Fatbomb: October Edition

Posted by Fattony12000 (7404 posts) -

Fucking god damn Hotline Miami is some baller ass shit, ain't it? This wasn't my first dabble in the neon-coloured bubbling waters of Jonatan Söderström’s game creating mind, but I had been out of the loop for a little while when this hype-ass heavyweight block rocker rode into town. I will and shall be talking about this beautiful/horrible video game further on down this page, but god damn.

Don’t worry, we’ll get to some more Borderlands stuff in the next few words, but I'm pleased to report that there won’t be too much more of that game to come out of my keyboard and into your eyes over the coming episodes of this blog. There’ll be much more focus on other games that I like and loathe.

Oh, and it’s Spook Month too, I guess. So hold on to your bootstraps because you’re just gonna get filled with horror.

Donederlands

I think, for the time being, I've had my fill of delicious Original Style Borderlands. I've not attempted to make any further strides in my noble fight to 100% it on PC, mainly because me and my co-op partner have been wrecking faces and jumping off places in the stunning sequel (although there are some minor caveats to that blanket statement of praise). Whilst I will eventually get back to the hike up completionist mountain, in order to stake my flag into the top of Borderlands peak, I will use this time and space to talk about the dozens of hours that I've enjoyed, so far, in Borderlands 2.

Let’s start with breaking down, in the most simplistic and shittiest terms possible, what I majorly like and majorly dislike about this game. Just, because...well...I feel like it.

I like:

  • No more per character weapon levelling
  • The slightly thicker, meatier plot
  • No fall damage

I dislike:

  • No more per character weapon levelling
  • Most of the dialogue
  • Some of the humour

These above points are in specific reference to changes made from the original game, and in that regard, we are going to have a look at how and why these changes were made; and why I think what I think of them. Let us start with very first issue/improvement...

I like AND dislike: No more per character weapon levelling

Okay, just to make sure we all know what I'm talking about (I have enough trouble with that as it is), this fairly small combat-related system is a thing that was present in the first game, whereby you essentially levelled up your skill with any one of the seven weapon types, in a Daggerfally/Morrowindy stylee. Here are some pictures to jog your manky memory!

Got it? Course you do! It’s easy enough, use a combat rifle more and you get better at using a combat rifle (as you can probably tell, I used the combat rifle a lot). Now, in Borderlands, this always gave me an incentive to stick to one or two main weapon types, essentially ‘maining’ them. This system also linked into the classes and their associated class mods, ideally if you wanted to get really sexy powerful with the submachine gun; you’d want to use a class that would get buffs to their submachine gun effectiveness based on class tree as well as mods, and finally the overall weapon proficiency.

This trinity (cut down to a duology in the sequel) lightly punished you for not sticking to a cohesive weapon and class plan. Going ahead and picking up that dope rocket launcher when you possessed but a mere level 1 proficiency with it, would mean you’d miss more, take longer to reload and do less damage. I feel that Gearbox perfectly balanced these points in the combat system with the benefits that were very easy to gain from just sticking with a weapon throughout the game. This, in turn, made picking a class and weapon combination really matter so much more than in Borderlands 2. Which opted for a slightly broader system, where anyone can use any weapon, and tied the ongoing weapon-based levelling into the mighty Badass Rank.

Which, don’t get me wrong, isn't a bad thing, I'm not saying that the move to this different levelling system is worse in some way. I just dislike that the old system isn't in there as well (or modified and incorporated in some clever way). I JUST LIKE THINGS THAT LEVEL UP THE MORE YOU USE THEM!

Anyway, that was a stupid thing. On to the next thing!

I like: The slightly thicker, meatier plot

More twists, more turns, we get to see cooler places, and experience better characterisation throughout the overall storyline. All good. Except for a couple of little things...

I dislike: Most of the dialogue

I cringed throughout nearly every single line of Tiny Tina’s (I love Ashly Burch in every single way possible, by the way). Handsome Jack ceased to be threatening in any way after a few hours of idle threats and perfunctorily poor puns. I did like the majority of the Claptrap stuff, but it did grate on my nerves in a few places, the idling or ‘hanging around not doing anything’ stuff was pretty great all round. To be honest, the less words that I have to listen to, between me and my shooting of people in the head, the better. To my mind, and from what I can remember, there was just less of that stuff in the original. And I kind of appreciated the slightly scant amount of words that I was subject to.

I like: No fall damage

Yes! My god yes!

I dislike: Some of the humour

The frequent use of overt Internet-based humour just did not jibe with me, I felt that the way the first game handled stuff like film parody and self-referential stuff was just funnier. Again, this is just me (I love Anthony Burch in every single way possible, by the way). I would have been fine with nods to stupid dubstep and silly memes (both of those things are big parts of my life) if it was kept out of the ‘front of house’. References to that stuff inside of menus, achievements, item descriptions, rather than the more in-your-face approach taken this time around.

A Hotline to Hell

Firstly, go and buy this game.

Secondly, go and play this game.

Thirdly, get a white suit, a rubber horse mask, bang a load coke up your face, roll up your jacket sleeves up and get to fucking work!

Phew, with that outta the way, we can get down to the meat and bone of this game. The tight as shit mechanics. Which, in this disgusting and weird metaphor, hold up and support the beautiful skin that wraps the whole package up into a finely chiselled and wondrously honed experience. What the two guys (along with their large supporting cast of musicians) at Dennaton have managed to create here, is such a distilled and concentrated experience of video-gamey-ness that it very nearly blows my mind.

I have just realised that ONCE AGAIN, I've given myself one day to write this shit. And therefore, am not going to be able to do proper justice to harping on about Hotline, I must therefore, unfortunately, withdraw from this section for now. To return at a later date!

Spooky Scoops

Some slightly alternative scary stuff that you might not have heard about before, but should watch anyway! Because I’m telling you too! Whoooooooooo!

Monstrous movies and TV terrors

Ghastly video games

Day[9] Fright Week: Amnesia Justine Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

Done and Done

And so, here endeth the lesson for tonight, I apologize for the roughshod nature of this batch of text. I promise promise promise to do better next time. Thanks for pretending to read this stuff. Don’t get too spooky tonight duders!

Tune in next month...

Same Bat-time!

Same Bat-channel!

Whoooooooooooooooooooooooo!

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#2 Posted by believer258 (11898 posts) -

I saw the Daggerfall picture and read it to read about more of it...

#3 Posted by Fattony12000 (7404 posts) -

@believer258: That's how they get ya!

Although, to make up for my deception I should write about the Elder Scrolls games sometime.

/goes to find CDs

#4 Edited by HerbieBug (4212 posts) -

Excellent! I agree with all of this. Especially the issue of characters being overly chatty in Borderlands 2. One of the things I loved about the original was how unencumbered it was by scripted talky talk story stuff. A couple lines of dialogue per quest giver is plenty. Plenty!

Should a Borderlands 3 be in the offing I would like less talky and more comprehensive fast travel/better level design to minimize needless backtrackery.

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#5 Posted by Fattony12000 (7404 posts) -

@HerbieBug: Thanks for reading duder!

One negative point that I did miss out on there was that the fucking map, when it threw a shit fit, REALLY REALLY became the most useless map I can remember trying to decipher in an FPS for a looooong time. Throughout most of the game it was fine, but there were probably 6/7 separate incidents where the map actually hindered my progression through the game for a while.

GET A BETTER MAP SYSTEM RANDY!

#6 Edited by SargeGulp (240 posts) -

@Fattony12000: Use the big sword and avoid the skeletons. At least that's what I learned watching Dave/Vinny playing Daggerfall. Also the character creator is basically the replicant test from Blade Runner.

#7 Posted by Fattony12000 (7404 posts) -

@SargeGulp: I always going for big swords. And just like in real life, I always avoid skeletons.

Next TNT:

Bladerunner and Daggerfall dual stream.

#8 Edited by hbkdx12 (779 posts) -

I don't say this with malice in the attempt to offend, but it bugs me when people denigrate handsome Jack to this simple "he talks too much" character.
 
He's so good! He has actual depth and he's not purely one note like most video game villains
 
Although a lot of the  early hours of chat with jack can come of as a bit smug and grating, it's all within good reason. Specifically that he doesn't take you seriously and ultimately underestimates you as you've become a minor annoyance in what was a well laid, historically successful plan (luring vault hunters Pandora to kill them) 
 
As you continue to make your presence known and get under his skin, he shows signs of irritation but ultimately tries to maintain his witty approach in order to suggest that he's still cool calm and collected although you're starting to become a threat
 
and then there's the definitive moment where jack no longer underestimates you and turns into this maniacal and sinister character that intends to deal with you personally and make you suffer as you start to do what handsome jack originally considered to be impossible. 
 
I can't state it enough but he's so good!
 
Seeing Jack make that sinister transition (successfully IMO) is all the more rewarding when you reflect back on the early game and how he treats your existence as a complete joke

#9 Posted by Fattony12000 (7404 posts) -

@hbkdx12: No malice is felt at this end of your fine retort, and I thank you for sharing your differing opinion. I am, however, very sorry for the delay in my reply, there was some blog-related...unpleasantness.

My brief mention of Jack is none to glowing, that's for sure, but I can certainly see where you're coming from. I can see and hear and feel his words just the same as you do, and I can appreciate and accept your (and many others) take on the arc that he has in the story.

If I had devoted more time to writing about him I would certainly have expounded on the aspects of his character that I did enjoy, but I was somewhat glossing over him in favour of chatting about the things that were at the forefront of my mind. You have given me some delicious food for thought though, so be prepared for some handsome words in...god, I don't know...several months' time?

(As handsome and dastardly as he is, Jack is no Jon Irenicus!)

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