This series is a way of working out all the frustrations I had with the plot. For some reason, pointing out a plot hole makes it less annoying. You might want to read part 2 if you missed that yesterday.
And yeah, “Lucien” is still spelled “Lucian” throughout. (I wrote this whole series in one huge document and then broke it up when I realized how self-indulgently enormous the thing had become.)
|Look, I’m not trying to stare at Hammer’s bosom, it’s just how things worked out, height-wise. She is, as they say, “a whole lotta woman.” Her ten years of sloth notwithstanding, she’s a really likable character. Perhaps the only likable character to survive to the end of the game.|
You’ve been gone for ten years. Hammer hasn’t accomplished a thing since you left. Nobody has. Well, after ten years she has a lead. She thinks the third hero is in the port city of Bloodstone, which can only be reached via a Cullis Gate (a site-to-site magic teleporter) in Garth’s old tower. You, Hammer, and Garth all travel to the tower and find it crawling with Lucien’s men.
There is a huge battle at the tower. Lucian throws waves and waves of men at you while Garth opens the Magic Gate to Bloodstone.
Remember earlier how Lucian kidnapped Garth effortlessly and flawlessly by teleporting him away? That was a pretty major success. He pulled it off with one guy, no losses. Despite what a success that was, he doesn’t try it again. And we know his teleporter is still working, because he’s using it to send in waves and waves of men for you to kill.
|Ha ha ha! I’ve captured my very own heavily armed mass murderer. Now I’ll just stick him in this cage and piss him off.|
You awaken in a simple cage with the old guy taunting you. He says your dog ran off into the fog and was probably killed by banshees by now. He rattles on, laughing at your predicament and musing as to what he should do with you. Finally he decides to burn you alive in the cage.
In my game, I was a 6’2 tower of pure chiseled beef. Unless this old codger owned a winch, there was no way he was getting me into an elevated cage.
He never bothers to take away the player’s gear, which doesn’t matter since the game won’t let you do anything except listen to his cackling. Sure, you could shoot him between the eyes with your gun, smash the cage apart with your mace, or nuke both cage and geezer with a huge fire spell, but that’s not what the writer wants to have happen.
Then the old guy hears a sound, and runs off into the fog to see what it is. He runs towards the fog and banshee sounds, and dies screaming.
Your dog brings you the key and you exit the cage.
Hail the conquering hero!
|Reaver sees you while he’s having a statue made of himself. I’d make a snarky comment about his arrogance, but the player can have statues made of him (or her) self in various poses, and I’ve dotted Albion with statuary of myself giving everyone the finger.|
He wants you to deliver a seal to someplace in the marsh called the Shadow Court. Then come back and he’ll talk. You take the seal (it’s a dinner plate-sized thing of wood and metal with symbols on it) and leave the city.
She tells you to “be careful”, but of course the game won’t actually let you behave cautiously. You just have to plunge headlong into trouble and hope the writer doesn’t screw you too badly.
Into the tomb you go, fighting your way past all the undead inside. Three shadow dudes – Grim Reaper style robed apparitions – appear in the final chamber, and the door slams shut behind you. They are here to renew Reaver’s “bargain”. Someone (whoever is holding the seal) will lose their youth so that Reaver might retain his.
As luck would have it, a peasant woman has wandered in here. You can keep the seal and grow old yourself, or give the seal to the peasant and she’ll lose her youth. You’ll get a nice fat dose of evil points for doing the latter.
Smash the seal? Throw the seal into the abyss right in front of you? Have both you and the peasant hold part of the seal? Fight the shadow dudes? Escape? Try to strike a new bargain with them? Try to sacrifice the peasant for your own youth, instead of Reaver’s?
Shut up and stop ruining the writer’s tale! It’s time to have an arbitrary binary choice and your desire for meaningful input is really starting to chafe.
This is to say nothing of how screwy Reaer’s deal is. He needs to get someone to take the seal into the Shadow Court. But the place is infested with the undead. How do they get in there alone? How does Reaver get his seal back to use again next time around?
I never felt any guilt at passing the seal to the meaningless NPC the writer poofed into this existence for this fumbling attempt at meaningful choice. She never existed before this moment, and she’ll cease to exist as soon as you leave the chamber. It might be one thing if this was a shopkeeper you might have met or some other ongoing NPC. Or if this was someone you might bump into later and see the repercussions of your decision. But she’s nothing more than a cheap plot device. She’ll even inexplicably hold the seal when you hand it to her, instead of refusing it, dropping it, or throwing it into the abyss. The game might as well have simply given me a popup: Do you want the old age or the evil points?
It’s the classic mistake of authors and game masters: He expects me to take his NPCs more seriously than he does.
You return to Reaver. As you enter, Barnum the inventor is using his newfangled picture-device (he’s invented the camera) to take Reaver’s picture. Barnum is a friendly and likable fellow, if a bit silly. You met him as a child at the very beginning of the game, when he paid you a single gold during your attempts to raise the money for the magic box. He’s had running quests all the way since then as you bailed him out of various scrapes, and he’s probably the only truly innocent ongoing character in the game.
Barnum tells Reaver that the picture will take three months to develop. Reaver shoots him dead with a chuckle.
Turning his attention to you, Reaver welcomes you back from your encounter with the shadow dudes and has a laugh at your expense. Regardless of which decision you made, Reaver acts like he’s just pulled a prank and not, you know, stolen the life of another human being, possibly yours. He then reveals that while you were down in the tomb being screwed, he was betraying you to Lucian. He offered to turn you over to Lucian in exchange for gold or whatever it is that Reaver wants.
There is simply no rational way to explain not killing him on the spot, except that the game won’t let you. Reaver is an obvious author-insertion character. The writer has just pranked you and is now taunting you because you’re not allowed to hit back.
This is the worst case of railroading in the entire game, because nearly everyone gets to this point in the game and says, “To hell with Lucian, I’m killing this asshole right now.”
And Reaver, author-insertion character that he is, is obviously aware of how the game mechanics have hamstrung you. Only an idiot would tell a heavily armed champion that they were betraying them while the champion was still free to act. Reaver rattles on about betraying you, fearless of what you might do because the game won’t let you do anything.
And while we’re at it – how did he contact Lucien, anyway? Call him on his cell phone? Travel between Bloodstone and the rest of the game is supposedly impossible, remember?
But! Lucian wants you both. He attacks the mansion in force and you and Reaver are obliged to (sigh) team up and escape through a secret passage. Reaver rolls his eyes and makes snarky comments. This is all a joke to him.
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