Five Top Quests in Borderlands 2
[WARNING SPOILERS. I have tried to pick missions that wont spoil the story too much but some plot-points are revealed in this article]
- Splinter Group
So Doctor Tannis sends you to find and kill four dangerous mutated escapees that have fled into the Bloodshot Stronghold. The linch pin of her plan to fool the four into giving you access to their inner sanctum is to act like a pizza delivery from Moxxi’s bar.
Now, perhaps you have already guessed what this mission is parodying but believe me, I had no idea until I delivered the pizza and started fighting the four brothers. Ralph, Dan, Lee and Mick attack you ferociously, launching themselves from four different sewer pipes.
If you hadn’t guessed it yet, Ralph, Dan, Lee and Mick are all hinting towards the four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and just like the Turtles the brothers are colour co-ordinated! Ralph (Raphael) in red, Dan (Donatello) in purple, Mike (Michelangelo) in orange and, of course, Leo (Leonardo) in blue to finish up the parody ensemble.
It was only after I was halfway through killing the aforementioned brothers that it clicked in my head. Mutants, Pizza, Sewer, Leo….
It’s the Ninja Turtles! That realisation for me really made this mission stand out. It’s not particularly clever, hard or emotionally driven, it’s just Gearbox plugging into my inner nerd that gave me a real sense of satisfaction.
And lastly, something I discovered only this morning when playing through this mission for a second time, is that the switches in the brothers den are actually worth tinkering with. If you can get all the five little bulbs at the end of the den to turn green, another figure comes out from the walls. Another mutant who is called ‘Flinter’ which is obviously a play-on words of Master Splinter, who when killed can drop a very powerful weapon.
- Hunting the Firehawk
If you take time to do the few side missions before cracking on with this mission, then you learn through several ECHO recordings by Handsome Jack that he employed Bandits to hunt down and murder Lilith.
So you start hunting the Firehawk, an infamous assassin-warrior who has been fighting the Bloodshots and, according to Scooter, may know how to find and rescue Roland. This however does not make the Firehawk your friend.
Again the mission itself is pretty simple. Go to Frostburn Canyon and follow the signs to the Firehawk’s stronghold; these signs being bandits nailed to sheets of corrugated metal. So you blast, melee and fatally maim all the Bloodshot bandits in your path until you reach the Firehawk’s lair.
As you step up onto the central platform, a dazzling, fiery figure slams into the floor, knocking back the Bandits. The figure is veiled in flame. Translucent wings of fire start to curl down and, as the figure stands, unfold to reveal the identity of the Firehawk.
It’s Lilith. DUH! (why else would I mention the other mission where Lilith is stated dead?)
Of course once again it’s not really the mission itself that makes it great, it’s that reveal. I really believed Lilith could be dead. The writers managed to convince me of what obviously wasn’t true. Looking back on it the hints were so forced that I should have seen the twist coming, but that doesnt mean it wasnt a lot of fun proving myself wrong. Having to fight off the following horde of Bandits with Lilith at your back is a lot of fun, and her dialogue is nice and refreshing after hours of being stuck with Claptrap or Handsome Jack’s putdowns. And really, Lilith opens up a lot of side missions that are some of the best in the game, including joining a cult: ‘The Children of the Firehawk,’ who believe the Firehawk is their god.
- Tiny Tina’s Tea Party
Tiny Tina, the psychotic 13 year old who happens to be the Crimson Raiders’ explosive expert of choice, helps you unburden a Hyperion train from all the goods inside. But before you do that, you can help Tiny Tina arrange her own little tea party for her and a couple of her closest friends. You are given an invite list and a list of tea party supplies that would make Tina’s tea party one to remember for all time.
First you must find one Sir Reginald, who turns out to be a glass jar with some fireflies inside, decorated with a fake mustache, monocle and a top hat. But first you must wrestle him away from his ‘Mother’, a ferocious Pandora Varkid, who according to Tiny Tina is Welsh.
Second on the guest list is one Miss Fluffybutt, a dirty scruffy toy rabbit who Tiny Tina finds very attractive for some perplexing reason. “You’re cordially invited BITCH!!!”
As a bonus you can find some crumpets out in the wasteland so Tina’s guest can nibble on something while discussing some current affairs. “Gonna eat so many goddamn crumpets, it’s going to be a Crumpocolypse.”
When you return you are given one last invite. This guest is known as ‘Flesh-Stick’ and at first I thought I was going to have to pick up another inanimate object, one that was going to be horribly graphic, but thankfully I was wrong. Flesh-Stick is a person…well OK, he’s a blood-thirsty bandit, but still.
So you strong-arm Flesh-Stick back to the party where he’s held down in his chair with electrified wire and help from ‘Mr Generator’. Tina then employs you as the Tea Party’s waiter
“When you are ready to begin the Tea Party, please smack Mister Flesh-Stick in his bitch face.”
But of course there is a downside, you must defend Tina from a horde of attacking bandits as she carries out her tea-party. But the real thing that makes this an awesome mission is how much you begin to empathize and understand Tina as the party goes on. She’s not just a crazy, explosive, obsessed child but she is an orphan and yet another causality of the ruthless brutality of Pandora. You learn that Flesh-Stick sold Tina’s parents to Hyperion, who were used in highly dangerous Slag experiments by the mega-corporation. Tina only managed to survive the kidnapping by hiding a grenade her mother gave her in her dress.
Tina is hands down one of the funniest characters, but one of the most tragic as well, which means that this mission really deserves to be played. Don’t skip this!
- Hyperion Slaughter
Simple enough. It’s a five round survive and slaughter. You have to butcher your way through 5 rounds of Hyperion robots and Hyperion armed forces. All while being entertained by the commentary of a repurposed Hyperion robot that has been programmed to speak entirely in innuendos by Moxxi. Also, it has one of the best pieces of music in the game, hands down. It really keeps you wanting more and more. This mission is fast, fun, addictive and free from story burdens. It’s simple run and gun and brilliant, pure fun.
- Kill Yourself
After helping Angel kill herself, Jack is furious that you ended his daughter’s life but more furious that you hindered his plans to charge from the Vault Key with Eridium, if only temporarily. So Jack puts a bounty on your head and dares you to kill yourself, or not. He doesn’t really seem to care.
You get a reward if you jump, so I jumped.
This is a completely pointless side quest but it’s a nice little one that means the world to someone playing hours at a time who just needs a break from the bullet storm.
The entire premise of this mission just made me laugh, which is one of the greatest gifts Borderlands 2 kept on giving me again and again.