Borderlands 2 – Bring Friends? Ok Then!

I really enjoyed Borderlands.. ignoring my initial confusion over weapons, at least.  Once we’d sorted out the questing.. I don’t tend to like running back and forth between points without knowing what’s going on.. it was good fun with friends too.

So for Borderlands 2, I’m playing with friends again, though it does mean slow progress as we have to all be available at the same time.  This should give me a chance to check the story out properly, and explore a bit.. but I’m playing through Dragon Age: Origins still.  Can’t have everything, tho 😉

As one friend nabbed Zer0, I chose Maya, the Siren.  I wasn’t sure about her special ability at first.. I liked and wanted the Phasewalking ability still.. but Phaselock has turned out to be more useful to the group and a little bit more fun as I can trap huge enemies in the air!  The Mechromancer will be available in another two weeks, and as we all pre-ordered, we’ll be able to try her out, or fight over her, fairly soon 🙂

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Borderlands Completed!

I’ve had many false starts with Borderlands.. starting way back around Sept 2010, when we picked up a four-pack in a Steam sale, when I felt I was holding friends back and being confused by the guns.. a later attempt with a friend which I think ended in a lost savegame due to a Windows reinstall.. an attempt to play on lunchbreaks at work.. and finally, this one!

Seeing details coming out for Borderlands 2 gave me another nudge to get back to it.. it’s been a few months since we played last.  This isn’t to do with the quality of the game.. the game is great.. it’s to do with a variety of distractions, including the arrival of Skyrim 😉

When we played last time, we’d got ourselves killed over and over again in the Circle of Slaughter.

We returned to this after completing another mission or two, with a bit more determination to beat it.  We were killed again.. you really do need to use cover.. but went back in and beat it seemingly by glitch: far fewer enemies spawned and it seemed that it had just carried on from the point we’d reached in our last attempt, instead of returning to the start.

There were more ..interesting-looking enemies to fight.. the Rakk Hive in particular.  She spawned Rakks as well as poisonous clouds, so we had to move around a little while shooting.. we both had a sniper rifle, so aimed for the eyes to cause most damage!

I was glad my friend had recommended taking the left path on the approach to this fight, because it made aiming easier.. and we’d have been standing underneath it.. the Rakk Hive’s body remained as a solid object when it died, blocking us from getting at the chests!  I guess if we’d been fighting from underneath, it might have landed on us and trapped or killed us.

The last big fight of the game was at the Vault.. the contents of the Vault not being weapons or loot, but a huge beast called The Destroyer, which was imprisoned here!  Ammo was a bit of a problem, as The Destroyer has quite a lot of health.. and again, co-op wins out as there were a few instances where we needed to revive each other.  In single-player, this would have meant starting again, making a much harder fight!

Some of the DLC was on offer a while ago, so I still have that to play through.. but as the main story is done, I’m putting this one down as another game completed! 🙂

ScampLAN

Instead of going to Multiplay’s messed up i43, we’ve gone for a smaller, friends-only LAN at home.. in our newly decorated lounge 😀

So far we’ve mostly played singleplayer games, with the guys nagging me to complete Crysis 2.. which I’ve now done, though I was shown up by Ali completing both Bulletstorm and Red Faction: Armageddon in two days!

The demo for Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine made an appearance too..

Yay for lots of dead Orks!  I found the first level harder than the second, with many retries of the last room.. the big Orks were a bit painful.  The second level was much easier as the Jump Pack meant that for quite a way, all I needed to do was land on enemies to kill them 🙂

This game is now on the wanted list.. along with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Gears of War 3..

I’ve also tried out DC Universe Online, but I’m not going to rush to buy it.  Although what I played was quite fun, I think the appeal may run out after a while.. from what I’ve heard, there isn’t a lot to do at max level, and unless I had friends playing too, I can’t see that I’d want to run around doing the same thing too many times.  Maybe if the game turns up cheap..

We’ve also picked up the DLC for Borderlands, as it was cheap on Steam.. though we now have to get on with our game sometime!

Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem Forever, long thought of as the ultimate vapourware, is finally on the way, and a demo is available via Duke’s First Access Club.. I got a key thanks to my copy of Borderlands 🙂

I played Duke Nukem 3D back when that was new, when my access to multiplayer back then was via LAN.. which meant very few people to play against.  This led to frustration, as I knew nobody else who wanted to play as often or for as long as I did, especially if I did too well.  There was a good selection of weapons, steroids for speed boosts, multiple routes around the map and little secret areas.. and the jet pack and a hologram device used to pop out a hologram of Duke as a distraction were fun and great for getting the jump on a rival, and usually the reason for me doing so well.

The game had very little in terms of story.. aliens invading, humans being mutated, Duke being the only one able to save the world..  so the single-player was about shooting aliens and mutated pig-cops, with Duke’s random comments and references to popular films here and there too.

So.. the demo.. starting off, I find myself being taught how to use a urinal..
Done with “pissing around”, as the first joke has it, I decided to try interacting with everything else I came across.. a little indiscriminately.. which is how I found myself flinging poo in the shower room.  Duke wasn’t too happy.. “What am I, a chimpanzee?”!

The graphics are better than I expected, though I guess they’ll have been undergoing tweaks throughout development, and the sounds are pretty good too.. but the jump animation.. uh, wow.  Disappointingly bad. 🙁

Outside of the shower block there were soldiers preparing themselves for the enemy.. they ran off as I headed towards them, leaving me to discover that I could draw on the tactics whiteboard while the remaining Marine cheered me on.

I left this room and headed out down the tunnel, where I got a glimpse of the enemy before he fired a rocket into the tunnel and collapsed it.  In the next corridors I met more marines and was given a dual-rocket gun before being let out onto the field to face the Cycloid, a one-eyed rocket-firing beast which is meant to represent the final boss from Duke Nukem 3D.

I felt like I ran out of ammo a little too fast during the fight, and although more ammo was available via airdrop onto the pitch, I felt like I spent too long running.

After knocking the Cycloid down I was able to climb up onto him and pull out some tubing from the back of his head.. killing him resulted in a slightly gruesome opportunity for a goal kick with the eye..

This led to a short cutscene which slightly irritated me as it featured a pair of bimbos kneeling before Duke, wiping their mouths.
This was a bit too gratuitous for my liking..

Back in Duke Nukem 3D there was a bit of a controversy over the “exploitation” of women.  There were strippers in various locations in the game.. 2d sprites if I recall correctly.. which if shot would be replaced by falling money, or in one case, by an enemy.  There were also a few XXX posters and porno shops, and Duke was supposed to be some kind of babe-magnet.. but it certainly wasn’t anything to take seriously.

With Duke Nukem Forever, it seems they’re using the strippers and seedy side of the game as a selling point.  I’m not overly bothered if there is sex or prostitution in my games, but being put in the role of a man receiving a BJ.. I feel more like I’m being forced to watch some guy’s fantasy than playing a video game.

Next up was a driving segment with a monster-truck and a turbo button.  Pressing space allowed four-wheel driving, and tight turns..

Running the pig-men down may or may not have been the intended way of getting through the level, but it was fun and fast.  Once I ran out of gas for the truck though, I hit the two-gun system.  There were plenty of weapons laying around, but aside from my pistol I was only able to have one of those at a time, meaning more running around if I wanted to play with a different gun.

The shrink-ray was pretty cool, and I liked being able to stomp on the shrunken enemies.. however, when it came to the explosives I got annoyed with having to press ‘3’ to throw the pipe bomb.. perhaps this is something that can be mapped to another key.

A ship was the boss for this section, and again I found myself having to run around more than I wanted, looking for pipe bombs and hiding behind rocks when the EGO (health) meter got too low.

Overall, I felt a bit disappointed with the demo.  It lacked excitement.  If this demo is representative of the full game, then it’s basically going to be Serious Sam without the hectic fun of swarms of enemies.. in that case I’d stick to Serious Sam..

Borderlands – Siren

I needed something more interesting than random web surfing during my lunch break, and decided on Borderlands.

Since it’s been a while since I played, I went with a new start, picking the Siren.  The early quests were easy.. no wonder, as I’ve seen them a few times now, but the gun choices are causing me a lot less stress this time round.. something’s sinking in at last! 😉

I also don’t think I really appreciated the style of the graphics this much last time..

I’m finding this a rather satisfying use of my lunch break.. even if it means I progress fairly slowly.  I levelled up enough to get Lilith’s special ability, the Phasewalk, which gives invisibility, increased running speed, and damages nearby enemies both going in and coming out of phase.

Using Phasewalk to finish off an enemy also netted me an achievement 😉

Heading towards Nine-Toes’ den, I heard some screeching and couldn’t quite make out where it was coming from at first.. then I looked up!  I’d forgotten about the Rakks!

After killing these off, and watching the loot rain from the sky, it was time to face Nine-Toes..

He managed to kill me off on my first attempt, but I was more careful the second time, dealing with the dogs while staying out of Nine-Toes’ line of sight.  I then had a smug moment when I finished him off by phasewalking and going up behind him for the killing blow!

Borderlands again

I originally started playing through Borderlands at i40 with the guys, but we’ve not managed to play as a group again since.. not enough time when all four of us are around!

Rather than let the game gather dust, a friend and I have started a new game, with the intent of playing at a slower pace.  During our i40 session, I felt that I was trying to chase the rest of the group rather than play with them, especially after spending time scratching my head over which gun I should have.  This started to become a problem for me when I found myself running towards key locations only for another member of the team to pick up or hand-in, so I’d have to run the other way again.. after a while this just makes me feel useless.  I don’t like my teammates to have to carry me; I like to feel that I’ve done the missions too.

The slower pace of this game was much more suited.. and the Beserker felt a lot stronger than the Soldier, who I played last time.

I tried out more weapons as well, including a little pink gun which probably looked a little silly in Brick’s hand 😉

I made up for the slur to his masculinity later, when I got the Launcher.  Size is everything, right?
This launcher wasn’t quite as effective a weapon as I’d have liked it to be, but I guess if it was accurate as well as hugely destructive, and you could carry a lot more ammo for it, then it’d be a bit overpowered.

We got plenty of time in the vehicles, too.  I’m playing on keyboard and mouse so that I can use a push-to-talk key on Mumble, but if I was going to be doing more of the driving I might want to switch to the 360 controller..  I’m not really so keen on steering with the mouse as I then can’t look around.  I loved the turret though, with plenty of rockets to fire! 🙂

Despite our lovely powerful weapons, we did get knocked down a lot too. Between getting knocked down and dying, you can be revived by a teammate.. you can also get Second Wind if you kill an enemy while knocked down, which puts you straight back on your feet again.

I seemed to be rather unlucky with getting the killing blow once knocked down, and had to rely on being picked up a lot!

i40, a little bit late

This post was supposed to make an appearance one week ago, after returning from i40.
However, we still have no internet at home (it’s coming up on four weeks now), and some personal stuff too which meant I wanted to spend the week curled in a small ball, not interacting with anything.

Enough of that, though – i40!

We arrived just before the rain.. a fantastic start to a weekend where the sleeping is mostly done outside 😉

That wasn’t the end of the ‘fantastic start’, however, as we were then excluded from taking our machines in till way after 6pm because the temporary structure wasn’t ready.. and then when we were finally able to get in, there was no internet.  With no internet, there was also no Steam..

The first game played, then, was Warcraft III, as it was one of the few games available which didn’t need an internet connection or updates.

In amongst those games was a go at the “Run, Kitty, Run” map: you have to run along a spiral path to the centre, avoiding the ‘dogs’ which kill you on touch.  It gets harder as you progress, as the paths are narrower, until there’s barely room to get past.. for the first time in many, many attempts, we actually managed to get to the end, where it seems the reward for success is.. to start again with even more dogs on the paths!

I was also introduced to Beat Hazard, thanks to another friend.  This takes any music track you own and turns it into a simple space shooter, very like Geometry Wars.. and it makes very bright, pretty colours.. *gazes*

You start off with space-trash to shoot, but as the track progresses you face stronger enemies which shoot back.  Fortunately, you collect power-ups as you go, which makes your weapons a little more useful.. as well as more colourful.. and there are also power-ups which increase the volume of the track too.

It’s another ‘unblinking’ game which probably shouldn’t be played in a dark room at LAN 😉

After playing this, Audiosurf made another appearance, and with it, a little competition going on in terms of the scoreboard.

Minecraft became a slight obsession for one friend..  this is a 3D sandbox crafting game, with a variety of types of block: wood, coal, etc, and strange blocky life-forms, the most interesting being zombies!  I had a brief go at the game a while back, but after spending two day cycles building, and two night cycles hiding in my buildings from the zombies, I then found my trial of the game didn’t have zombies.. durrrp!
It was admittedly quite fun watching huge piles of TNT go up, though, especially when it resulted in framerates of 1 or 2, or crashed the PC :3

In the run-up to i40, we picked up Borderlands, thanks to another Steam offer.  Oh, Steam.. what would I do with all my money if not for you?

Borderlands has 4 player co-op, which is great as I do like playing with friends.. but I have to say that I found myself confused by the weapons, as per usual in this type of game.   Having to pick up ammo for the weapon I was using, while leaving other ammo for my team just added another layer of trouble.. if I don’t know the guns, I’m really not going to know what ammo they use.

Despite this, I love the game, though I want to complete the game in single-player so I know what I’m doing, and don’t feel like I’m holding my friends back next time.

We also got a couple of games of Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising in.. trying out the Free-For-All mode which I really enjoyed, especially with high resources allowing me to just pump out units.  I think I’m improving on my tactics now, using the Techmarine to fit with my defensive playstyle.  FFA made a nice change, but I think co-op is still going to remain my favourite.

The last night of i40 turned into an all-nighter, with a foxy puppet, fits of giggles, a brief foray onto the rather disappointing Omegle, and later fits of shivers.. the temporary structure really wasn’t draught-proof and by 4am I was glad of fleecy blankets and two friends to hide between for warmth.  Next time I think I’ll be voting for a warmer and quieter hall, maybe in with the WoW players.. lalala 😉

LAN wouldn’t be LAN without a massive TF2 battle between CantFitMyN and Crazy/Inv, and so on the last morning we duly had our game, though there was no victory for CFMN this time.  Next time, maybe! 🙂