David and I are super excited about Borderlands the Pre-Sequel coming out this weekend and it has gotten us thinking about our Borderlands play throughs. Personally for me I am usually not a big first person shooter gamer. They tend to not hold my interest and often just frustrate the heck out of me. Borderlands is a shooter and I love it. I honestly would probably count this among some of my top games of the Xbox 360.
The story is pretty simplistic because it is all about finding the mysterious Vault and you are playing a vault hunter. Both of the first and second follow this basic premise although the second one does include a villain whom we are racing against. The thing that makes this game so much fun, is interesting player mechanics, interesting characters, amazing treasure throughout, and fantastic side quests and areas. So much of the game is going around shooting things, but the creatures, characters, skills, and weapons are all just over the top ridiculous, which is absolutely fantastic.
What I mean by player mechanics is a combination of the type of players available to play and what you get to do with those characters. The first Borderlands you have 4 playable characters, Borderlands 2 you end up with 6 playable characters and each character had their unique playability. Then on top of each unique playable character they had skill trees that allowed you to specialize granting an even more unique experience. Each of the abilities that the characters got just made the experience a little bit different and made you want to see how the game played differently. Playing Gaige was a very different experience than playing Maya in Borderlands 2 and if I switched play throughs I would have to almost re-adjust my play style accordingly. This helped to give the game a lot more playability than just a single run through.
The non-playable characters in the Borderlands series are probably some of the greatest characters in video games in general. The boss fights were always over the top ridiculous and the catch phrases they would use were just jaw dropping at times. Then you have the characters that you deal with on a constant basis, Dr. Zed, Marcus, Scooter, TK Baha, Moxxie, Ellie, and of course Cl4Tr4p. All of these characters provide different amusement and personalities for you to engage with. Dr. Zed provides health, Marcus provides guns, and Scooter and Ellie help provide vehicles. Usually they help provide these things in the way of quests. Then you have the great hunter Sir Hammerlock sending you on increasingly ridiculous hunts. Tiny Tina and Mr. Torque take the ridiculousness level to new heights (“EXPLOSIONS!!”). All of these just add a rich texture to your experience on Pandora.
Treasure, Treasure, and More Treasure
The amount of loot you get in the Borderlands games is so over the top, but is what is so much fun about it. Now if you are not a treasure hunter in games than you are just crazy in my opinion, but okay, this may not be your thing. David and I live for finding treasure in games. So when you end a huge quest chain in a room full of treasure chests it just feels like Christmas day. The second part of the treasure chests is that they are randomly generated, so even if you have played through once you do not know what you are going to get. This makes every Treasure chest a question of will it be that gun I am looking for, or will it be an amazing new shield.
The other part that is fun about the treasure in these games is that they have SO many options. Is it fast, is it slow, does it take a while to reload, does it hold a lot of ammo before reload, is it elemental weapon. Than among weapons there are pistols, revolvers, SMG, rifle, rocket launcher, sniper, grenades, and shot gun. No two weapons are alike and there are multiple manufacturers that add a different flavor to their weapon type. Every weapon is a different experience so there is not an easy answer to which one is better. David and I would often carry on to a favored weapon while trying out a new one to see if it truly was better or if we still liked the old one. Some weapons probably stuck around way to long, but they were so good it was hard to let them go by the wayside, even if it was just to our own personal banks.
Fantastic Side Quests and Areas
Throughout both Borderlands games you can play and just rush to the end to try and finish the story plot, but honestly some of the more interesting moments are some of the side quests you play through. They created a ton of different areas with different little caves and alcoves all with at least one or two quests to be accomplished in each. Than almost every non-playable character will have some side quest they want to send you on for usually really weird purposes. All of the quests feel different enough from each other and the tracking makes it that for the most part you never feel too lost.
Each of the areas that the games send you to have their own sets of challenges, but that is part of the charm. Some areas are overrun with creatures, some areas are deserted wastelands, and others are just a bunch of bandit camps. The big thing is no two area works out the same and each has a unique feel to them.
I think the big thing about the Borderlands games is that they are simply fun. You usually end up laughing or some ridiculous situation or the next and they obviously do not take themselves too seriously. The best thing about them is actually how forgiving they are in death situations, you even have skills worked around making it easier for you to come back using an ability called Second Wind. Multi-player also functioned amazingly well and it passed many an hour for David and I playing the game. I have heard that Borderlands Pre-Sequel is really just more of the same, but that is really okay with me.