So I’m trying to complete another critter mission from Sir Hammerlock that involves killing varkid (horrible bug things) after mutating them. Problem is, I keep accidentally killing the little bastards before they mutate. Infuriating.
Even more infuriating is that while I’m trying to kill bugs, I manage to trigger the main plot quest (dammit), and get Mordecai’s attention (with his Blood Wing). Mordecai is pretty damn badass, but I wasn’t trying to wake him up or anything. I was trying to kill varkid. As I run around trying not to die, Roland blathers something about Tina and not pissing her off. I’ll figure that out later.
Oh, good, now Mordecai is “helping.” By shooting all the varkid. The varkid I need to make morph, except NOW THEY’RE EXPLODING. Ugh. Christ, game. Don’t make this any harder than it already is. I’ll thank you for STOPPING SHOOTING THE BUGS.
Eventually, after much running about and cursing out Mordecai, I manage to collect the samples Sir Hammerlock wants. But since I’ve started the next mission anyway, I hold off on turning in. On my way to keep going with the plot, I kill a random guy, and discover an ECHO on his corpse that tells me I’m “badass enough” to have killed him, and that as a reward I should go get his weapon stash. Which is totally “not a trap.” Yeah.
I’m of course going to go find his supposed stash anyway.
Oooh, look, a shiny green box. I hit it and run backwards. Yup. Bomb. It goes off with me at a safe distance. Then some “freezing psychos” (that’s new) come running out, then some more bandits. I kill them. Mission accomplished. He tells me “You suck” when I turn it in, and I get to choose a fun fire weapon.
Back to finding Tina. (My quest tells me to “Meet Tina,” which is the only reason I know that’s what I’m supposed to be doing.)
So once I’m no longer being hindered by his sniper rifle, Mordecai is actually really useful. He warns me when there are dudes nearby (by shooting), and helps me to kill them. Now that he isn’t stopping me from completing a quest, I’m actually really fond of Mordecai and his rifle.
After fighting through a couple crowds of mooks, I find a closed door with blinky lights, wander up to it, and Tina tells me that I’m welcome to her workshop. Tina – Tiny Tina – is really tiny. Really. She’s like the diametric opposite of Ellie. Short, itty bitty, and annoying.
That said, I am really enjoying the number of significant female characters. Lilith, Ellie, Tina, Moxxie… me, although I only sorta count because I could’ve chosen to be a he, a he, or a zhe instead of a she. But still. Despite an inauspicious start with Claptrap’s raging misogyny, the number of powerful women on Pandora is making me happy. (Also, Roland is black, which is another plus in the diversity area for Gearbox.)
Tina, by the way, is 13 and blows up a bandit (while singing “Round the Mulberry Bush”) when I arrive. That makes two women (Tina and Ellie) whose intro involves the blood destruction of a bandit. I approve.
On the downside, Tina is… disturbing. And annoying. And creepy. There’s a lot of random bits and pieces in her hideout – including a picture of her with Roland, which I guess is supposed to make me sympathetic. It doesn’t. More importantly, she has two bunnies – Felicia Sexopants and Mushy Snugglebites – who appear to be stuffed with explosives. I am supposed to use these to hijack the train, I think. Only they’re missing some necessary components, to which Tina refers as their “badonkadonks.” So naturally… Fetch! Yup. I fetching rabbit asses. Because that’s normal.
Whatever. Fetch bunny butts, kill bandits. Got it.
As I start killing bandits, I find a Goliath with a slot machine strapped to his back. Okay, kill it. And then play slots? I get a live grenade and two guns out of it. One explosion, two guns, and down several hundred bucks. Of course, I have thousands upon thousands, so I’m not really worried.
Well, that’s bullshit. I wander off the edge of the map – which is NOT a cliff, by the way – get a voice that says “Warning, you will be terminated,” and then instantly die. That is NOT an adequate time before prompt execution, game. Not at all.
Back to the mission, slightly more annoyed. My god, the helicopters are annoying. I do kill them all eventually, but that was far more difficult than it had any right to be, particularly so, since I was mostly out of ammo. Stalking helicopters with a sniper rifle is not an easy thing to do.
And I learn the hard way not to push the button labeled “Incinerate” in those funny towers. Okay. Burn to death instantly. Not cool, game. You need to give a countdown or something here. This is not the way to encourage your players to interact with the world, and it really isn’t the way to get me to want to explore. In fact, it’s starting to irritate me a lot that I can die so quickly and so easily without any chance of using skill to get myself out of it. It’s making me want to just blow through the plot without doing any of the side quests… which is a pity, since I have the Game of the Year edition. But I’m starting to become legitimately sick of fetching and killing the same enemies over and over (except with more hit points and different colors).
So I return the rodent derrieres to Tina, who takes them and… nothing. Apparently I was standing in her way, because she tells me to get out of her workshop because she has “to be alooooone” for this. Okay, creepy girl.
So now she’s singing and being utterly creepy and sexual, which is really not okay. Like, I’m happy that these NPCs are female and all, but Tina is not… just no. She’s 13 (according to her character page), and makes unending sexual remarks about stuffed rabbits with explosives in them. (Badonkadonk is her term for “missile,” for what it’s worth.) Like, disgustingly sexual. I’m aware that actual 13-year-olds do have budding sex drives, but I don’t need to be privy to them. Ever. Even if they’re fictional and digital. NOT OKAY.
So now that I feel completely creeped out by this game, let’s pick up the finished rabbits if only so that I can put the trauma behind me. Pick up rabbits, put rabbits on train track, end mission so I never have to think about Tiny Tina and her bunnies again.
So I load the fluffy rockets, Tina blows up the track and half the train, and the bridge conveniently falls to form a nice ramp for me to climb. However, Tina has another mission – about a tea party – and this is really clearly a travel point to get the vault key, so I’m going to put off the key for another time, and go deal with whatever tea party issues the Tiny Mad One has in store for me. Later. When I’ve had a chance to get less creeped out.