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Myrmidon's Mighty Mass of Merriment

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Comments

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    Yes F5 and F12. The way I understand printscreen is that it only captures to clipboard, and I don't plan to alt-tab and crop in paint every time I take a screenshot... though if I'm wrong and it saves to a directory somewhere, tell me.

    ...fuck your fraps. I'm way past spoiled by F12.

  • BobbyDigiBobbyDigi ? R U #Hats ! SoCal Icrontian

    @Myrmidon said:
    Yes F5 and F12. The way I understand printscreen is that it only captures to clipboard, and I don't plan to alt-tab and crop in paint every time I take a screenshot... though if I'm wrong and it saves to a directory somewhere, tell me.

    ...fuck your fraps. I'm way past spoiled by F12.

    DropBox and the like have a feature that will autosave screen caps to storage.

    -Digi

    primesuspect
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    That's what I was going to say: Dropbox will auto-save screenshots.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    @Myrmidon said:

    Tomb Raider: Underworld

    re: controls

    You never specify: Are you using a controller or keyboard + mouse? This seems like one of those games that would be far better with a controller.

  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian

    Doesn't steam auto-save screenshots to a folder? Or not playing through steam?

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    @primesuspect said:

    @Myrmidon said:

    Tomb Raider: Underworld

    re: controls

    You never specify: Are you using a controller or keyboard + mouse? This seems like one of those games that would be far better with a controller.

    Oh, this is keyboard and mouse. The problem I have with the controls is that sometimes there are too many actions for Lara to perform for the inputs the player can make, which means that whenever you push the 'jump' button (or, as I'd call it, the 'commit to the jump you've lined up' button) in those situations, the input is too ambiguous to have a repeatable response - no amount of analog sticks would solve this problem. Frankly, if I can do it in Assassin's Creed, I should be able to do it here, too.

    A controller might fix the twitchy-ass camera, though.

    @Tushon said:
    Doesn't steam auto-save screenshots to a folder? Or not playing through steam?

    I'm using Steam, but the Steam overlay doesn't seem to work. I did a cursory google search, and this is a common issue with older games, it seems.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    SEE DAN, WE DO READ THESE

    UrbanJediWill
  • WinfreyWinfrey waddafuh Missouri Icrontian

    Even on controller the controls/camera are pretty poopy.

    The more recent Tomb Raider reboot is pretty well done imo. Also Guardians of LIght.

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    Trials 2: Second Edition

    There is absolutely no way I am finishing this game. I am simply not good enough. I'm writing this review now, and then quitting. If I make some progress tomorrow, I'll go ahead and keep working on it. If not, fuck this.

    In Trials 2, you take on the role of QWOP, who, fresh from his victory at the Olympics, has been kidnapped by the evil warehouse magnate Bam Margera and forced to navigate fiendish setups of boxes and wheels and shit to rescue your girlfriend, ASL:. Along your two-dimensional way, you'll gaze hopefully at the background and foreground, wishing to just ride around some of the shit in your way.

    Trials 2 is pretty solid - you're on a dirtbike, and your only controls are "stand up, sit down, accelerate, and brake." For all this, the game is fairly challenging (right up to the point where it isn't fun... and then some). The physics engine is the real meat of the game - as you blaze along 2D (thank god I don't have to worry about balance) obstacle courses, you rock and tilt your bike to keep your back wheel on the ground, spin, get your head out of the way of oncoming I-beams, and naturally jump higher and further.

    That's really all it is... and honestly, for what it is, it's really well done. When you're whizzing by various obstacles, dealing with them one-after-another on the fly, you feel pretty good. When you hit your first loop-the-loop and find yourself BEHIND the jump, you're pretty pleased.

    The music is PROBABLY pretty enjoyable, but I can't hear it over the two-stroke whining the whole time. Speaking of, that sound effect could probably stand to be toned down a bit.

    Score up to this point: 8/10. Solid for what it is, just a couple gripes.

    AND THEN YOU HIT THE HARD LEVELS.

    This is stupid, guys. Hard levels are still supposed to be fun. However, THESE hard levels are hard for the sake of being hard. After about hard level 3, you find yourself on a dirtbike, at a standstill, trying to jump over a crate. And behind that is another crate. And another. Did I mention from a STANDSTILL? Yes, you can rock back and forth and get perfect fucking timing to get one wheel up in the air, but come on... we're spending ten to twenty seconds going three feet - and that's on the attempt that works.

    Devs, I'm ON A DIRTBIKE. I don't want to spend my whole fucking evening trying to do a box jump on a dirtbike! I want to whiz by shit, and jump over shit, and jump through rings of fire, and do sweet flips, and wheelie all over the place! Why would I want to play Mario: Iron Deficiency Edition (you know... can't jump very high... no strongth... get it)?

    I will CONSIDER doing one of these 'hard' levels per night, but I want to remember this game as enjoyable. Trouble is, the devs got really excited with their toy and just didn't know when to call it quits.

    Score after the crest: 3/10. sorry, guys. Every single enjoyable thing you've programmed was completely thrown out in the hard levels in favor of 'making things hard.'

    primesuspectRahnalH102UrbanJediWill
  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian
    edited March 2016

    Oh hey.

    OH HEY.

    After 856 tries on one level - 856 TRIES ON ONE FUCKING LEVEL

    Halfway through the level, busting my ass on one jump...

    I didn't respond in the 6 seconds required after a failure.

    AND NOW I'M AT THE BEGINNING. WHY IS THIS A FEATURE?! WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, REDLYNX?

    RahnalH102UrbanJediWill
  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian
    edited March 2016

    Oh, we see that you're holding your head in your hands from sheer frustration. I know what will help! ERASING YOUR PROGRESS.

    RahnalH102primesuspectRyderCanti
  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    Whoops, my mistake. Looks like it's not because you wait 6 seconds. It's because there's an arbitrary cap of one hour. If you can't beat a level in one hour, enjoy starting over:

    "Red Lynx: We Punish Perserverance."

    UrbanJediWillRahnalH102
  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    Yeah, no, I'm pretty fucking done with this. I've finished every level that came with the game, and then I find out that there are 'downloaded levels available.' I've gotten all these done except for the two 'hard' ones, and frankly, fuck them both. This game isn't fun at all. I'm going to go ahead and remove Gravitron 2 from the "worst game on my list" spot and put Trials 2 there.

    On to something more interesting.

    primesuspect
  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian
    edited March 2016

    Welp.

    image

    TIL that I lie to myself about quitting. NOW on to other things.

    Oh, also, looks like someone fixed the spoiler tags... except now they say 'show' and 'show,' and neither button 'shows.' At least, in chrome...

    image

    And finally, one SINGLE screenshot of lolphysics.

    image

    UrbanJediWillprimesuspect
  • RahnalH102RahnalH102 the Green Devout, Veteran Monster Hunter, Creature Enthusiast New Mexico Icrontian

    @Myrmidon said:
    Oh, also, looks like someone fixed the spoiler tags... except now they say 'show' and 'show,' and neither button 'shows.' At least, in chrome...

    I'm using Firefox, shows the same thing but when I click on it it links to an image of said spoiler tag.

  • BobbyDigiBobbyDigi ? R U #Hats ! SoCal Icrontian

    @RahnalH102 said:

    @Myrmidon said:
    Oh, also, looks like someone fixed the spoiler tags... except now they say 'show' and 'show,' and neither button 'shows.' At least, in chrome...

    I'm using Firefox, shows the same thing but when I click on it it links to an image of said spoiler tag.

    Pretty sure that's his screenshot. Scroll up a bit more to test.

    I verified issue in Chrome. Mobile seems to be working as intended (one button opens and closes text)

    I'll open a ticket for Linc when I get on my pc tonight.

    -Digi

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    @BobbyDigi said:

    @RahnalH102 said:

    @Myrmidon said:
    Oh, also, looks like someone fixed the spoiler tags... except now they say 'show' and 'show,' and neither button 'shows.' At least, in chrome...

    I'm using Firefox, shows the same thing but when I click on it it links to an image of said spoiler tag.

    Pretty sure that's his screenshot. Scroll up a bit more to test.

    I verified issue in Chrome. Mobile seems to be working as intended (one button opens and closes text)

    I'll open a ticket for Linc when I get on my pc tonight.

    -Digi

    Already beat you to it, buddy. @primesuspect pointed me toward the git repo.

    BobbyDigi
  • RahnalH102RahnalH102 the Green Devout, Veteran Monster Hunter, Creature Enthusiast New Mexico Icrontian

    @BobbyDigi said:

    @RahnalH102 said:

    @Myrmidon said:
    Oh, also, looks like someone fixed the spoiler tags... except now they say 'show' and 'show,' and neither button 'shows.' At least, in chrome...

    I'm using Firefox, shows the same thing but when I click on it it links to an image of said spoiler tag.

    Pretty sure that's his screenshot. Scroll up a bit more to test.

    I verified issue in Chrome. Mobile seems to be working as intended (one button opens and closes text)

    I'll open a ticket for Linc when I get on my pc tonight.

    -Digi

    Went to the older posts, they show the proper functionality.

    I tried to make a spoiler tag earlier (in the Pick Your TF2 Maps thread) and it did the same thing though, so I guess I was confused off of that. Also just tried making a spoiler. Works fine as well.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    @Myrmidon said:
    Welp.

    image

    TIL that I lie to myself about quitting. NOW on to other things.

    Your persistence is admirable. Damn.

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian
    edited April 2016

    Enough of your spoiler madness. Is goth time.

    Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines: The Sequel: Part 2: Again

    In a world where everybody is into that whole goth thing that you kind of played around with a little in high school but no you totally wouldn't pierce that -

    For those of you unaware, Vampire: The Masquerade is an old, old roleplaying game (tabletop RPG, not the Fantastical kind with Clouds and Squalls). Roleplaying games traditionally make good video games, except when they feel like they have too much to live up to. This is one of those times.

    The Good
    Very Deus Ex-ish is always a positive thing. First person RPGs where there are multiple ways to achieve your goals and build your character is always pretty freeing. For a little while, at least, the game feels very open - you kind of feel like there is more beyond the walled world you're thrust into. Stealth is a viable ability, which always pleases me, but you could probably (maybe?) be a run-and-gun type if you wanted. Sometimes you can even talk to folks! How 'bout that, eh?

    image
    The world feels pretty open at the start of the game - Santa Monica actually feels a little twisty and turny and big.

    Characters are pretty interesting, too - at least, some of them. Toward the beginning, mostly, you run into a bunch of oddly frightened beachgoers and pump them for a little information on the lore in the world. You run into a dual-personality vampire businesswoman - literally, two personalities in one head - and the game only ever lets you see one at a time, hinting that the other sister is just around the corner... right up until the big reveal. You run into a grouchy, rebel-without-a-cause young vampire that looks like she'd be happy with a beret and a che guevara shirt. They do pretty good... for a while, there.

    image
    It was in the second half, but this fairly innovative little escapade has you running around what seems to be an observatory on Griffith Park (but not Griffith Observatory, not even close) trying to evade a hulking werewolf for 3 minutes while your ride shows.

    The Bad
    The developers of this game spent the entire first half gathering every shark out of the pacific that they could find. They spent the dead center of the game building a sweet ramp over a shark tank. Then, right about ten minutes past the halfway mark, they kickstarted a motorcycle, sped toward the ramp, and jumped the fuck out of every shark in the western hemisphere. It's a lot like the game devs had these wonderful, wonderful ideas that they were going to implement, had enough time to flesh out Santa Monica and Downtown, and then said 'oh fuck, the deadline is in like two weeks... now what?'

    Everything in the second half is a massive letdown Bugs. Gamebreaking bugs galore - doors that don't open, dialog that doesn't trigger, physics objects that don't move. Difficulty spikes. 'Shit, this is supposed to be the last guy, but we haven't had very many boss fights yet... do you think the player will notice the extreme change in health and damage?' A reliance on long, drawn out, mazelike levels chock full of combat (and no other way around) - "this will buy us some time! Getting through this level will take FOREVER!" The addition of a universal bad-guy species, then subsequent amnesia of the universal bad-guy species after their dungeon is done. Forty useless antagonists. And that storyline - that storyline that they were carefully crafting from the beginning, introducing to you in tantalizing tidbits and scripted events - a butchery of the storyline that results in a great big 'you know what? Fuck it - they're ALL bad guys!'

    image
    This big guy never said a word all game, got picked on by his boss, but is effectively the first form of the last boss. Storyline y? Also, here's a fun balance problem - I'm stealthed right now, with only a 6/10 in sneaking. He can't see me.

    Oh, and what's worse - a big, beautiful, promising character sheet full of tons of interesting paths for your character to take... only some of the traits went 100% unused (I'm looking at you, Finance). And, honestly, at least a third of your EXP had better go into combat - so you really only get to play with 2/3rds of it. Why do devs do that?

    Last but not least, the characters you've met never recur. Big massive questlines that take you all around the city end with a 'thanks.' No change, no additional help on future missions - nothing. "Quest over, lol bai."

    The Ugly

    Your character.

    image
    Bitch, I am fabulous.

    Going back to a time when it was cool to be edgy and rude and rebellious without cause. They lay it on thick in this one, guys.

    A set of game developers that, despite living in the Los Angeles metro, had apparently never actually been to their Los Angeles locations. There is no cliff right beside the Pier, guys. And I don't care if it WAS ten years ago - no place in downtown LA looks like that. And can we talk about how deep the sewers go? We're at sea level, guys.

    Also, Lacuna Coil. How did THAT ever get any airtime?

    Honorable mention for the in-game posters. Lolwut.

    image
    I think this will be in the next edition of the Merck manual. Which is good, because I need to know the treatment options.

    image
    Produced by Activision, so they can use this IP without getting sued! Surprised they didn't get yelled at for using Angel's dance animation, though...

    image
    The billboards are the best.

    image
    The entire in-game world is like this. Even the soft drink machines are sex and demon themed. I wish I'd gotten a screenshot of the Coke. "Cock," they called it.

    image
    "See Jane Drive" is worth a chuckle.

    image
    I played this. It beat the crap out of Tony Hawk's Ball In A Cup.

    First half of the game is easily a 10/10. Second half drops to 3.5/10. I would play the shit out of this game if it were remade by a more modern company - someone like Valve or Bethesda could do WONDERS with this universe.

    ...I did not take the screenshots I thought I took. No shots of the Malkavian 'sisters,' no screenshots of the universal bad-guy species with brains for anuses (lolwut) - wops.

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian
    edited April 2016

    Welp, on to the last part of my backlog. Yup! Very last part! I've been waiting and waiting and waiting to play The Witcher, this'll be great!

    Wait... what... no, stahp...

    I know the rules were that we didn't have to include games we've purchased since the backlog challenge begun, but my list is short enough (and I'm narcissistic enough) to go ahead and do it anyway! We have for you a SUPAR BONUS MINI BACKLOG!

    Alpha Protocol
    Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
    Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
    Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II
    Tomb Raider (I think this is the reboot)
    Witcher 2
    Witcher 3

    I have added these games to the main list. With this final batch complete, I will have completed every game on Steam that I own.

    FOR JUSTICE

    RahnalH102BobbyDigiCanti
  • WinfreyWinfrey waddafuh Missouri Icrontian

    Well all the games on that list are pretty damn great. Enjoy!

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    Ugh.

    Initial impression of Alpha Protocol is unpolished as fuck. I'm pretty annoyed, because this isn't even a backlog 'hanger-on.' I purposely bought this game. What did I expect from Sega, I guess? When I think Sega, I think innovative ideas executed poorly. I'm not being proven wrong here. Funny thing is, they didn't develop the game, they only published it... so I guess I can't blame them for this one.

    Preliminary impressions here. Full review to come after finishing the game (duh).


    You wake up in a 'secret base,' coming off drugs in a hospital nightgown. Despite earlier suggestions that your character was chosen as a recruit for a SUPAR SEKRIT GOVERNMENT AGENCY, everyone in this base is using live ammunition and legitimately wants to kill you. So, maybe this ISN'T your new job - I guess you've just been kidnapped?

    NOPE. COME TO FIND YOUR NEW BOSSES ARE JUST HAPPY TO SHOOT THEIR RECRUITS AS PUNISHMENT FOR LEAVING THE INFIRMARY EARLY.

    After beating the shit out of a couple of guards, your boss shows up (somehow you recognize him I guess?) and tells you to get to training. OKAY, I'LL JUST FORGET THAT THEY'RE TRYING TO MURDER ME HERE. Moving onto the 'training courses' you're tasked with walking about the base to pick up various bullshit for various old men. What the game fails to do is tell you when you're in a zone that's okay to be in, and when the guards who are OTHERWISE YOUR FRIENDS will OPEN FIRE WITH LIVE AMMUNITION. I mean, maybe a 'hey, hold it, you're not supposed to be here' from the guards? Maybe a 'stop, or I'll shoot?' The security guards at any job I've ever worked haven't shot people on sight for trying to find some toner in the wrong fucking copy room. God forbid I sneak a donut from a conference room, amirite?

    And can we talk about the controls? Let me guess - ported STRAIGHT from a console, right? Is that why the minigame cursors don't track with the mouse, but act more like you're clumsily moving a thumbstick around? Man it is FRUSTRATING to see the correct thing to click and not be able to click it.

    Oh, and then there's the AI. I run a test nowadays in most stealth games to determine the answer to the following question: "are the guards clairvoyant?" Alpha Protocol's answer? "Yes." Exhibit A: I run up a hallway at full speed and open a door at the end. I find that, in response, the guard in the adjoining atrium has already crossed half the room, has his pistol unholstered, and is already unloading into the door, despite his only warning being loud, fast footsteps on the other side. And let's remember that this is in a base where I'm actually supposed to be his ally. Hey, at least it's realistic, right? Guys in uniform shooting before thinking?

    ...too soon?

    More fun with the AI - patrol patterns are super predictable, and each guard compulsively inspects the wall every few seconds. Here's a funny idea for all you guys out there programming security guards: guards are more realistic if they're turned toward the area they're supposed to be guarding.

    The voice acting is a real letdown, too - the main character's voice actor is an absolute dial tone, but I think that's more a failing on the director's part. Conversations sound very much like the actors came into the studio on different days (a common practice, but it isn't supposed to be obvious in the final product).

    Fucking Sega.

    primesuspect
  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian
    edited April 2016

    Oh, oh, oh man, and let's address 'hacking computers.' Because lol I can just stand next to a computer and 'hack' it, wearing nothing but a hospital gown. Because that's how hacking works.

    Ugh, and the character modeling. NOBODY SNEAKS LIKE THAT.

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian
    edited April 2016

    Alpha Protocol

    To qualify the following, compared to most of the games on my backlog, Greek Codename was at least decent.

    Alpha Protocol reminds me of a game I played when I was a lot younger called Spy Fiction. Spy Fiction was a middling game, at best. It had a generic title, typical 'we played Metal Gear Solid once' gameplay, and a storyline that you couldn't care less about. The only thing that kept it going was mechanics and gadgets.

    I remember thinking that I didn't hate Spy Fiction... but I also didn't really like it. It was just a way to pass the time. Spy Fiction was, to me, what video games must be to people who couldn't really care less about video games. Like, those "I can see the appeal, but I'm just not interested" types of people. "I guess it's a little neat, but eh."

    image
    If you can 'hack a computer' in a hospital gown with no tools, the sysadmin wasn't paying attention. If physical access is easy to get on your computer, then protect your bios, boot order, and single-user mode, people.

    Alpha Protocol seems to be the spiritual successor to Spy Fiction. It's like someone played Metal Gear Solid 2 and thought the storyline was too confusing to follow, so they dumbed it down. Then, they gave it to marketing and marketing said 'no, fuck all this dialogue you've recorded, people like snappy one-liners, I want every phrase to try and be a snappy one-liner.' Then, they ran out of money for QA.

    image
    Ragdolls.

    They always run out of money for QA.

    It could have been so good, too. The real soul behind Alpha Protocol is the decision making. Sure, you only make five or so SERIOUS decisions in the game (otherwise, you decide whether you want to make a Michael Scott level snappy-one liner in an angry, professional, or suave voice), but when those important decisions come up and you choose, you legitimately get the feeling that you should have saved beforehand to see what the OTHER choice held. And when the game reminds you that you made that choice down the line, you think back and try to figure out how things might have played out if you'd taken that OTHER path, and left the OTHER jerk alive... and you're left thinking 'damn, there must be an entire other half of the GAME that I'm missing.'

    I have no idea if that's the case, though. Maybe the game shoehorns you onto the storyline no matter what your choice is. Either way, it gives the player the FEELING that their choice made a difference.

    That's about the only shining quality that AP has, though. Otherwise, everything is just... middling. Not bad, not good. Middling (and easily exploitable) mechanics, middling story, middling voice acting (I take that back... terrible voice acting), middling controls on the PC port (ports are seriously the worst HOW DO YOU STAND TURNING SO SLOWLY WITH A JOYSTICK), middling dialogue, a middling buy/sell and inventory system, middling character-building (lol which weapon do you want to specialize in)...

    I mean, they tried. Honestly, this game just needed polish. Flesh out the characters a little better, make the writing more believable, get some guards that don't stare at walls, pull the stick from the voice actors' collective ass... we could have had something here. Better ragdolls. Guards that turn like humans, not spinning tops. Fewer minigames with more variety and realism. Instead, it's just... well... I can see the appeal, but I'm just not interested.

    image
    Henchman 101: "Wall inspection is to be done off company time."

    primesuspect
  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian
    edited April 2016

    I've heard nothing but incredible things about Star Wars: KOTOR.

    Too bad it barely runs. The fact that a guide like this needs to exist is a problem.

    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=427275987

    _k
  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian
    edited April 2016

    Okaaaay...

    So, it's a well known fact that this game takes four or five tries just to run correctly. It's buggy as all get out - I'm currently in the game and don't to close it (because, y'know, four or five attempts just to load the fucking thing), but the WASD keys aren't moving the character anymore. Other keys work - pause/unpause, inventory, whatevs - but I don't have control of my character.

    And combat is all 100% automatic. So, that's great. All that cool lightsaber combat I get to just watch. Like, if they're going to make it automatic with a couple decisions here or there, just make it turn based. Do I have to watch for six seconds every turn, or how long a turn is?

    And the inventory... fucking shit, how about a little quality of life here? I am not even off the starting spaceship and I already have, like, forty pieces of shit in my inventory - and I can only see five at a time? And not even any stats - just their names? Am I supposed to remember what every piece of scrap I pick up is? Man, the only thing that could make this worse is dealing with some hanger-on's inventory too. OH WAIT, I GET TO DO THAT TOO?!

    Also... We're fighting with metal swords. The bad guys, WITH BLASTERS, totally let me walk up to them with a metal sword and start wailing on them. Like, why not run away?!

    Guys, you fucking lied to me. An entire generation of gamers lied to me. This fucking sucks.

    bright
  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian
    edited April 2016

    Ignore this post. This is supposed to be where I keep my running draft.

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian
    edited May 2016

    Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

    Aaaaah, here's a proven franchise.

    Borderlands is always a good choice. The blending of shock humor, absurdity, and all the 'visceral' type adjectives that go with first person shooter games always gives me a good respite from my otherwise butt-slam free life. What's more, Borderlands always helps me connect with friends - I try not to play these games alone, and what luck! Two very close friends (and a new friend too!) happened to get in touch with me right as I was about to pick up this game, so we had a full group of four!

    Alas, whether it's an effect of rose-colored glasses (that sweet Borderlands release LAN party from the days of yore), or simple developer exhaustion, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel does not live up to its prior releases. Even with wonderful company, even proceeding at a pace to hear the jokes and the lore... I dunno. This one really just didn't do it for me.

    To my everlasting confusion, I'm not actually sure why. Me, who can complain about quality of life or voice acting until the cows come home - I can't figure out why this particular Borderlands installment wasn't the joyous laughter-fueled rampage that the previous two were.

    It wasn't the voice acting. This comical, beautifully cel-shaded universe is home to some of the silliest characters I've ever seen... which means voice actors REALLY get to show their chops. The actors chosen for the cast are frankly some of the best I've ever heard. The lines spoken by Handsome Jack and Tiny Tina in particular have this meter about them that you can't HELP but strain to hear over whatever silly-ass gun you're firing at the moment.

    ...okay... well... there WERE a few new voice actors... one actress in particular served to drag us out of the moment - Hammerlock's sister, the Baroness. Now, in a game universe where characters are either

    A. over-the-top gun salesmen whose every line is a one-liner about explosions,
    B. over-the-top mechanics whose every line is a one-liner about cars and/or being a hick, or
    C. over-the-top psychopaths whose every line is a one-liner about being psychopaths,

    you'd expect a completely over-the-top rich tycoon whose every line is a one-liner about being wealthy to absolutely fit in, right? And yet... every single line somehow fell flat. I'm at a loss. I don't know why. It wasn't just me, either - every one of the other players hated that character too. Huh.

    The combat should have been a shoe-in, too, right? I mean, this is a tried-and-true thing. Shoot, reload, burn, shock, explode, jump, fancy special maneuvers, melee, whatever... and yet. AND YET. Something about it felt wrong. Like the enemies we were shooting didn't seem to matter. Like we weren't shooting to clear an area, we were shooting until the spawn points stopped spawning. Like the special abilities to revive, heal, buff, or otherwise interact with your teammates didn't matter. Hell, half the time I didn't know where my teammates were.

    But... why? It worked so well in the other games.

    Even the art - as beautiful and detailed as every other Borderlands, and yet... something about an overuse of blues, or the tremendous expanse of the battleground was... boring. More boring than the first two installments... and that's saying something, considering those installments took place in a desert. Maybe it was that there was too MUCH to look at. I remember having trouble picking out enemies from their backgrounds more than once. I remember being annoyed that there was so much bric-a-brac in the various arenas. And for the life of me, I can't remember a single map like I can remember that first Borderlands map, or the arena in Borderlands 2.

    What is it about this game? Why didn't it follow in the footsteps of its riveting, genius predecessors?

    Maybe it was the story. The thin 'Handsome Jack is a good guy! Oh, uh, actually, now he's a petty murderer for literally no reason other than we need him to be a petty murderer' storyline was a GLARING problem. This guy starts the game worried about the workers on his space station, goes to sacrifice himself for said workers, then shows signs of abandoning his allies to die by not reinforcing them in a firefight? Blasts civilian scientists out the airlock? I mean, maybe if he'd suffered some catastrophic psychological setback between the events, maybe if they'd shown us something snapping in his head, sure... but really, he just becomes more and more of a dick as time goes on. And I mean, that'd be fine except that he started as a great guy! This wasn't a story of a guy who fooled you into thinking he wasn't a dick and then stole your beer and was like "HA HA BITCH, I WAS A DICK THE WHOLE TIME!" This isn't a story of a disgruntled jerk who became a dick because power got to his head. There was no impetus whatsoever for the rise of the dick! (lol phrasing) And the worst part? The writers eventually DO give him the impetus to go from good guy to dick - they put him through some psychological trauma (betrayal, destruction of his face) - BUT IT HAPPENS AFTER HE'S ALREADY BECOME A DICK! Like, whatever happened to causality, guys? Is this really what you storyboarded? Good Jack -> no character event -> crappy Jack -> no character event -> dick Jack -> Jack suffers betrayal and deformation -> we don't have anywhere to go from here so I guess we'll leave him as dick Jack?

    UGH.

    I dunno. I wouldn't play through it again, which is less than I can say about either of the other Borderlands games. However, I WOULD pay money to play it the first time... which is more than I can say about a lot of other games. It's just... I'm not sure. I guess each time you resurrect a game, it loses a little of that soul that it started with.

    Oh, also, no screenshots, because I just straight didn't take any. Sors.

    Karmaprimesuspect
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