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Borderlands Games
Borderlands
The original Borderlands was a game I passed over on release.  I thought it was mainly about its co-op, like Left 4 Dead.  During an arid patch for FPSs, it was recommended as having a good SP campaign as well as co-op.  That was absolutely true and I fell for the game hook, line and sinker :)

The Borderlands games are known as First Person Shooter Role Play Games (FPSRPGs).  There is character development and levelling up, like Fallout 3, but with a less extensive choice of abilities.  However, even more than Fallout, your progress is all about shooting.  In fact,  the key feature is a system of procedurally generated guns and gear (and enemies).   Consequently, there are a “gazillion” guns to find as you progress through the game.  There is always the promise of an even better gun just over the horizon :) I couldn’t get enough of it.

It got even better when I found some like-minded friends to play co-op with me. The co-op is designed so that up to three players can join your game. The game increases in difficulty, the more players involved.  If any or all players drop out, then the game reverts to being easier.  This makes it one of the best co-op experiences you can have.  

I’ve been lucky in having a group of like-minded friends and we have started characters dedicated to our co-op campaigns and so gear and level up together.  Even though the game is quite “cartoony” and certainly has a sense of humour, there is a deal of strategy if the players genuinely work together.

The Borderlands franchise has become my most played games, finally overtaking Painkiller after 10 years.  Check out each of the games for more detail.

In 2012,  Gearbox released Borderlands 2.  This addressed all the perceived weaknesses of the original game.  There were more enemy types, different environments and a great story.  You even got to fight alongside the original four characters from the first game but ...

 

Gearbox has a great pedigree for producing FPSs.  The first playthrough was clearly a step up in difficulty from the original game.  When it came to playthroughs beyond “Normal”, things got seriously tough.  Gone was the smooth difficulty progression of the original game.  Instead you had the kind of difficulty increase you’d expect in a more traditional FPS.

 

Now, I’ve played plenty of games on “Hard” but BL2 was giving me a serious problem.  Consulting the Gearbox Forums, I learnt that BL2 put more emphasis on gear level than character level.  I returned to the game, ruthlessly upgraded my gear and started enjoying myself again.

Since then, I’ve played a LOT of BL2 but it still rankles that to hit the level cap you have to play at increasingly difficult levels.  If you’re going to have distinct difficulties, I feel you should be able to hit the maximum level within each of them.  

 

Borderlands 2 is, without doubt, a better shooter than its progenitor but, perhaps it isn’t quite as much fun.

Borderlands 2
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel