Backlog Redux 2014 #39 – Borderlands

Borderlands

More Like Bore-derlands

You know that moment when a game goes from fun and enjoyable to a chore, bugging you to finish it lest it continue to be a stain on your ever-growing backlog. “Ok fine, I guess I’ll try to play Borderlands again. *sigh*” That’s what Gearbox’s open-world FPS turned into for me.

I can’t remember the reason I originally picked this game up. Perhaps it was just a good deal, second-hand, and I was ready for something different from my norm. I was just coming off World of Warcraft at the time (anyone who’s ever kicked the WoW habit knows that the term “coming off” is not as exaggerated as it sounds), and it was my first introduction to a first-person shooter that incorporated mission and loot systems like those seen in MMORPGs.

I kind of oscillated back and forth between playing the game and shelving it for quite a while. At some point, a friend sent me a copy of Borderlands 2 to co-op the campaign on-line. Being the completionist I am, I couldn’t feel whole if I didn’t go back and finally work my way through what remained of BL1. So off the shelf it came yet again.

Borderlands

Come on! The guy’s BFF is a bird of prey!

Like I seem to do in most games that give an option of the traditional Warrior/Rogue/Wizard character choices, I gravitated toward Mordecai the Hunter, the class most associated with the more classic Thief/Assassin/Sniper category. It seems to be what I gravitate towards. During the course of the game, though, I was disappointed that it seemed like no matter what class you chose, you could pretty much play any way you wanted based on the gear you picked up and chose to equip. Therefore, despite being a class specializing in sniping skills, I eventually favored a powerful, up-close handgun approach, provided I had the right revolver for the job equipped. I can only assume that the same holds true for the other classes, letting a tank sharpshoot his way through the game with a fire rifle, or a magic user lay waste to creatures using an acid-modded rocket launcher. Though, as you can tell by the weapon descriptions, getting to wreak havoc using these different tools of destruction was pretty satisfying!

The game is pretty lengthy, and once I was (finally) committed to seeing it through, it still took quite a long time before the credits rolled across my screen. I pretty much soloed the game, which might have contributed some to my lack of enjoyment – I suspect the game’s main attraction is in online co-op. But if I’m going to play two-player mode, I prefer knowing my partner personally, and I just don’t know anybody that’s still playing the original Borderlands. Split-screen with my son was a possibility, and we gave it a good try, but in the end I found that I really detest having my field of vision limited to such an extent, and gave up on it. Ultimately, slogging through the game’s latter chapters on my own turned into the aforementioned chore, and the end-game content felt like a lot of filler, honestly.

Borderlands

Everything starts in Fyrestone.

Even with all that, I briefly considered taking my leveled Hunter and restarting the campaign for tougher battles and better loot, but in the end swayed away from it. After all, Borderlands 2 is still lying, unfinished, in a heap of games in my office. And Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel will probably get its turn, too – after all, gotta know how the story ends/starts. Who knows? Perhaps I’ll find more enjoyment in those titles than I did here – I’m already a good chunk of the way into BL2, and the story is keeping things moving along at an expedient clip. And Vaults won’t hunt themselves…

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