Underneath my yellow skin

Bordering on lands for the third time

is it real or am i dreaming?
Look at my hair. Look. At. It!

Still have not played a Souls game since I platted the third game a few weeks ago (yes, I’m finally calling it platting and not not-platting as I’ve been doing). I’m getting the itch, though, to play…Scholar of the First Sin. I’m holding off because I know if I do, I’ll start wandering into the not-plat. It’s another game with no cloud sync, which would mean doing it on my current character (only one on this computer) or hooking up the old laptop again. It’s supposedly the easiest of the three Souls games to plat, but no! I do not want to get into that mentality again.

I did crack and try Code Vein. I imported my character from the demo because I love her so much. It’s the first time I’ve been able to have a character with hair LONGER than my own, and I spent over an hour in the character creation. The hair is even thin and fine like mine! Two negatives with the character creator–the heaviest set is still skinny with big boobs and all the female clothing is skimpy at best. The one outfit I chose covers the most skin possible, but is tight as fuck and the leggings have holes in them. It’s Japanese, though, so there’s not much to be done there.

I immediately had issues with stuttering in the proper game that I did not have in the demo. I jiggered my settings, but I couldn’t get rid of it completely. I also had loading issues, and my game froze every time I exited the game. It was irritating, and I felt as if it was a bait-and-switch situation since I did not have that issue with the demo (the first part of the game). There were fog walls where the game wasn’t loading properly, and it was a mess. I knew there was jank in the game, but this wasn’t something I had read about in the forums. Then again, I don’t read forums very much because they’re pretty toxic in general.

The other irritating thing was that there were cutscenes every two minutes. Slight exaggeration, but there were a lot of them. In Souls games, cutscene means boss fight. The first two or three times it happened in Code Vein, I was like, “What? Boss where?” Then I just got annoyed because there was no reason for it. Yes, it’s to insert story beats, but the story is pedestrian at best, and I do not appreciate it.

Also, the level design is pretty uninspired, and the regular enemies are forgettable. Yes, I’m still in the first area, but it’s just not grabbing me. I like the weapons and all the different classes. I like that you can switch them at almost any time (not in combat). I like that you have an AI companion–except one thing. They won’t shut the fuck up. They talk all the fucking time, and I just want to muzzle them. Especially Yakumo, who is my favorite. And it’s not just because he’s pretty–though he is that. I don’t mind learning their backstories, but I don’t need them to nag me as I’m making my way through the mean streets of–wherever this is played out. I don’t know, and I don’t care.

I really liked the demo, but my interest dropped precipitously once I got into the game proper. I haven’t picked it up again since the first time I tried it, and every time I tell myself to go back, something in me balks. I probably will at some point, but I’m not raring to play it. And, of course, it falls under the same problem as other Souls-likes. It’s close enough to Souls for me to constantly compare it to my favorite series, but it’s not done well enough to be compared favorably.

firehawk, my liege!
Anything you want, Lilith.

Recently, I bought Borderlands 3 on steep sale in part because Ian had just bought it and tipped me off to the sale. I had had my eye on it even before it came out because I played the hell out of the first two games, but got seriously burned out after the second because I played them back to back, including DLC. I did not finish the DLC for the second game as I quit hard mid-D&D session. It’s a fantastic DLC, but I was just done. In addition, they did the thing of making things harder by throwing tons of enemies at me, and I was not having any of it.

I went back to play the free DLC added with the announcement of Borderlands 3 in part because Lilith is my girl–will get more into that later–and I would do anything to hang with her again. I couldn’t really get into it, though, and, again, it was the masses of enemies who could kill me in no time flat. Look. Part of the reason I play Borderlands is so that I can feel unstoppable. I want to be OP, especially after putting hundreds of hours into the games. I do not want to be scrubbed out after three hits, and I quickly put the game away.

I did not buy BL3 when it came out because it was an Epic exclusive for a year. I don’t have the same outrage that some people do over exclusives–well, I do, but not for the same reasons–but I didn’t want to add another launcher to my computer at the time. That has changed, but I also wasn’t going to pay full price for the game. You see, I did not like the Tell-Tale game or the Pre-Sequel, and I felt the humor was tired even back when I was playing it.

In addition, I had a whole host of reasons for not liking the games even when I enjoyed playing them, and I was afraid they would  keep those as features and not bugs in the third game. By the way, I have a hard time not writing it as Borderlands III because of Dark Souls, which is amusing if only to me. I hate the map and the limited inventory, and the UI is hot trash. I love the plethora of guns, of course, but there are almost too many. It’s hard to know which is best, and there comes a point where I’m just leaving more weapons than I’m picking up.

Anyway, I started with Amara because of course I did. She’s the Siren, and while she’s been made into a melee character in this game, she can still wield a gun. I had a bit of a lag issue, but it cleared itself up. I also had to fiddle with the FOV slider because I have issues with first person point of view. It wasn’t as bad this time, and I’ve found the sweet spot–kinda. The tutorial is much shorter and not as annoying as the one in BL2 which had way too much Claptrap.

First, the positives. It looks great. It’s very crisp, and I’ve always liked the cell-shaded aesthetic of the first two games. It runs decently on my computer, and the controls…well, that’s a hit-and-miss for me. I’m used to playing mostly with a controller despite being a PC gal, and it’s been some time before I’ve had to do the claw hand plus additional keys. The keys aren’t ideal in this game–they never have been–but I’m not sure if there’s a way to make them better. One of the problem is that there are simply too many. Before I get into that, here’s my unique problem with keyboards and games. If I can use Dvorak as I can in Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?!, then I’m good. If it’s simply using Qwerty, I don’t like it, but it’s fine. I do it as in Binding of Isaac and get on with my life.

In this game, however, it’s an issue because I have to do it in Qwerty, and the prompts are in Qwerty, which means I’m lost because I don’t know the Qwerty keyboard any longer. I have also had the opposite problem where I’m playing in Dvorak and the prompts are in Dvorak, but it’s hard because I touch type. Basically, if there are more than ten keys I need to use, it’s not going to go great for me. In this particular game, it’s the issue that melee is V. I’m doing the claw for WASD and having to reach for the V key especially since I don’t know which it is, does not work out well for me. C is…switching the function of the weapon. F is action, G is grenade. That’s a lot for the first finger of the left-hand to do, and I’m not appreciating it. Ian is thinking about putting melee and grenade on his mouse, but I can’t do that because I don’t have a gaming mouse. Oh, wait. I do! I might be able to do this. I have two buttons where the thumb is.

I keep smashing the wrong button when I want to do my action or throw a grenade or punch someone. I’m frustrated and thinking about changing to the controller, but I really don’t like using a controller for first person. It might help if I switch to my desktop, but I’m not sure it can run on that computer. In addition, there are about a zillion updates I need to do on it as I haven’t used it in quite some time.

Amara is kinda underwhelming at the moment. The first real mission is just tons of enemies thrown at me at one time. Oh, the tutorial boss was annoying because I ran out of ammo and had to run around to get some from lootboxes while the boss was trying to shiv me (that’s his name. Shiv). I did not do well against him, which was embarrassing, though I did not die to him. I like her action skills, though. After I was killed by the mooks, I went back and started over with Fl4k, the Beastmaster. I like to try all the characters, and I may go back and try the other two, but I have reasons for trying these first. One, I always play Siren. Lilith is my girl, and I adore Maya. I had to give Amara the first go, and I most likely will end up playing as her. Second, I hate Zane. He’s like the blander version of Handsome Jack, whom I loathed. Second, Ian is playing as Moze, and we’re gonna run together at some point. I think it’s better not to play the same character, so Moze is off-limits to me right now.

I have to say, the Fl4k is pretty amazing. I had forgotten the voice was SungWon Cho, who is a YouTuber with some pretty funny videos (as ProZD). They are a robot, and they are called they in the game. Their ability is to summon critters as attack creatures, and I started with a spiderant because it has a heal ability. Its colors matches mine (black and red), which is pretty adorable. The first bit was much easier with a friend, and even without Shade (my name for the spiderant. A tribute to Shadow), I took care of Shiv very handily. The only problem was that I engaged in a fight to get a specific item from an enemy, and then I wanted to return to home base to complete a side mission. Unfortunately, once Shade was engaged in a fight, he didn’t back down. I didn’t see any way to call him to me, so I reluctantly went back to fight with him. We took care of the mob, but I really wanted to do the other thing first. Also, once I went back to home base to do the thing then returned to the enemy camp because I hadn’t completed the main mission, I had to fight all the baddies again. I do not approve.

I will say, I love that Lilith is a huge part of the this game, but I do not like the live-action version of her. It’s not the fault of the actor because she’s about as close as you can get, but it’s just impossible to live up to the image in my mind. I’m worried as to what they’re going to do to her. I know she loses her Siren tats at some point (and her powers, which is really upsetting to me), and from one of the trailers, I worry that they’re going to kill her. Ian pooh-poohed it, saying they wouldn’t kill a major character, but

*Spoilers for BL2*

they killed Roland in the second game when he was the leader of the Crimson Raiders, so I don’t see why they wouldn’t do the same in the third game. 


Honestly, it’s one of the reasons I didn’t get the game in the first place. I will not deal with it very well if they kill Lilith. I was really unhappy with the image of her crawling on the ground in the trailer, presumably as she’s being tortured by the Handsome Jack twins, er, whatever their names are. I also assume that’s when she gets her Siren abilities taken away as one of the twins is able to do that–and it feels like such a violation. She’s one of my absolute favorite characters of the series, and if they do her wrong, I will probably quit the game on the spot. 

That’s if I even make it that far. I’m enjoying it enough, but many of the things that annoyed me about the first two games are still present. It’s a Borderlands game, through and through, for better and for worse. I’m going to try out the other characters and give it another shot, but I’m not sanguine about the outcome. I know the series (and myself) much too well.

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