One more quest. One more gun locker. One more shop update.
“One more” never really means “one more” on the world of Pandora, a world where every nook and cranny might hide something amazing.
If Borderlands has managed to prove anything, it’s that Gearbox understands how to build a loot system. They lure you in with the promise of millions of randomly generated weapons, and they snap the trap close the first time you open a gun locker and find something truly rare. Maybe you snagged a pistol that sets enemies aflame. Maybe it was a shield that sets off a shock burst when depleted. Whatever the prize, you’ve unwittingly entered the REAL game of Borderlands… and your life is no longer your own.
This isn’t to say Borderlands doesn’t have a solid main quest or interesting NPC’s. In its own right, the game is chock full of characters that make it a giggle-filled experience and “kill this guy, flip this switch” quests we’ve all grown to know and tolerate. But Gearbox has built a game around the randomized gun tables, and that’s where the true danger lies. Every enemy has the potential to drop the next best gun ever. Every building has the potential of holding a gun locker, which you’ll soon be able to spot from 500 yards away. You’ll find yourself pulled deeper into farming this world for its loot, which is wildly appropriate given the motivations of the game’s heroes: locate and plunder the mythic Vault of Pandora.
The game is not technically perfect. There are occasional slowdowns in 4 player co-op, and occasionally quest markers don’t populate correctly. The game could also benefit from an integrated trade mechanic as in Diablo. Currently you can’t show off your weapon stats without dropping them on the ground for anyone to snag, and trading relies on the honor system. But Borderlands is still my dark horse candidate for GOTY simply because it is the most fun, most addicting, most enthralling game I’ve played in years.
This Thursday on the Fall Damage podcast, we’ll round-table on what exactly makes Borderlands such a treat. This article is just the tip of the iceberg, so make sure and tune in for the full…. iceberg.
As I write this, I wonder what I could be finding if I was playing right now. Are my friends online farming Sledge’s Safe House right now? Next time we play, will they be using weapons that significantly outperform mine? Maybe I have time for just one quest….