I’m going to be talking about the ending to Borderlands here so I’d like to mention two things up front: 1) spoilers and 2) that it was totally lame.
After you make your way safely through the Eridian Promontory, which is definitely one of the hardest areas yet thanks to the numerous flying Guardians, you’ll come across a transition map-screen that reads THE VAULT. Oooooh. Truthfully, I was a little hesitant to press X and cross over into the place my guardian angel had been talking about non-stop since I got off the bus way back in, uh, April 2010.
It’s not like the game built up the hype about the Vault too much, but rather I did. See, in my mind–and maybe this is Fallout 3‘s fault–a vault is a place that holds…stuff. Most likely important stuff. In my mind, orange-colored weapons danced like happy CL4P-TPs! I mean, I’m a treasure hunter. I want treasure.
Upon entering the Vault location–which is an odd mix of a snowy landscape and fiery mountaintop–we’re treated to a cutscene. Some woman named Steele says the contents of the Vault is hers, but no worries…a giant tentacle jumps out of the Vault’s portal door and turns her into a Siren shish kabob. Then it’s time for a big baddie boss fight. This thing is large and unmoving; it’s mostly a horribly disgusting bean bag chair with tentacles and an eye for shooting for critical hits. Did not take me long (and remember, I’m playing solo) to whittle it down; my turret threw corrosive rockets, I hid behind pillars and took pop-shots when I could, and my shields, health, and ammo all recharged as I waited. Just took patience, which I have in droves, and then kablooey, it’s dead:
Destroyed the Destroyer (50G): Killed the Vault Boss
Sweet, with the Destroyer dead I now get to loot the Vault, right? Mmm guns, guns, guns.
No. Roll credits.
I watched the credits for a bit and listened to the music, but then I hit some buttons and I was back in the game, still at the Vault’s now broken portal door. I picked up some loot from the dead Destroyer, as well as the Vault key, but there was nowhere else for me to go. Checking my questlog, I saw I had a new quest to bring the key to Tannis. So I did. And she paid me money. And then I was officially out of jobs to do. I wandered around for a bit unsure of what to do next; I even returned to the Vault to see if I’d missed a door or something. I thought there’d be treasure or something. What happened with the Vault? It opened once and out came a demon and I killed the demon and now, what, we have to wait another 200 years to try again?
If so, laaaaaaaaaame. So, so lame, Borderlands.
I know you aren’t all about story, but you most certainly are interested in rewarding the player. Except when it comes to the final payoff. Then you’re out to lunch or something.
I didn’t even know how to get into playthrough 2. Had to look it up on the Interwebz. Grrr. Basically, you just quit the game you’re in currently and when you select your character again, you get the option to continue playing in playthrough 1’s world or start again in playthrough 2. Not sure why anyone would return to a quest-less Pandora though.
Oh, and I forgot to mention that, in the end–and I assume this was supposed to be a twist or cliffhanger for Borderlands 2–one of the CL4P-TPs becomes an evil ninja assassin thanks to your guardian angel. I traveled back to Fyrestone–as that’s where it looked like it was from–but that CL4P-TP was fine and dandy, chilling at the vapid bounty board. Some things never change.