Opening Pandora’s Box (The Right Way)

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If you’re thrown for a loop as to why I’m talking about a game that has been out for roughly five years to this point and that even has a re-released edition that is pushing two to three years, don’t worry. I’ve written a little bit here and there about some of the random chance encounters I’ve had in my lengthy replay of Gearbox’s epic saga part deux and this is about to be the third chapter in the ongoing writing. If you’d like a refresher on what I’ve already talked about then you can always check out this post about face pizza or this one about wildlife refuges.

Today’s particular Borderlands 2 / Borderlands saga-themed blog post is going to cover one very simple and yet equally intoxicating and intricate point: an open world. As the semi-pun of a title may suggest to those of you familiar with the series, we’re talking about the opening up of the world, Pandora, itself. Pandora is as diverse as it is alien. It has many similar biomes to what we call home on our own blue planet and yet for all of that it has vividly alien wildlife and vegetation- albeit with the occasional beaches and palms thrown in as well. From arid badlands to snowy glacial shelves, your journey in Borderlands 2 alone takes you to greater heights and further expanses than any in even the most graphically impressive and diverse landscapes and experiences I’ve witnessed in another game.

What No Man’s Sky promised (and failed) to deliver in an experience that spanned a galaxy, Borderlands 2 accomplishes with gusto in one sitting. Although admittedly the mechanics of the game are sometimes a grind as you loot and level up and riddle everything from adorable fluffballs to the baddest of dudes with bullets, the scenery and the aesthetic themselves never grow old. It’s something Doom (2016) seemingly even regarded and took a page from as despite the gory and gritty and vivid experience of literal Hell, the graphics and the visuals are crisp and pleasing to the eye all the way through and I constantly stopped after clearing an area to gape at scenic vistas or hellish landscapes.

I love the diversity of Borderlands 2- specifically with regard to the colorful cast of characters that spans multiple funny and witty and charming and charismatic personalities, but also with complete regard to the story and the places it will take you. You will explore each region in largely the same way whether on foot or in the seat of your locomotion tool of choice (aka rover or buggy or barge), however that doesn’t make discovering new areas or hidden secrets any less exciting as you climb cliffs and search cracks and crevices everywhere from the Eridium Blight zone’s volcano to Sanctuary’s floating city-scape. From the highlands to the abandoned oases, Borderlands 2 is chock-full of content that doesn’t always feel like the collection or fetch quests of other open world games (although there are a fair amount of those too).

Perhaps the most ingenious way to make the experience both memorable and worthwhile is to throw in a fair amount of easter eggs and secrets and this is exactly what Gearbox does best. I’ve found everything from hidden areas to quest-specific occurrences to outside influences on character names, development, and even interests. Everything from other games- Fallout 3, Minecraft, Mario, Donkey Kong to movies and songs- Danger Zone, Kenny Loggins, is recognized and implemented. Even bonfires and knights make their way from Dark Souls into the equally twisted realm that is Pandora, who would’ve ever thought such a thing possible?

But enough of this scratching the surface kind of talk- let’s dig into the orange level loot and really get to the meat of my personal experience and my most recent runthrough as everyone’s favorite bandit / vault hunter (besides Steve) Krieg.

My most recent exploits have been to further the main storyline here and there while also being sure to work tirelessly on the collecting and treasure quests of such side content as Pirate Booty and Hammerlock’s Hunt. I’ve already seen our dear departed Angel and Roland off into the void sadly so and also Jack’s antics take an even more sinister turn. But things are still looking up for the countless loader bots I’ve confiscated pornographic materials from and gathered bandit body parts for in their attempts at censorship and Pinocchio-like boyhood respectively. I continually interact with other characters in either streams of lead sundaes or satisfied grunts and whistles, as only a psycho such as Krieg could and should.

The current task on hand is to find as much loot as possible and finally upgrade my class mods to meet the purple and orange standard I’ve set throughout the rest of my gear- as only the best will fit in with the most legendary of all rocket launchers and sniper rifles that I’ve thus far accumulated in my campaign of terror against Hyperion and their ilk. All things considered, despite the state of Pandora being turmoil and tumultuous as always, life is good and life is grand in Krieg-land.

As I will always offer and always say, feel free to comment with your thoughts, concerns, or general comments as you please. Cheers.

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