps and bounds ahead of others, but to fall flat and not contain many revelations–for shame. Otherwise, the newest entry looks great, with new types of terrain and weaponry to master. Plus, naval combat. I’m in.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: November 11, 2012

Mario, RPG elements, and sticker collecting. Who knew this combo would be so desirable?

Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: November 18, 2012

The people that made Monster Tale are making this, using Castle of Illusion for inspiration. I don’t need any more reasoning than that. Please, take my money.

LEGO Lord of the Rings
System: Xbox 360
Release date: Holiday 2012

One has to assume this will come out right around the same time part one of eight-seven for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit drops. I mean, if I had the mind of a businessman, that’s how I’d plan for it. Symmetry and brand recognition, right? Yeah, that’s it. Over the weekend, Tara and I finished up collecting every noodle and nail in LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7, which was exhausting, and so we’ll take a break from the LEGO games until this one comes out. Still not sure how to accept the addition of voices in the newer titles…

THE POOL OF UNCERTAINTY MIGHT STILL CONTAIN SOME OF THESE GAMES FOR 2012 OR MAYBE NOT…

Fantasy Life
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: ???

A few weeks ago, new screenshots–mostly in Japanese, mind you–were released for the long-awaited Fantasy Life, and I was excited. This would be the game that could stave off my Animal Crossing withdrawal. Coupled with these screenshots was the promise of a release date shortly thereafter, but that time has come to pass, and not a new word has surfaced since then. That’s…extremely disheartening. C’mon. Let me get this for Christmas.

Bravely Default: Flying Fairy
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: ???

A unique battle system, the ability to change jobs, character designs from the character designer behind Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes, and absolutely stunning graphics. Seriously, this game looks gorgeous, and that’s a word usually saved for things like supermodels and Thanksgiving feasts. Other than that, little else is known, but I’m keeping my eyeballs peeled for this nonetheless.

Oh boy. Also: ugh. There’s more titles here than I previously thought I wanted. Thank goodness a few got delayed to 2013, such as Luigi’s Mansion 2 and BioShock Infinite, because I am going to make a serious attempt to balance gaming time with drawing a lot of comics time, as the latter is actually an important adventure I want to see to the end. There’s not many gaps here; seems like a game comes out every week once the leaves start changing, and my wallet is in for a hurting.

What’s on your to-buy list for the remainder of 2012? Are we getting any of the same games? JINX!

Back to Borderlands for a little bit

Well, since beating Rage last weekend, I’ve been kind of meh about anything new to play on the ol’ Xbox 360. The truth is, I still have several incompleted games in my collection that I should try to beat one day–Eternal Sonata, Game of Thrones, Grand Theft Auto IV, Nier, Quarrel–but none of those look the least bit desirable right now. Especially the newest of them all: Game of Thrones. Sorry, not even a hardcore fanboy can enjoy that mess, though I will at some point soon talk about why it would probably should’ve sank fast and furiously during the Battle of Blackwater.

Recently, I visited my local GameStop to pick up a new wired Xbox 360 controller as my previous one was on the brink of failure, and even then, with shelves full of names and images and discounted prices, nothing jumped out. Well, maybe Dragon’s Dogma and The Witcher 2, but those are still a little too pricey for me. I’d call this a summer slump, but the truth is I do have some stuff to play, but it’s mostly on my laptop thanks to the Steam Summer Sale or on my Nintendo 3DS.

I did, however, pre-order Borderlands 2, which then gave me the itch to return to the 2009 original title. Turns out, there was still more to do with my Playthrough 2 character. Like collect items in that Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution DLC and finish missions and kill some giant crab in The Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC and hit level 61 and then beyond and even more things. But first…a patch to download! This patch gave me hope that the drop rates for oil cans, bobbleheads, pizza slices, and so on got fixed, because in its original form it was nearly impossible to find any of those items. And yes, it seems to be better, but still not great. Since the game doesn’t keep track of what you pick up as you crawl upwards toward those Achievements, I kept track. Check out this blurry photo:

Sorry, my camera phone is pretty lackluster. I will reproduce it below:

  • Oil Cans (need 25): 4 so far
  • Bobbleheads (need 15): 5 so far
  • Panties (need 3): 3 found, completed
  • Fish in a Bag (need 5): 5 found, completed
  • Pizza Slices (need 15): 0 so far

And that’s after playing for a few hours and taking on the MINAC twice. So yeah, it’s still pretty slow. The barren wasteland of pizza slices has me worried the most though, considering I’ve yet to see even a single slice drop off a Claptrap. But I’ll keep trying because, if anything, it’s at least more experience points towards a new level. I’ve read some tricks online about hiding from the MINAC so that it keeps producing Claptraps and then runs them over, endlessly producing loot. Will have to try that at some point, but I’ve moved over to running through the Robot Revolution DLC a second time on my Playthrough 2, which is at least providing a challenge for my LV 56 soldier. Also, I got taken for a ride:


Sucker born every minute (10G): Paid for a worthless tour of the world’s largest bullet

Well, that was $8,000,000 spent on an Achievement. Which is fine, really, as I don’t need a lot of money at this point as I have a ton of weapons and love, and I never see anything in the shop worth buying. Though I am still keeping my eye out for a better shield.

So, I’m back in Borderlands, at least for a little bit. Borderlands 2 comes out in the middle of next month, and I’m pretty excited for it. The pre-order bonus comes with some special guns and access to a new class, but I predict I’ll be rolling with the soldier again, as I love that turret. It is like having another soldier on the field, which is vital to me, since I pretty much play these co-op ready games solo.

Grinding Down’s most wanted videogames in 2012

The other night, as I curled up in bed under the heated blanket and the security of wrappings, I began to think about the games I’m most excited for in 2012. And sadly, I could only come up with two titles off the top of my head. That can’t be right…right? I mean, I know 2011 was a huge year full of big ol’ videogames, but there had to be some other solid stuff still in the pipeline. And yeah, after scouring the Interwebz, I found a few more that I’d like to try out in the new year. Whew. And so I now list ’em below for your convenience:

Animal Crossing 3DS

Not sure if Animal Crossing 3DS is going to be the actual title of the latest edition of Nintendo’s cutesy life sim, but at this point, it might as well be since we’ve had nothing else to go with for so very long. But I’m so ready to get back into the swing of daily living, collecting furniture and talking to neighbors and fishing and special town events and so on. Heck, after the lame Pilotwings Resort and the ultra difficult Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked, this will probably be the third retail game I purchase for my Nintendo 3DS. Crazy, huh?

Please come out sooner than later.

Borderlands 2

Pew pew pew. I loved Borderlands for its setting and shooting and silly characters, not its story, and that’s all I’m looking forward to in the sequel, more setting and shooting and silly characters. Minus evil Claptraps though. Hey, if they add a story in this time, that’s even better, but I’m not expecting much. I just want to get back on Pandora, shoot some bandits, and collect a crazy amount of guns. No solid release date yet for this beast.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

I don’t know. It’s more fantasy-themed RPGing with a really generic name. I get a Fable II vibe from it with a stronger attention to combat, but with a much larger world to explore. And you can be sneaking, too. I’m in.

Suikoden: The Woven Web of a Century

Sigh. I was so excited when I caught wind of a new Suikoden game coming out. And then I learned it was only for one system, and a stupid one at that. I think I’m almost at the point that I’ll buy a stupid PSP just to play the newest Suikoden game. Those things should be dirt cheap now that the PS Vita is coming out next month. Maybe? Maaaaaaybe…

Game of Thrones

Not the RTS game, silly. There’s an RPG coming out just before season two kicks off on HBO in April. In this one, we get to play as new characters–one’s a shapeshifter and the other a red priest–and see some known Westeros events from their eyes. I have to wonder if it’ll feel too videogamey for its own good, but maybe it’ll be fun. I know George R.R. Martin has been involved in the project somewhat and even ends up making a cameo as a maester (with glasses). Given my love for the books and the show and the many, many characters, I am a little worried that I will over-scrutinize the thing and hate it for not being perfect.

Fez

A puzzle platformer with a unique style and perspective-shifting mechanic to it. The protagonist, a creature named Gomez, rocks a fez of its own and is obsessed with collecting hats, which sounds about right to me. Fez will be out on XBLA in early 2012, so maybe this month, maybe next month, or maybe the one after that. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it nonetheless.

Now, many of you are probably wondering why I haven’t included such heavy-hitters like Mass Effect 3 or BioShock Infinite on my latest do want list. Well, first things first, I’d probably have to finish Mass Effect 2 to get excited for the next adventure, and while I did eventually learn to enjoy BioShock, that kind of gun gameplay is too stressful for me. Too many times did I just sit in a corner of a room, listening to the noises around me, afraid to move a centimeter forward.

But what about y’all? What new games coming out in 2012 are you most excited for? Tell me below and convince me I should want them, too.

Borderlands 2, a treasure hunter’s wishlist

Not surprisingly, Borderlands 2 has been officially confirmed. That’s cool. Looks like a possible April 2012 release window, which is also cool as I’m still plugging away at the original Borderlands and have plenty to do there. Mainly trying to find slices of pizzas, panties, and fish in bags, as well as creep towards level 69. Once most of that is done, I’ll definitely be done with the game as I am not interested in replaying it for like a third time with a brand new character class or anything. So a new Borderlands game sounds just about right.

And here’s a quote from Gearbox about the newest entry in the series:

“Combining invention and evolution, Borderlands 2 features all-new characters, skills, environments, enemies, weapons and equipment, which come together in an ambitiously crafted story. Players will reveal secrets, and escalate mysteries of the Borderlands universe as they adventure across the unexplored new areas of Pandora.”

Looks like we’re back on Pandora. I kind of felt like most of the planet had been explored, but I’m sure they’ll come up with truly new locations. I’m excited for this, but I do have some wishes. They seem sound in my head, but you might not agree. I’m sure all many want is just more shooting, shooting, shooting, and weapons with a thousand and four different stats. I get that. I’d like that…and more. Here’s my wishlist for Borderlands 2!

Character customization

In Borderlands, there were four classes: soldier, hunter, siren, and berserker. I’ve only played at length with the soldier, Roland, but I did give the other three a sporting chance. Meh. Once you have your class and increase in levels, you’ll gain skill points, which allow you to customization your character’s skill tree and how he or she plays more effectively. What you can’t tweak is what they look like, other than changing armor colors. I guess this isn’t a huge deal as you don’t often actually see your dude unless they are getting in or out of a vehicle, but it definitely doesn’t give you the impression that your treasure hunter is any more special than somebody else’s.

Stronger story

There’s so much potential in the Borderlands universe for a great story, and alas, the first game did not do the best job telling one. It had fantastically cool characters, but it lacked a conclusion and a true goal. I mean, if the Vault was supposed to house all this crazy treasure, why did we not get to loot it at the very end? Hmm? The quests and sidequests featured some great lore, but I suspect many gamers didn’t spend a lot of time reading and scrolling down to finish reading. I think some actually dialogue between characters could help strengthen the story, really immerse the player, and maybe even offer some choices in how things play out.

Storage space

I know Gearbox added some kind of storage bin with one of the DLCs (not one I have), but this element should have been implemented from the get-go. If you’re going to have an astronomical 17,750,000 weapons, please give us a place to store all our favorites. It became frustrating to have to either drop or sell gear simply to keep space open for more loot. A lot of times, I wouldn’t even get a chance to try out most of these weapons before giving them the axe.

LESS DRIVING

I hated the driving in Borderlands. Hate, hate, hate, hated it.

Varied multiplayer modes

Okay, the online multiplayer bug has finally bit me. I’d like to see more online interaction for the Borderlands franchise other than co-op. Not just deathmatch things, but maybe online challenge modes or something even wackier. Imagine an online mode where players would be dropped into a randomly generated map, given a time  limit, and instructed to kill as many skags as possible. At the same time, another player is also on the map trying to do the same thing. You may kill each other as well to slow progress/steal skag kills. This I want.

This is just a few tidbits, but I’ll wait until more details about Borderlands 2 are revealed. Until then, Gearbox…please deliver!