Underneath my yellow skin

Still searching for the One True Game

just a girl and her sword
Cass, The Warrior Nun stands proud.

Still looking for a video game that I can pour hundreds of hours into, and I’m starting to think it doesn’t exist. I mentioned in last week’s post that I installed Killsquad, developed by Novarama. It’s a MMORPG, I guess, it’s definitely meant to be played multi. You can play it solo, which is what I do, but it’s structured to be played with others. Massive, endless hordes that swarm you, and I don’t know if there is a timed respawn if you go back to old areas or if I just went to a slightly different area, but there were more hordes. There was one time yesterday where the mobs kept coming, and it was at least five minutes of the same goddamn enemy.

First the positives. It’s a great-looking game. I like the graphics and the characters. I’ve tried all of them (four) several times each, and they are distinct in their abilities. Weirdly, the two ranged characters, Zero and Troy, did not gel with me. Normally, I’m all about the range, but they felt underwhelming in this game. The other two, Cass and Kosmo, are the melee characters. Cass was my go-to before I even started the game because she’s a woman and The Warrior Nun. Unfortunately, she’s also a glass cannon in that her damage is high (supposedly), but her health is low. Kosmo is a surprise candidate for my favorite character. I didn’t like him much when I first started. He’s a tank with a big, fuck-off hammer which I found unwieldy at first. But, he has a shit-ton of health and a regenerating shield. Plus, he levels up much faster than Cass, which I found odd. For whatever reason, I get more enemies when I  play as Kosmos–which I don’t understand at all. With Cass, sometimes I don’t even get to Level 6 (which is when you get your ult), but I regularly make it to Level 10 with Kosmos. Vector 20/25 for reference. We’ll talk about Vectors later.

Actually, let’s talk about Vectors now. I started at Vector 5, and I assumed it was equivalent to levels. During the game, I leveled up, and then afterwards, I was still Vector 5. What? Huh? I played a few more games, and I had to repeat the leveling up in the game and my Vector remained the same. I finally looked it up, and Vectors have nothing to do with leveling, at least not the level of your character. Vectors are based on the level of your equipment, which is not explained anywhere in game. You can buy weapons and gear from a robot called…ROBBIE STE3L. Anyway, it gives you unidentified items that are higher than whatever Vector you are, and you can buy character-specific weapons or general gear. Your characters can share the gear, but not the weapons. More than one character can wear the same armor at the same time, for example.

The loot system is adequate. There are items you can get from chests and such, but there are a few problems with it. One, there’s no explanation of what this shit is. That’s a general issue I have with the game, by the way. There is no tutorial or explanation of anything. There are items used to upgrade your equipment, but how to do it? No idea. And the game isn’t fun enough for me to actually want to figure it out. Look. I know it’s a bit hypocritical of me as a Dark Souls fangrrl to talk about the lack of tutorials and esoteric ways of ‘explaining’ things, but at least Dark Souls does have a tutorial, no matter how opaque. The other thing Dark Souls has that Killsquad doesn’t is a hefty wiki or a thousand. I recognize this isn’t the fault of Killsquad as it’s a new game, but it’s still worthwhile to mention.

It’s fairly easy to upgrade your equipment, at least at the beginning. You get a certain amount of credits for each contract you fulfill, plus you can get credits during the missions themselves, and the costs of upgrading your gear isn’t exorbitant. Currently, my Kosmo is Vector 38 and my Cass is Vector 38 as well. Each new weapon was 900 credit until about the fifth upgrade. Then it jumped to over 2000 credit, which was an eyebrow lifter.

More things I don’t like about the game: The mini-bosses. Or, bosses of one contract become mini-bosses in other contracts. Ain’t nobody got time for that! You can just run from some of them, but there is a duo that draws a circle around you, and you can’t leave the circle. Fine. Whatever. Asshole shieldbros. But there was one time where there were mines on the ground in the little arena, and fuck that shit. In general, fuck the mines because they have an inordinate amount of health, and it’s not practical to kill every one of them.

Also, the reason I like Kosmo is not actually a positive–I can just tank everything and not worry about it. I may have to run around to regen my shield, but in general, it’s not something I have to worry about. The balance is way off in this game. I only take on contracts that are five to ten Vectors below the one I’m at because as an individual player, I just can’t. The last one I tried with both Cass and Kosmo was one in which you have to ‘kill’ three crystals as hordes of enemies are swarming you. With Cass, I simply got overwhelmed and died before I could kill the first crystal. To be fair to me, I thought you had to kill the land mines around it before killing the crystal, but at any rate, I simply wasn’t putting out much damage. Doing the same contract with Kosmo, I simply ran by all the enemies in the crystal area and attacked the first crystal with my whirlwind (which I buffed as one of my levels to twice the duration). I used my ult which was 8 seconds of invincibility and destroyed the crystal. Then, I ran to the second crystal and did the same thing, minus the ult which has a two minute cooldown, then attacked the third one. I lost almost no health and finished the contract.

Will I play it again? Maybe. Or I might just uninstall it. I’m sure it’s a perfectly fine multi, but it’s not great as a solo game.

The other game I’ve been playing quite a bit of is Borderlands 2 DLC. Why? Because Borderlands 3 is coming out, and I’m getting hyped. Why? Because of the above trailer which contains a highly-underrated song. I played the shit out of the first and second Borderlands back to back until I finally got sick of it. I tried Pre-Sequel and hated it, and I didn’t care for the Tales from the Borderlands, either. Anyway, I started by downloading the new DLC that is the bridge between BL2 and BL3. It’s called…Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary. It’s free if you have the Handsome Jack something or other edition of BL2.

By the way. Can we talk about Lilith? She was the siren from the first game, and she’s my grrl. I only play as sirens, so I’ll be playing Amara this time around. In the first trailer for BL3, there’s a shot of her crawling away from the asshole twins, and I was like, “I will be furious if they kill Lilith.” Ian said there was no way, but what he doesn’t know is


They killed Roland, another player character from the original game, in BL2. Plus Mordecai’s (yes, another player character from the original game) pet, Bloodwing, so anything is possible.


I heard an explanation of what probably happened to Lilith, though, that bothered me even more. She’s no longer a siren as she intimated in the trailer when she said there are six sirens in the world at a time, and she used to be one of them. Her siren tats are gone, and the asshole twins probably stole her powers. It really bothers me because it’s such a violation, and I will be pissed if she does not get her powers back by the end of the game.

Anyway, the DLC is ok, but way too hard. I can get one-shot, and I’m level 35. Or I was when I started messing around with BL2 again. I’m now up to 37, and I don’t think I should be able to be one-shot at this point. Again, I think it’s calibrated for multi, which is not great because I always play solo. So, my MO is trying to peel off one or two members of a mob on their own and then plunking away at them, then running and hiding to heal, rinse, lather, and repeat. That’s not how I envision playing the game, and I certainly didn’t feel that vulnerable playing the main game. At least I don’t remember feeling that way, but it’s been years since I played.

I also went back to Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, which is a take on D&D that is funny. I don’t like Tiny Tina, but she’s not terrible in this DLC. I love that Lilith is the gatekeeping nerd and Torgue is the scrub, and Lilith asks him esoteric questions to make him prove he’s a real nerd. I returned to it because I wanted to do the Dark Souls side quest, and immediately, I remembered why I quit. Too. Many. Horde. Mobs. The areas scale to your level, and it’s not fun to have five to ten enemies at your level swarming you all the time. The Dark Souls side quest was a nice homage starting with the Crestfallen Warrior and ending with helping him kill the invader who killed him in the first place, but the level itself? Utter horseshit. I started just running through areas as I lit the bonfires and collected the souls because I couldn’t be stuffed to kill every enemy.

I finished the side quest, and I don’t think I’ll play much more of the game. I will admit the side quest called MMORPG was hilarious and not too difficult, and it made fun of online assholes in a lighthearted way. The gist of it is that there are three players of an online game camping at where the monster spawns so they can claim the kill. In order to get the kill yourself, you have to make the three players angry enough to ragequit. You had to defeat them in three different ways (one for each player), and you had to do it twice. You had to ‘teabag’ one by repeatedly crouching on him. I would never teabag in real life, but in this case? I did it gleefully. Another you had to head-shot twice (his name was something like NoHeadShotz, which was easy because I had a caustic sniper rifle. The last you had to punch to death. This was easily my favorite of the side quests.

Borderlands 3 is releasing on September 13th, and I have mixed feelings about it. It looks great, but if it’s mostly multi, it may not be for me.

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