The End of Borderlands (is the Beginning is the End)

13 02 2010

Chris and I beat (or “solved”, as he puts it) Borderlands the other day. We were split on the ending; both of us agreed the ending was lame, but I thought the final boss was awesome.

A bit of a bullet sponge, but a wicked cool design and with the conceit behind the vault standing revealed, I dug it. Chris was not impressed. We both were unimpressed when, after downloading the DLC Dr. Ned and Mad Moxxi, we fired up the game again and found that it automatically started us over with the “New Game +” mode, instead of wandering around a defeated Pandora at our leisure. Then, we found that Dr. Ned was geared for level 42 characters, and, after our trigger fingers got tired from shooting zombies in the face for half an hour (that’s TWO zombies at half and hour), we called it a day so my wife could get in on some Bioshock 2.

I loved Borderlands, with its wicked sense of humor, its over-the-top violence, and its plethora of weapon options. At times it was frustrating, because there WERE so many weapon options. But the best part about it was the camaraderie Pandora brought out in us; sitting on the couch with a friend or spouse (she of the wicked grenade arm and mistress of caustic weaponry) and complimenting each other’s play styles while decimating bandits or the Crimson Lance or Spiderants or really anything that moved that wasn’t us. It may be my favorite co-op game, and I look forward to a steady stream of DLC and many, many more hours of couch-based teamwork.

Co-op to me is not talking to someone over a headset. It’s sitting next to them on the couch, sharing the screen and punching it in when the other player get a crit and makes a Midget Psycho’s head explode. On-line co-op is fine, but the wife and I only have one XBOX in the house, and the more and more games that eschew split screen for on-line the more I worry that one day we may be sitting in different rooms, talking to each other over headsets, not being able to punch it in or even grin at each other. It’s like the difference between masturbation and sex: playing with yourself is rewarding, but the more people you get involved, the more satisfaction you get.

I want to play Crackdown 2 with my wife and I’m willing to take a graphical hit to accommodate the doubled processor power, but I don’t think we’re going to be given that option, and that’s a shame.  Same with Saints Row 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction, or the next Assassin’s Creed.  It’s like my biggest gripe with Borderlands is that NatStar and I can’t do splitscreen while Chris joins us on Live.  That is an egregious oversight, in my humble opinion, and I can only hope that Gearbox is looking into solving that little problem in time for the 3rd bit of DLC.

I guess I’ll start looking for a cheap 2nd console…

Follow me on Twitter! @charliehamlin




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