What I usually look for in a game, the opportunity for co-op split-screen play so I can justify verbally barraging those dear to me; freedom to roam the game world as pleases me instead of being herded everywhere like a cumbersome pack mule until ultimately my narrative overlord starts to slowly caress my withering straw like maim whispering “you did good billy…” and the integrity of character development.
All of this and more is my saga with Gearbox’s Mad Max / Hills Have Eyes inspired Alien deadpan midget hoe-down. I appreciate Borderlands like little other franchises because it doesn’t pretend to be a completely unique undertaking; we (and hopefully Gearbox) know it’s a run and gun and scream at the last foe that annihilated you, before said foe thought best to hide between a 2 inch thick plate of all too common rusty metal cover and snigger at your second wind trials. It’s not just humanoids that master this strategy in the game.
It holds a South Park-esque cartoon relentlessly stereotypical spell-weave that any role-playing gremlin should partake in, fresh characters being introduced since the first instalment potentially saved a repetitive Police Academy scenario; along with added development of skill tree’s diversification to complement any crumpet-wielding death machine fantasies you may have, so that your character doesn’t become that life long partner whose every thought / move / ideas for dinner you can predict without straining out of your La-Z-Boy Recliner Nimbus 2000 like it was worse than The Wall.
Borderlands, with all galactic credits due, is one of the few franchises I can note that braves consistent humorous undertones into narrative and gameplay. I say undertones lightly; Tiny Tina is as subtle as Egyptian whiskey (a following joke about being hard to swallow?) and Mr. Torgue has become my over-confident altar ego in any social situation. Accompanied with the fact that I could not decipher between wanting to throw crayfish in Handsome Jack’s symmetrical cheekbones or laugh along heartedly like a brown nosing sidekick sort of stands testament to the narrative’s ingenuity.
HOWEVER, Vehicles…vehicle combat…that “combat” in those “vehicles”. What does it even mean? I am as delighted as Turkish that I can only point to one or two instances where “slightly less thrilling pod-racing meets robot wars” (no comparisons to NASCAR) is entirely necessary ; fighting buzzards also tends to induce a semi-catatonic state if using the wrong character so in hindsight I probably wouldn’t mind a Borderlands where all motorized equipment has been abolished by a freak storm of ravenous termites, and it’s just my character and Scooter, strangling bullymongs and enjoying some laughs with a decent dose of peyote; Soulful times.
Collating such a digression this is the sort of game that is optimally suited to seasoned gamers who cackle at the idiosyncrasies of being a seasoned gamer. Did I just hit your cerebral nail in your head on the head? My creative juices are brewing, you should feel them bubbling inside you. It is also the sort of game that is destined as a multi-player, gameplay can really come to life when you have a posse to swing through innocent bandit settlements with; you’ll probably spend most of your time in “Fight for your life” but this is neither a result of your incompetence or vulnerability. You’re in a world where everything is out to pillage, eat, then pillage you again because they forgot one of your inside pockets.
Attempted joking aside the effortless fun Borderlands can provide should earn a place on the old replay shelf, even if you’re not particularly up for all that “RPG shiz”. It goes out of it’s way to prove how unserious it is; unless like many of my peers you merit a game on graphics. If so your time will come, now go and moan about the production values in those internet past times of yours.