Although it's not released until FUCKING SEPTEMBER, I'm crazy excited about the sequel to Gearbox's 2009....sleeper hit? Cult classic? Not sure. Either way, the game - while definitely flawed - showed plenty of potential. And with a bigger budget and time to work on the aforementioned problems, its successor could be something very special indeed.
Much of Borderlands' appeal to me in the first place was the "hoarding" mechanic, something which has compelled me in games for a very long time. Diablo 2 stands alone as the single most shining example, where I would spend hours killing thousands of enemies just to loot their stinky corpses in the hopes of finding a rare gem or a slightly more powerful weapon.
Borderlands took this one step further with randomly generated weapons based on certain criteria, resulting in almost a million different possibilities. A MILLION. Now, while in no way exciting to many (and probably downright disturbing to some), that alone is a huge draw for me. But Borderlands had so much more going for it.
As a single player game, it was fun, but shallow, mainly due to the unsophisticated nature of combat and enemy design. Killing anything, be it boss or bastard (of the regular variety), battles ultimately resulted in strafing around while holding the trigger in until your foe's little red health bar emptied. Also, the robot sidekicks were really, really fucking annoying, there was no soundtrack of which to speak, and the dialogue was almost all ass.
However, the game REALLY came to life online. Not only did the difficulty spike, making it an actual challenge, but what was missing before suddenly proliferated the beautiful, barren wasteland. Instead of the forced (but occasionally funny) dialogue, sharing experiences and stories with other gamers would lead to a real sense of camaraderie. As a smaller game, the community was close, mostly devoid of the anger and bile that typically runs through the CoDs of the world.
Unfortunately, it could have been taken so much further. With a maximum of 4 co-op players in such a huge game world, it could still seem somewhat isolated. Also, the more I think about it, the more I realise was wrong with the game. It had little to no story, and was buggy as shit. But I guess in a way that speaks to how enjoyable it was, that in spite of all this, it was most probably my game of that year.
By all accounts, these problems were noted, and are to be addressed for the sequel. The combat is said to be much more dynamic, with enemies taking a leaf from the Halo canon, trying to flank the fuck outta you. There's meant to be a, y'know, PLOT this time. And there's a dicktonne more guns.
Unfortunately, I'm not fully able to articulate just why I'm so excited about the sequel to such an imperfect game. But if you haven't already, I implore you to play the first. Maybe you'll get it too.