Borderlands is boring
Yesterday I spent a few hours with the game Borderlands on my Xbox 360 and that wasn’t my first time with it. I’d borrowed it from a friend of mine and I started playing it when he was here and he kind of introduced me to how it works and whatnot. That was a few weeks ago and I figured I should give it another go, popped it in and got going again. I’d started a character as Lilith, the sneaky character with the ability to go invisible, and I’d played one single mission a few weeks ago.
I basically had to get a brand new impression of the game this time around and there’s just something about the atmosphere that’s not my cup of tea. I can’t really put my finger on it, but it could be the whole thing about the game not being very serious. It’s very happy-go-lucky and all the characters are goofy rednecks, pretty much. I like the setting, the desolate desert/mountain with broken down machinery all over the place. I’ve always had a soft spot for postapocalyptic settings, but the whole unserious mood of the game makes it impossible for me to get into that dark mood that I like to have when I play games like that. Even though the graphics are gorgeous, it doesn’t really matter.
Gameplay-wise I have a big problem with the whole Diablo-like grinding. You find loooooooaaaaads of loot and you might find a new shield generator, but you need to gain two levels to be able to use it, so you grind those two levels by doing fetch quests or “kill X amount of Y” quests and during that you’ve found a sniper rifle that requires three additional levels. It never ends! I’ve NEVER been able to just grind for the sake of grinding. If there isn’t an interesting story to pull me forward, to motivate me to keep grinding, I’m not doing any of it. Which gets me to the story.
There isn’t one. Every so often, you’ll get some kind of video message from some ethereal blue woman who could be the sister of Cortana in Halo for all I know, looking at her. She is, it seems, the only serious thing in the entire game. She keeps talking about something that I have to find, something really important, and she sounds quite distressed about the whole thing. This clashes against every single other aspect of the game and that’s just a jarring contrast. She doesn’t fit into the game and she doesn’t motivate me with her seriousness in this otherwise completely unserious game.
That’s why I can’t keep playing. I’m not getting anywhere and after I’d killed the first boss in the game, I got back to the starting camp and talked to the doctor who’d given me a bunch of missions. He told me that I could check out the bounty hunter board or something like that to check for new jobs/quests. The big upgrade here was that I could have two or more missions going simultaneously. More fetch quests and more “kill X amount of Y” quests. No thank you.
Now, some people might say that I didn’t give the game enough of a chance, that I should’ve kept playing and I would’ve seen the “true” Borderlands. Several hours should be enough in my book. If a game doesn’t grab hold of me in that time, I’m moving on to another one. It’s like that insanity some Final Fantasy XIII fans were spouting when people criticized how long it took for the game to get interesting. They were saying “Oh! But it gets going 20 hours in, play until then!” and that is just batshit insane. 20 hours? I can play through one or two entire games in that time. I have no problem spending 60 hours on a game, but it has to be interesting and it has to pull me in from minute one. If it doesn’t do that, I’m moving on to something else, because there are so many other good games to be played.