WARNING: This game review will not be spoiler free.
I can’t remember when I started playing Borderlands 2, but I know it was at least in October, if not in September. A few months ago, I didn’t think I would be able to complete the game.
I finished the game last night. (well, not REALLY because there are still side quests and DLC’s to play.)
Borderlands 2 was a challenge. I barely livetweeted it because it was too hard to focus on all the enemies. At a point, I ended up co-op playing with my friend Tracy – and now I’ve finished the game.
One thing that is super awesome about this game is that it is a space opera. Why is that particularly awesome for low vision players? Because it gives the player POWERS. I played a siren, named Maya. And Maya and I have had quite the adventure. You see, Maya’s special skill? It’s called phaselock. What you can do? Lift an enemy up in the air in a sphere of power and shoot at them without them shooting back. As you will often hear throughout gameplay – I love my powers. Not to mention that the skill tree I used basically let me damage everyone WITH my powers. By the end, I could phaselock a turret and it would just stop working.
And then there’s the weaponry.
What I like about fantastical games, is that unlike more realistic shooters (such as Tomb Raider, or Counterstrike) my guns do EXTRA DAMAGE. In fact, there’s multiple KINDS of extra damage. I personally favor flame and corrosive damage over anything else, because they HURT EVERYTHING. So, in addition to my powers, I was doing extra damage on top of shooting things in the face. Plus, every weapon type gets sights, which light up red when you’re locked onto an enemy. So even if you can’t SEE the enemy, as I often couldn’t, if yuo wave your gun around a lot you end up finding things and killing them. For the reason, though, I’ve shied away from certain weapon types (like shotguns) because they are less easily used in this manner. I love my rocker launcher though. She is so pretty. If I could, I would rename her Vera. I also learned that with a zoom on a sniper rifle I can do some serious damage with headshots. Yep. That’s right, the blind girl can take headshots.
In addition, death isn’t really *that* big of a deal in this game. Is it frustrating to die? Sure. But you respawn. It costs you money, but that’s it. No weapon damage. And money is pretty easy to get in this game, so I wouldn’t worry about that too much.
Plus there’s a chance to not die. This is sort of a 50/50 good/bad thing. See, on the one hand, it’s great because you can get a “second wind” and keep fighting. But on the other hand the screen goes black and white and the edges start to go black, and you have a hard time moving or lifting your head because you’re dying. So, it’s harder to see to kill something and get your second wind. But the option is still THERE. Which I appreciated because getting second winds is something I’ve gotten VERY good at.
This is one of the first video games that I have literally NEEDED a person to go with me. In some ways, that was frustrating. On the other hand, I made a really good friend. Because many of the enemies took me time to learn how to fight them, the first several quests were a real pain in the ass for me.
This is also the first video game since Portal that has actually made me cry. It was a little thing. But apparently it frustrated my sighted friends, too.
I couldn’t find a door.
I kept running around Opportunity, trying to find this fucking door, and I kept getting shot at so I had to keep myself from dying. It took me forty-five minutes to find the door. When i finally found it, I was so frustrated that I had been crying.
I also have some issues, as a blind player, with some of the enemies. I HATE flying things. I hate them so much. When I manage to shoot them, it is a minor victory. Rakks and Buzzards are among my least favorite things, in addition to INVISIBLE ENEMIES.
The last thing that was challenging was the ability to negotiate some of the terrain. Much like finding the door, some of the terrains were either a) camouflaging for the enemy or b) had levels. Sometimes it was hard for me to assess where things were coming from, or for that matter, where things WERE.
Is this game accessible for everyone?
Is this game accessible for low vision players whose friends are willing to co-op with them? YES.
Last night my co-op buddy let me kill The Warrior. By myself. He provided backup, to make sure that if I died I could be brought back (I also love this feature of co-op play, healing each other makes it so much easier.) And he also hunted down more ammunition for me. What I’m saying is, if you can find someone to play with you, who is willing to let you be the hero of the story and be your sidekick – DO IT.
I found that it was easier to play with a headset. We didn’t do a whole lot of chatting, since I couldn’t really hear him over the sound of gunshots, but at the same time, through hours of gameplay – we became good friends.
The story is great. The evil character is someone I wanted to shoot in the face (and I did.)
From a gender perspective, the game is also fantastic, because if you want to play a siren, or a mechromancer YOU HAVE TO BE A GIRL. You have no choice. You must. And for that I am grateful, because it forces male players to play a woman.
As a final note – I LOVE the character customization. As of right now, my character wears an eyepatch over her right eye. Yes, that’s right. I gave my character my disability.
How empowering is THAT?
Blind Lady Versus is published whenever I finish a video game. If there is a game that you would like to see played you can either donate the game through steam, or suggest it through the contact form.