Borderlands 2 is a glorious mix of first-person shooter and role-playing game. Whilst the gameplay is very much to our taste here at AddAltMode, what really makes Borderlands 2 great is its storyline – which has epic grandeur, black comedy, high adventure and extreme violence in equal measure. Playing as a Vault Hunter — a professional treasure-seeker in search of alien ruins — on the planet Pandora some indeterminate time in the future (during the Six Galaxies period, apparently), players explore and battle their way through wilderness, ruins, cities and high-tech fortresses in pursuit of the evil “Handsome Jack” to stop him taking control of the planet with his army of robots.
The main storyline gets quite tense, but there are always some side-quests that various NPCs will set for the players. As with most RPGs, you can rush through the game doing only the vital parts of the story for an intense experience, or you can do a few jobs for people on the side to get a longer more satisfying game, or to level-up your character to fight the harder bosses.
Some of the side quests here are a bit odd, though. They don’t seem like things that I’d pester a vault-hunting hero with if that hero was busy saving the world, but the NPCs of Borderlands 2 clearly have different priorities from me. These come from all over the game, so obviously, there will be mild spoilers herein.
Here are a few of my favourites:
Animal Rescue: Medicine, etc.
So in the town of Lynchwood, there’s an abandoned skag pup:
Scooter, the mechanic of Sanctuary (the Vault Hunters’ “home town”), suggests that the little tyke, who he names Dukino, looks hungry and that the player should feed him. At this stage in his life, he’s most likely to be fed by his mother on the flesh of weaker members of the skag herd, so you have to go and kill a load of other skags to feed this one. Actually, most of the skags you meet in-game are hostile, and by the time you’ve finished the game it’s likely you’ll have blasted and stabbed your way through literally thousands of the beasts.
Dukino the skag also needs veterinary medicine and a bigger home, so you acquire all these things for him in order to receive your reward – a sniper rifle that the beast has swallowed and vomits up in front of you.
Cult Following: Lighting the Match
Match-Stick, a midget fire-cultist, would like to be burned alive. No problem, you say, having burned lots of weirdos alive with your Eridian-tech fire-blaster.
But Match-Stick’s needs are more specific than that: he wants to be burned alive by a “dragon” — the flamethrower built into the prow of Captain Flynt’s ship… which is currently frozen into a glacier nowhere near Match-Stick’s current location. The things we do for XP.
Shoot This Guy in the Face
Face McShooty, who lives in the Thousand Cuts mountain range really wants to get shot in the face. The whole quest is about 50 seconds long. McShooty asks players to shoot him in the face, and then they either blast his face off and get a prize, or kill him by shooting him elsewhere (or stabbing him or whatever), and fail. It’s like a game of Borderlands 2 without the storyline and exploration. For some reason, this is enough to get him on the front of the game box — a feat which none of the player characters can replicate. This is clearly a cause of some frustration for Krieg:
Box cover, box cover! I’m the one who eats the stardom! I’m the hero of all the villains! You can’t swallow my morality like a lollipop pill! I’ll run around your mind and set the world record with my meat sleeves!
Now, I missed out on the fuss about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid, because I was just a couple of years too old, but I gather that R spotted a few pop-culture references in this quest. Dr Tannis sends the Vault Hunters to a hidden den in a sewer to hunt mutants led by a rat-man called Flinter. The player must pretend to be someone called June, and bribe the mutants with pizza. Once attacked, these mutants fight with ninja weapons, whilst talking like California surfers.
Claptrap’s Birthday Bash!
Poor Claptrap: it’s not his fault his programmers only gave him one tone of voice. Nor is it his fault that he was designed with no social awareness, and an array of annoying personality flaws. Most players will be well aware once they’ve given out the invitations that no-one else is going to go to Claptrap’s birthday party (His seventh – it’s seven years since he “rolled off the assembly line”).
It’s hard enough being the last of your kind. It must be even harder knowing that the only people who attended your party are people who felt sorry for you.
You Are Cordially Invited
Another party! This time, Tiny Tina (planet Pandora’s deadliest child) would like to hold a soirée. She needs the Vault Hunters to help gather her dolls and teddy bears… and the man who murdered her parents. Then she needs them (the Vault Hunters, not the dolls) to guard the front door whilst this man’s bandit friends try to rescue him. Whilst eating crumpets, drinking tea, and gossiping with her dollies, Tina has her parent’s killer connected to a electric generator, continuously giving him gradually worse electric shocks. When she’s out of tea, and the Vault Hunters have killed all his potential rescuers, Tina turns the dial all the way up.
A Real Boy: Clothes Make the Man & Face Time
Mal, is a Hyperion robot who dwells in the Eridium Blight. He chose the name for himself because he was told he was malfunctioning. Mal, however, doesn’t believe he’s malfunctioning. He thinks he has a soul, and he’d like nothing more than to be a real human.
Mal tasks Vault Hunters with finding him things he needs to be more like a real human. He starts off asking for clothing, which is nice enough, but when he starts to ask for human limbs and a face, the quest gets dark really quickly.
Scooter wants to write a romantic poem to woo the lady he loves… aaawww.
Since the players are going into the scenic mountains, Scooter asks them to take his camera with them: take some inspiring pictures to help him write good poetry; also, if the mountain bandits have any dirty magazines, get a few for Scooter so he has a back-up plan in case Daisy doesn’t like the poetry.
This late in the game, stakes are high and the Vault Hunters are literally busy saving the world. But Scooter wants them to take a time out to snap a few photos and fetch him some dirty magazines.
In conclusion, Borderlands 2 is messed up. The people of Pandora pointlessly pester players to perform petty pursuits without purpose. Seriously, Scooter, what’s more important; the Vault Hunters taking down Handsome Jack and saving you from being killed with an orbital mortar, or making sure you’ve got enough smutty mags for your lonely weekend?