Borderlands & Me

So, you want to hear a story, eh…

My story with Borderlands started with my cousin as far as I can remember. I used to walk to school with him and sometimes he’d recommend a game. He told me about a slightly weird shooter he had been playing and I got it as soon as I could through birthday money or trades or something.

Hearing Marcus Kincaid introducing the game has stuck with me as one of the greatest game intros ever, the pace, rhythm and imagery were great. Then it’s choose a character as Marcus makes fun of them and you get off his bus. What followed on is a woman in your head telling you about a funny little robot. Then you met Claptrap. I don’t think I’d ever seen anything quite like it with so much story, colour and the cell shaded graphics all together blew my mind. Well designed areas, a weapon proficiency system and so much chaos at a time when most games were a dull brown and took themselves seriously made playing the first Borderlands a unique experience. The first Borderlands was one of the first games I had any DLC for. My dad tried the game and didn’t like it but still sat there telling me about every reference he could spot, it added a different kind of amazement for me. Sadly the Destroyer was a bit disappointing.

As a side note, playing the first Borderlands taught me what hackers or modders are. I joined some guy online at one point, he gave me an incredibly powerful gun which I used every time I found a fight too hard. I got an achievement for playing with a developer at some point after and later found my character deleted somehow. Cool but sad given the time and effort to build Lilith up.

Borderlands 2 took the style of the first and turned it to eleven. It felt a bit different to the first but this one had a better story. The man, the legend, the mad leader of a powerful corporation, Handsome Jack. He’s up there with the best villains ever written. Jack talks to the player quite often throughout the game, making fun, telling stories and being so charming that you can’t help but like the evil dictator that wants you dead. The guns were wackier and I found more legendary weapons with the fact that they now had proper drop points. The action skills were cooler. I didn’t understand any of the memes and was baffled by the double rainbow, to be honest I still don’t understand that moment. Borderlands 2 not only entertained as a game but took a sledgehammer to the mental walls in my head that hide my emotions, heroes for a young teen took me through a rollercoaster of story. Of course I bought the season pass, the extra characters and the upgraded level packs. Tiny Tina’s DLC brought the sword and shield fantasy lands together with the mad shooter to make one of the best DLC I can think of. As for the way I play, I never abused glitches or broken designs, my favourite character is Axton because he’s just generally well rounded for how he plays and the turret is as good as a second player sometimes.

The Pre-Sequel gets alot of hate but I was late to upgrade to the next gen Xbox. It was an old gen exclusive until the Handsome Collection (yes I bought that too eventually). The story of how Jack become a bandit-hating dictator flipped everything on its head, by the end I wanted to be on his side. The man clearly had problems and could have done with a sensible ally to temper his paranoia but all he wants is to be a hero, using mercenaries to do the hard work he tries to make the universe safer for all. There’s also the Eridian guy which I’ve never understood because no game since has really used it. Elpis (the setting) was focused on fun, low gravity, butt slams, Claptrap, cryo as well as other characters old and new make me think the Pre-Sequel’s underrated. It also had the Claptastic Voyage which rivalled Tina’s Borderlands 2 DLC for quality but is sadly overlooked by many. Nisha is my favourite for power but Claptrap makes the game so unpredictable it becomes much more fun.

I think I bought the Tales From The Borderlands cheap as I didn’t really know what it was. Xbox Live had given away the Walking Dead games which were emotionally powerful interactive story games. Tales was like the Walking Dead games, brilliantly written and it brought back Handsome Jack. I found the characters likeable but felt it robbed me of a space station to destroy in Borderlands 3.

Commander Lilith And The Fight For Sanctuary came out years after Borderlands 2. A total shock for me to get more to do for free on one of my favourite games before the incredible sequel came out. It was mad and weird, charging around as a fiery, exploding Psycho Krieg bashing plants out of the way, getting a new rarity of loot and not being able to see what was happening for fire effects on my screen. Truly epic! Just what I needed to get me back into the series and it helped to set up the next game.

My first preorder. Massive regret when I saw the trailer. A big disappointment on release. You guessed it, Borderlands 3. The villains irritated me, the gun manufacturers lost alot of what made the guns unique and the map design got on my nerves when they became multi-tiered with cliffs to fall off and a long walk back. I found the story to be a good lead on from Borderlands 1 as it brought back the Destroyer but it ignored the character development of Tales and the ending of the Pre-sequel. They even started messing with the lore. I did one and a half playthroughs with Zane as my character before trading the game in. It just didn’t strike me as fun like the other three main games. Of course, when the Ultimate edition was on offer (cheaper than buying the game with its season passes) I bought it to see if a different character or the DLC would redeem it for me. I remember a Handsome Jack casino thing being alright; a sort of cowboy thing that was slightly less impressive but I liked the creativity and narrator; there was some dark Cthulu monster style thing which had an irritating boss fight; and Krieg’s mind which had little side content but was a good look at mental health. There was a rubbish battle royale mode and Ava, an easily disliked character got some missions that were badly placed when the game was already beaten. I played Moze the second time around and found the tiny robot with grenade launchers to be about as fun as Zane was.

Which brings us to now. A Tina One Shot game was released, but from what I can tell it’s just a remastered DLC turned standalone game which seems pointless, but it was on PS Plus so I gave it a go. Here’re my thoughts: Tina’s One Shot

There’s also Wonderlands, a spin off of Borderlands based on the remastered DLC. I have very little enthusiasm for Wonderlands, this time thinking it better to see how it reviews, how much extra content comes out and maybe I’ll wait for the Ultimate version. Borderlands 3 really damaged my love of the series and my trust for Gearbox to get a game right.

I’ve written other things on this site about Borderlands, below are some links:

Your cash ain’t worth a thing…

Ignorance and inconsideration…

…place where they belong…

Why’s it green?…

Quick game reviews

Borderlands 3 Ultimate Edition review

If I bother with the later games I could expand on this in future.

If anyone has any tips or wants a discussion feel free to comment below.

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