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I finished Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage add-on for Borderlands 2 last night. It was a lot of wild, over-the-top fun, up to (but not including) the big fight at the end against the Badassasaurus Rex and your ultimate foe. This is because, for all the things the Borderlands team does right, they really suck at making interesting solo boss fights.

It's a thing that can one-punch you. With area effect attacks. Which you can't effectively dodge. In the middle of a large, open, completely empty and featureless arena. The strategy for soloing any boss in Borderlands is "Get killed so you respawn just outside the fighting zone, find the one corner the boss can't hit you but you can just snipe at them, stand in it and plink away until they die ten minutes later." It's not fun, it's not exciting, it's just grindy.

It was particularly disappointing in the case of the Badassasaurus because it was such a visually nifty boss-- I wanted to be able to see it while I fought it! But no. Because if I could see it, that meant I didn't have enough cover, and got one-punched. Sigh.

But I don't want to harp too much on that, because the rest of Mr. Torgue was all the best stuff Borderlands has to offer: action, a lot of loot-and-level fun, and wry satire/spoof that goes from being smirkingly humorous to break-your-furniture funny.

On finishing that, I started the third add-on, Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, but so far I can't say I'm impressed. As charming as Hammerlock himself is ("That's just a bit of ribald humor for you. Ha, ha! Quite ribald."), the whole "white guys vs. savages with some Heart of Darkness riffs" thing is way too creepy for me to enjoy. Also, there's a really huge and annoying difficulty spike, in the form of the "witch doctor" enemies that buff their allies, insta-heal upgrade them to tougher versions just as they're about to die, and do piles of damage to you, all simultaneously. Even the random encounter wandering-monster types have huge hit points and do tons of damage; I'm guessing the developers were like "Oh, you think the game was too easy, eh? TAKE THIS! Heheheheheh!"

Ugh. If Torgue has all the good stuff from Borderlands, Big Game Hunt seems to have all the worst. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to sustain my interest in it long enough to finish; what I might do is go back to the regular story and finish getting up to the level cap, then come back and power through BGH at +5 levels over, just to get through it.

-The Gneech

Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 2nd, 2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
You know, I must be weird... I could never really get into Borderlands. Every time I played, I got the urge to go to Fallout (1 and 2, that is) and play those instead.
Feb. 2nd, 2013 06:53 pm (UTC)
Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks. :) I've never tried Fallout, any good?

Feb. 2nd, 2013 08:20 pm (UTC)
Well, the OLD Fallout (the ones I'm referring to) are excellent-- RPG with dark comedy, set in a post-apocalyptic world. Basically, what Borderlands draws on for inspiration at times, only it's not a FPS.

If you ever feel adventurous, Good old Games sells it and the prequel for cheap: http://www.gog.com/gamecard/fallout_2

You also can get all of the old games--- they have all of the Quest for Glory collection, King's Quest, Space Quest, etc, as well as newer games by indie developers.

By the way, were you aware of the resent Sierra Renaissance? I wrote a blurb about it at Gamingfurever: http://www.gamingfurever.com/news/83-game-news/furry/627-maus-merryjest
Feb. 2nd, 2013 08:30 pm (UTC)
I checked out the original Fallout a long time ago, with a demo, and never could figure out how to play it. I also didn't try very hard. Some games just take me a bit to realize how they work. My expectations were not in synch with how the game actually played was the problem.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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