My Journey to Loving FPS: Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2

So I’ve never been a huge FPS fan. Mostly because I don’t like things that I’m bad at – and, oh, was I bad at FPS.

The only first-person perspective game that I was ever good at was Portal, which doesn’t involve shooting. The only shooting game I was good at was Mass Effect, which is a third-person perspective. To play something that was first-person AND shooting stuff… I was reluctant.

Enter Borderlands 2: A fun mix of RPG (my one true love), humour, and FPS.

First came the frustration of sucking so hard at FPS that I would miss the enemies every time I shot at them.

I considered quitting, but when Handsome Jack would call me up just to be an asshole… I wanted to keep playing. Also because Borderlands 2 was pulling me into its addictive web of amusing/interesting quests, frequent loot drops, glowing green lockers to open, and endless enemies to mow down.

Slowly, begrudgingly, I became adequately competent at shooting stuff. But my strategy left something to be desired. And by strategy, I mean complete lack of strategy.

Saved by Big Dee … I mean, Salvador

Lucky for me, I had chosen the Gunzerker class, which is ideal for someone who has a habit of rushing in without a clue. He can run in recklessly, take out his second shotgun, regain his health quickly, and in short, mess bad guys up. I named him Big Dee.

I really think if I hadn’t chosen the Gunzerker, I would have become too frustrated with the game to keep playing. His ability to regain half his health when he gunzerks saved my life countless times.

Hooked

Without even realizing it, I was starting to kill enemies much more efficiently. I was able to consistently hit their weak points. I wasn’t dying as often.

And holy shit, I was having fun. Like a frog who doesn’t notice it has been boiled alive until it’s too late, I hadn’t noticed that I was hooked on FPS (a genre of game that I supposedly didn’t like) until too late.

Addicted, I played the game incessantly. Finishing it with the Gunzerker, I downloaded the Mechromancer and started again. I could even use snipers properly now, having advanced from my “rush in blindly” method (although I’m still known to do that from time to time).

Moxxi

I even want to cosplay as Moxxi, but unfortunately I can’t make a decent costume to save my life.

DLC: Captain Scarlett’s Pirate Booty and Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage

As the DLC was released, I eagerly bought it. And I was impressed.

The pirate DLC was great, I enjoyed the new vehicle and the pirate-themed missions. I also found Shade to be incredibly creepy (is it just me or did they up the “creep-factor” for the DLC?), but hilarious at the same time. Especially his recordings as though he was all of the dead people in his little town.

Torgue’s DLC was pure unadulterated joy. EXPLOSIONS. YELLING. CARNAGE.

Beyond Borderlands 2

After playing Borderlands 2, I played the campaign of Halo 4. I’m much more comfortable in the first-person perspective now.

Next stop: backtracking to play Bioshock. I always wanted to play it, but the first-person-ness of it scared me off.

So I’d like to thank Borderlands 2 for being awesome enough to make me stick with an FPS game until I didn’t rage quit anymore. It’s opened up a whole new world of gaming possibilities.

 

Have you guys played Borderlands 2? What class is your favourite?

Advertisements
Posted in Video Games | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mea Culpa

I’ve been a bad blogger (I just picture someone towering over me with a newspaper saying “Bad blogger! Bad!”). I haven’t blogged in MONTHS. It was last YEAR the last time I blogged. That might as well be eternity in the blogosphere.

So this is my post to say that I’m back, and I’ll try to be better. Really, I will.

And now, for your amusement, Leonard Nimoy singing the ballad of Bilbo Baggins.

Posted in Life | 1 Comment

The Avengers Review

I loved it!

It’s hard to figure out what I want to say, because I’m still kind of stunned by its awesomeness. I went to see it at the midnight opening last night, in 3D. Oh and by the way, when you go, stay until the end of the credits. There are 2 extra scenes, and they are worth it.

Here are my thoughts:

-Tom Hiddleston (Loki) was phenomenal, he’s such an expressive actor, but at the same time, you can’t completely hate him. There’s something likeable about him, even though he’s the villain. And I find that those villains tend to be the best ones.

-The movie was very funny. The entire audience was roaring with laughter at several points in the film. It was Whedon-esque enough to be very witty and clever, but not so Whedon-esque as to turn off people who don’t like that type of humor. The perfect amount of Whedon, imho.

-So much wanton destruction, it was great! If you love seeing everything get demolished in epic fight sequences, you’ll love it.

-Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) was smoking hot. ‘nough said. I have a massive girl-crush on her.

-Mark Ruffalo did a wonderful job as The Hulk, I was pleasantly surprised. I was a little wary going into the film, because I had trouble picturing him as The Hulk, but he was great.

-Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) was pure gold, I swear he got all of the best lines.

-Robin from How I Met Your Mother was in it, and I found that to be a little weird. It was hard for me to see her as any other role.

-The 3D was tasteful and well done for the most part. I’m not a huge fan of 3D, especially when it’s used as a gimmick. Luckily it wasn’t too gimmicky in The Avengers. There were a few really cool effects with it where screens or glass were used in interesting ways with reflections or depth. A few times, though, (particularly in the battle sequence) images would come too close in the 3D and my eyes wouldn’t be able to focus on anything. I think that’s more a problem with 3D in general, not this movie specifically, however.

-Watching all of the Avengers meet one another and interact was pretty great. Obviously certain personalities clash (Iron Man and Captain America, for example), which resulted in some good scenes.

-I’m hoping to see more fight scenes in the next Avengers movie where the superheroes do moves that complement each other. There was one incident I can think of from this movie, where Iron Man used Captain America’s shield to reflect his shot at an enemy. I would like to see more things like that!

-There is a LotR reference, which made me extremely happy! Also – there’s a part where the characters are all arguing, and Loki’s staff is there in the room, seemingly encouraging it. It reminded me of the ring in LotR.

-For any Dollhouse fans, Victor totally has a cameo.

-Stan Lee has a cameo too, of course.

-I wish there was a female superhero on the team (Black Widow is awesome but doesn’t really have super powers). Maybe we’ll get one soon? There were a few in the comics.

-The scene where The Hulk smashes Loki is probably one of my favourite scenes in the whole movie. Especially Loki’s reaction, after. So good.

-Even though the film was two and a half hours long, it did not feel long at all. There was never a dull moment or a lag in my interest in what was happening on screen.

So those are my quick thoughts about the film. I definitely want to go see it again in the cinema, because it was that good.

My favourite Avenger is Iron Man, but I went as Thor to the movie because one of my friends dibsed Iron Man. Thor is my second favourite!

Yeah, I brought a toy Thor hammer to the cinema. I wanted the helmet too, but they were all out at the store 😦

What did you think? Who is your favourite Avenger? Did you notice any cool references or cameos?


EDIT: Here‘s an article I was reading today interviewing Joss Whedon about making The Avengers (and doing right by The Hulk).

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Google Zerg Rush

To any StarCraft fans reading:

Go type “zerg rush” into Google.

Don’t forget to click on the O-zerglings to destroy them and protect the search results!

GG

Posted in Life, Video Games | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cabin in the Woods

I just went to see Cabin in the Woods, which came out today. Normally, I’m not the biggest fan of horror. I mean, I like reading Stephen King, I love zombie films, I watch Supernatural, and Silence of the Lambs is one of my favourites…. but I’m also a huge wuss a lot of the time. Usually I don’t go see horror movies in the cinema, either.

But Cabin in the Woods was a Joss Whedon creation. And if I’m anything, I’m a Whedon fan. I adore Firefly, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and of course, Buffy. So I had an internal battle between the Joss Whedon fan part of me and the scared-of-horror-movies part of me to decide whether to go see this movie in the theatre. Obviously the Joss Whedon fan part won, probably because my scared-of-horror-movies self cowered in the corner while the Joss Whedon self had hilarious comments and was awesome.

So I went.

Image

Now, I can’t say much without spoilers, and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone else. It was awesome though. Funny at all the right (or wrong?) moments, scary and gory the rest of the time. Not for the faint of heart, but also not soul-crushingly terrible if you can be a little scared of horror movies sometimes, like me. I can handle gore, it’s psychological thrillers that really get me. And suspense. … And sometimes gore.

Anyway, what I’m ineptly trying to say here is that if you like horror movies, you’ll like it, but if horror movies aren’t always your thing, you still will probably like it (as long as you can handle some horror-esque stuff). Although if you’re looking for the scariest horror that ever was, then this probably isn’t the right film. I mean, I could handle it, after all.

Horror movie clichés are treated with satire, making the movie both familiar and refreshing. We see old genre tropes in a new way, and laugh about them with the film. Yet somehow it’s still pretty scary. I love Whedon’s humour, so I laughed a few times in the film. Particularly when ***SPOILERS*** someone was gored to death by a unicorn. Good times. ***END SPOILERS*** If you accidentally just read the spoiler, don’t worry, it’s not a big one.

At the end of the film, I was left asking myself some pretty big questions about human nature, free will, and right vs wrong. I like when movies make me think. Again, I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll leave it there.

Go see Cabin in the Woods! Leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it!

Posted in Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Baldur’s Gate Website Countdown

For those of you who don’t know, the Baldur’s Gate website started a mysterious countdown. Having watched it slowly inch towards 00:00:00, I was getting pretty excited! If a Baldur’s Gate 3 were to be made, I would be incredibly excited.

Now the clock is at zero. The Baldur’s Gate website countdown ended. AND NOTHING IS HAPPENING. The site either crashes when I refresh it, or just sits there displaying 00:00:00.

This is the way to madness.

http://baldursgate.com/

Featured above: The spiral into insanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EDIT: I managed to get on. Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition. Not as cool as Baldur’s Gate 3 would have been, but I’ll still buy it! If you still can’t get onto the site, here’s a screenshot!


Posted in Video Games | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Mass Effect 3

33 hrs. 4 days.

I beat Mass Effect 3 yesterday, and after spending countless hours playing Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 multiple times, I was very invested in this conclusion to the trilogy. Mass Effect is one of my favourite video games, so naturally when ME3 came out I retreated to my computer to spend the week ravenously devouring the finale. Hell, I was even dreaming about it, when I wasn’t playing.

Now that the whirlwind is over, I’m reflecting on the series. I really think it’s an amazing saga – like a Star Wars or Lord of the Rings for video games. I loved the apocalyptic feel of the last game, I think they did an amazing job of putting you right in the action. The Reapers are destroying all of galactic civilization, and I felt: 1) A sense of haste even though often there was not an actual time limit. 2) Like I was really in the action. As galactic civilization is being destroyed, Shepard has to go to various home worlds that are under attack, and the scale and impact were enormous. Watching the Reapers tear apart huge cities as Shepard runs through the rubble was incredible. 3) Pissed off that the damn council didn’t listen to Shepard’s warnings THREE YEARS ago.

We finally see the pressure of having the weight of the galaxy on her (or his) shoulders really get to Shepard in this one. Shepard has been warning people about this and working so damn hard to save the galaxy, and it starts hitting her hard in ME3. She knows how much depends on her, and how many lives are at stake. And, consequently, so did I as the player. The characters, as always, come to life and make you care about them. Seeing a more vulnerable side of Shepard (I’m making it sound like this happens the whole time in the game, it doesn’t – Shepard is just as badass as before, don’t worry!) pulls you in even further, and gives the other characters a chance to let Shepard lean on them, for once.

The dialogue is as funny, emotional, and well-delivered as ever. Some of the exchanges between characters made me laugh out loud, while others had me tearing up. Especially when at the end of the game (don’t worry, no spoilers!), you can go around and talk to your squad mates before the final mission. By this point in the game, the battle for the galaxy has become pretty desperate, and things aren’t looking hopeful. All of my squad mates seemed to be saying their goodbyes to me before I went into that last mission. It made me so sad – a testament to the way this game pulls you and and makes you care about the characters and what is happening in the galaxy that you’ve come to love.

Here’s a pretty hilarious scene of some joking between Garrus and Joker – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMRgCUCUIoU

I did kind of miss the mini-games from ME2 though. They removed the bypass and hacking mini-games, but I actually had really liked those. It wasn’t a big detriment to my gaming experience or anything, but I did wonder why they were gone.

I got the day 1 DLC that has been so controversial. I really liked it, the mission was good, and the prothean squad member was interesting. Mostly, I liked the addition of the extra lore and backstory that came with having the prothean squad member to learn more about the protheans from. It wasn’t essential to the game, but it was an excellent addition. Like Liara, I found that the protheans were not what I had expected.

Combat was fun. I played a Vanguard, which is a great class. And nothing is more fun than killing husks with a shotgun as they run at you – that was probably one of my favourite things to do. Space zombies + Commander Shepard + shotgun = pure entertainment.

On another controversial topic – the ending. (I’ll try to be as unspoiler-ee as I can here!) I’m seeing an uproar on teh internets about the ending. I liked the ending that I got. I thought it was a good outcome. That said, it needed more closure. I needed to see more about what happened to the characters and the civilizations that I had come to love throughout the course of the three games. Fighting so hard for the fate of the galaxy, and having very little of the results of my efforts shown to me at the end was disappointing. Also, I didn’t like the thing after the credits, with the stargazers.

Further, apparently higher galactic readiness scores (obtained through multiplayer) allowed for “better” endings, where certain characters lived who did not live in the ending I got. While that is desirable, I still think that the ending I got was the best for the WHOLE galaxy, not just for the characters that I personally care about. So I’m not sure that those “better” endings are actually “better”.

I'm Commander Shepard and this is my favourite sweater in my closet.

Play Mass Effect 3! I think a blog post can’t really capture how much I’ve enjoyed it. So you’ll just have to see for yourself, if you haven’t already! I’m pumped to play it through again as renegade, and see how badass Shepard is this time around. As long as I get to punch a reporter, I’ll be happy.

You can fight like a Krogan, run like a leopard, but you’ll never be better than Commander Shepard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeY-2ovpF9c

What did you think of the ending (or maybe after it’s been out for a bit, which ending did you choose…)? Did you get the first day DLC? What is your favourite class to play? Are you Renegade, or Paragon?

EDIT: I found a great short article about how BioWare could (and in my opinion, should) rectify the mistakes they made with the ending, and the release of day 1 DLC. The more I think about the ending, the more I feel dissatisfied by it. http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2012/03/12/how-bioware-could-find-redemption-using-mass-effect-3/

2nd EDIT: I found another excellent article about why Mass Effect fans are so disappointed in the ending. I think it addresses the problems quite well. http://www.gamefront.com/mass-effect-3-ending-hatred-5-reasons-the-fans-are-right/

Posted in Video Games | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments