Tag Archives: Borderlands

Dishonesty, Gamer Culture, and Preorders.

No! Bad gamer! Stop!

No! Bad gamer! Stop!

Videogame publishers and developers have made me pretty angry lately. We’re reaching a point where videogame makers can lie, but gamers will still throw money at them. So, yes, gamers are making me angry, too (Of course, as a guy that used to work at a major videogame retailer, that doesn’t really surprise me.)

The recent Aliens: Colonial Marines “scandal” really got me thinking about dishonesty within the industry. If you don’t know, Gearbox Software released a game in the Alien universe.

It was not great.

It was unpolished, buggy, and the enemies contained the AI that the enemies from the original Doom would find laughable. However, it was often advertised with this killer-looking “gameplay” demo WHICH LOOKED AMAZING. Turns out, that was a fantasy. A fiction. A lie.

And why would they lie? Preorders. Videogame companies LOVE preorders. When I worked at [major game retailer], I was constantly told to be getting preorders. We had preorder goals. Preorder contests. On EVERY transaction, we were told to inquire about preorders. Preorders are the bread, butter, and jam of the games industry. Game retailers love them because they can gauge interest in a videogame. Publishers love them because they basically already have a sale.

So, Gearbox, for all intents and purposes, whether it meant to or not, lied to the gamers. It showed off a product that was shiny and beautiful, but when the game was bought, was ugly and tarnished. I’d go so far as to say broken.

Fights broke out among Internet message boards and social networks because people were complaining about the bad game. Some gamers took it as a personal affront that people would think that a broken game was broken. We’ve come to this weird place in space/time where we seem to have forgotten that screwing consumers over isn’t okay. People were willing to give Gearbox a pass because of Borderlands.

That’s ridiculous! Gearbox lied. And whether they made a great game is irrelevant to the fact that they basically swindled money from people.

They want your money. They will fool you for it.

They want your money. They will fool you for it.

I’m conflicted right now. I love videogames, but I don’t really feel a need to support the game retailers or publishers. You know, there’s a meme that flies around that states “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!” Maybe instead, we should do our best to ignore hype and be smart consumers. Wait until reviews come out; make publishers and developers prove to you that they deserve your money.

It is with this said that I’m done preordering games. I feel a little guilty about it, too. I have buddies that manage game stores, and I know that they depend on preorders. This isn’t their fault. However, it’s time to start ignoring hype, especially if we’re getting lied to.

Take Bungie’s Destiny that was officially announced this week. I love Bungie; I’m a Halo fan through and through. Bungie has done nothing but right by me.

But, guess what? I’m not preordering the game.

They showed no gameplay, and after so many were burned by Aliens: Colonial Marines, how could I straight up trust videogame companies so completely? I can’t. And I won’t. I’ll wait for Destiny reviews. I’ll wait for word-of-mouth to get around before I decide to buy. If I have preorders (I honestly can’t remember. How dumb a consumer am I?), I’m probably going to go cancel them.

So my advice? As Fox Mulder learned: Trust no one. This especially applies to people who are trying to sell you something. Don’t worry about preordering things like Call of Duty or Halo or Destiny.  If you’re going to preorder a thing, make sure it’s something obscure that the game store isn’t going to get a bunch of. Hey! That way you can support smaller guys. (Just make sure you get a bunch of info before you pick up the preorder.)

Let’s be smart consumers. Let’s stop getting burned.

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The Gamer’s Quandry: XCOM or Dishonored?

For the gamer, today is a difficult day. Two really, really excellent games released: XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Dishonored. For me, the decision is especially hard.

Dishonored is a steampunk-inspired  first-person assassination RPG, and it looks really great. From the reviews I’ve read, it seems like player choice in how you deal with your objectives is pretty much completely open, and you can play the game however you want, including not killing a single person.

I’ve been on the lookout for a Deus Ex-style game for a long time, so this really strikes a chord with me. The steampunk aesthetic only adds to my interest.

XCOM, on the other hand, is a remake of one of my favorite games of all time. And it’s by the guys who made Civilization. Again, this is a game that I’ve waited a long time for. In XCOM, you control the war on a macro level by dealing with funding, troop training, R&D, manufacturing, and searching a destroying UFOs. You also deal with the alien threat on a micro level: on missions to hunt down aliens that have landed (or crashed), you control troop movements.

I love the original XCOM. I love Deus Ex. Both of these games scratch a different, but equal, itch.

So, what will I end up getting? I have no idea. I have a feeling it will probably come down to the game my wife would prefer to watch me play (and of course, to assist me with her ever helpful “tips”).

PS: Did I mention that Retro City Rampage and the Mechromancer for Borderlands 2 come out today? So many decisions.

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Borderlands 2 Preview

Borderlands combined two types of games that I love: First-person shooters and crazy Diablo-style killing and looting.  I loved everything about it: The art style, the setting, the millions of guns, and the humor.

Not bad for a game basically made on a whim.

As much as I loved it, though, there were some things missing from the game, like a decent story. So, I was excited when I heard that developer Gearbox was pulling out all the stops for the sequel.

I wanted more character customization. It’s in Borderlands 2. I wanted a better story. Gearbox promises that it’s in Borderlands 2. In addition to making the new game an overall better experience, they’ve added the wub wubs. I think most of us agree that we need more dubstep in our lives. Alex Clare thinks so, anyway.

So, because I’m basically crazy excited about the game, let’s talk a little about why it will be so awesome, and hopefully (if I have the money), it will be a day one buy for me.

The Characters:

Borderlands 2 features an all-new cast. Don’t worry, the main characters from the first game are still there, but they aren’t playable. They’re going to play a major part in the story, though. Our friends Mordecai, Lilith, Roland, and Brick will all be there, along with our favorite beatboxing robot, Claptrap. Plus, the Guardian Angel, whom we still know almost nothing about (other than she is a satellite), will also be returning.

But, let’s focus on the NEW main characters.

Axton is a commando who, like Roland, depends on his turrets for his special attacks. I played mostly as Roland in the first game (I had to solo a lot, so the extra firepower is always welcome), so Axton will probably be my first choice.

Zer0 is an assassin who can disappear and make decoys of himself. He uses these abilities to sneak up and get close to enemies so he can cut them in half with his rocking laser-edged sword. He looks like he’ll be a lot of fun for people who like to be sneaky-sneaky and kill bad guys with a little more flair.

Maya is a siren like Lilith who controls the elements and is basically a genetically-modified wizard. I know people that had a lot of fun as Lilith in the first game, but I’m not sure if Maya plays quite the same way. Maya looks much more focused on straight breaking things (by phasing them into other dimensions) than Lilith, who was a little more stealthy.

Salvador is the “gunzerker.” He’ll play a lot like Brick, but instead of using his fists to break things, he can use his ability to go nuts and dual-wield any combination of the weapons in the game. Want two rocket launchers? Okay. Do it. He’ll be a lot of fun for players who want to just cause insane wanton destruction. So… everyone will probably find him fun.

There’s also a fifth class, Gaige the Mechromancer, who can summon a floating death robot called “Deathtrap.” She is the root of the “girlfriend mode” controversy. She’ll be available for download later.

Setting:

Borderlands 2 takes place five years after the original game. The villain of the game, Handsome Jack, has taken credit for the work of the Vault Hunters in the first game and has basically bought all of planet Pandora (and apparently its moon too, since he has a giant moon base).

Players will go through snowy tundra areas, desert areas, jungles, caverns, and urban locations in their fight against Handsome Jack. Each area has some unique enemies to blow up and loot.

Guns N’ Loot:

Gearbox really focused on the guns for Borderlands 2 to make each gun manufacturer more unique in order to help players more easily find the gun they want. Jakobs guns will be fast on the trigger and precise and have “old West” styling. Vladof manufactured guns will look like Russian guns and have a high rate of fire.

Most fun (to me) look to be the Tediore guns, which Gearbox head Randy Pitchford described as the “Walmart” guns of the game. When you are done firing them, they don’t reload, you just chuck them and watch them explode. I love explosions.

All in all, Gearbox has promised that there will be even more guns in Borderlands 2 than the original. I’m more than okay with this.

Other loot includes ways to customize your character (you can do more than simply palette swap this time!), including different heads, clothing, and miscellaneous gear. You’ll also get grenades, weapon modifications, and other secret stuff that they haven’t let slip yet.

I’m stupid excited.

The Mecromancer

Borderlands 2, liked every other game, is available for pre-order. No matter where you preorder the game, you’ll get into the Premier Club, which is just a fancy way of saying that you get some shiny golden guns, a key to unlock a special chest, and the Mechromancer class for free.

If you preorder from GameStop in the US, or GAME (does that place even exist anymore?) in the UK, you’ll get the “Creature Slaughter Dome.” I’m guessing that this is a place where you slaughter creatures. Probably for McDonald’s. Maybe you’ll get a double cheeseburger out of it.

But, wait! There’s more! Today, Gearbox announced that there would be a “season pass” for Borderlands 2, in which you can get all the downloadable content (which you’ll want to get anyway, because if the DLC in this game is anything like the last, it will add a TON of content to the game) for $30, which is ten bucks off of buying all the DLC separately. You should probably do that. Just sayin’.

Also, there are three editions of the game: the regular ($59.99), Collector’s edition ($99.99), and the Ultimate Loot Chest Limited Edition ($149.99). The Collector’s and Loot Chest editions come with all sorts of cool stuff. However, I’m almost sure they are mostly sold out of those. It’s okay, the regular edition will do you just fine.

Split screen and online four player co-op is back in Borderlands 2. Which is awesome, because it’s the best part of the original game. Nothing like killing baddies with your buddies.

Borderlands 2 releases on September 18th, so go get it. And hey, if you need a buddy to play with, you can send me a friend request at gamertag: Spumis.

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The (Late) Week in Geek: Aug. 24, 2012

Ok, so this is really “Last Week in Geek.”

Believe Wonder Woman by Kerrith Johnson

Artist Kerrith Johnson has a series of these “Believe” posters on his DeviantArt page. They’re quite worth the looksie. Image courtesy of Kerrith Johnson.

It’s late mostly because I’ve been in the process of moving Kiphart World Headquarters across the state. I’m sorry I left you without conversation topics all weekend, but I’m here to make sure you’re twice as interesting this week!

The world mourned astronaut Neil Armstrong. He voyaged further than any of his predecessors, set foot on the shores of the moon, but still returned to his homeport.

Comic artist, writer, letterer, and inker Karl Kesel is selling his personal collection to help cover adoption fees and medical bills for his new son, Isaac. I’m not tearing up; it’s just really dusty. I told you, I’ve been moving.

The new “Borderlands” game will feature a “Best Friends Forever” skill tree, or as the lead designer calls it, “Girlfriend Mode.” Causal Girl Gamer Gabrielle wonders if it’s really worth all the hubbub.

Only days away from seeing the good Doctor, the BBC gives us a look at “Pond Life.”

Nic Cage and his hairline are starring in a taken ripoff called….wait for it….oh crap, you already guessed it! Stolen. Thank you, gods of the Internet and cocaine-fueled movie executives for this gift.

superman_x_wonderwoman_by_zuthell-d42r1xc

Do not think he saw that coming. Image courtesy of Zuthell on DeviantArt.

Want to know what happened in the season five finale of “True Blood?” Here you go.

Rob can barely contain his excitement for anything Quentin Tatantino touches.

Because at their core comics are sort of like high school, the quarterback is totally taking the head cheerleader to Make Out Point. Superman and Wonder Woman are all up in each other’s business.

Speaking of doing personal things in public (They’re up in the sky! Anyone can see them! Get an ice cave, you two!), today is Read Comics in Public Day.

No big secret or surprise, I am both liberal and in possession of lady parts. Which is why I just fawn over the President’s response to Sen. Todd Atkins’ insanity.

TJ has found neat stuff lurking on Kickstarter, behind the motivational tapes for cats.

Seth Green’s long-promised “Star Wars” comedy show may turn out to be the least-disappointing “Star Wars”-related production since the “Clone Wars” cartoon.

Felicity wonders when the presidential election went from a campaign to a competition in stupidity.

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