Friday, December 18, 2009

Borderlands co-op is freakin' fun

I didn't get Borderlands because I had read that the co-op was the only real reason to get the game, and I had plenty of other games to distract me. But when I found out a friend had it, and another friend was thinking about it, I figured it made sense to get it.

The first night we were able to play, I couldn't do much because I hadn't done the first bundle of missions that make up an introduction and orientation. In fact I hadn't done a single thing besides join the game. It would be a few days before our schedules would coincide enough to play co-op again, so I explored the single player missions.

The single player was just as easy as I had heard. It was still fun, but I really never had that feeling of "OH SHIT" that comes from knowing you're about to die and respawn someplace far away.

I was finally able to co-op again last night, though only with one friend, and had a lot of fun. When you "die" you get a session where you kneel down, and the screen starts to dim, but if you kill something before time runs out, you get a "second wind" where you come back to life, and have a chance to run like hell until your shield recharges. In co-op you can revive a friend instead of them having to kill something to get their second wind. This means you really need to coordinate with your friends so you don't become to separated, and unable to revive eachother. But why would you need to be revived so much if the game is easy? Because it ain't easy in co-op. When a friend joins your game, you are given a warning that the enemies on Pandora (the planet) have become tougher, and tougher they are. Borderlands boasts some complex difficulty management that is supposed to keep the game challenging. But it's supposedly a sliding scale so the more people that play, the more difficult it becomes for each player. But the primary idea is that the tougher the enemies, the better the loot.

The co-op with just two players was frantic and fast paced. Keeping an eye on what's coming up behind you while monitoring your friend's health and shield bar so you know if you'll be needed, trying to revive your teammate while being attacked yourself, diverting the attention of a particularly tough opponent so your teammate can get a good shot on him, enjoying the shared accomplishment of taking down a boss, or just divvying up the loot, makes for extremely enjoyable gameplay. Hours fly by.

Highly recommend you pick up this game if you can get some friends to join you.

(I'm on xbox live, and online weekdays between ~10pm and 2am PST, weekends I'm on sporadically. Drop me an e-mail if you want to friend up, and I might actually entertain the notion!)

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