I’ve stepped away from playing Elite Dangerous for the moment and went back to a game that gives me both fits and a lot of… pleasure. I remember the resistance I had about playing this game because I’d tried to play first-person shooters before and I sucked badly at them so when my son-in-law and daughter kept leaning on me to play this game – and made sure I’d play it because they bought it for me – I was like, well, shit – might as well see what all the fuss is about and they did spend their money so I could play it with them.
And I found that, um, I like killing shit and blowing shit up. A lot. So I was playing yesterday and caught myself thinking about how much fun I was having methodically and efficiently killing and destroying everything that was getting between me and the goal of taking on the boss… and then doing a number on it. I could have activated one of my established profiles/characters and it would have been fun… but not as fun as starting a new game and, well, there’s something… gratifying about having to start from scratch and turning the new character into a stone-cold killer and, um, reflecting the way playing this game makes me feel.
Not that I’d really go out and start a killing spree but those of you who play games like this knows what I’m talking about and the harder the game makes it to kill shit, the more satisfying it is to do some very serious killing. The Borderlands games go out of their way to not make playing them all that easy by not making it easy to find the weapons and other stuff that would make it easy. Like, yesterday, my character got to level 60 and I got there primarily using a level 45 weapon which you’d think wouldn’t work against higher level bad guys… but that’s the thing about Borderlands because it can work… and not so much. Ah, but the thrill of playing this game is also learning to make the best of the stuff you have because there’s no telling if you’ll ever get your hands on the stuff you really need.
And while this can be frustrating at times, oh, yeah – just being able to kill shit and blow shit up is so… relaxing even if, um, even if I wind up having to respawn because they managed to kill the shit out of me, which was happening at the moment my character got to level 60. I was mowing them down with my “usual” methodical way, clearing section after section and even differently as I’ve done with the other established characters when the level 45 weapon that had served me surprisingly well all this time failed me and, ultimately, got me killed.
Oh, I was “pissed” – and I always get “pissed” when I get killed and more so when I know I did something stupid… which is pretty much what I did to get offed at that point in the game. On the real, I chided myself because I know better; it’s not like way back when I was learning how to play Borderlands 3 and I have to give it to Gearbox because the game plays almost in the same way across all four of the games – no one counts the pre-sequel game as “Borderlands 3” even though it came out before Borderlands 3. There is a bit of a learning curve to go from playing Borderlands 2 and 3 but, yeah, you learn that there’s some shit you shouldn’t do because it’s gonna get you killed.
Ah, but the fun part is getting killed, respawning, and coming back with a vengeance and as I went about exacting that vengeance, oh, man, was I feeling all nice as I did it! There’s a critter in this game called “Tinks” and, well, they’re midgets – and I do not use that word to offend anyone – that are fun to kill… and a pain in the ass because they’re not only small but those fuckers are fast, too. I’d gone into an area that I knew would be chock full of these annoying motherfuckers and with the thought that since I’d been leaving a high body count of bandits, this wasn’t going to be any different so I dived right on in… and the game picked that moment for the weapon that had served me so well to stop serving me well and when I got surrounded by no less than eight Tinks, well, I got offed. And I was pissed because I knew better; again, it’s not like I’ve never played any iteration of this game before.
But, okay – my bad and my mistake… and one they were going to pay for once I respawned… and the devastation I wreaked upon them was… glorious and close to making my dick hard to be so focused and methodically about making them have to respawn and the messier I made that for them, the better it felt. Yeah, I had to switch to another weapon in my backpack but, man, I really did like the one that decided to “quit” on me! It delivered brutal deaths to the bandits that dared to face me even when they were a level higher than I was or had weaponry that shouldn’t have depleted my shields but, yeah, they did… and it meant nothing as I shrugged off their attempts to make me have to respawn again and just killed the shit out of them and no quarter given.
Those of you who have played the game – or any game like it – knows what I’m talking about. You know the game is going to do everything possible to defeat you… and you’re not having any of that even when you accept that, yep, it’s gonna hand your ass to you and not because you screwed up. And that’s okay… because paybacks is a bitch and revenge is a motherfucker when you can come back and perform a wholesale slaughter with every means at your disposal to do so.
I was having such a hell of time slaughtering bandits that I actually got tired of slaughtering them and had to put the game on pause for a few to catch my breath, as it were… and went on to that level’s boss… and killed the shit out of it and in near record time for me. And, yeah… it felt good. So relaxing. If you could have watched me playing, you might have thought that I wasn’t really into the game and that I might have been… somewhat bored but looks can be deceiving because I was having a fun good time being a cold-blooded, stone-cold killer of bandits.
It’s just that every now and then, I actually catch myself having fun; I’ve played this game so many times that I no longer have to think about how to play it and to the point where I’m pretty much on autopilot and thinking about other stuff but, yeah, sometimes, I become rather aware of my… killing sprees. That “thrill” of selecting a sniper rifle and placing a perfect headshot on a bandit or knowing that I jumped into the middle of mess and got to spraying and praying and when the dust cleared, I’m the only one standing there and looking for more bandits to kill. Or getting in the midst of them without them knowing I’m there… and raining death and devastation upon them and knowing that there’s nothing they can do about it…
Well, until they actually do and usually because whatever weapon I’ve been using just stops getting the job done. It always gives me one of those “oh, shit” moments to empty a whole clip of ammo on a bad guy… and he’s still standing there shooting back and now I gotta think if there’s something in my backpack that’s gonna make him – and his friends – go away. Sometimes there is and sometimes I just gotta work with what I have and I’m often very thankful that I made it through the situation and have it firmly in mind that I need better shit to kill these fuckers with. I took out one boss… with a pistol. If you’ve played Borderlands 3, you probably now how… unlikely it is to take out any of the bosses with… a pistol. Why? Because nothing else I had at the time did shit against the boss and the only gun I hadn’t tried was… a pistol. Once I switched to it, yeah, I was… amazed that it even worked… but the game can be like that because, when playing with a different character, I took that same boss out… with a shotgun. And another time… with a sniper rifle.
And besides all that killing and destruction, this is what makes playing Borderlands 3 so much fun to play because you never know what’s going to work even when you know what should work. My weapon of choice is any flavor of submachine guns… but I’ve played where the weapon that works is an assault rifle and, yeah, even the less favored pistol or shotgun. The game has grenades… but you can’t count on them working once you get past whatever level the grenade happens to be but it’s so much fun to carpet bomb their asses by using every grenade I’m carrying… because it’s so much fun to blow shit up and so very relaxing even if, say, unloading all 14 grenades at my disposal doesn’t kill many bandit. Shit… if throwing one doesn’t work, throw all of them… and let’s see what happen. I’m currently using the Firestorm grenade and, man, talk about raining fire down? Throwing one and seeing the devastation can get me to giggling… but throwing all 14 of them all at once?
Oh, hell, yeah! What a rush! And to think that I once resisted playing this game way back when it first came out!