Oh, shit, I've left myself an afternoon to write this bloated testament to my many failings and shortcomings as a man struggling to exist in this harsh digital landscape of a dystopian future Neo-Tokyo. Always struggling to get by, always striving to learn and grow and someday become something better, to amount to something more than just a miserable little pile of secrets. Got that? Good. Now, on with the show!
That’s right people, it’s time for the long-awaited sequel to last month’s Fatbomb. Wherein we discuss Yet More Borderlands, a hand or two of Magic: The Gathering, audio sync, and a small slice of the ancient civilisation of the Mayans.
Bounding around Borderlands
Since last month’s update on my shoot ‘n’ stroll around the original Borderlands, I went and stuck a few more hours up inside it, attempting to pound every last quivering rivulet of content out of it. Which, of course, in this day and age, means getting 100% of all possible Steamchievements...right...right!? Well, I ain't got the hundo quite yet, but I'm still happy with where I am right now. Especially since Borderlands 2 is now out and downloaded and playing on my computermatograph, which means the sad tired original is getting tossed aside for the short to medium term. More on that new hotness later in the programme!
Sticking with my congealed thoughts on the original game for the time being, let us discuss more of what I think makes this a wholly great CFPSWRPGE (Cooperative First Person Shooter With Role Playing Game Elements). I have already talked about how the weapons (the combat rifle, in particular) and classes (the soldier, in my case) provide an extremely solid set of gameplay mechanics from which to base the team-oriented combat puzzles on, the strengths of certain elemental types against particular enemies, the balance of extreme-range snipers backing up the close range Action Powers of those getting up into the enemy's fray. A quick thought here, those special class abilities you use are called Action Powers. Action. Powers.
Bravo, Gearbox, bravo.
Since I talked about that shit that I just talked about before, before. We’ll move swiftly on towards the next little thing that I want to fill your squishy eyes with words about. Plot. Firstly, just to make sure that we are all on the same page as each other, I am talking about plot in the old skool sense, as defined by Aristotle way back in the day and around the corner. This, in essence, takes the word ‘plot’ to mean “the arrangement of the incidents”. Not the story itself but the way that the events inside of the narrative arc are presented to the audience. Good that? Good.
A quick synopsis of the storyline in Borderlands could look a little something like this:
The player character (herein and henceforth called the Vault Hunter) arrives on the planet of Pandora, in search of mega treasures located inside of a mystical place known as the Vault.
You shoot lots and lots and lots of people and mutants and wild animals and crazed lunatics. Gaining information or keys that progresses your progress towards the...
Whereupon you find and open the Vault, gaining fame and renown the world o’er.
At least that’s what it looks like to me, cause I ain't knee deep in the corpses of my felled enemies because of well wrought characterisation, or deeply compelling tension sprinkled around the game in order to drag my ass through to the end. I'm here to shoot things. Lots and lots of things. Again and again and again. In this way I would liken it somewhat to Halo, yes there is a story wrapped up in there, but it’s the combat that you partake in that writes the interesting scenarios you and your colleagues find yourself in. That time when you were both so low on ammo that you had to beat down every mother fucker in the place with your bare hands, that time when you ran your vehicle into a group of soon-to-be-road kill only to have the physics engine throw a shit fit and send you spinning out into orbit.
This near-constant action-packed “arrangement of the incidents” is what I consider to be the real plot of this game. Those moments, good and bad, funny and sad, crazy and mad, are all the reasons I need to play games like Borderlands 1 and 2. Which is why I'm not bothered by the lack of a strong story in the first game, and the addition of lashings of more story sauce in the second.
Me and my combat rifle are writing our own stories. IN BLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.
Before we bounce on this segment, here are some more numbers from then and from now:
Smelly Old Numbers
- First played: 21 July, 2012
- Last played: 4 August, 2012
- 36.7 total hours on record
- 51 of 80 (64%) achievements earned
- First achievement earned: And They'll Tell Two Friends (21 July, 2012)
- Last achievement earned: It's so realistic! (4 August, 2012)
- Level 44
- Level 30 combat rifle proficiency
- 34 items purchased
- 72863 total shots fired
- 573 kills from critical hits
- 2411 combat rifle kills / 437 sniper rifle kills / 149 pistol kills / 10 rocket launcher kills / 9 SMG kills / 0 shotgun kills
Hot New Numbers
- Last played: 12 August, 2012
- 51.3 total hours on record
- 64 of 80 (80%) achievements earned
- Last achievement earned: Speedy McSpeederton (12 August, 2012)
- Level 69
- Level 50 combat rifle proficiency
- 57 items purchased
- 100,000 total shots fired (at least)
- 938 kills from critical hits
- 2500 combat rifle kills (at least) / 670 sniper rifle kills / 260 pistol kills / 10 rocket launcher kills / 9 SMG kills / 34 shotgun kills
The City of Guilds
Haven't played any more Guild Wars 2 since the first week of September, and I don’t know why! I sure as shit like it plenty enough, and I'm by no means ‘done’ with it. I’ll have to think about it more and then write more words more.
This is a video game that I've owned for two years but never played until last month. Kinda weird, since I own all of the previous Metal Gear games (excluding Portable Ops Plus, Metal Gear Solid Mobile, Metal Gear Solid Touch and the Vita version of Metal Gear Solid HD Collection) and mostly love them all very very much. With regards to MGS4, all I can say now is that I do the Eye Have You gesture in real life and fuck that stupid monkey.
The Magic, it Gathers!
Not Pokémon Trading Card Game.
Not Buffy the Vampire Slayer Collectible Card Game.
Not Bratz Fashion Party Fever Game.
Not Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game.
But, Magic: The Gathering. The Trading Card Game.
I've been teaching my partner how to play this game over the past few weeks. As someone who has dipped in and out of the scene over the years (I was first ensnared by the wiles of this superb card game back in 1998, during Urza’s Saga) I've always been saddened by the fact that I've played barely any of the game face to face with another humanoid, what with me not living anywhere near a major population centre for the past twenty years. I have dabbling in the online joys of MTGO, and that’s just great of course, all the Magic all the time, but there is still a difference between that and playing paper. And playing with that OG sleeved-up cardboard feeling is just something I've had a hankering for recently, and thus, I harangued my partner just enough to allow me to lead her down this magical path.
This endeavour lead me to realising that it’s really hard to teach someone something that you know quite a bit about (with regards to mechanics and terminology and jargon and rules and whatnot), when they have absolutely no point of reference for what the hell you’re talking about. But as with anything on this good green Earth, if you practice enough you’ll get better and better at it, and she did, so she did!
I was defeated during our second ever game.
Getting more involved in the physical version of this game has also lead me down the dark path of art alterations, proxying and defoiling. Maybe I’ll document my learning process at a later date, but it just seem super cool to me that you can do all these crazy things with some simple tools, such as acetone, shop towels and a printer. It’s still something I have yet to actually perform on my sacrificial cards, but I once my (CH3)2CO arrives, I’ll get to work. Arts and crafts always appeals to me when it involves scalpels and extremely flammable chemicals.
Vidz that I didz
I ‘shot’ and ‘edited’ my first ever ‘video’, considering that I'm in my mid 20s and have had a deep fascination with/massive love of films and video games and film making since about the age of 5, it’s really stupid that I've never actually done anything about it in any way shape or form. I could have made a life and career for myself if I was brave and clever enough to actually work at it, now I'm just wasting away inside a rotting meat shell, waiting to die. So, with that disclaimer out of the way, here is a thing that I did.
Don’t let my shit video dissuade you, you should totes go and play the free demo of this great little game. More to come soon/later.
If you want to hear my stupid posh voice talk about things, I also did a thing about Steam’s Big Picture Mode:
Which, as a matter of fact is a great little feature, which, in part, helped my partner come over to the dark side of PC gaming in order to enjoy Borderlands 2 co-op with myself and others. Thanks Gaben!
Oh, one more thing. You know that biggest of Big Live Shows that happens every year? Yeah? You remember how the audio is all desynced and shit on some of those videos? Well I went and fixed that for you all, but only up to part three as of right now, and I still couldn't properly fix that horrific background noise during Comic Vine’s segment. For your perusal:
Only a short one today because 1) I left it until today to do this. 2) There’s water coming through my ceiling because the fucking piece of shit radiator is leaking. Don’t worry, I turned off the stop tap and drained the system. I just need to go and get a replacement T-shaped valve thingy and rip up some floorboards to check for damage. This Is Living.
Oh, one last thing, if you're playing that Borderlands 2, you should go ahead and show all of us your hot pix over here.
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so, for my peculiar end:
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, 'tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.
- Iago, from William Shakespeare's Othello
Until NEXT time!