This weekend, I got my Borderlands soldier (“Sanjuro”) to level 30. While I’m still playing the game, it’s done exactly what I was afraid it would do. The moment you leave the first town Fyrestone, the game becomes a lot more scattered. There are too many locations to explore, too many quests that are spread too thinly, and the story’s central plot isn’t strong enough to keep it tied together.

So, basically I’m grinding through the game now, finding cool loot and trying to reduce quest clutter. I was interested in New Haven for a time, but there didn’t seem to be many quests that focused on the map itself, so I haven’t spent much time there apart from shopping or turning in quests. One of my first comments after entering the town was, “do you think the people here know there are bandits just outside the walls?”

I did find the bugs that I was expecting in the first act of the game, but it’s too little, too late at this point. They’re mostly just an annoyance, I don’t think the scythids have ever once posed a legitimate threat. I like the spiderants, though, they remind me of the zerg. I think they’re cute, especially the little ones. At least they’ve posed more of a threat than the scythids, and they’re less annoying than the skags.

Though I call it “grinding,” I don’t think I’ve spent more time in any one area of the game than you’re expected to, but I find that when I encounter new quests and areas, they’re marked “trivial,” meaning my character’s level is higher than expected. I’ll admit that I had a lot of fun in the Lost Cave in the first act, and I might’ve spent longer there than necessary… but it didn’t feel like that much more.

I cleared out Krom’s Canyon with some difficulty. The combination machine-gun-plus-rocket-launcher turrets stationed outside made things rather difficult. To get in, I ran around like crazy to find cover, and sniped the bandits wherever I could find them. Once I had them cleared, I ran up to the towers that had the turrets, parked myself at the base, and lobbed sticky grenades up to the turrets.

I died once trying to get into Krom’s Canyon, and once inside Krom’s Canyon, when I underestimated the killing power of his turret at the boss fight proper. I stormed all the way through the canyon, taking out bandits along the way, and then I made the mistake of rushing Krom himself, and I got blasted before I could do much damage.

The second time through, I crept partway up the ramp and lobbed sticky grenades at him until he died. The only other boss that gave me much trouble was Mad Mel, for much the same reason. There’s just no arguing with rocket launchers when enemies have unlimited ammunition. They take full advantage of it, and they have better aim. Then again, Krom wasn’t smart enough to come over and melee me, so I call it fair.

None of the other quests or bosses have been much to write home about.