How many of you have plugged in a game for the first time and realized that it was nearly perfect for you? I don’t just mean that you will own idiotic twelve year olds the world round, or that you and your friends will kill countless weekend evenings drinking your young lives away while the sounds of gunfire/roaring crowds/gigantic hordes of undead/whatever, but something you know you will keep wanting to experience over and over countless times, exposing those around you to the endless amounts of joy derived from it?
That pretty much encapsulates my experience with the first Borderlands, Gearbox Software’s psychotic foray into what seemed like a kid with ADHD got a bunch of pen and paper role playing game books and slammed them all together with as many Nerf guns as he could tape together. Whether it was that glorious trailer that got most people in, or the opening cinematic that cemented my interest in the world that was being unfolded before me, people knew fairly soon if they were going to enjoy the ride or not. Much like a Tarantino film, you either love this game or you hate it, and I was all in. Enter Borderlands 2.
True, the game came out in September of 2012, but the fact remains that there wasn’t a single game that I spent more time playing, relishing the HOURS sunk into each of the characters, experiencing the hilariously written and acted story in as many ways as possible. From a sheer fun standpoint, Borderlands 2 is probably the most fun I have EVER had with a game. And I’m pretty sure that I was born with a controller in my hand. The first word I ever read was “Nintendo.” Not hyperbole. Ask my folks, they love to bring it up whenever they want to mock my geekatude. Some of my earliest memories are playing Mario, Duck Hunt, and Zelda with my aunt. But nothing had been close to what I’ve experienced when loading up BL2.
Normally, this is where I’d breakdown the story of the game, but if you haven’t played it yet, it would probably be best to just play it. There’s an evil guy who runs an evil corporation for evil purposes…um…because evil? Anyway, said evil guy, known in them parts as Handsome Jack, is probably the most engaging character I’ve run into in years. Not only does he fill the role of antagonist for the players, but he also brings up an interesting thought: What if you are the bad guy? Think about it. Jack takes credit for pretty much everything that the Vault Hunters did in the first game, using it as propaganda to further his “evil” purposes. But, he’s doing what he thinks is best, bring laws to the lawless world of Pandora while you and your band of rouges run around and undo everything that he does because he’s evil, right? Was the US government really the bad guys in the Old West? That’s pretty much the same thing. Am I overthinking it? Probably, but that’s what I do.
Not only does Jack pose that fantastic foil for the latest crew of Hunters, but he seems to be the center of story itself, gaining the most in terms of character development through the course of the game as well as such memorable gems as “Butt Stallion.” Yes…there is a character named Butt Stallion. And she’s not just a one off joke. Come on, how can you not love this?
Not only is there Butt Stallion, but there’s a ton of things. From bonerfarts to characters committing suicide in response to a love letter, from characters who’s whole purpose is for you to shoot them in the face to guns that EXPLODE LIKE GRENADES TO RELOAD, this game is full of things that just scream replayability.
The controls are pretty much standard for shooters, so I’m gonna gloss over that. Graphically, it may not seem like much, which is the main issue that people seem to have with the series, but it fits the over the top hyper violence of the game, making it cartoonishly fun while enemy bodies explode around you.
If this game has somehow eluded you, I recommend that you rectify that. Swiftly.