Friday, December 14, 2012

Reviewer Misses The Target On Badass Game

Better then Ever! Gearbox's Borderlands 2 brings us back to the brutally fun world of Pandora
MY GAMERLIFE POST #1: Gearbox's BORDERLANDS 2, is bigger, stronger and faster—hell, it is downright badass! But if you're not careful, you'll miss the point–just like the Wall Street Journal did. Join me for my first ever in-the-trenches video game review.

First, I gotta say, this post is long, long overdue. I am a full-time Dad, Ad-man (I channel my inner Don Draper often, as a force for good) and a fan of all things that engage my love of the sci-fi/fantasy genre. I co-host a sci-fi/super-hero movie blog. In as much, I am also a hopelessly addicted gamer as well as a life-long advocate of gaming as an integral hobby and immersive visual experience

Managing your own gaming life

The beautiful (and often overlooked) reality of gaming in the 21st century is that it's unique to each of us. We all choose the world we wish to engage in. You into Zombies, we got an endless horde of undead (titles). Like Star Wars? The force will be with you… always, with a staggering array of Lucas-inspired properties to choose from. And if stomping mushrooms as an italian carpenter with bright red overalls is your thing, well; weirdo out-of-touch lemming, meet Mario Bros

Available in all shapes and sizes!
While I do understand there is a whole sub-section of our culture that does not participate with any gaming whatsoever (and if that's you, kudos to you for still reading at this point) but I know that for the Gen-X crowd and younger, we have grown up gaming. The graphics, the sounds, the button mashing–ooh, my heart's racing even as I write this!–and the sense of virtual accomplishment. And whether you're a problem solver, a FPS hound, a sports nut or RTS fanatic you likely take your gaming experience quite seriously. 

So you can imagine the horror of my discontent when I learned the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had an entertainment writer trash one of my all-time favorite franchises. 

Oh, it is so on!

Lock And Load!

First, I gotta' say this is an EXTREMELY biased post but then again, that's why we all blog, right? So, Borderlands 2, I love it, my friends love it, you should run out and love it too! It's violent fun and challenging. Colorful graphics, dark humor, unexpected plot twists and more than 100 million in-game weapons* to blast all the aliens, monsters and robots who try and stand in your way to achieve greater intergalactic glory. 

Ready for Glory!
The game is built, from the ground up, to offer an immersive, steadily escalating set of challenges that offer loads of homicidal ballistic fun! But the game's sheer programming genius is in it's co-op gaming features. Drop-in, drop-out co-op gaming, co-op game leveling and automatic game difficulty increase and decrease due to the number of players in game (1-4). If you play this game alone, it's good, but together, in co-op, it's a franking experience! Having two or three people firing different elemental weapons at the same adversary–burning and being doused in acid simultaneously–is only one of the many great features that make this game pure gaming gold. 

So, to Mr. Adam Najberg of the Wall Street Journal's Arts and Entertainment staff, while I share your love (and implied) passion for gaming, you really missed the boat, missed the target and missed the whole point on Borderlands2. It's not Call of Duty: Black Ops. Your endless comparisons to those rage-fueled bouts Ritalin-induced foul-mouthed 13-year olds is a sad mis-informed correlation this fan cannot abide by.

I actually hate the multi-player experience of CoD:Black Ops as it unfairly pairs you with school-skipping preteens who spend 4-6 hours a day mastering this rancid multi-player "experience". You couldn't possibly be comparing the campaigns because they are as dissimilar as you can get and still be in the FPS genre.

I Can't Believe He Said That!

Some of Adam's review: "There’s an extremely limited four-player cooperative mode, and if you have an Xbox Live Gold account, you can team up that way, but this isn’t the type of deeply engrossing FPS game the headset-wearing COD crowds gather to play months and months after release. In comparison, I read on several sites that COD: Black Ops 2 will feature up to six teams, for a total of 18 simultaneous players, in multiplayer mode."

WTF!? Why are you talking about Call of Duty in this review? Come on dude, don't be THAT guy! If you love CoD and just don't like games where people work WITH each other versus slaughtering each other, than just say so.

This quote also sounds like he is having some sort of elitist 'I shouldn't have to pay for this' gripe with X-BOX LIVE. While I can share you discontent, sir, again a game review is NOT the place for this. Stay focused, dude. 
I've Got Your ClapTrap Right Here!

"Does this photo make me look too fat?"
I gotta' give a shout out to my main bot, Claptrap. As the game's  primary (but certainly not ONLY) comic-relief character, this foul-mouthed, narcissistic bot with an attitude is by far one of gaming's most entertaining characters ever. Too many to mention, the dialogue that spews from his audio box is some of the most well-written comic-relief I've ever heard.

One of many infamous wise-cracks, your playable character is salvaged from the wreck of a horrible train wreck at the hands the game's vilian, Handsome Jack. Claptrap says (to you) at the start of the game: "Excellent my minion–your ability to walk short-distances without falling down will be Jack's downfall!"

Probably something else Mr. Najberg completely glossed over in his clearly hasty review of Borderlands 2 (sigh). 

So, Arth Vader, How Do You Really Feel?

So, Mr. Njaberg, I have a proposition, dear sir. Try this game again, only this time, detox off of any previous title you have played (and obviously prefer) and focus your game-play review on the new and different one offered by Borderlands 2. The game has gotten high marks across the board (4.25 stars out of 5 from Gamer magazine, 9.5 star out of 10 from Game Informer magazine). Maybe you would have a similar good time with it, if you found a friend or two to play it with and stop comparing it to what appears to be the only other inferior, cookie-cutter FPS titles.

Of course, if you keep making game review blunders like this one, you may be wondering why your buddies are all playing great games that only you hate. 

With that gauntlet thrown down, I give Borderland 2 nine (9) mashed buttons out of ten!

* According to Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford; "Together the guns, grenade variants and shield variants total almost 100 million loot varieties (stat variations)." 

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