I am an erstwhile gamer. I own both a PS3 and an Xbox 360… and there are times when I just get lost playing games. For the last few months, I’ve been playing Gearbox Software’s “Borderlands” and “Borderlands 2” (the Xbox version) at the recommendation of my son-in-law who, before I got the games, would just rant and rave about how good these games are.
So I finally relented and made it possible to get the games… and I see what he meant. There hasn’t been too many days when I haven’t been playing Borderlands 2 because he was right: Playing the first one is great… but the second one just blows the first one away.
Before these games, I’ll admit that I was never good at FPS games, or first-person shooter; I couldn’t get the hang of putting together what my eyes were seeing with how the character’s hands were behaving and I have avoided FPS games like the plague. But, he said I’d get the hang of it – and I did. I just love games where you can shoot and blow shit up and the more violent it is, the better I like it. I love the millions of weapons this game brings to the table, so many that the game’s creators don’t know what weapons will show up – they just know that they will.
The game is frustrating; you have to work through jobs in the story line as well as complete other tasks and, often, you have to take on impossible odds with few or inadequate weapons, depending on your level. These aren’t games where you just run around killing the bad guys – it makes you think and formulate strategies just to get from one place to the other… and I like that just as much as it pisses me off; too many times, I’ve had to resist the urge to hurl my controller…
There’s a co-op mode in both games, meaning other players can hook up with you to kick ass and take names and I learned quickly that when you partner-up with people who are at a much higher level than you are, wow, it’s really something to watch! My partners are my daughter and son-in-law and they are damned good at this game, able to point out things I need to collect or need to do and they’re happy to run around killing my bad guys with a single shot while I rake in the goodies.
Borderlands 1 has two play-through modes, meaning that when you beat the game, you can turn around and start over at the beginning, at the level you finished the game, but with meaner bad guys and if you think it’s easier the second time through, guess again – it is a bitch and a half. They recently updated Borderlands 2, extending your gaming level from 50 to 61 (just like they did the first game) but instead of two play-throughs, there are three now. Great… like I wasn’t having enough issues working through the second play-through?
Borderlands 1 has four characters to play with, each with different skills and, yep, you can create games with all of them and drive yourself nuts trying to figure out their skills and how best to use them to kill bad guys. Ah, but Borderlands 2? Come May, there will be six characters you can play the game with… like playing with just one character wasn’t enough.
The games are addictive and to the point where my lady has to come out and make me get up and move around because I can sit in my chair, literally for hours, and the only thing that’s moving are my fingers and thumbs on the controller. Actually, I haven’t completed the second play-through of Borderlands 1 yet even though I only have one really nasty bad guy to bump off to totally finish the game… and that’s because I got Borderlands 2… but just like my peeps did with me, I’d recommend playing BL1 before playing BL2 – at least you’ll get a good feel of how the game play flows.
I know my baby thinks I’ve lost what’s left of my mind when she hears me yelling at the game and using words that sometimes leaves a soapy taste in my mouth because those bad guys are as sneaky as they are powerful – the better you get, the harder they get. The weapons are varied and quirky, too, like trying to aim at a bad guy and the damned gun just won’t stay still long enough for you to get that good and nasty (and high scoring) head shot. Oh, and they have better guns than you do – that’s fair, huh?
The game really doesn’t give you what you need to ace it – but you will learn how to do more with less when you play the Borderlands games. It’s fun… and frustrating, too, and I guess that makes it fun as well.
And I’ll get back to the game just as soon as wrestling goes off – killing the bad guys is just so relaxing and fun!