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8:30 PM on 12.22.2009

Love/Hate: Greetings, traveller!



When I first heard about Borderlands, I was excited to say the least. In my ignorance I believed it to be Fallout 3 with multiplayer at first, before it was revealed to me that this was truly going to be a unique experience. The claims of non-stop killing, unlimited amounts of loot, and a well done art style all proved to me that this game is going to keep me busy for a while. To a large extent I was correct. I have played through until level 20 on several characters, level 25 on one, and my top character is coming up on level 40. Needless to say, I have spent countless hours on this game since it came out. Playing it every day for weeks when I found time, and even when I didn't, I quickly racked up at least 120+ hours on this game.



It seems that every time I play I am left both satisfied and dissatisfied; content yet wanting more. Nevertheless, I invite some friends over, break out the controllers, and I explore the wastes. I repeat incessant missions over again on my coming-of-age Siren, and collect Zombie Brains on my overlord Soldier.



Love:
From the moment the opening cinematic started until an undefined point in time that I began to really think about Borderlands, I was in love. The great music choice along with the humorous direction of the short opening segment simply put a smile on my face. Also, when I saw the cutscene that explained the characters in detail, and how ever since they were small children they had heard about the Vault and wanted to search for it, I was sure that this was going to be a story driven game. "Fallout 3 with multiplayer," my mind scoffed, "this is going to have a better story and better gameplay." I guess that statement proved to be partially correct.

The first-person shooting mechanics offer no contest to Fallout 3, beating it in what must be every aspect imaginable. Turning acceleration, auto-aim, precision, and even the crosshairs in Borderlands are better. Along with that, the graphics are a refreshing change from the run of the mill try at realism that everyone attempts.

The variety of guns is unmatched, but it is easy to see the similarities between what we were told to be "completely unique" firearms. To add to the good, Borderlands offers vehicles with mounted weapons and good controls, many Challenges that could keep you busy for ages, stat-boosting class mods, grenade altering mods, and regenerative shields with interesting effects. How then I could I hate a game that I love so much?



Hate/Heartbreak:
To elaborate on 'that point in time where I began to think about Borderlands,' it was really just the point that I realized that the game had no story. Save for the small cutscene before the last boss in the entire game, the biggest cinematic punch Borderlands packed were the four second introductions of some of the earlier characters and a few of the more important bosses. Talk to the person who gives quests, accept quests, complete quests, and as the game so eloquently puts it, TURN IN! Of course, these quests I speak of involve no more than killing a certain amount of enemies and collecting trinkets that they drop specifically for the quest, collecting glowing green items for some convoluted purpose, or talking to a useless character that happens to have a nifty text box that dispenses XP and prizes.

[Some spoilers may follow]

The cutscenes that I expected throughout Borderlands until I finally destroyed the last boss, they never happened. The unthinkable loot I expected to pillage from the Vault after there was nothing left to stop me, it never happened. The only thing I got was the same whining message on the right of my screen, urging me to TURN IN! and collect my prize. I practically had the spot in my inventory warmed up when I got to Tannis, and as I was greeted with the same repetitive and uninspired text box, I realized that I had only earned one million dollars.

I came to Pandora, fought my way up from Fyrestone, and rose up to conquer mystical extra-terrestrials, ravaging beasts of all sizes, and of course the psychopathic-schizophrenic humans that roam the planet. I even collected the vault pieces that no one could dream of, and outran all of the companies awaiting my death confirmation. After all of the hype, and the talk that I am greeted with about the Vault being real or fake, I am only given money. I get no godly Eridian weaponry and no unmistakably ridiculous gun.



I proved the unachievable could be done, and found the Vault that was not supposed to exist, but I don't even know what was in it. In fact, the game could have been done without the Vault, without the faked story, and without the fašade of being deeper than it is. It is a mindless shooter in which to collect loot, and that is okay with me. Drop the nonsensical backstory provided to me when I am asked to go kill twenty of a certain monster. Forget the Steele Corporation wanting to hunt me down, because honestly, I never knew the difference of being hunted and not being hunted, as there were always people ready to be shot in the face.

The bosses were also unnecessary in a way, because they were simply normal enemies with more health. "Oh no, Skagzilla! What is the secret to killing him?" More bullets. "Rakk Hive!!! O NOEZ!!11!!!1 How will I ever end this terrible beast's life?" Even more bullets. "Oh but the final boss, he must have a secret! It's got to be like Zelda, where you have to use special stuff on him, right?" Well, not really---use lots of bullets and put some in his arms.

I hope I got my point across as I intended. In short, I love Borderlands, but I can't stand the casual and brainless attitude it has, such as the do-all vending machines and the we are not even going to try to explain how or why this works in any way, shape, or form Catch-A-Ride stations. Borderlands does not take itself seriously. To add to that gripe, it tries to act like it has a deep story while providing just about the weakest narrative ever created. The gameplay is top notch and the graphics... well, let's just say they work pretty well.

I guess that past all of the explanations, what I am trying to say is that Borderlands is a game I hate to love, but more importantly, love to hate.

Lastly, there is a reason why I never mentioned Claptrap. You would not even want me to get started on his atomically small-sized importance to Borderlands.   read


8:35 PM on 11.10.2009

The Wrong Thing: A Quest for Treasure



In the first five minutes of the game, I had stolen a coffin from the sea, killed a dozen pirates that I may or may not have been able to reason with, and left a young woman all alone and in a strange place. What if I wanted to take a more peaceful approach in my game playing?

Well, as we all know, that is not possible.

The game forces us to commit horrible tasks, murder countless fathers, brothers, and sons, all the while seeking a grandiose treasure for the sole purpose of stealing it. I felt like I should have had to say yes to an End User License Agreement, just like you have to before that new game or program will install.

"Kill countless human beings, lie to save your own skin, and steal until your heart is content."
I accept.



Nathan Drake: charming, funny, smart, and good with a gun. But is he as innocent as we would like to think? After all, what is your quest throughout the entire game? It may be arguable to spill some blood if your ultimate goal from the start was to save the princess, but when you are out for riches alone it takes a darker tone. Nathan must have known that there would be pirates after him, why else would he have taken guns with him? He embarked on his hunt for gold with the intention to end lives. Nothing, and no one could stop him from completing his journey, and it didn't matter what that might entail.

So what makes Nathan the "good guy" and everyone else bad? He is the invader, trying to steal property. What gives him the right to slaughter so many men so that he can be happy? Is it the fact that he is rescuing his ancestor's treasure from the hands of bad people, and therefore he is granted immunity from any sort of moral behavior?



Is he any better than the pirates and thieves he kills constantly through the game? The goal of Nathan and these men is to steal, and kill anyone who doesn't allow them to. So why then is he made out to be a good guy, a supposed protagonist. Are we not simply put into the shoes of a modern day pirate from the suburbs?

Naughty Dog made a fine game, but it is a game in which we must go against what our mothers told us, forget what we learned in preschool, and disregard all senses of good and bad. Because no matter how you choose to play the game, you must do the wrong thing.   read


2:37 PM on 05.18.2009

Destructoid Rocks (Space Invaders Contest Prize)



That is the prize sent, along with a free digital copy of the game, for winning the Space Invaders Extreme contest. That thing is awesome! The contest page didn't even let on that is was this cool, and personally numbered! I will cherish this print, personally signed by the creator of the original Space Invaders, FOREVAR!


I got number 139, out of only 180!

Thank you guys! You all rock.   read


3:21 PM on 08.22.2008

Random Failings: RRoD Editon Part 4: Mega Twist (Edition?)



This is another addition to the ongoing saga of my Red Rings of Death. If you haven't done so, please take a few minutes to read Part 1, 2, and 3.

As you have probably gathered from my other posts, my Xbox 360 died a short time ago and I bought a temporary replacement, with no intentions to keep it any longer after I got my repaired/replaced console back in the mail. Well yesterday I received a box from UPS sent from the repair center in Texas to me, and it contained an Xbox 360 console! Only 16 days?! Hot dog! I opened it quickly, and looked at the back sticker. It has a manufacturing date of June 26th, 2008. "Ok," I said, "so they replaced my console with a new one! That means if I look under the A/V port I should find an...! Oh..." As I glanced over, I noticed that it was minus an HDMI port. Alright, well I didn't have it before, don't have it now. It's not that big of a deal.



As I looked back over, I noticed the serial number looked all too familiar. But no way, it can't be the same one. I grabbed my digital camera, with which I had taken a picture of the back of my sent in console before it was boxed up. Sure enough, when I compared the serial numbers, they presented a perfect match! Wait, what?! A console made two months ago with my serial number? How exactly? Ok that's fine I guess, however it is possible. I removed the faceplate to see if the silver tape was under it or not, and as I did, the USB port springy door broke! Later, I super glued it into perfect condition, and the silver tape was M.I.A., replaced by the other little Microsoft branded sticker. Moving on, today I thought I should test to see if it works fine and all. First, I figured it would be best to get Rock Band out of the Arcade bundle I bought a week and a half ago. Sounds like an easy task, right? Well I pressed the power button, and nothing happened. I pressed the eject button, and nothing happened. I tinkered with the power cord endlessly, and even more nothing took place. So now what? I'm out of $60 for this game even if they take the console back? This twist would even make M. Night Shyamalan proud.



I looked under the faceplate and didn't see any obvious signs of a manual disc eject hole, but searched for it on the internet anyway. Thank Google I found a site that told me exactly how to do it, and at last I pried Rock Band away from the clutching death grip of the Arcade model. Talk about jealousy, sheesh. Immediately after, I set up my repaired (???) console and it worked perfectly! After swapping face plates (hehe), I boxed the Arcade console back up with all accessories included. They refunded my $299.52 in cash with no issue. I realize as I finish this last sentence, I am as I was before any of this happened, but it is 16 days later (fast, Microsoft, fast!!) and my console was made much more recently.

[Song lyric credits: "Everlong," by Foo Fighters.]   read


8:28 PM on 08.18.2008

Me, Myself, and Tropical Storm Fay



As the title and picture explains, Tropical Storm (soon to possibly be Hurricane) Fay is headed directly toward where I live. I have taken all necessary preparations, but I still don't enjoy going through 4-billion-gallons-of-rain-and-strong-hater-wind storms. Although we survived Charlie with no precautions taken (we didn't have time), I am still worried about two things with Fay, and neither are the winds the storm itself will produce.

1. Tornadoes. Tornadoes can form easily in the midst of a tropical storm or hurricane. I know we can survive the less than powerful winds Fay will bring, but tornadoes are a different ballgame.

2. Rainfall. Flooding, Dude! Rain can be more devastating than the winds hurricanes bring.

So wish me luck, everyone. I will be playing my DS in my bathtub (just kidding).   read


2:21 PM on 08.13.2008

Random Failings: RRoD Editon - Part 3



As this is part 3 of an ongoing series, please read Part 1 and Part 2 if you desire to.

My Xbox 360 was sent out via UPS on Monday of this week. The first day without it, yesterday, I gave in to my thoughts. I went out and I bought an arcade edition as I just use my original hard drive. My plan is, because I am not overflowing with money, that I will do one of two things. (1), I will take it back within 30 days, say it is defective/not working, and get my two hundred ninety-something dollars back. Or, (2), I will sell it to my cousin at the same price I bought it for, because he rocks with me (#1 drummer) all the time and wants one. But if he can't buy it, does Wally-World ask questions? Would I have trouble taking it back and get trampled on by old Wal-Mart ladies?



And also, if anyone has anything to add about the morality of taking a perfectly fine 360 back to Wal-Mart, go ahead.

Ahh, it's so nice to see those green lights again...

[Song lyric credits: "Picture," by Kid Rock ft. Sheryl Crow.]   read


1:11 PM on 08.08.2008

Random Failings: RRoD Edition - Part 2



First, if you haven't read Part 1 of my story, please do so now.

I will resume where I left off. I was practicing my solo career the day after Part 1 was written, switching from the drums to the guitar and back, when I decided to turn my Xbox 360 off to go take care of something. When I finally found time to return to Rock Band, I walked in the room, picked up my Strat, and pressed the power button on the 360. It smugly winked at me with it's incessant red blinking until I finally realized the horror that just took place and again pushed the power button to turn it off.

"No way," I doubtfully remarked to myself. After pushing the power button once more, my Xbox made it clear that "Yes way" was the correct answer, as the dreaded 3 red rings greeted me again. I didn't know what to do now. Even my most valiant attempts at resurrecting my Xbox from the grave had failed. It had lived since October 13th, 2005 as a launch day Xbox with no problems, but just recently decided to croak. After trying the towel trick again to no avail, I went to bed disappointed. If Towely can't cure my Xbox, who can?



Although I was thinking hard about doing some sort of an x-clamp modification, I figured I would call Microsoft to see if I qualified for a free repair. My plan was, if I didn't qualify, I would try a home solution. After speaking to the entire Republic of India, I was transferred to the Xbox 360 department, where I spoke to a semi-competent lady who understood English well enough. Of course, she had to request all of the information (name, e-mail, address) I just got done telling the people that transferred me to her.

After giving up my 12 digit serial number (for the second time), she said I qualified for free repair, and that within 24-48 hours I would receive a UPS shipping label in my e-mail account. She made sure to tell me "not do include my 'ard dlive or any assesorees dat came with exbocks," and then she wished me a good day and thanked me for calling Microsoft support.



I will send my 360 out as soon as possible and be sure to update everyone if necessary. Hopefully mine doesn't get lost by UPS, MS, or both.

Please Microsoft! I don't care if I get mine back repaired, a refurb, or a brand new one, I just want one that works! Can you do that for me? Can I see green lights again to remove all thoughts of the red glow that haunts me in the night? (Ok maybe that is a bit over-dramatic, but you get my point.)



Come back to me! Wish me luck everyone, this whole RRoD thing is new for me.

[Song lyric credits: "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)," by Fuel.]   read


4:06 PM on 08.06.2008

Random Failings: Dead Xbox 360/RRoD Edition



I woke up and downloaded "Toxicity" and "B.Y.O.B." by System of a Down on Rock Band, as I was super excited for these tracks. After I played them once each on Expert guitar, I powered my Xbox down to go do the things I should have done when I first woke up (brush teeth, feed face, etc.) I came back in a hurry, wanting to get pwned on Expert drums by these songs, and lo and behold, Red Rings of Death.

I am the guy that always bragged. Yes sir, I was THE only guy I knew who got the launch Xbox that lasted. I was the guy that said not all of the 360's are defective, just look at my beautiful white box, with it's glistening green LEDs and its lewdly loud DVD drive. So when I saw these rings, my heart sank and my soul shriveled (ok it wasn't that bad). I was very distraught however. I unplugged the power and video connections many times, all in one feeble attempt to resuscitate my Halo-Box 360. None of them worked, so I took drastic measures...

[video]98371:129[/video]

I heard about the "towel trick" and had seen the video by Cheapy D on how to, in a sense, melt your Xbox into working order. I unplugged my HDD, USB cables, and video connection. Next, I got three towels and I wrapped them all around my Ecksbawks after powering it on and gazing into the cold red stare of the machine. After reassuring myself it was wrapped well, I set the timer for 20 minutes.



I came in due time and unwrapped my Xbox, with almost as much as excitement as tearing paper off of gifts at Christmas time. As the instructions said, I promptly turned it off and let it cool down from its surprisingly hot state. After 15 minutes, it was finally the moment of truth. Would my Xbox work? Was the heat treatment enough discipline to show it who's boss? I securely fastened all of my previous connections and configurations, excitedly depressed the power button, and as my eyes widened, I saw a familiar sight. Not the red rings, but the Xbox 360 startup screen!

It worked, but before I picked up the drumsticks and tested the pedal, I practically leaped to my local Wal-Mart (oh yeah, it happened) and bought a Nyko Intercooler EX. I figured it couldn't hurt...

When I returned home and installed the device, it was time to fail B.Y.O.B. on expert. And although System of a Down made me look like a three year old flailing on pots and pans with a whisk and a wooden spoon, I couldn't have been happier.

(DISCLAIMER: I ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS TO YOU OR YOUR XBOX 360 OR ANY OTHER PERSONAL PROPERTY WHILE TRYING ANYTHING I DESCRIBED. TRY AT YOUR OWN RISK, OR DON'T, BUT YOU DIDN'T HEAR IT FROM ME. I ALSO MANAGED TO NOT BREAK MY ROBOCOP GUN, SAVING ME A LOT OF MONEY.)

"Don't forget to bring a towel!"


[Song lyric credits: "Baby Come Back," by Player]   read


8:30 PM on 03.28.2008

IGN posts detailed interview with Rockstar concerning GTA IV


DO WANT.

IGN posted a detailed interview with Dan Houser and Aaron Garbut over at Rockstar about Grand Theft Auto IV. I found it to be very informative and interesting. This is only part one, so look out on Monday for more of this interview. If GTA IV interests you, no matter how text-retarded you are (like I am), you should go through all 11 pages and take a look at some of the stuff they had to say. Who else is looking forward to the next true sequel in the Grand Theft Auto series, and not just an expansion?   read


7:22 PM on 03.17.2008

Why not: Happy 2nd B-day DTOID!!! - The "Because Everyone's Doing It" Edition (shoutouts inside)

So I was on Destructoid last night, like every, and I saw all the birthday commotion. It was about that time I slapped myself and remembered!



Dtoid is two, and it is Niero's birthday also! I remembered this date previously because it is 8 days after my own. After the face palm, I read on. And I have to say it. Bleep, you are a god of all things awesome. Those credits were nicely done and seriously awesome. Everyone else, you are awesome too. Props to riomccarthy for the awesome cake, and everything else she has made. I love your stuff.

I have been here a while as a reader, and a long time as a member. Thank you guys for making the most unique experience on the web. This community is better than any other. You all rock *sob--sniffle.* Also, sap.   read


2:47 PM on 10.18.2007

A question (and other stuff) from a slightly new blogger, LONG-time reader - Help Me Out!

This is only my fourth blog, therefore I am fairly new, and still have no central theme for my blogs. My question is, what is the official DTOID font? I cannot seem to find it, and it is like the coolest font, ya know, EVAR!!1!11!! Tell me where I can get this, or where to look. Keep the "lolz u dont know it u suk zomg" posts to a low. That's one thing Destructoid is awesome at. Keeping the trolls mostly away. Every once in a while, you get a hexfix (look his comments up), but you have to deal with them. And as I leave, I feel you are wanting more from my post. The only thing I can offer is my cat. I have no more. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!

  read


2:21 PM on 10.16.2007

Bee Movie Game Demo [REVIEW/RANT] Funny Stuff Inside.

You know that kiddy animation movie? Ooops, I have to be more specific. The one with the gay bee voiced and made by Jerry Seinfeld. Well, I turned my 360 on yesterday, and decided to check the Demos section, and look for any new morsels of GAME that might break me $60. I saw the Bee Movie Game Demo, and said, "What the heck, why not."

First mistake: I downloaded it.


[Not a game screenshot]


The game is the biggest pile of disgusting megabytes that have ever graced my 13gb (screw you Microsoft) 360 hard drive. You start off on a highway, and you must steer clear of cars, objects, or anything else that flies in your way. So, my first thought was, "Why doesn't Buzz McBuzzPants fly up high, away from the traffic?" Oh ya, then they wouldn't make a quick dishonest dollar. Anyway, you have to go up, or down, or left, or right, according to where the arrows direct you. That's about it. There is ONE, count it, ONE, thing that you do different; you press whatever buttons pop up on the screen, God of War style, except more dumb. No confirming 'click' or sign of indentation when you press the button either.

When you think it may be in a cut scene, it might decide to throw a few button combinations at you. Just press or tap the corresponding button. They throw you in a few unlikely situations, such as dodging some kids soccer ball, or trying to outrun a car. He is in front of the car, it is inching up on him, going faster and faster. He keeps flying---he is almost getting hit! DUDE! Just go UP AND ABOVE the car you incompetent insect!!!! Many scenarios like this will make you angry at the brain incapacity of whoever created this steaming heap of junk.

I have nothing against this movie, or Jerry Seinfeld. In fact, this looks like a very funny movie for those it targets. But the game... the game.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Main Idea: Fly around doing mundane crap, over and over again.

Graphics: Not terrible, but don't expect Gears of War, ladies and gents. The animations were not too jerky, and the pixels didn't burn my eyes. Better than some movie games, for sure.

Sound: Buzz freakin' buzz. The traffic sounds are well... trafficy. Voice acting is okay, but the same repeated "Watch Out!" line and other phrases get very old.

Playability: Not much.

Replay Value: Very low. What? Can you hear me now?? I said VERY LOW!

I give the Bee Movie Game (Demo) a one....

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Out of five.   read


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