Posts Tagged ‘Borderlands 2’

30 Days Video Game Challenge Pt. 3

July 31, 2017

Day 21 – Game with the best story.

I am actually going to go with Borderlands 2 which was a whole lot of fun. The original Borderlands was fun but I felt like it was lacking something. What it was lacking was the more fleshed out story and characters of Borderlands 2. I am not a fan of first person shooters in general partly because I am bad at the gameplay elements but also because they don’t have enough story for me. They were also banned from my childhood house and I did not really see the appeal when I played Doom or Unreal Tournament at a friend’s house. There are exceptions, of course. I like Fallout 3 and New Vegas because exploring is really fun and the characters are interesting. However, back to Borderlands 2, the game surprised me several times throughout the storyline. There were parts that shocked me, made me sad, made me angry, scared me, and made me laugh. The game built up to several climaxes that left me needing to save the game and take a break but they made me eager to start again the next day. The game was written by Anthony Burch (of HAWP fame) and it really shows with relatable characters in a fantastic setting.

Day 22 – A game sequel which disappointed you.

This may seem wrong but actually, I would pick Jak 2, the sequel to Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. I loved Jak and Daxter so much despite being annoyed by Daxter’s constant yammering. The game play was so intuitive and it felt both unique and nostalgic at the same time. It had levels that felt like they were part of a greater world which had a long and mysterious history. There was plenty to do and plenty to collect along with some whimsical humor. The sequel, while an OK game, felt like a futuristic take on GTA 3. The GTA and some other sandbox games are fun for a little bit but I often got bored with them. I would play some missions until they got frustrating. Then I would just want to explore but a lot of areas are off limits until later in the game. Then I just wanted to run around and blow stuff up and that got boring quickly. And so it was for Jak 2 and Jak 3 was even less of a game. It was just the arena mini-game from Ratchet and Clank with different guns.

Day 23 – Game you think had the best graphics or art style.

I am going to go with Arkham City for the best art style. So much detail was put into crafting a vast playground for you to Batman around in. More than any other game it is one that I love just paging through the concept art. The re-envisioning of the characters for starters is great. There is a unified style but everybody looks unique and interesting while paying tribute to their comic book origins. There are so many easter eggs thrown in that I was geeking out every few minutes. More than any other sandbox-ish environment, this was one that I could wander around for hours without actually accomplishing anything. They lovingly crafted an environment where you could really crawl into the story. They brought new elements into the Batman universe but also rejuvenated older elements. In a lot of ways, I thought this was the perfect game and part of that was just how excited I was at how it looked. The other Arkham games (Asylum and Origins) work too but City remains my favorite. I have not played Arkham Knight yet.

Day 24 – Favorite classic game.

Strangely enough, Bubble Bobble. I have really fond games of playing this simple game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was so satisfying to trap enemies in a bubble and solve jumping challenges. It was also a game that I could easily play alongside my brothers without being competitive. Cooperative gameplay is way more fun. Something about the simple, repetitive game always made me excited. It was uncomplicated and back when I had an NES I loved to put two televisions side by side and play video games and watch television at the same time. Also, I have fond memories of playing it with my brothers.

Day 25 – A game you plan on playing.

Assasin’s Creed IV: Black Flag for sure. I love pirates (I am a pirate descendant after all) and I loved the earlier Assasin’s Creed games. The earlier games were difficult at first but they were actually pretty intuitive and forgiving in the end and fun to run around and explore in. Adding a boat and the pirate culture sounds like fun.

Day 26 – Best voice acting.

This thing says video games but I am going to cheat a little and pick The Stanley Parable. The voice acting is pretty much just a single narrator but it is some of the weirdest and funniest stuff I have ever heard. In fact, most of the fun of the game is doing stuff and listening to what the narrator says because there have to be hours of unique dialogue for various situations. From the same developer, there is also Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and the Terribly Cursed Emerald which also has some really great sound effects to go with the great narration. As long as I am cheating, I have to heap some praise onto Gone Home, a simple yet very emotional game. There is a lot of pivotal and incidental narration and voice acting that really sucks you into the deeply personal story the game is trying to tell.

Day 27 – Most epic scene ever.

I think that Shadow of the Colossus takes the cake on this one. The first colossus you encounter is mind boggling and I just shook my head and wondered how anyone could defeat such a thing. Each successive colossus is more epic than the last, ending of course with the final one. The fights are some of the tensest, awe-inspiring things I have done in video games. The deaths of each colossus are also full of epicness.

Day 28 – Favorite game developer.

Easily Take-Two Interactive which has developed some of my favorite games of all time. That includes the Borderlands series, Firaxis titles like Pirates!, Red Dead Revolver, WWE 2K games, and Bioshock among others.

Day 29 – A game you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving.

I cannot really think of one. I do not have the time or money to buy games that do not look good to me.

Day 30 – Your favorite game of all time

For the reasons mentioned in earlier questions, I would have to pick Arkham City which is still the best Batman game of all time.


Top 11 Video Games

August 1, 2015

This list illustrates my preference for games driven by both story and fairly simple game design which are very enjoyable to play. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like games like Super Mario World, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Ratchet and Clank and Katamari Damacy and any number of other games. However, I do have a serious bias toward console games as a controller is so much easier to handle and I never had a serious PC to run games. So take that into account.  This is a follow up to a discussion on why I like video games at all inspired by the Game Grumps.

11 Deadpool (X-Box 360)

Ok, this one is cheating a little bit. There is source material outside of the game in the form of a long-running comic book character from all the way back in the nineties. However, I contend that you can play this game and enjoy it without ever reading a comic book. The gameplay is mostly hack and slash but the story and voice work makes the game really surreal and fun. Deadpool is a character who is very meta and tends to nuke the fourth wall from orbit. The game ends up feeling like something from the Marx brothers mixed with a parody of video games in general. Coupled with that, the character spouts a million funny one-liners. The gameplay is fun enough but the comedy kept me going.

10 Red Dead Redemption (X-Box 360)

I’m a big fan of westerns. My personal favorites are The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Two Mules for Sister Sarah and the True Grit remake. Every bit of this game feels like walking through a really good western movie and that’s exactly how it’s designed. However, you also get a lot of the feel of the scenes they cut out from the movies. Sure, you participate in gunfights, pitched battles and you even get to engage in bounty hunting. However, you also fight and skin animals and ride your horse across empty plains. The game is really beautiful and I find it so easy to get sucked right into the world. The game has a morality system so you can play the game differently every time.

9 Final Fantasy IX (Playstation)

I’ve never played a Final Fantasy game that I absoulutely hated and most of them I’ve at least enjoyed. However, if we’re going for enjoyable gameplay and story, I’m actually going with number nine. The game is a very long Japanese RPG that uses a lot of cool fantasy archetypes but, at the time, shook things up a bit. The female protagonist isn’t just a damsel in distress, the male protagonist is a thief and some of the heroes just don’t get along with each other at all. There’s a lot of story about what it means to be a hero and doing what’s right. There’s also a pretty heavy message about questioning reality and what makes a person a person. It gets fairly philosophical and heavy at some points but it’s a really beautiful game.

8 Psychonauts (X-Box 360)

This game absolutely blew me away when I first played it. I have fond memories of summer camp. The idea of kids attending psychic summer camp amused me. Above all the game is really funny but below that humorous exterior is a really creepy, offbeat story. There are a ton of really neat characters including a whole host of fully developed extras. The concept behind the game is that you enter people’s mindscapes to sort out their psychological issues. Very rarely do you actually fight anybody or anything in the real world. So a lot of the time it feels like there’s a sunny world where very evil things are happening just out of sight. As mentioned before in this blog, I love the juxtaposition of happy and scary so this was right up my alley.

7 South Park: The Stick of Truth (X-Box 360)

I don’t really think you need to have watched South Park to enjoy this game. However, it makes it infinitely more fun if you’ve seen most of the series. If you’re not ready for a ride that is super obscene and incredibly inappropriate then just skip this one. Just skip it. However, if you have a good sense of humor and you were ever a fan of the show then I suggest you pick this one up. The gameplay is simple and based on a lot of turn-based RPGs. There’s a lot of character customization that further immerse you in what feels like playing in a three-part South Park episode. Because of decisions, side quests and easter eggs I’ve played this one over and over and enjoyed it every time. It’s not very long but a very fun (and raunchy) ride.

6 Brutal Legend (X-Box 360)

I must have mentioned that I love heavy metal music. In fact, I love a lot of different genres of metal. I even love BabyMetal but that’s another thing entirely. The fact of the matter is that DoubleFine (the makers of Psychonauts) teamed up with Tenacious D and they made a video game celebrating the Metal. The game is full to the gills with heavy metal music, album cover imagery and even has the voice talents of Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Ozzy Ozbourne, Lita Ford, Rob Halford and Lemmy Kilmister. The game is funny most of the time but actually hits some deep felt moments. The game is full of epic atmosphere and, as the great story unfolds, the gameplay evolves. You also get to cast spells with a guitar which is something I had often imagined in my high school and college days.

5 Dark Cloud 2 (Playstation 2)

I bought Dark Cloud 2 on a whim, mostly because I enjoyed Dark Cloud which I bought heavily discounted. I was expecting more of the same and boy was I in for a surprise. The basic gameplay is the same but with heavily updated graphics. However, the story received a huge boost as in Dark Cloud 2, the stakes feel 200% higher and it includes time travel. More than that, the time travel actually makes some sense. In the game, you play as young inventor Max and also as Monica, warrior princess from the future. Your job is to rebuild the present in order to make sure that the future happens as it should (so it can help you in the present). There’s magic, sci-fi and plenty of fun characters to interact with. The game play is simple but not really ground breaking but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun as hell.

4 Borderlands 2 (X-Box 360)

I never really liked first person shooters as I was growing up. Most of them were on the computer and I never had a good system to play them on. I also was forbidden from playing first person shooters by my mother. I really don’t blame her. The media had drummed up a lot scary stuff and being a parent is really hard. I was never really good at them anyway. For some reason, the Borderlands series instantly clicked with me. I tried Borderlands 2 because I found out it was written by Anthony Burch of Hey Ash Whacha Playin’. It’s clear through playing the game that Anthony understands a lot about comedy when it comes to video games. The game is surprising at times, beautiful to look at, funny and above all the characters feel pretty real. Everytime I play it I find some new detail I never noticed before. It’s a non-stop adventure that is endearing and just challenging enough to keep you from pulling your hair out.

3 Kingdom Hearts (Playstation 2)

Disney animated movies are great and they have been adapted so many times into video games but I can’t think of a single one that was worth playing. They all felt too half-assed and most of the ones I played were way too hard. I’m looking at you Lion King and Alladin. They also had to adhere to a set script because that’s what was expected of them. Kingdom Hearts combines fun Disney storytelling with some creative parts from the Final Fantasy series. It actually forms a new animal that’s equal parts new and equal parts nostalgic. The gameplay is fun and it’s really great to run around with Goofy and Donald to save the Disneyverse. It’s very hard to describe how good this game (and its sequel) is without giving too much away. This was the first game I can remember having a very real emotional release when I finished it. After this game, and its sequel, I teared up and felt so good and bad at the same time.

2 Portal 2 (X-Box 360)

I never played the original Portal but I was definitely well aware of all of the memes. I’ve since played the game and it’s a cute little game using the Source engine. I actually played the sequel first and I absolutely loved it. From the first five minutes I knew that the game would be exactly up my alley. The game immediately immerses you in a complete environment with amazing detail and really fun gameplay. As the game progresses, you’re introduced to extremely rounded characters who only become more interesting as you go. It’s not just the constant voiceovers that unfold a really cool story but also the environment your character is walking through. My only gripe is that I wanted for their to be more game, more story to follow. There’s so much quotable dialogue and moments that actually packed an emotional punch. If they ever make a Portal 3 (doubtful) I will be in line to buy a copy.

1 Arkham Origins (X-Box 360)

I love Batman. It’s been a pretty key fixture in my pop culture life since I was 7 years old. I’ve greedily gobbled up every piece of Batman whatever whenever I have a chance. My problem was that games based on comic books mostly sucked. When I played Arkham Asylum, for the first time I felt like I was Batman. I didn’t just beat up criminals, I did detective work, I climbed and swung and faced down the rogues gallery. When I played the sequel, Arkham City, I felt even more like I had been dropped in a comic book. When Origins dropped I was expecting good things but it exceeded expectations. Just like all of the Arkham series games, the characters have gravity and the storyline is told in such a way that you don’t have to be familiar with the Batman mythos to understand. However, it’s also a Batman fanboy’s dream as it an adaptation that strikes new ground while also scratching so many nostalgic issues. If you take anything away from this post, play all three of these games. Eventually, I will play the final game in the series, Arkham Knight.

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