GAME REVIEW: Borderlands Blows (also Dead Island Stinks)

Posted: October 5, 2012 in Gaming
Tags: , , , ,

Quick heads up, this review will have nothing to do with any of my usual feminist tilt.

I am seeing the the hype for Borderlands 2 everywhere and I really just need to get this out:
Borderlands SUCKS.
Also, I never properly raved about how much Dead Island pissed me off so there’s going to be that too, because to me these games share very stark simularities. Now please understand, I’m not some grungy wanna-be game critic who will boo every game that floats by, but I feel right down angry that I got suckered into trying them. By ‘them’, I  mean the first incarnations of these games, not any possible sequels.

Seriously though, it made me want to end the misery and blow my brains out.

Surprisingly, even desperate, hype-winded folks who went with it and bought into this shit franchise will admit that the drab single-player is difficult to stomach. But they are quick to site how A-MAZING the multiplayer is. Actually they tend to just say ‘its fun’. Which isn’t terribly inspiring to begin with.

Frankly, I am of the humble opinion that ANY game can be fun when playing with friends. In fact, if thats what I’m about, I will invite some folks and play Mario Karts or any number of online fps shooter clones. Why the hell would I buy a game that offers nothing new to the experience?
(rewsna: t’ndluow i)

While I have enjoyed the comic style graphics of games like JSRF and the post-apocalyptic theme of games like Fallout in the past, the repetitive and uninspired miniquests that comprise this bland apocalyptic sandbox manage to ruin both aspects…and yet aren’t even the worst offenders. I have been known to enjoy grinding (pokemon), endless/pointless miniquests (fable 3), and hordes of identical enemies (every fps ever) but what elevates Borderlands to a whole new level of suck is the same as the worst thing about Dead Island: The NPC quest-givers.

I can live with the fact that NPCs just have one line of dialogue whenever you click on ’em. Thats fine, they can’t all be Morrowind. But the quest givers are the most uninspired pieces of shit I ever met in video games anywhere.
“Hey there boy/girl! You go and fetch me that there McGuffin and i will act like the most ungrateful son-of-a-bitch on the planet and ‘reward’ you with throwaway xp points/credits.”

Its one thing for a game to have asshole characters. Thats FINE! Its a whole other thing for a game to be comprised exclusively of people that seem to fucking hate your guts while simultaneously never doing a damn productive thing while you’re around to see.

Fallout 3 had you meet Moriarty, a dude that was kind of dick very early as part of the main quest (if you chose to run with it), but if you wanted to, you could hit him over the head with a police baton and throw his twitching corpse over the railing into the swamp of radioactive goop people were praying to below his esteemed ramshackle establishment.

No, I’m not saying every game needs to have disposable NPCs. I’m saying a game shouldn’t have a population made up of 99% of invincible douche-bags that are simultaneously your only means of progress through the game. WTF? In what twisted mind is being surrounded by ungrateful bastards considered ‘fun’?

And another thing…”Why”? Why am I doing this? Okay, in Borderlands its some vague promise of treasure, and you are a bounty hunter so it SORT of makes sense that the thankless population give you these shit quests, but in Dead Island it doesn’t even make sense for you to be running around. I mean, yes, you are trying to cure/escape a zombie plague, and the combat was certainly more engaging than anything Borderlands ever came close to, but once again: THE QUEST-GIVERS!!

Why do these low-lives hiding in their respective churches/lighthouses/evil laboratories be folks my obviously self-sufficient character want to associate with? Is it because the silent blank-slate of my character is drawn to the sound of repetitive voices? Or better yet, why does he/she buy the excuse ‘You clearly look like you can handle yourself so go fetch me A. B. and C. while I sit here and smoke a fat one. Run along, bitch! I ain’t not-paying you so you can not-die by zombie!’

Again: WTF? Where is the motivation? Fine, these games don’t have a good (or any) plot. Thats…Okay? I guess? But at least give me a reason to give a shit! If I want to murder the people I am forced to help more than I want to kill zombies/bandits/giant insects (but then don’t get to do that) then I am having the opposite of fun. Its not suspenseful. Its not entertaining. Its mind-numbingly fucking insulting!


I can’t help but think these games are trying to tell me something…

Literally, both these games, Borderlands and Dead Island would do better to just not have any NPCs at all. I mean that. I probably wouldn’t be writing this angst filled rant had it just been as simple as that. Its not that I relish simple games. I LOVE story-plot. Mass Effect series jumps prominently as the most recent to mind. But if you HAVE to give me a mindless hack/slash/run/gun fps with some backhanded attempts at customization–I don’t care how great the trailer that suckered me into this game was–please, PLEASE do me the mercy of not bashing me over the head with quest-critical, invincible douche-bags.

But from what I am hearing, this hasn’t changed ANY with the release of Borderlands 2. And it probably will not change with any subsequent release of Borderlands 3, 4, 5 or Dead Island Zero: IN SPACE!
Oh, and every desperate, hype-driven gamer who keeps pumping money into franchises that reward the industry for backwards, shit monstrosities? Yeah. You’re not helping make the gaming world a better place.
So fuck you too.

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