I had heard this game talked about on various forums etc but hadn’t really considered buying it. I originally perceived it as an RPG which, until I discovered Skyrim, was something that I wasn’t interested in. However, spotting it for £6 pre owned, I thought it was worth a punt.
Although everything that I’d heard had been positive, I wasn’t expecting much when I dropped it into the tray of the 360. The first thing that gets your attention as the initial plot setting scenes play through is how it looks. In an era of games striving to get the graphics as highly polished and realistic as possible, it’s both a surprise and a pleasure to see the gloriously detailed cell shaded images filling your plasma. In keeping with the “cartoon” styling, the comedy begins straight off the bat. Little innuendos and quips from overtly distinctive characters put a smile on your face which is unlikely to fade for a while as you travel deeper into this fantastical, post apocalyptic world.
You are given a choice of 4 characters to play as before you are dropped from the bus at the edge of town. Reading the various skills that are available assures you that you are about to begin a role playing game of sorts. Once your decision is made, a few blunt words from a battered looking driver and he dumps you, unceremoniously from the bus. A moment of bewilderment before your new “friend” pops up, keen as mustard and ready to hold your hand through the tutorial beginning of this brilliant game. A little robot known by the witty acronym of CLAPTRAP greets you excitedly to set you off on the first of many quests.
So as with any lawless land, there appears to be a power struggle going on, ultimately surrounding the potential existence and possible location of a place called The Vault. It seems that whoever finds and holds the keys to this mythical place will be sitting pretty as the ruler of Pandora.
Your quest is to find it.
Of course this isn’t going to be easy and along the way, many other people will ask for your help, allowing you opportunities to venture out onto side quests and take a breather from the tangled web of the main story.
So other than the rarity of the graphics, this seems like a pretty standard role playing shooter, right? Maybe so
until you begin to discover the sheer abundance and variety of loot that is on offer! Abandoned strong boxes full of cash, ammo stashes and of course weapons and shields. I’m really not sure how it works but some kind of random weapons generator can churn out guns and grenades etc with a myriad of amazing attributes. Incendiary bullets, caustic liquid spraying shells, high voltage grenades etc. All of which can mutate in various ways to increase damage to your target or to leech health from them as they die, some will even top up the energy bar of your co-op teammates…as you blast them! There are various quotes on the actual number of weapon combinations, some talking in excess of 3million! Who knows? Who cares? The fun in picking up a new shooter and firing off a few rounds just to see what it does never stops. Some are more effective than others depending on what type of enemy you are facing but all are worth experimenting with.
So what are you going to shoot with this kaleidoscopic arsenal? An equally vast array of baddies and beasties, that’s what. Initially you are plagued by some sort of rat like creatures with three jaws called Skags…I bloomin hate Skags!! There are humans to contend with, of course but some appear to be part robot, others are huge goliaths that pack a mean punch and will walk through a hail of bullets to get at you. Then there are crazed, bare chested “Psychos” hell bent on chopping you up with a machete and dining on your flesh! Suffice to say, you won’t get bored. Each of these comes with a comedy twist too, keep your ears pricked for the comments as they chase you. Also worth paying attention to are the radio ads that are frequently broadcast as you wander around. Always a chuckle to be had.
That’s this game summed up really. It’s pure comedy! Not one element seems to be taken seriously. Does this detract from the gameplay? Not on your Nellie! It actually makes it more compelling. It never gets boring but it does get tough. The sheer number of enemies can have you frantically fighting for your life and running away to recharge your shields, use up a health pack and regroup before diving back into the melee. That is of course, unless you have a fellow gamer who is familiar with the ability to “mod” weapons. In which case, when things get a little tricky, you can always pull out a massive shotgun and equip your infinite shield to plough on through and just enjoy the story!
The only slight fault that I have noticed is that the AI can sometimes be a little odd. Enemies will run onto the screen facing the wrong way. Sometimes there will be one standing behind a wall continually firing and shouting in your direction without any hope of hitting you, obviously unable to detect the barrier between you. I’m being picky here though and in some ways it just adds to the comedy, it may even be deliberate but certainly nothing to put me off playing.
Single player or four player co-op, either way this game has so much to offer. It’s a vast world with a vast array of weapons and foes to get to grips with (and I haven’t even mentioned the vehicles yet!) It’s a few years old but I have spoken to a lot of people who have just passed it by. Many have now taken advantage of the great deals available on the Game of the Year Edition and have joined me in the madness. I urge you all to do the same, after all you really could do with learning the ropes before the launch of the long awaited sequel next month.
Definitely a worthwhile “punt!”