Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Borderlands 2 - Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt

I was all set to start with some serious social commentary about this DLC. I was rehearsing it in my head, thinking about how I wanted to word my observations as I mowed down enemies and moved through he level. Then I got to Jackenstein.

That fucking guy. I'd beaten him before, but I don't remember how I did it. This time, I died dozens of times and had to exploit a glitch in the arena terrain to snipe at him (sniping, me). The problem was that Jackenstein only had a few weakpoints and if you miss those points, your bullets bounce off and may strike you. Thus my usual "strategy" of throwing a huge number number of powerful, but inaccurate attacks at anything that moves was completely counterproductive.

It was very frustrating. I wound up growling with rage and shouting out profanities more than once. I may have gotten through it thanks to some shady tactics on my part, but that anger is going to be my dominant memory of this DLC for some time to come.

Anyways, Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt is kind of racist. Not hugely racist. You don't need to buy yourself a white sheet while playing it or anything. It's just it does that thing that science fiction sometimes does where it takes nakedly racist fiction from days gone by and tries to rehabilitate it, but does a really half-assed job about it.

Like, it's not fooling anyone if you take some offensively portrayed Africans, but call them Glorps. And no matter what strange, alien sun hangs in the sky "savage" is not a noun.

Where it gets tricky is that the thing that makes Sir Hammerlock appealing is his intellectual descent from old-school adventure fiction. It's fun to think of him facing down danger by being unflappably posh at it. It's a neat variation on the gleeful psychopathy that characterizes the inhabitants of Pandora.

I think I'd have really enjoyed the DLC's initial pitch. Hanging out with Hammerlock in the wilderness, enjoying some manly bonding while hunting strange monsters sounds like an incredible time.  It would have been nice to have seen the bizarre creatures that would have emerged from the designer's imaginations. And, of course, killing for killing's sake is entirely all right with me (in the game, in the game).

The main downside of this is that I'd miss out on Nakayama, who is one of the more entertaining video game villains. He's a real wannabe villain who's barely in control of his evil scheme and is creepily fascinated with Handsome Jack. It's funny the way his composure disintegrates over the course of the story. It's also a nice change of pace to have an enemy who acknowledges your power as an unstoppable force of destruction. His anticlimactic death was the highlight of the DLC.

So, on the balance, I'd say Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt is a swing and a miss. I want to hang out with Hammerlock, and I loved fighting Nakayama, but the presentation of the common enemies was just the slightest bit icky. I'm finding that the main thing the DLCs are inspiring in me is a wish for another Borderlands sequel.

No comments:

Post a Comment