Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why Won't it Die?

Last night, I beat Borderlands (the first playthrough, anyway). I'm not much of an FPS gamer, and I've never beaten an FPS before so this was something of an accomplishment for me.

The game itself was a load of fun. Set on a Pandora, a distant frontier/mining planet, Borderlands lets you play as one of four characters hunting for the fabled Vault - a treasure trove of alien technology and artifacts. Your quest will bring you into conflict with the local fauna (Skags and Rakk), gangs of bandits, and eventually the paramilitary Crimson Lance.

Gameplay was particularly well-balanced. The game was definitely a challenge, but at no time did I feel as though I was completely and utterly overwhelmed. Every time I died (which was a lot), I still felt as though I just needed to try again, maybe employ a different strategy.

I also liked the fact that Borderlands is more than just a shoot-em-up game. While it's certainly possible for you to wade into a swarm of enemies and mow them down with Schwarzeneggerian bravado, that's not the only way to play. Quite often, you can find yourself a nice perch, equip a scoped rifle, and pick of your enemies like so many little ducks.

Without doubt, the most difficult part of this game was the final boss. I don't want to ruin the ending for those who haven't finished it yet, so this is your warning. If, for any reason, you don't want to know the gory details of the final boss of Borderlands, turn back now.

Here Be Spoilers

As soon as the Vault opens, a tentacle shoots out, impaling the poor fool who opened it. Moments later, the head of The Destroyer emerges, with its huge eye, toothy maw, and mass of writhing tentacles.

This beast is every bit as tough to defeat as it looks like. At a rough estimate, it killed me a dozen or so times before I finally got a handle on the strategy necessary to avoid its exploding thorns, pounding tentacles, eye beam, and lashing tongue, all while scoring the hundred or so critical hits that I needed to take it the hell out.

I really liked this boss. It was very difficult without being impossible, and it reminded me of another favorite fictional character...
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