Monday, October 6, 2014

Borderlands - 6/20 hours

I'd forgotten how much I enjoy this game. I didn't want to stop playing and write a post. Before I started, I worried that I might unwittingly compare it to Borderlands 2 and find it wanting, and while it's true that there are gameplay features I miss (such as the ability to scroll the map, or see the adjusted values of my skills after equipping a class mod), the game is such mindless, gun-blasting fun that in the moment, it doesn't really matter. There's a reason Borderlands got a sequel.

The plot of the last four hours is basically not worth mentioning. There's a bandit called Sledge, and I killed him. I think the people of Fyrestone regard me as a kind of vigilante hero. I'm more inclined to see the vault hunters as amoral mercenaries, though I suppose, on average, they are more on the side of right. I suppose that is one thing Pandora has going for it - the good guys pay better.

Level scaling continues to be a problem. I went out of my way to head for areas at or above my level, but doing so earned me enough xp and equipment to render the other areas trivial. It's always such a delicate dance, and one I never quite get right. I know I should avoid too many side-quests, to keep the main quest interesting, but leaving them behind makes me feel itchy, like I'm ignoring something important. It's kind of ridiculous.

Luckily, I somewhat enjoy being overpowered. As long as I'm not too far ahead, there is something satisfying about being able to wade into a horde of enemies, hose them down with bullets, and be the last thing standing.

The best part of the game, even in areas where the enemies are pitifully low level, is the loot. I think, taken as a group, the guns in Borderlands 2 are better, but Borderlands has a few neat ones that got cut. Borderlands' gun manufacturers are distinguished more by tendencies than absolute boundaries - VJakobs does more damage, Vladof has a high rate of fire, S&S has huge magazines, Maliwan is elemental, Atlas is all around good, and Tediore sucks (I'm not sure what exactly Dahl or Torgue do, but they tend to be pretty good). Compared to their counterparts in the sequel, only S&S is better, but that's primarily because it does not suffer the "balancing" penalties that Bandit weapons do (I think they may have overestimated how much of a disadvantage reloading is). The main thing I miss is weird and unbalanced combinations of gun type and manufacturer, like Vladof shotguns that have the rate of fire of a combat rifle, or S&S sniper rifles, which can give you a dozen chances to hit a far off enemy.

My build thus far is a straight controller Lilith. Diva gives me a significant boost to shields, Inner glow lets me heal while phasewalking, and Hard to Get reduces my phasewalk cooldown. Overall, this makes me pretty tough, though I'm still probably about 15 levels away from being an unstoppable death goddess. I'm looking forward to it. Even though I do not need that kind of power, on account of being 3 levels ahead of my current content, there will be sudden spikes in the level requirements, and it'll be nice to be able to tackle the more rewarding areas as quickly as possible.

(It's best not to think about how this will further mess up my main quest and dlc level scaling).

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