Borderlands 2′s worst driver – Why Emma Davies is a reluctant backseat driver

Borderlands 2 PS3 screens

I am passable at many things in Borderlands 2. I can gauge the ideal spot to slam down a sentry turret in the heat of the moment. I’ve got my gun-stat calculations down to a matter of nano-seconds. I’m the freakin’ best at getting a little over-eager when exploring a bandit camp, finding myself in way over my head and then expressing gruff gratitude as I’m being revived. But playing chauffeur? Nuh uh.

Borderlands 2′s worst driver

Emma DaviesIn real life, I can drive. Honest. I passed my test first time, at the tender age of 17, with a mere seven minors. Granted, I may have had a slight prang in my mum’s Fiat Punto two days later, but that has no bearing on the shiny oblong of pink plastic that legally allows me to get behind the wheel. Hell, I didn’t even lose when Team OPM went go-karting. In Borderlands 2, though, I cannot drive. I’ve been banned.

For those of you (read: philistines) who’ve not delved into the shooty cel-shaded gorgeousness that is Pandora, here’s how the driving works: you use the left stick to propel your buggy forwards, and steer with the right. Despite encountering no problems with, y’know, general movement in games, there’s something about this that leaves me feeling as if I’m trying to pat my head while rubbing my stomach. It’s a bit like having vertigo. It doesn’t tend to end well for the vehicles.

My patient co-op pal and I spawn our first vehicle. It’s a chunky-looking dune buggy with a rocket launcher on the back, in a rather fetching shade of bubblegum pink. My buddy’s aim is better than mine, so it makes sense for him to play gunner while I hop into the driver’s seat. Less than a minute later, I’ve misjudged a corner, sending us skidding like a Dancing On Ice contestant gone ankle-manglingly awry. We tumble off the side of a cliff. We respawn five minutes’ walk from where we picked up the car. Swears are flung in my direction. There’s a lot of heavy sighing. We get a new car, but I’m relegated to the back seat until we reach our destination. I try to bring myself out of the ensuing sulk with a rousing chorus of Ten Green Bottles.

Next time we play, I’m given another chance. “Stay away from the cliffs,” I’m sternly told. This is the problem with playing in tandem with just one person throughout: they know exactly where you’re likely to balls things up. Stupid friendship.

I do my best, but the car’s got a mind of its own.

It might have something to do with me getting confused, accidentally trying to steer with the left stick and so reversing instead. Once again, we career off a ledge. “One more try,” I beg into my headset. The response? A heavy sigh. We tumble off cliffs, teeter over ledges, hit a lot of things, and generally take five times longer than necessary to reach any given destination. Eventually, I manage to beach us between a cave wall and a cluster of rocks. Irretrievably. Miles from a vehicle respawn station. I think it’s the final straw.

These days, my buddy makes a point of sprinting over to every vehicle we spawn, lunging for the front seat with a near-rabid fervour. “Can I… have a go?” I tentatively enquire from time to time. All I get is a terse, “You’re not allowed.” And so I sadly slide into the back seat. Who’d care to join me in a round of Ten Green Bottles?