Friday, October 19, 2012

Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty

Gearbox Software has been crafty as all get out with its DLC.  Mechromancer was released a week early with no warning.  The first full DLC Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty was released Tuesday.  I have to admit, I kind of love being caught off guard by surprise DLC - especially when the content is so damn strong.

I jumped into Scarlett at level 21 and over the course of two evenings bopped up to 25.  I'm really quite pleased with the new areas and all they hold.  Like the rest of B2, there's just more of more.  New enemies (a few of which I actively hate - not because of their models or AI but because of how gnarly they are), new challenges, new characters, and - of course - new guns.  One pistol in particular is a beast.  It's not a game breaker but it definitely dishes out the hurt.  I've also developed a fondness for a particular shotgun (though I've been saving most of the good ones I find for my fellow Vault Hunter Amazonbutterfly) which is just a beast when going up against Hyperion bots.

There are a number of new areas I'm particularly fond of - one is more claustrophobic than Lynchwood though it features a multi-tiered playing field (so does Lynchwood but this section is closed in and there's not as much wiggle room in combat).  A refinery section makes for some intense firefights - though I have to admit I use one of my standard tactics of: sprint into the room, spawn everything, sprint back to a bottle neck, and then shoot the fuckin bejeebus out of anything coming into the bottleneck.  I prefer urban/industrial levels in games because they tend to suit my preferred style of play (stealth/sniper combined with fast paced constant movement).  In open areas I tend to get mobbed and pulled down by weight of numbers (more accurately I end up running like hell and hucking AoE (Area of Effect) grenades in my wake.

Scarlett's story is tailor made for loot hounds and treasure junkies.  Basically, there's a shit ton of treasure out there, go find it.  The treasure hunting side missions are solid and enjoyable, though there were one or two moments where I couldn't find the objective and said some very bad words and made my angry thinking face (it's not pretty, I think my lips turn white and my eyes get this Treasure of the Sierra Madre glint).  The loot is pretty fuckin sweet too, as well it should be considering how hard earned some it was.

Gearbox has also included some top-tier level 50 combat (which I am woefully under-powered to tangle with at this point) with an added incentive of the big bads dropping a unique currency which in turn you can buy...I dunno probably something wicked awesome.  It's also suggested in game that these big bads aren't necessarily easy to take down solo.

I am very, very pleased by this first campaign expansion.  Bethesda and Bioware could learn a lot from Gearbox.

A note (or several) on the level 26 Mechromancer:

All of my points are currently in the "Best Friends Forever" tree.  At 31 I'll pick up the top tier skill of "Sharing  is Caring" which grants Deathtrap (the robot) the same shield as Gaige.  Considering some of the shields I have, I'm kind of stoked.  At first I thought this would be overpowered and with a spike shield it certainly will be but I'm wondering what kind of tactical changes I'll have to make.  I've been sitting on choice electrical damage gear in anticipation of building the "Little Big Trouble" tree.  I'm interested in how that'll work considering most of the time I rely on either fire or corrosion.

I've changed my gaming style with this class.  Oddly enough, probably thanks to the large bonuses I accrued through completing challenges, I've become more aggressive.  I'm not ready for Gunzerker but I've become far less static in my solo play style.  What could conceivably be a very boring class to play has turned out to be a hell of a lot of fun.  The Mechromancer is suited for and allows for a faster style of play than I used with the Commando.  It's not because she's squishier and needs to Legolas out the way of danger, she just plays different.  For example, with the Commando I tend to play a defensive/ranged gambit, using a turret in the way I would use a Bishop (supported by Knight).  With Mechromancer it's more of a Queen/Rook combo (with robot as Queen and Gaige as Rook).  With a full complement of grenades (I finally leveled up enough to have access to my favorites I was using with Commando - Homing Slag Cloud Transfusion x6) and a slew of elemental weapons (a particular favorite is a Dahl assault rifle that carried me through my first play through) I can dish out some serious support fire while Deathtrap is getting stuck in.

I've noticed one good thing about Deathtrap and one bad.  The good is, if my health is full, health bonuses from Transfusion grenades go to him.  That's pretty cool.  The bad is that sometimes Deathtrap is fucktarded.  There have been quite a few times I've been ass deep in combat and numbnuts acts like a Sim refusing to sit at the dinner table (thus earning Deathbot the nickname "Dumbfuck").  90% of the time Deathbot is a Cuisinart of destruction, "snikity-snak Wolverine berserker style" but then - particularly when confronted by a high level enemy - 10% of the time he must be listening to Muzak "Girl From Ipanema".  Deathbot is much better suited for dealing with swarms than individual big bads.  Which I guess is cool, unless I'm crawling around desperately plinking at a boss trying to get a Second Wind.

When all is said and done though, I love Dumbfuck.   Not as much as I love my Maliwan shotgun but close enough.

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