14/11/2013

shoot kill loot

Next up in the list of games everyone else played ages ago but which I've only gotten around to recently is Borderlands 2. An off-planet off-beat space Western redneck-a-rama with shades of Mad Max thrown in because quite frankly why not?

Shoot kill loot, shoot kill loot. Hope you like repetition because that's this game's ethos summed up in three words. You're a mercenary adventurer type who has arrived on the planet Pandora with a host of intentions in mind. Something something fame, something something fortune. Something something Handsome Jack? Yeah now there are those voices in the world of gaming that say piffling things like plot and character don't belong in videogames. Oh they can have them to be sure but that the be all and end all is gameplay itself. Everything else is subservient to that goal. Not an idea I subscribe to but it has traction here.

In many ways this game is a triumph of functions and systems over form. What sounds repetitive on the surface is actually immensely playable, executed with fluid style and response. On a planet occupied by raging beasts and hockey mask wearing psychotics, there is immense fun to be had vacating brains from skulls via the awesome powers of your magical murderguns. They're not actually magical but given their vast array of improbable powers they might as well be. Bajillions of them too, every configuration of boom stick one can imagine from regular variety shooty things to ones that explode you with fire and electricity and so on. Again its function over form, the variety of your bullet delivery systems ensuring that your murderizing never gets too samey.

But on the flip side of the Borderlands coin are the very things that are usually cast aside or given only superficial attention when game makers put their utmost into superb game mechanics. Now I've summed up the tone above as a mishmash, a steroidal hyper corporate western sci-fi wasteland of sorts. It could just be a featureless desert devoid of character or charm. Could be but it's not, it has an abundance of these qualities. In fact it might just be what impresses me the most about this game and its predecessor. The setting has a well-realised white trash charm to it that stands alone right now. Don't think any other game strikes this tone this well. Sure it drinks deep from the well of superficial madcap insanity but it does so with an earnest bravado. Like a caffeine addled psycho midget wielding an axe its hard to shake off once its gotten a hold of you.

So yeah Borderlands 2, thumbs up. You can sleep easily now world knowing my opinion of yet another random game in my to-play pile, phew touch and go for a moment there. So yeah that's all good but I really need to find a game that exercises my skills of harsh unrelenting critique. All this positivity lately, well its positively sickening. I so need to go play some games I actively dislike, you know because wasting money is the answer. Maybe not, maybe I'll just go find some games I only semi-loathe, games that won't leave me feeling robbed of precious seconds of life. The things I do for variety.