Ever get the urge to just shoot the shit out of over-the-top, cell-shaded rednecks in a post-apocalyptic world? Then Borderlands is the game for you.

Borderlands – Time killer of the year? Possibly. The stat-based desert shooter first captured my attention with its art style. Then, the winter bombardment started. Much like the rest of the world, I’d seen too many holiday commercials showcasing the game’s psychotic inhabitants while blaring Cage the Elephant in the background. Regardless, I was still interested. The Steam sale, however, was what finally pushed me over the edge.

So I plunkered down and started the game. Four player co-op with a group of random onliners is not for me, so I went solo only. Due to a joystick problem (Yes, I still had one of those plugged in.), I ended up randomly choosing Roland as my character and never really looked back.

After being inundated with CL4PTR4P ramblings, I set off on the game, getting missions from Dr. Ned and others, looting guns from deceased nutballs anyone anything that crossed my path, and just generally blasting the world.

At some point, I began to wonder, “Is this it?” Sure, there’s a lot of shooting, but the missions basically boiled down to “Go here, kill this,” or “Go here, follow the arrow and find this.” Upgrading the near infinite number of weapons touted is fun for a while, but they’re essentially the same 10 or so weapons with slightly different damage values. Somehow, it still sucked me in.

Sometimes this happens to me, even with other media. I’ll have a favorite album, and although I only listen to it when the mood strikes me, I always like it when I hear it. On the other hand, I’ll listen to a decent album all of the time, because it doesn’t bother me as much if I don’t give it the full attention that it deserves.

Borderlands has the same effect for me. It’s a fun game that I enjoy, but it’s not near entering my top favorite games list. Instead, I throw it on when I want to kill some time, have some fun with it, and I don’t really worry too much about it otherwise.

Of course, there are plenty of games that could fall into that category, so why did I play this one so damn much? I think it’s the mission list. Even though they’re essentially the same missions in new disguises (Kill this person, kill this other person, find the generators, find the skulls, etc.), if there’s a list of things that I can do, I want to. Maybe it’s some inner OCD coming through, but I think it’s part of human nature to have a goal. I’ve played games with almost no objective, and they just don’t capture my interest for very long.

Borderlands has taunted me with sets of extra missions in the form of cheap Steam-sale DLC, so how could I refuse?

  • The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned was ok, but seemed a bit short. Those goddamn zombies that spit sticky, motion-limiting goo drove me nuts.
  • Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot sucked. It’s just wave after wave of enemies. Mechwarrior 2 came with this as an “Instant Action” mode and didn’t even charge for it.
  • The Secret Armory of General Knoxx was the best of the bunch, although there was maybe a bit much driving for my taste.
  • Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution was good, too. After all, Who didn’t want to kill those extra-chippy robots after listening to them babble so long?

Game of the year it is not, but it’s still a fun time-killer, especially when you get the urge to just shoot the shit out of over-the-top, cell-shaded rednecks in a post-apocalyptic world.

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