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Stolen Pixels #138: On the Borderbus

By Shamus
on Friday Oct 30, 2009
Filed under:


Here is a comic about Borderlands, which I have played a bit this week. (Short review: If you have both Xbox and PC, and you want to do multiplayer, then you should probably get the Xbox version. Gamespy is smothered in weaksauce and seasoned with fail.)

I will say I probably won’t be doing many of these, simply because of how difficult it is to get usable screenshots. It’s a first-person game which always limits my options a good deal. It’s a shame, since I could probably get a few comics out of this game otherwise.

Comments (25)

  1. Randy Johnson says:

    Sadly Gamespy is the worst multiplayer platform I have ever dealt with. Borderlands has quickly become my favorite game of the year. I can see how I will get tired of it, but I see it as being one of those “I need a week off” tired, and not a “I am done with this game” (Also my very first “FIRST!”)

  2. Martin Annadale says:

    Shamus! You’re alive! I was starting to git a bit worried. I need my geek fix.

  3. SatansBestBuddy says:


    Pfft, they aren’t “limits,” they’re simply rules you need to find creative ways to bend.

    Namely through liberal use of “no clip.”

    • Shamus says:

      SatansBestBuddy: Being a console port, I seriously doubt if there is any noclip available. And noclip could give me some different comera views, but it doesn’t let me see my own avatar. At best, I’d be able to go into a multiplayer game with friends and get shots of three of the four characters pointing their weapons and looking straight ahead. No emoting, no gestures, no in-game cutscenes, and basically no character customization options.

      There is only so much you can do with three expressionless motionless people. I’m not saying I can’t do ANYTHING with it, just that my options are greatly limited.

  4. Zerotime says:

    I got it for the 360 because it was out a week earlier than for the PC. That and my PC’s been broken since March.

    Oh, and I’m on Playthrough 2 with Mordecai. With my weapons and talent build, you’re dead at any range. :D

  5. TehShrike says:

    I’m loving Borderlands. Gamespy is full of suck and lame, but it’s a fine enough PC port that I wouldn’t give up my mouse and keyboard, by a good shot.

    My Gamespy ID is JoshDuffMan if any of you d20 folks want to friend up with me. I’ve got a level 23 soldier at the moment (my healing bullets will rock your face).

  6. Monkeyboy says:

    “There is only so much you can do with three expressionless motionless people.”

    Well, you could shoot The Matrix.

    I smiled at your comment on being a murderous coward. I still like the “hide in the shadows and set people on fire” parts of Dark Messiah.

  7. Jazmeister says:

    Yeah, this is like a delicious meal with a very unsettling starter. Hamachi helped us connect and stuff, but yeah, why do I need to give a game my email?

    I don’t think it trusts steam at all.

  8. Nick says:

    I freakin love this game. It’s an FPS that has guns that actually feel good to fire, good PC controls (despite a console port), and it holds fairly true to the loot-em-up gameplay.

    Only thing missing are more randomly spawned stuff. I thought that aside from the towns, everything would be placed fairly randomly, but so far every monster is in the exact same place, the quests are identical from playthrough to playthrough, including the quest items.

    I guess it could also use a stash. I hate picking up an item I can’t use for 10 levels and have to refrain from selling it before then. And where’s more random boss monsters? Some people may not have liked it, but it was nice to go out and farm Baal over and over again.

  9. vede says:

    I suddenly am reminded of the fiasco that was the last few days for me.

    I bought Borderlands, and Red Faction Guerrilla at Gamestop (huge mistake) in exchange for every piece of console equipment I owned (I stopped playing my consoles about a year ago), along with my soul and my unborn children. I get home, excited to play the games I got, since I’d been wanting to play both for quite a long time. I install Borderlands, play for ten minutes, CRASH. I install Red Faction, play for twenty minutes, CRASH.

    I installed a different version of Windows, totally fresh. I install Red Faction, and the things I need to play Red Faction, play for a while, CRASH.

    If this is even mildly representative of what mainstream PC gaming is like now, I don’t have an urge to muddy my hands in it. It’s a shame, both games were really fun before they crashed.

    (Not to mention the system in Red Faction by which you have to activate BY EMAIL to play the game. I got a crack for that. I’m angry I gave money to the idiots that decided this was a good idea.)

    Looks like it’s back to the indies for me.

  10. Gothmog says:

    Shamus, I’ve found a useful thread on the official Borderlands forums (they highlighted it on Rock, Paper, Shotgun this morning that details some really useful ‘tweaks’ you can make to the game- One of which is a 3rd person view!

    Thought you might like to know.

    Oh yes, and Borderlands is brilliant. Torchlight is too, for that matter and they BOTH tickle that “hit the pinata, scramble for the candy” itch. I’m having a hard time deciding which to play!

  11. Merle says:

    I have a shotgun that is loaded revolver-style.
    I have a machine-pistol that sets things on fire and has a freaking AXE attached to it.

    I love Borderlands, and Mordecai is cute even if his hawk is useless. If it helps, the game does recommend that he use it as a means of flushing enemies from cover.

  12. Nick says:

    Reply to Vede (post 11):

    You may have an odd hardware combination, or unstable-ish drivers. While I used to have crash issues with PC games years ago, I haven’t had any do that to me for ages. Yes, Borderlands did crash on me ONCE, but it was a fresh install (no reboot) and it didn’t like being minimized. Since then, no issues with borderlands, and I have played the CRAP out of it.
    /done replying

    Apparently, there can be more than 4 stats on an item. I put on a class mod that gave me 60% bigger mag size, and I found I fire almost twice as fast now. I have no idea where the speed comes from, so there must be another mod on it that I can’t see. Changing my mod to a similar one I purchased does not give me the speed boost, even though it has the same talents. Keep this in mind…

  13. Robyrt says:

    Mordecai’s hawk is like Regulus in Demigod: It’s no good at low levels, but if you spend a lot of experience points on it, the payoff is excellent. Like instead of harassing the bad guys it kills them in one hit. (Or for Regulus, your dinky little mines turn into invisible grenades.)

  14. [d20]thegrinner says:

    A note to those wanting to play XBox multiplayer: System Link is limited to one player per xbox. Splitscreen is two players split down the middle and does odd things to the ingame menu thing (think Fallout’s Pipboy and you’ll understand). However, two copies of the game, two xboxs, two tvs, four controllers, and one memory card makes it easy to swap around.

    Definitely worth the money, even better if you split with a roommate, or with the guy in the next room down :D

    As to the character discussion, I’m a fan of Lilith. Maxing the Elemental tree leads to hilarity with elemental combat rifles.

    @Shamus: Apparently Champions Online has a trial going this weekend, in case you wanted to know.

  15. Vadimirin says:

    My friends and I are all thinking about getting Borderlands, but we’re waiting to see some reviews of it. Me? I’m pretty much waiting for your review of it!

  16. Girl Gamer says:

    I haven’t played this yet, but I love the comic title. Borderbus makes me all giggly somehow. :)

  17. Zerotime says:

    Merle: Except, despite what the loading screen tips say, Bloodwing can’t hit an enemy unless they’re out in the open and within shotgun range.

  18. Simplex says:

    “My friends and I are all thinking about getting Borderlands, but we're waiting to see some reviews of it.”

    Good news is that most gaming sites already reviewed Borderlands couple days ago, and the reviews are mostly positive (average above 80%).


    If anyone’s interested in playing with me, my GamespyID is SimplexPL and I am currently a level 8ish soldier.

  19. JT says:

    So Shamus, by your comments (that’s “it’s a console port and likely has no “noclip” available”) am I to understand that you bought this for PC? Even with SecuROM online activation (not sure if it has limited installs or a revoke utility)?

    Or did I misunderstand and you bought it for 360?

    • Shamus says:

      I wasn’t aware of, nor did I see, any online activation.

      (Note that I went in with friends for a 4-for-the-price-of-three deal on Steam. So there is Steam, but no additional fussing.)

      And yes, Steam is activation, etc etc.)

  20. JT says:

    Ah – Steam explains it. There was a story in the week between the console release and the PC release that some retailers had broken the street date on the PC version and let the boxes out early, but the consumers who bought them couldn’t play it because the activation servers wouldn’t let them activate it until the actual street date (10/27). Obviously that was for retail boxed copies not digital downloads via Steam or Impulse or Direct2Drive or GamersGate, etc., which is a different ball of wax.

  21. MuonDecay says:

    Gamespy is the worst multiplayer platform I have ever dealt with.

    Seconded, thirded, fourthed, and engraved in a giant stone tablet.

    Sensible gamers stopped using Gamespy for matchmaking in, what, 1997? The only function-driven traffic it gets anymore are for vintage games that require it. I really don’t understand how Gamespy sells game publishers on their platform. They don’t have any advantages over other options and they have an very well-known public reputation for poor performace.

    That said, while it is fussy, it still works consistently after you figure out the thing or two that are wrong with it out of the box.

    My biggest gripe isn’t having to un-break Gamespy to play online, it’s that doing so will require devoting as much as 1/2 of a small home router’s potential single-port forwarding menu to a single program.

    You can lazily forward a swath or three of port ranges instead, but that has drawbacks.

    You can ultra-lazily use DMZ routing instead, but that is not a Good Idea®.

  22. I’ll second the “Bloodwing sucks, unless he doesn’t.”

    I got a brilliant hunter mod last night, which had +8 skills to Bloodwing. So I respecced to using him.

    Doing the +100% damage, is nice, but it really comes to light when you take the capstone for that tree – each point adds another target to Bloodwing. So at this point, every time I send him out, he kills 5 people. And his cooldown seems to be about 8-12 seconds. So he accounts for 25 deaths a minute. I think that compares favorably to every one else.

    You just can’t dabble in Bloodwing. You go all in, or you ignore it except as a “Oh, look, funny birdy.”

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