by Kristin Bezio
Off to fetch Roland. I take my shiny new car to the gate of the bloodshot compound, honk, and they lower the gate…. which nevertheless obstructs my ability to drive into the compound. (Do they have some sort of garage to put the car in? Where are the rest of the cars, then?)
It’s pretty clear that I’m supposed to get out of the car and shoot the enemies. But the car kills them so much faster… so I mow down a bunch of mooks. Then I get out of the car, and the bandit leader tells them to kill me. Crickets. Because I already shot them all with the car. Okay, time to loot some boxes.
Once I get far enough into the camp, the boss (mini-boss, I guess) is triggered, and Big Maw and the Three Happy Midgets appear. My solution to this is to run back to my car and mow them down, too. I’m pretty sure that’s not what the designers had in mind, but it was a lot easier than skipping and hopping around like an idiot while being axed and shot and whatever nearly to death. Especially when I can get in my car and annihilate the boss in under thirty seconds.
I pick up the loot dropped by Big Maw, including the key to the drawbridge, and open up the rest of the base – still looking for Roland. At this point, I’m pretty much expecting someone to show up and say, “I’m sorry Maya, but the Roland is in another castle.” This is another extremely LONG mission. After running to and fro to sell the weapons I’ve picked up, I give up on that. I have well over $15,000 accrued at this point anyway, so it’s not like I need the money. And I’m tired of running back and forth through the same hallway. I’m not that much of a hoarder.
All the way at the end, I finally find Roland (I’m actually a little surprised that Roland is here, although I suppose I still have Handsome Jack to go kill, so it’s not like this is going to end the game). Yay, Roland!
As Roland is talking to me, a robot busts through the wall, and Roland says, “This’ll just take a second,” then he BEATS THE ROBOT TO DEATH WITH HIS FISTS, RIPS OUT ITS CORE, KILLS THE SECOND ROBOT WITH THAT AND THEN USES THE SECOND ROBOT’S GUN TO SHOOT THE THIRD. Well, okay then. So much for the damsel in distress trope. Roland is rather badass after all, which I guess makes me even MORE badass for rescuing him. Or something.
Except then he gets stolen by ANOTHER robot. Ugh. This is getting rather annoying. Like, okay, I get it, but instead of laughing in semi-hysteria at how ridiculous this fetch-Roland mission is, I’m just getting irritated that I can’t rescue him and move on with my life already.
So I chase the robot down, shooting lots and lots and LOTS of other robots in the process. And naturally pretty much nothing I do can kill the robot that has Roland. So it takes off again – this time into a ship piloted by Jack. Yup. The Roland is in another castle, after all.
So I head back to the Dust, and to Ellie. Ah, my beloved Ellie. Who has nothing for me to do.
Since the places I have that can store cool things are back in Sanctuary and I’m carrying a couple relics and a lot of class mods, I go back there to stow things in my/Roland’s safe, purchase some upgrades, sell some extra weapons, and check in to see if there are any non-plot quests I can pick up to cut the endless Roland-rescuing.
Turns out, Lilith does have a couple new missions for me. The first is for me to go find out what’s going on with the Cult of the Firehawk. Lilith says she isn’t going herself because she doesn’t want to freak people out by appearing to them (since they think she’s god), but the voiceacting suggests that she’s really just creeped out by the whole idea, which makes me like her even more.
The first guy she sends me after – Incinerator Clayton – tells me that I have to prove my worth and dedication to the Firehawk by incinerating (using a fire weapon to kill) five bandits. Since I kill bandits anyway, Lilith says, “Okay, whatever.” So I do that. Now he wants me to go eliminate a rival deity. Lilith remarks that she doesn’t really care of some crazy people want to worship someone else, but that she needs Clayton on our side so that he’ll turn spy, so I should go kill them anyway.
So off I go to kill more bandits. These I find in a creepy semicircle around a giant flaming spiderant. Oh, goodie. Fortunately, I have my handy Prudential Prowler (corrosive rocket launcher) handy, so that isn’t as horrific as it totally could be. Kill the spiderants, Lilith remarks that she liked that I killed her rival deity far more than she should have. At least she’s aware of her problem.
Back to Clayton, who begins babbling about Matchstick, the most devoted follower of the Firehawk who has incinerated more than a hundred people. Lilith says, “That’s impressive! But they were probably just other members of the cult, right? …Right?” So I’m off with Matchstick (a midget tied to boards and carrying torches who gets strapped to my back – cuz that’s not weird and awkward) to a freighter, presumably to set it on fire.
Weirdly enough, I’m a little concerned that Matchstick isn’t actually “with” me, since when I zoom away from my body or get in and out of cars, I can’t see him. I’d really hate to get all the way to the freighter and not have him there… but the quest marker is telling me to go forward, so… he’s in my pocket? It’s a little creepy to think about, to be honest.
So I take Matchstick back to the dragon freighter – all the way back where I first started, by Sir Hammerlock’s camp. Get back on the boat, back through the harbor, yadda yadda. These bandits are still at the same level they were when I started, so I plow through them more easily than butter – literally one shot anywhere reduces them to blubbering death. Then I hit the old icebreaker ship, and the three bosses are there… who I already killed (Boom, Bewm, and Bang). Okay. Kill them again – much more easily. Keep going. Go up the dragon ship, find a noose for Matchstick and set him on fire. Even Lilith is weirded out by his gleeful screams about how he’s coming to join her.
Walk out, and there’s Captain Firebritches (no, that’s not his name, but that’s how I think of him). Well, last time I had a VERY hard time killing him because I only had a fire sniper rifle, and he’s of course immune to it. Now… well, now I’m much higher level and I have the Prudential Prowler, so that’s almost funny it’s so easy.
And then back down – backtrack (I hate backtracking), back to the boat, back to the level I’d just left, and then back to Clayton. Dear god. No more backtracking!
Clayton says that “We shall join Matchstick soon!” because “The enkindling approaches!” Lilith jumps in: “The what now?” My brain naturally supplies a Mass Effect reference to the “Enkindlers” (which is what the Hanar, a race of intelligent land-going, telepathic, bioluminescent pink squids, call the Protheans, a [mostly] long-extinct race of beings who lived millions of years before humans). At least Clayton gave me a shiny new fire sniper rifle. Yay!
Let’s go enkindle.
Step one: set all the weird phoenix statues on fire. Okay. Can do. (Even though I’m really sick of running around through this level.)
Step two: “Return to me and let the human sacrifice commence!” Lilith says that sounds “evil” and promises to “make an appearance” if things go south. I’m betting money and my non-existent first born on it.
Yup. Once I finally get there (Ugh, having to go through this whole damn level AGAIN), Clayton is about to drop some innocents in the fire. And Lilith is not going to stand for that. So she appears, flaming wings and all, and tells them that their goddess is displeased. She then rescues the victims and leaves me to deal with the cultists, which I promptly blow up with my shiny new rocket launcher.
She contacts me when she’s returned the innocents, and says that “being a god sucks,” at which point the victims start chanting “Worship the vault hunter!” Yeah. That’ll work out well.