Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Second is first loser, but still not that bad

Finally, I have interesting/embarrassing Borderlands 2 story to tell.

Last night I came across one of the staples of pseudo open world games: an arena where all you do is fight waves upon wave of enemies of increasing difficulty. The name of this one is not important; it sticks right to the cliche but diverges from the rest of the game in one important way: death matters. In every other part of the game dying costs you a little money and the time it takes to walk back to where you were killed. In the arena dying resets the entire mission. There is finally an incentive to play carefully, to look for cover, to run as fast as you can desperately waiting for your shield to recharge. I don't know if the whole game would work this way, but a single room full of bad guys suits it just fine.

After dying a few times on the first of five missions I remembered how to play a shooter and cruised through to the fifth. It must be noted that the volume of enemies killed almost guarantees good weapon drops. This was second my attempt at the fifth mission. About half way through I stumbled across an orange (!) rocket launcher. Its damage started at retarded and just got better from there. Skipping the fine print of the weapon description I equipped it and waited for the right moment for its debut. It came on what I am assuming are the last two enemies of the mission: two bad-asses with bullet proof shields and an army's worth of hit points.

Two shots from the rocket launcher took care of the first. I reloaded and went looking for the second, then died to a surprise explosion. That fine print I skipped? The weapon's spent ammo explodes like a grenade when it is discarded. To make it even better they bounce around for a bit first. When I reloaded the rocket casing I threw away bounced off of a rock and came right back at me. Killed by my own weapon after thirty minutes in a mission that I would have to restart.

Here's the genius move Gearbox made to keep temper impaired individuals from losing their shit, not that I know anyone like that: I went back into the arena room and all of the weapon drops that I hadn't picked up yet were still there. My gunzerker was completely re-equipped by the time I was done cleaning up after my failure. Yes, dying to my own weapon when there is only one enemy left to kill really sucks, but it easier to take when the consolation prize is a shotgun that hits like three trucks.

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