Nearly 15 years ago, there was a game that walked the line between pure addictive collection of stuff and the fun of dispatching hordes of enemies. It was Blizzard’s Diablo II. A bajillion (give or take a throng) people played the game for years past what would be considered a game’s normal market-dictated life-cycle. Partly it was the genius game play, partly it was the genius of Blizzard adding high value content a little later, and also partly it was the way you could play with other folks.
In September of last year, 2K developer Gearbox Software, in a move not unlike passing a “do you like me?” note, released Borderlands 2. The game play of both Borderlands (released 2009), and Borderlands 2 are, according to Game Informer: Like Mad Max meets Diablo. Since the release of the game, Gearbox have also released three additional campaign packages (downloadable content, or DLC) that complement the main story. Each campaign extends the lore of Pandora– the wasteland planet coveted by a succession of galaxy-wide corporations– and the setting of each Borderlands game. Oh, and also not in anyway related with the planet of the exact same name from the movie Avatar. In fact, Borderlands’ Pandora is the opposite of Avatar‘s Pandora. If Avatar‘s Pandora is akin to the jungles of Vietnam, Borderlands’ Pandora is akin to Arizona. In fact, not just akin-to. Replace Pandora with Arizona and the entire game makes sense. Each new DLC further expands Pandora with new enemy types, new areas, new weapons and, of course, new colorful bosses. A strong point of the games is the interesting folk impeding your progress, and their comical, maniacal dialogue.
In a probable attempt at refining the strategy of prolonging a game’s playable life– and to show their never-ending adoration of you, the DLC’s were offered one after another starting in October of 2012 with Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty. November saw Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage and in January 2013, Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt arrived. Soon, the final Borderlands 2 DLC arrives-titled Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep. This is where Gearbox proves they love you. The campaign is a game within a game. You, as your game character, play a session of ‘Badasses and Bunkers’ with a few of your Borderlands cohort. Yes, it’s an homage to Dungeons and Dragons and the whole concept of table top gaming. Tiny Tina is the Dungeon Master, and like many game masters, may change the game on a whim. It’s up to you, as Marty McFly once advised, to keep up with the changes.
In between the January DLC, and this last one coming out June 25, Gearbox once again proved they are completely committed to you and only you, by releasing some additional code that allows players to gain an additional 11 levels of experience and skill points (used to gain special abilities.) Also they introduced a 6th playable character– Krieg– who by the way is usually a mid level enemy in the game. Navigating the narrative with this character’s viewpoint should add some fun if you have played through the story already.
Just like when Diablo II had been on the shelves for a while, Borderlands 2 has recently dropped it’s price, making it an affordable gaming choice if you missed it before. Will you travel to Pandora to see what all the fuss is about? Never forget, someone loves you.