I essentially play video games for a living, and even though I’m constantly making my way through new titles, I’m doomed to miss some. That’s the nature of the business, I suppose. Many games are released every month and it is physically impossible to try them all, let alone on launch day. But who said we can’t exploit our mountainous backwaters once in a while? Or better yet, hop on some new and old stock.
Is it new-old stock if it’s digital? Deep questions arise as we delve deeper.
On that note, the Borderlands series has remained one of my bucket list franchises, a constant of games to make. I remember when the first entry came out, in 2009, and I vividly remember players talking about it. The whole looter shooter concept was entirely new, and while I could see the appeal of this type of gameplay loop, the idea of blasting your way through maps over and over in an endless quest for better gear seemed tedious to me.
To my credit, I tried to play the original Borderlands back then, but I don’t think I got more than a few hours into the campaign. The multiplayer wasn’t much better for me, unfortunately. Everything felt bland, like boring tasks I didn’t want to do. Maybe I haven’t allowed myself to go far enough into the game to appreciate it. Perhaps the mood has not dropped. Anyway, I put it down and never came back.
well that’s not totally real. I participated in the excellent Tales from the Borderlands in 2014, and I attribute that to my old-school love of adventure games. I had a remarkably fun time with this title and found the writing to be very good. I adapted more to the humor and found the production value to be great.
Fast forward to 2022 and I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that I was missing something. I could blame my Forbes colleague Paul Tassi, who covers these games brilliantly, but I won’t. So, in an effort to become a more complete player, I recently picked up a review copy of Borderlands 3 (and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands for good measure) and started B3 in earnest. Or rather, with a beginner’s mind, as the Buddhists would say. The verdict? I seriously love this series.
I say am more than a decade late to the Borderlands party, which is a little embarrassing, though somehow it’s making the experience even sweeter. I’ve often had this experience with new and old backlog/games that I finally found time for; there’s a general feeling of finding a lost treasure that I love. It’s a treasure that thousands of other people have already found, but still. I can pretend it’s mine and mine alone.
I’ve probably gone 40 hours so far into Borderlands 3 without completing the main campaign yet and I’m absolutely hooked. I’m slowly checking all the side quests, farming experience/equipment, and trying out all the various DLC quests I’ve downloaded. Is it wrong to complete DLC before the main story? Who knows, but I’m doing it. We are playing rebels on this blog.
It was a blast discovering all the wacky characters along the way, like Ice-T’s AI teddy bear named Balex and Penn Jillette’s insane murder streamer celebrity Pain, naturally of Pain and Terror (Penn and Teller) fame. in the game. Sure, you can blame Borderlands for its nasty jokes, but it’s hard to blame him for the sheer creativity on display.
Yes, the writing and humor are still essentially Borderlands ridiculousness, which is reminiscent of material from, say, Ren & Stimpy. It’s unnecessarily bold and doesn’t always connect, a quirk I noticed back in 2009 with the original game. But I’ll be honest and say that the writing in Borderlands 3, accompanied by some very talented voice actors, literally made me laugh out loud more than once. Okay, more than twice. I’m basically a 12 year old giant.
What I initially dismissed in 2009 as a tedious job of endlessly updating loot, I now find it to be a (yes!) fun and motivating routine. Is this what I was missing in the marauding shooter genre all this time? It’s funny to think that I could really get this now, this whole sub-genre of first and third-person shooters that traps players with legendary items and ever-increasing level caps.
Does this mean I will finally kneel at the altar of Destiny or give in to the force of the upcoming Outriders expansion? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted, now that these marauding sniper floodgates have opened for me. The real issue at this point in my life is, well, time. In other words, that precious commodity that I never seem to have enough of. The Borderlands type of gaming experience demands a lot from that, so we’ll see how I fare with this new appreciation of the genre.
For now, I’ll keep leveling up on Borderlands 3 and all its DLCs, then I’ll move on to Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. After that, I think I’ll revisit those past Borderlands experiences via Borderlands: The Handsome Collection.
I’m aware that I’m going through all these games in a totally reverse and indirect order, but I can’t question the mess of it when I’m genuinely enjoying myself. For better or worse, B3 was my entry point better late than never, and we’re going to run with it, fuck the free time.
Disclosure: Gearbox Software and 2K Games have provided revision codes for coverage purposes.