I have been playing Borderlands 2 quite a bit lately.

At one point, I had a mission to rescue a dude at the top of this dam. I fought my way through several rooms, saw some interesting stuff, solved some pseudo-puzzles, killed all the things. As I bust out of the final door onto the dam proper, everything goes to hell: the orbiting space station starts launching artillery shells, armed robots start landing, bullets start flying everywhere in this now-three-way battle royale. I take down a few more enemies with my corrosive sniper rifle, and then crouch behind some cover while I reload.

Then this music started playing.

I emerge from cover while tossing a holographic decoy out, stealthing to the first robot and meleeing it in the goddamn face. As robotic limbs fly everywhere, I switch to a ridiculously large shotgun, aim, and fire at a second robot. The shotgun shoots 17 pellets that each individually explode on contact, and firing it sounds like God slamming a car door shut.

Whump. Chik-Chik. Whump. Chik-Chik.

As I stroll down the middle of the ramparts like I own the place (and I do), I am suffused with a feeling of Badass. This whole sequence is staged, minus the explosive shotgun; the designers specifically put this music, with these enemies, in this order. It is the definition of themepark content, as single-player games are wont to be. But that doesn’t matter. I had been having fun before, but this was on its own elevated level. And after the sequence is over and I move on to the next (decidedly less cool) quest it occurs to me to ask: when was the last time I felt this way while playing a game?

I had to go back, waaaay back to my guild’s first Mimiron kill¹ in WoW. Like I said, I have had fun in plenty of games in the past three years. I have done some crazy moves in Deus Ex, there are some epic moments in the Mass Effect trilogy, and double-dagger Elementalist in GW2 was great fun originally. But the specific feeling I had owning faces up on Bloodshot Ramparts? Very fleeting, very rare, but much appreciated.

If you guys have experienced something similar in a game lately, feel free to share below.

¹ Please excuse the editing and the decidedly non-epic music accompaniment. 2009 was a long time ago.

Posted on October 22, 2012, in Commentary and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Not lately, but the Battlefield series has pulled off quite a few of them. Helicopter duel that turns into a parachuting rocket exchange that turns into a desperate knife fight in the middle of an open field with tanks exchanging fire overhead? Racing down a highway on top of a tank, exchanging machine gun fire with a blackhawk as we both try to get to a capture point first? That’s what I’m talking about, and it’s not even scripted.

    I also had crazy dramatic music queue up from the television right when I did the fight for my Paladin mount back in vanilla; that was pretty fun.


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