Oct 26 2009
Well, I’m around thirty hours into Borderlands since my day one journal, and the fact that I’m still playing says a lot about the game. In fact, I’ve pretty much done a 180 from the first opinions I formed, as I found that many of my gripes have been solved simply through the passage of time.
Right now I have a level 30 Hunter and a level 33 Beserker. Why two? And why is my Berseker higher than the Hunter I originally started the game with? Well, I discovered co-op mode, which is how this game was meant to be played.
It’s much more fun to run around with a friend, leveling up together and specializing in opposite guns so that no one has to scramble for that rare shotgun or SMG. Healing each other saves a hell of a lot of time during missions, and teaming up to take down bosses using diversionary tactics is a lot of fun.
Co-op is so necessary that believe it or not, I’m playing co-op during my single player campaign. Let me explain.
I now have a level 22 Soldier because for the last four hours or so, I turned on my other controller, and had him sit there while I did high level missions with my Hunter. His presence serves a few purposes. A) better item drops with more players B) If only one person dies (he never does since he’s safe at home base) enemies’ life doesn’t come back C) When driving, I open up his map so I can navigate easily. Yeah, it’s kind of ridiculous, but it works.
This has never once happened.
I wasn’t doing this odd strategy initially for those reasons though, I was trying to level up a character to my roommate could play a co-op game with me, since my other friend wouldn’t let him use his character in our ongoing co-op game. Unfortunately, the level gap disparity is so absurd in Borderlands, that even at level 22, when fighting level 28 characters, the Soldier still dies in one hit from ANYthing, and does 2 damage per hit with his super rare SMG. It’s ridiculous. If you aren’t within 2-3 levels of the enemies you’re fighting, you do not have a chance in hell.
That’s how I got out of the quagmire I was in when I ended my last journal. I discovered that the mission I was attempting was a few levels too high (literally, two) for my character, so I ran away, and did some side missions to level up and come back. However, the problem with getting ahead in level where you’re 2-3 levels above all the enemies, everything is a breeze. There are only a handful of times that the game feels like it’s decently challenging without being either a cake walk or a complete shitshow, and that’s when you happen to be EXACTLY the same level as your enemies.
As for my other complaints, ammo and traveling, the game lets you upgrade your ammo storage capacity, starts dropping reloads everywhere, and occasionally gives you guns that regenerate ammo automatically. And as for fast travel, it does exist, and between that and car rides, it no longer takes forever to get where you’re going.
Has “shoot it in the eyes” ever NOT worked in a video game boss fight?
Now splitting my time equally between two characters, I get to see the full range of the game, whereas my Hunter is mainly a mile-away sniper, my Beserker is like Mike Tyson on crystal meth, and I can’t tell you how much fun I have using his raging punching assault skill to bash in the heads of Badass Bruisers and Alpha Scags.
My other complaint was about enemy types, and that mainly still stands. There are now four instead of two, with jumpy spider crab things a counterpart to spike dogs, and rogue infantry units a counterpart to bandits, but still, four types ain’t exactly what I’d call diversity, and unless there’s a lot more coming, that’s still an issue I have with the game.
As much fun as I’m having with the game currently, the repetitiveness of the missions is really starting to bore its way into my brain. For every awesome base-invading, army-killing, boss-battling mission, there are two dozen of the “Find the parts/pamphlets/magazines/ammo dumps/weapon caches/dead fish/bottles of booze” variety. One time I literally had to drive to a windmill, and shoot six pieces of bird crap off it. That was it. I would say that’s an isolated incident, but later, I drove somewhere else and had to shoot crap out of two sewer pipes so they could start flowing again. And yes, once again, that was it. Thank god I had my level 32 world-ending, lighting-shooting, super sniper rifle for that.
I’m not quite sure how close to the end of the game I am with my level 33. I just found the “final piece” of the vault key, so I would assume that I have to be getting close. However, I haven’t seen ANY alien weapons yet, and I AM only level 33, so I would HOPE that I have 34% more of the game to go (since the level cap is 50). If it ends within the next hour or two, I’m going to be a bit disappointed.
But all in all my opinion of the game has taken a dramatic shift upward from my first impressions. It still has some issues in addition to the ones I’ve mentioned, such as the COMPLETE lack of plot, which for an RPG is very disappointing, but any game I’ve sunk more than thirty hours into in under a week is doing a hell of a lot of things right.
Where the hell is this? Hopefully it’s implying I have much more to go.
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