The other day, a guy was making a food delivery and he seemed kinda stunned when he looked to his right a little and saw a game paused on my Xbox One, prompting him to ask who was playing the game. Since I know there’s just the two of us and our cat, it seemed to be an odd question and more so since Linda wasn’t even in the room… and the cat was in hiding (and can’t hold a controller).
So when I told him I was playing Battleborn, he asked how old I was, his surprised deepened as if it never occurred to him that someone my age can play games on an Xbox One… or at all. I offered unto him that I happened to know there were people older than I am playing games like Borderlands, Call of Duty, Gears of War, etc., and, I dunno, I guess I got some major props from this guy.
I play games of some kind every day, several times a day on either my iPad or my Samsung tablet and, yes, my Xbox One rarely gets turned off because I usually have a game in progress. Thanks to my Xbox Live Gold membership, I have access to a lot of free games like the one I’m playing now, Watch Dogs, or the occasional free trial for games like Battleborn, which I went and purchased. Both of these games reminded me of something kinda important, like how tough it can be to figure out a new-to-you game and more so when there’s no manual readily available.
Sure, I can go online and down one… but where’s the fun in that? Yesterday, I’m playing Watch Dogs and feeling the frustration a bit because I haven’t really caught on to all of the game’s nuances, which is getting me killed repeatedly and all because I have no idea what to expect despite knowing what an objective is. Like the part that drove me crazy for a while – getting sent to prison to find this guy and convince him not to rat me out to the cops – and only armed with my trusty and powerful smartphone that allows me to hack pretty much any- and everything.
I get out of my cell but now I have rooms to sneak into, stuff to hack in order to find this guy but I gotta do it without any guards seeing me. Getting past this part was aggravating but I finally get to where this guy is – the guards are kicking his ass to convince him to give me up and now I finally get my hands on a weapon – a shotgun – and it’s simple: Take out the guards, question the dude, get out.
Uh, not that simple. It took me about fourteen tries to kill all of the guards… then the game tosses in something I’d not encountered: A practically bulletproof “enforcer” who blew me away while I sat here asking, “What the hell is that?”
Now, I’m not above looking up the fan Wiki and finding out what I don’t know about a game… and it seems that if all you have is a fairly wimpy shotgun, the only way to kill an enforcer is to shoot him in the head… and as many times as you can while he’s busting caps in you.
Took me another five or six times before I finally offed the enforcer and the other two “normal” guards that sneaked in and capped me once. Now I gotta get out of the prison, past a slew of cops waiting just outside the door and, oh, yeah, a helicopter! While I’m doing this – and it only took three tries to eventually escape – I was thinking about how much fun it is to learn a game blind but, again, how frustrating it can be because you just have no idea what the game is going to throw at you next.
There are some laughable and somewhat embarrassing moments, like any time I steal a car and have to drive it. I am an experienced in-game car driver but this game reminds me of the very first time I tried to drive a car in a game. The driving controls are familiar… but the way the cars respond has me spending more time wrecking them than actually driving them; in one part where I was being chased by the police, man, I destroyed more property than Hancock and killed more civilians than in any game I’ve ever played and all because the damned cars are hard to control. I did (eventually) escape… but not after totally trashing ten different cars and hundreds of civilians!
I’m gonna take a closer look at the sensitivity controls; they either need to be dialed down or up so that I have better control; otherwise, the civilian population will get wiped out. Oh, before I forget, this game is played in a beautiful rendition of Chicago, a city I’ve been to quite a few times so that helps… some but the game’s graphics is among the best I’ve seen.
Now, Battleborn. It’s a great game if you like shooting things and the game has a slew of characters at your disposal and all with different abilities and weapons. You can play it solo or join up with others. To learn the game, I started playing solo and some levels are easy, some tough and intensive, but I’m thinking, okay, this is challenging and I can see why the preferred playing mode is multiplayer because there’s just too much for one player to pay attention to and tends to result in a lot of respawning.
But I’m getting through it until the “episode” I’m currently stuck in; I have the “help” of another character fighting off all kinds of enemies until I get to the very last one and, yeah, I’m pretty pissed off because for this round, I have to protect a device from being destroyed and I’ve not found a way to keep it unscathed. The last attacker shows up, I’m throwing everything I have at it -and right along with some weapon emplacements – when the bad guy backs way out of weapons range and launches a mess of missiles at the device.
Mission failed. Player totally bent out of shape, hands hurting from gripping the controller tightly and applying body language that never helps anything and the beginnings of a headache. I’m used to playing games where there are multiple playable characters that have different abilities, like any of the Borderlands games and because I play these games, I’m fairly decent at wiping out multiple attackers but I’ll admit that Borderlands has spoiled me because I have at my disposal a shitload of weapons I can pick and choose from to decimate the bad guys and to great and spectacular effect.
Battleborn gives me one, “upgradable” weapon along with a “DNA helix” of other abilities that I have to pick and choose from and, frankly, with the characters I’ve played with so far, some of those extra abilities suck. Badly. I know the level I’m currently stuck on can be beaten… I just haven’t figured out how to do it without recruiting another player to come into my game and help me out… which I kinda stubbornly refuse to do because I am a gamer, have been one for a long time now, and ego demands that I exhaust everything I know of before calling for help.
But it’s still fun even though both of these games are good at frustrating me. Just as I learned to play the Borderlands games so that I’m not really thinking about what I’m doing or how to do something, I will eventually master these games as well.