Diecast #190: Overwatch, Horizon, Borderlands, Zelda

By Shamus
on Mar 6, 2017
Filed under:
Diecast

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Hosts: Josh, Shamus, Campster and Baychel. (Editor)

Show notes:
00:00:55: Overwatch

Baychel played the game for the first time this week. Here’s what she thought. You can read more of her thoughts on her blog.

00:12:10: Horizon: Zero Dawn

It’s out! And it’s good! It’s not nearly as Ubisoft-esque as we feared.

00:32:59: Borderlands 2

I’m back into the game, and playing multiplayer with the family. This game follows a very similar cycle to Diablo II. Obsession leads to burnout. Burnout leads to dormancy. A few years of dormancy results in renewed interest. Renewed interest leads back to obsession.

To add to this, I think Borderlands 2 has my favorite game trailer of all time:


Link (YouTube)

And because I know you’ll ask: Yes, I saw the Gearbox talk on rendering tech that featured likely assets for Borderlands 3. I might do a post on this at some point.

00:45:52: Zelda Breath of the Wild

Chris has been playing it on the Wii U.

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From the Archives:

  1. Wide And Nerdy® says:

    I’ve got cycles with nearly every Bethesda and Bioware game I’ve ever played similar to your Borderlands 2 cycle. In fact its to the point with me where I need one of those games as my fallback-I’m-too-tired-to-play-a-real-game-tonight-game.

  2. Redingold says:

    After playing Tales from the Borderlands, which turned out to be my favourite Telltale game, I got the urge to play through the entire Borderlands series again, so I played through 1 alone, which was…fine, and then played through 2 and the Pre-Sequel with a friend. It’s still pretty fun.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      I’m with you that Tales made me care about Bordelands and Athena enough to want to see what happens to her. So I started playing 2, but I ground to stop when I started having to fight legions of Loader Bots in that Jack’s futuristic city. Simply my DPS was nowhere near as good as that level required so I quit and never finished.

      But Tales was so good that I did not care about some of the characters and their problems when I met them in Borderlands 2 and I hated one in particular.

    • RTBones says:

      I actually bought Tales by mistake – and it has become my personal favorite Telltale game. Honestly, in my opinion, they could continuously make more Tales games, and I would quite the happy gamer. I am also beginning to work my way through Borderlands 2 again.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Chris as link is climbing a mountain
    Why is he climbing a mountain?

    Chris as link is climbing a mountain
    Why is he climbing a mountain?

    Chris as link is climbing a mountain
    Why is he climbing a mountain?

    Chris as link is climbing a mountain
    Why is he climbing a mountain?

    To hug the mountain.
    To envelop
    That mountain.

    To hug the mountain.
    To envelop
    That mountain.

    To hug the mountain.

    That mountain
    That mountain

    Chris wants to make love to the mountain.

  4. Joe says:

    Yes, I still play 2 & TPS. Don’t judge me, but I use trainers. Cheats are a crutch I’ve been using for so long I can’t do without them. So I’ve long since turned off the volume on most of my games, and play them when listening to podcasts. Games are supposed to be fun, this is how I enjoy them.

    It’s interesting playing this way. In BL2, I’ve noticed that I always end up with four pistols, a combination of Hyperion and Vladof, one for each element. TPS I try to have at least three different types of weapons, as Claptrap has a slower ammo regen.

    I do like TPS, though I see how it isn’t as good. Less diversity in environments, smaller all over. It’s like they couldn’t decide if it was to be a DLC or standalone, and tried to meet in the middle. Too big for DLC, too small for standalone. But there are some fun mechanics and I like the Aussie humour.

    In other news, I hear that the HZD people hired some of the Witcher developers, that might be why it feels similar.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Cheats are a crutch I’ve been using for so long I can’t do without them.

      A better way to look at it is:Cheats are a way to make a game more appealing.Theres no shame in cheating.

    • Single Player Cheaters unite! I’ve never quite gotten why it’s considered so bad to use a trainer or tgm (Beth’s god mode cheat) or any of that sort of thing when you’re only affecting your own fun (I don’t cheat in any sort of multiplayer, ever, and get why that’s bad).

      Best I can figure is that I’m not playing the way the developer intends? But why is that a big deal? I’m certain most movies weren’t made to be watched on a kindle or phone screen and no one’s mad at me for doing that. Heck, most RPG game books aren’t written to be read straight through, but I do that all the time too. So long as I understand that I may not be experiencing things in the “optimal” way, and I’m not badmouthing the game for my experience since I know I altered things from intended, who the frack cares?

      I cheat to see what’s over that hill without being bothered by enemies, to see where the story goes, to get past that one enemy I’ve died to 10 times now (otherwise I’ll just stop playing. I still haven’t seen any of Mirkwood in lotro because I can’t get past the last battle.), or because I’m really sick of going around the mountain (Skyrim, noclip is a godsend if slow). I turn off need decay in the Sims so it doesn’t get in the way of the story I want to tell (and turn it back on when I’m in the mood for it).

      • MichaelGC says:

        Quentin Tarantino isn’t mad, but he is disappointed.

        The idea that somebody’s watching my movie on a phone, that’s very depressing to me.

      • Decus says:

        I don’t mind other people cheating, but it gets weird when cheaters start talking about their experiences or commenting on your own without mentioning it until called out. Or when they start answering community discussions with things like “just cheat” from the beginning. That’s the sum of most of the backlash against cheaters–it’s sometimes unfairly applied to all of them due to those people.

        I’ll use cheats sometimes, but never from the beginning. Kind of similar to mods–to me it doesn’t make sense to use them until after you’ve already familiarized yourself with what’s already on offer. It’s important to remember that cheats don’t necessarily mean making the game easier too, as just as easily you can use them to make a game more difficult. Can really help with doing things like level 1 runs and such if you just make it so exp gain is never called. Or if you’re playing FE and want to do 0% growths rates you can do that too.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          but it gets weird when cheaters start talking about their experiences or commenting on your own without mentioning it until called out.

          Often,it doesnt matter.For example,what did it matter if you cheated in contra or not?You were still just as mortal and had to be just as precise as without the cheat.

          Or when they start answering community discussions with things like “just cheat” from the beginning.

          How is this wrong?Especially as an answer to “I dont like it” or “its too hard for me”.

    • John says:

      Cheats are for when you get stuck in a game that you’re really enjoying and just want to get to the next bit. I mostly associate them with minefield missions in Tie Fighter. And sometimes cheats are for when you really like shooting but are not skilled enough not to get shot, like the back half of Doom. So what I’m saying–I guess–is that cheats are for when my reflexes are not up to snuff. I’ve never really been tempted to cheat in a turn-based game.

      • Christopher says:

        I think cheats get a bad rep because they’re, you know, cheating. You’re essentially destroying whatever semblance of intended experience there is. I basically don’t use them in games because I feel like any victory I achieve with them on is meaningless. After I used them in Saints Row 2, it just didn’t feel like the same, and I abandoned the game. It’s somewhat like Scribblenauts. When I can make anything happen with zero effort, the fun is pretty shallow and short-lived.

        I’ve had luck using them to spice up an old game I’ve already played, though. I can even imagine cheats actually making me finish Borderlands 2 by making it less of a chore.

        • Merlin says:

          Waypoint had an interesting article a few months back pinning the decline of cheat codes on achievements. [Link] It’s a compelling case; they always held the risk of “ruining the fun” for yourself, but it wasn’t until achievements came along as Official Badges of Honor that there was much reason to police other people’s use of them in single player games.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Thats bass ackwards.You shouldnt disable cheats in order to force everyone to get achievements,you should rather disable achievements when someone is using cheats.You know,how back in the day someone would say “I beat contra without the code”,today the achievement can say that for you.

            • Christopher says:

              Saints Row 2 disabled achievements when you activated cheats, too. The articles makes sense to a certain extent, but it’s not like they couldn’t keep the cheat codes in and then disable achievements like that one did. I thought it was an online thing(“every” game having leaderboards or multiplayer) or a money thing(“We’d rather just sell you the stuff”).

              • Merlin says:

                The articles makes sense to a certain extent, but it’s not like they couldn’t keep the cheat codes in and then disable achievements like that one did

                That’s pretty much exactly the point. Everybody disabled achievements when cheats were on; you can see that even in games like Goldeneye, where cheats were the achievements. That drove culture towards cheats as something illegitimate to be frowned upon, rather than as a sign that you were cool and knowledgeable.

                • Christopher says:

                  If the immediate access of the internet didn’t already make them less mysterious and cool, too. You’re right, I read the article again today and don’t know how I missed the whole point of it.

      • Syal says:

        There are a number of turn-based games with poor leveling curves. Tactics Ogre’s really fun, except for having to constantly stop for half an hour to level up your soldiers because every enemy is a level higher than the previous one and levels directly affect hit rate and damage. Cheating to a proper level is just saving yourself time.

        • John says:

          I’m going to assume that you’re talking about the Playstation game, because I never noticed that on the GBA prequel.

          • Syal says:

            Yeah, the Playstation one, which is apparently worse about leveling than the SNES version of the same game for some reason. A knight with decent equipment would attack an archer two levels higher than them, and the archer would counterattack with no weapon and deal higher damage.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Cheats are to use whenever you feel like it.Sometimes you like a challenge,and sometimes you just want to relax and enjoy the ride.With cheats,you can do both whenever you please.

        As for turn based games,Ive used cheats plenty of times in heroes of might and magic when I wanted to get to a specific mission in the campaign,or look at a map without going through the editor.Heck,some strategy games had easter eggs that you could specifically see only with the “reveal whole map” cheat,which is neat.

  5. Ranneko says:

    I guess it really depends on your friends. I played Borderlands 2 with friends and never had problems with cross talk over the cutscenes and story.

    I did find it kind of odd having the story focus on a single vault hunter even when you play coop. Then Pre-Sequel pulls the opposite trick where the story mentions multiple hunters even when you play single player. Can they really not just record two versions of the lines?

    • Destrustor says:

      Doesn’t the pre-sequel just treat Athena as the single canon vault hunter for that one?
      I get that it’s assumed Athena was there for storytelling purposes (Since she’s the one recounting the tale and all), but I don’t remember the game mentioning any of the others if you play as her.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      I never got into the 4 person co-op game glut we had going for a while. Playing with randos has no appeal to me, and playing with friends requires 4 copies of the game and compatible schedules, which is more and more unlikely for adults this day in age. Plus it means it’s not a game I could pick up years after release and have the same experience I did when it first came out which lessens it’s value for me. Sure I could play it single player, but if it is balanced for 4 then it still seems like a neutered experience. There was a good 7 years there where it seemed like every time I turned around I saw a game with a really interesting concept that was ruined for me by being all about the 4 person co-op. Maybe if I could find Borderlands in a bargain bin somewhere here years after it’s release I’ll pick it up and give it a go, but that’s really all games like that are worth to me.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        I’m pretty sure I got the first from a bundle or something as it’s not my default kind of game, played it solo, found it okayish, then accompanied a friend who wanted to play it, then dragged another friend through it simply because we were just looking for something to play co-op (and they were able to get it cheaply). Then the 2nd friend enjoyed it enough that we decided we want to play 2 (and, again, it was cheap at the time). We actually loved 2 and Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep is probably among my favourite bits of writing in games overall. We’ve been meaning to get TPS but something always comes up.

        • Benjamin Hilton says:

          The “something always comes up” issue is a biggie for me. I feel like college was the only time in my life I could’ve actually had time and people available to play co-op like that. I guess it’s a good indicator for who the main market for those games are.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Same, both me and the people I was playing with were interested in the story enough that we stopped for it.

  6. Ranneko says:

    The best part about that story Chris gives about Zelda is that the shrine he figured was locked off until he got bombs is literally the shrine which gives you the remote bomb rune.

    In theory the expected behaviour is climb the fence, get the bomb rune from the shrine then explode your way out.

    Some of the shrines have some amazingly large number of alternate solutions, I saw a fantastic thread on Reddit about different ways people have solved a marble tilt maze puzzle, including just flipping the entire puzzle over and using the back.

  7. Christopher says:

    Dragon’s Dogma, huh. The big difference between games like Dragon’s Dogma, Okami or Horizon Zero Dawn and Zelda is Zelda’s puzzle focus. Dragon’s Dogma is all about that combat, and it seems to be the same for Horizon. Certainly it’s the main focus for Dark Souls, a game which also got compared to the first Zelda game as an inheritor of that design. Meanwhile, Zelda’s defining characteristics have very little to do with combat. It’s all about solving puzzles with items. It seems very neat to me that they give you a bunch of those items as abilities you get at the start this time around, and then allow you to traverse and “solve” the entire world however you like with the tools at your disposal. Just the climbing combined with the hangglider is a wonderful way to travel, and it’s the polar opposite of specific rappel points/climbable ledges in Horizon.

    Dragon’s Dogma reminds me most of BotW in terms of the sense of the adventure. I don’t see this talked about a lot, so maybe we’re a small group who feel like this, but I think there is a specific, cool appeal to fantasy stories that have a lone adventurer going on adventure, preferably in a setting with as few other people as possible. Just exploring ruins and fighting monsters. There’s a mythic quality to it, or maybe even a sort of nostalgia. Shadows of the Colossus is the purest essence of that feeling, but it appears to varying degrees in lots of games, especially gameplay-focused RPGs like Dark Souls or Zelda. BotW also channels Ghibli with the beautiful art style and especially the ruined ancient civilization full of murder robots, which makes me feel LAPUTA so hard I can’t stand it. It’s not unlike Princess Mononoke either. I want a Switch so bad.

    I’m not sure Nintendo looked at other huge open world games. They might have, but they might have also just looked at the original Legend of Zelda. I thought for the longest time Splatoon was just “Inverse Super Mario Sunshine”, but unless they were straight up lying in interviews the developers completely forgot that Sunshine was a thing. People point to the new Zelda taking cues from tons of modern games, but if they seem to take cues from “everyone”, I think it’s just as likely that they just made what they wanted and ended up with features that exist all over the place, rather than explicitly going after the trends.

    Actually, I read an article that said the Xenoblade people worked with Nintendo on the game . Which makes sense, because they have been making Nintendo exclusive open world-jrpgs for two generations now.

    So, uhm. This comment got very rambly, but in conclusion, I don’t think BotW is like Dragon’s Dogma just because they’ve got a climbing button.

    • Darren says:

      It sort of reminds me of Dragon’s Dogma in the way it emphasizes resource acquisition, but that’s the kind of fixation on low-level, preparatory mechanics you see in a lot of Japanese games. Capcom has whole franchises built out of hoovering up herbs and managing inventory space. I think it’s just a cultural thing.

      The game it reminds me of the most is Far Cry (3 onwards). Towers to climb, grass to burn, hang-gliding, animals to hunt. Virtually everything in Breath of the Wild is present in Far Cry Primal in some form–replace BotW’s shrines with Primal’s caves–with the key difference being that Nintendo is willing to give players vast stretches of nothing in which to search for secrets, whereas Ubisoft is terrified of its players being unengaged and so bombard the player with things to do.

  8. xedo says:

    Regarding the discussion of Nintendo making more western-influenced games, nintendo isn’t a monolithic entity. We think of them just as Miyamoto and Aonuma making everything, but they’ve been recruiting new young talent for a long time. Splatoon was basically nintendo letting their new generation of talent off the leash and making what they wanted. Similarly, when the higher-ups made the decision to go open-world in Zelda, they approached their own younger devs who had experience playing open world western games for their ideas.

    So while Nintendo is still being insular and not saying ‘this is popular, go mimic this,’ they’ve reached a point where a fresh generation of devs with western ideas has come into their dev team and they’re being given freedom to organically implement these ideas.

    And I believe these newer devs were also integral to the new Mario title, so I would expect it to feel very new and different too.

    Chris, did you ever play Xenoblade Chronicles X? Nintendo acquired Monoliftsoft several years ago to make big epic jrpgs for them, and their wii u game was a sci-fi open world game. I heard somewhere that the director was trying to make a jrpg equivalent to Skyrim or something along those lines. And the best feature of that game was the level design of the open world, which was very… I think ‘vertically oriented’ is the best way to put it? Anyway, after xcx they got put on BOTW, and I think they were responsible for a lot of the world design in there too.

    edit: (And while posting this I get beaten to pointing out the xcx/botw connection!)

  9. Guest says:

    Baychel, I also had problems with Overwatch lagging/stuttering after some time. It stopped when I switched to launching the game without using the Battlenet launcher. I now open directly Overwatch.exe.

    The biggest downside is that the game doesn’t remember your username/password, so you have to enter it everytime you launch the application. And you will still need Battlenet to get the updates, otherwise the game won’t let you connect without telling you why.

  10. Christopher says:

    I recently bought Overwatch on sale, and the problem I ran into so far is that it times you out for inactivity…. In the tutorial stuff. I go to do some training with all the characters, do some test driving, you know. And it would throw me out of the prctice range during the 10-30 seconds I needed to look at the character’s move list.

  11. Dreamgazer says:

    I don’t understand Campster’s comparing Horizon to Assassin’s Creed, like at all?

    On the crafting, I’ve run into those same problems with wire and wood for the exact reasons Josh had, but like him I stopped picking wood up and I wonder if we wouldn’t have run into that problem if we’d checked how much we needed for the bag upgrades or simply just picked it up constantly. But I actually enjoy running out of resources in a game like this, since for me the game is at its best when tensions are high.

    As far as backpack upgrades go – yeah, I found getting the specific animal parts for inventory space a bit awkward since some are a little tricky to find. However, the common drops from boars, turkeys, foxes etc are used to make fast travel items and various types of healing potions, which are essential on higher difficulties.

    • Sean Hagen says:

      I just finished the game last night, and here’s my thoughts.

      There’s definitely some Assassin’s Creed DNA in the freerunning mechanics. The traversal of spaces is very AC-eqsue. I will say this though: it’s a might tighter set of mechanics. When climbing up/down a cliffside, it’s a faster, more enjoyable experience. The stealth also has some of the AC DNA — corruption arrows, rocks, whistling, overriding machines. But like the freerunning mechanics, each seems to have been tuned and improved upon. Corruption arrows aren’t a guaranteed “temporary ally who dies when timer is up” button; some machines take more arrows, and when the effect wears off the machine doesn’t just collapse.

      I ran into issues with running out of resources to build stuff too, but mostly in the endgame with a fully upgraded resource pouch. Especially wire, because I leaned on the sniper bow pretty hard. That was my fault though, holding on to lenses/hearts/etc instead of just selling them because I was worried I’d need them to buy stuff later.

      I just bought the golden travel kit as soon as I could ( even though I had 20-odd travel kits at that point ). I don’t think I really would have needed it — I only ever actually crafted a single kit, and every one I had after that was found. As for potions, I really only crafted those to try and use up resources before resorting to dropping some in order to pick up something new.

      One thing I found pretty odd is that it felt like the amount of time spent with the green/common upgrade patches was very small compared to my overall time spent in the game. By the end, I had a nearly full pouch of purples with a few blues. Although that’s probably due to my playstyle — I only ever purchased two sets of armor: both of the stealth ones. I didn’t spend much time trying to switch out weapons/armor to try and maximize my chances, I mostly relied on stealth and tearblast/hardpoint when things got dicey.

      Also, I found out there’s a maximum number of traps/tripwires you can place before the game starts removing them from the gameworld. I discovered this in the Cauldron where there are no enemies except for the Thunderjaw at the end. I just started laying down wires and traps, and I eventually noticed that some had disappeared. I confirmed it by laying another trap and watching a wire disappear in front of me. It still worked out, the Thunderjaw died pretty quick — although it did get dicey in that enclosed space for a few hectic moments.

      • Dreamgazer says:

        Hmm, I guess I know what you mean about the freerunning but those elements didn’t make me think of Assassin’s Creed; they seemed pulled straight from Uncharted/Tomb Raider for me. That might be partly due to the natural setting rather than the urban ones AC tends to prefer, and likely more so the fact Horizon has comparatively very little parkour in it. I think a similar thing can be said for some of the stealth elements too – many of them have been reused to have lost their original identity (and it’s been so long since I played an AC game for that matter).

        I suppose it’s very hard to accurately compare Horizon to other games simply because it draws so widely mechanically. To say “it’s like Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry” isn’t inaccurate, but gives a totally different impression to “it’s like Witcher 3 and Monster Hunter”, which is how I’ve been thinking of it. (and it’s a different topic but I now wish Witcher 3 had involved tactically hurting certain parts of monsters to limit their actions rather than a fairly bland “use the right buff” approach to Geralt’s supposed expertise in hunting monsters).

        Yeah the progression does seem a bit wonky, given it’s not all that unreasonable to get the most of Shadow tier weapons fairly early on; but it’s mitigated somewhat by the fact in many cases the weapons just get more options rather than more power. Mods seem to give most of the additional power, unless there’s things later on I haven’t found out about yet (very possible).

        Seems like they wanted to be able to balance the machines and other enemies around an expected player power level on all difficulties and not have to make different levels of each machine in order to populate the entire world with the same groups, which makes some sense since it’d be a little strange to suddenly come across genericly upstated Watchers and Striders later on.

        • Varreity says:

          It’s pretty much as you said, higher tiered weapons just give more ammo options. The exceptions are the ropecaster guns that tie down machines, as those just get straight better ammo as you go up the tiers.

          I do like the touch that the robots have consistent power levels. A strider in the starting area is the same as a strider in the later areas of the open world, and that there’s no real ‘endgame’ area.

  12. Spirit Bear says:

    Borderlands 2 is free on Xbox Live this month and Backwards compatible now. There’s a large base right now just not where you guys are looking. I just got a Xbone to play with my cousins.

  13. Spirit Bear says:

    You can manually pass time in Horizon Zero Dawn by saving at a fire like in Red Dead or GTA V.

  14. Exasperation says:

    I’ve played BL2 recently.

    And, Shamus, you’re wrong about Maya. I’ve been playing her in single player, and you can definitely build her action skill to just murder everybody. In fact (like I posted last time you talked about BL2), with my build I can even sometimes wipe out entire groups of (non-badass) enemies with just my action skill in UVHM at level 58-59 (this does depend on which specific enemies are present, but given how bullet-spongy things get in UVHM that’s still something); when it’s off cooldown (which is pretty fast) my action skill is more effective as a way to kill things right now than my guns are. And even against groups of enemies that it can’t kill outright it does significant damage and handles about 90% of the slagging I need to do so that I don’t have to constantly switch guns to stay effective.

    • Shamus says:

      My initial impression of Maya was based on playing her for the first 15 or so levels. Her actions skill was weak and unsatisfying compared to (say) Krieg, Axton, Zer0, and the Mechromancer at the same level. It’s nice to hear she gets fun sometime during the second playthrough, but that doesn’t really excuse how ineffectual she feels up front.

      • Exasperation says:

        Her action skill actually gets fun right about level 16 the way I built her, so you gave up right when things get good. The issue is that the way her action skill feels is more dependent on how you customize it than the other characters’, which extends the “first five levels” effect until you start getting to the customizations that you want, and they’re mostly tier 3+ skills if you’re going for “blow everything up”. That said, I found that some of the other characters (Zer0 especially) had action skills that started off even more weak and unsatisfying than Maya’s.

        • Fists says:

          Maya has also actually had pretty damn big buff recently, I think they moved the decimal two places for the damage on her could kill skill which makes a silly contribution to her DPS. She does need to level up to be functional still though, ruin makes phase lock much more functional.

          I’ve been playing BL2 again recently too, just when listening to podcasts and music

  15. Dragmire says:

    I played Borderlands 1, Lillith level 1 to 70, about 6 months ago. Borderlands 2 blue screens my computer commonly at high levels so I don’t play that very often anymore.

  16. Phantos says:

    I’m glad I played Borderlands 2 before the first one. I only got around to the first game last year, and it was a gray slog through nothing, more nothing, some nothing, nothing and more nothing.

    No one said or did anything remotely clever or interesting, and I didn’t go anywhere neat or do anything fun. For hours and hours. It was definitely one of those “I’m just doing it for the Achievements” kind of games, and even then I regret that I didn’t drop it sooner.

    It was like Skyrim but without nearly enough wacky glitches.

  17. Son of Valhalla says:

    Hold up there! I want to say, to your first statement, that it is definitely not difficult to get immersed into Blizzard games culture.

    And it’s apparently true, because as I write this comment, Baychel just so happened to say that Overwatch was awesome with its leveling system.

    The same could be said for Warcraft 3, the only Blizzard game I ever played, along with WoW. I still enjoy Warcraft 3 more.

  18. Jared C says:

    I played Borderlands 2 just this past sunday night with my cousin! We play it once a week for around 2 hours as our way of maintaining contact and have been doing this ritual for a couple of months now. It’s been pretty fun, we also talk over the story as the true purpose of playing is for us to voice chat to each other about our lives, but there are still the moments when we both get quiet and intensely focus on the game, so the game still works there for me.

    I have enjoyed it immeasurably more as our co-op game over Diablo 3, which we also tried a few months ago, because apparently in the years since Diablo 3’s release, they decided that difficulty means ‘how long does it take to kill trash mobs’. I realize this can also apply to Borderlands 2, but in Borderlands 2, I can die, I can take damage. I noticed playing Diablo 3 after massive fiddling with the new difficulty settings, we either take absolutely no damage ever and everything dies instantly, or we take all the damage and everything takes forever to kill. That…wasn’t really compelling gameplay, either way. Meanwhile no matter how cocky I get in Borderlands 2’s normal difficulty setting I can still suddenly be out of my league and take tons of damage while yet still dealing enough damage to whatever is attacking me that it doesn’t feel too boring.

    So yeah, Borderlands 2 hits the sweet spot of diablo-esque gameplay for me, still, after all these years.

  19. Binary Toast says:

    I’ve actually been playing Borderlands 2 on and off the past few weeks.

    My internet was out for a saturday afternoon last month, so I just kinda sat there going through my Steam library, deciding what to do that didn’t require contact with the outside world, and ended up starting a new playthrough.

    If I have any problem with it, it’s that if you do all the side quests like the completionists we know we all are, you start to out-level the available quests and equipment, and it’s a gap that just keeps getting bigger. I suspect it’s partly a means to help solo players, so that they’re over-leveled to compensate for being alone. I actually just finished making a DLC detour today, where I went through the Pirate DLC just to get some at-level gear.

    Speaking of the DLC, I’ve only played the four that came with the bundle, but overall I found most of them quite enjoyable. I mean, they’re all kinda Borderlands, shoot dudes => receive loot, but they each have some degree of charm.

    The Torgue one was probably the weakest, because there wasn’t much there beyond that dude-shooting-looting thing. I do recall the blimp though. Walking into the crater for the first time, I saw the blimp and knew I wanted to blow it up, and I was very pleased when the game let me do exactly that. The Pirate and Hammerlock DLCs were better, they just went all-in on their themes and let the silly flow from there.

    The best DLC though was Dragon Keep. There are no words to describe how great this one was, especially to someone who had played D&D. So many references. All the bloody references. If I had any criticism about it, it’s that it’s meant to be played after the main story, which limits how much you get to play with your new shinies unless you go new game plus. But otherwise, it’s easily the most amusing Borderlands 2 DLC.

    • Galad says:

      <3 Tiny Tina and her awesome DLC, but somehow I don't really feel the need to play it again. I mean, it's gonna be a good 10 hours, probably more, and that's still a lot of time for a few, admittedly amazing story lines by Tina.

      Played the Pre sequel when friends were breezing through it, will play it again when I buy the Claptrap DLC, it’s more bearable nowadays, I guess. I will also probably play Borderlands 2 again some day when I decide to go through some DLCs I've not completed.

  20. Kelerak says:

    I haven’t played Borderlands 2 in a long time. I’d normally be up for the Diablo-like gameplay of the game, but the writing irritates me so much that I’ve never felt like picking it back up since I last played in 2014.

    I only ever played as Zer0 and Gaige, which is “crawling through each dungeon and sniping mooks” and “running through each dungeon one-shotting mooks”. Both of these playthroughs became a slog in their own special way, with playing as Gaige making me feel too powerful because of how broken Anarchy is.

    So, yeah. Not inclined to return to Borderlands.

  21. Jimmy McAwesome says:

    I picked up Pre-sequel about a year ago, but it just couldn’t grab me like BL2 did. My biggest issue with the games is the skill system, or at least I basically hate playing everyone. They’re all so dull with no interesting choices to make in both games. I love the comedy, and the guns are all super fun, I wish they could take that system and cram it in with another kind of gameplay.

  22. Rayen says:

    Been playing a bunch Borderlands 2 recently. I had it through my playstation plus account which i only just renewed for my new PS4. Since i dont have much for the 4 yet Borderlands has been getting some play. i forgot how much i liked it.

  23. Jeff says:

    Oh man, I miss the 4-player vehicles from BL2.

  24. Cap'n Hector says:

    Since I have been unable to get The Diecast to work for several episodes I have set up a low-effort mirror. It has the latest three episodes (the ones that have not worked for me previously). My mirror does not have show notes or anything other than the raw file. I will keep updating it with new episodes.

    The URL is: http://caphector.com/diecast/

  25. BenD says:

    I’m traveling back from the future to say that I’d love to watch or read a Young Family & Friends Let’s Play & Kibbitz of Borderlands [insert any number or subtitle here].

    :)

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