2012 is almost over and I must say that gamers around the world were treated with a plethora of amazing video games this year. My personal favorites include titles as Mass Effect 3, Darksiders 2, Transformers Fall of Cybertron, He-Man The Most Powerful Game in the Universe and last but certainly not least, Gearbox Software’s explosive and fun Borderlands 2. Last weekend at the VGA’s The Walking Dead surpriseingly walked out of the building with the prestigious Game of the Year edition. Something I still can’t really grasp. How can a game that wins “Best Shooter”, “Best Multiplayer Game”, “Best Human Male Performance – … as Handsome Jack and “Character of the Year – CL4P TP” not even be nominated for “Game of the Year”? Borderlands 2 is my 2012 GotY and let me explain to you why!
A tale of fun.
An aspect that I find important in most games is a well written story. Most shooter fans don’t even bother playing campaigns and jump right into the multiplayer. (Call of Duty anyone?) Borderlands 2 might not have the greatest story ever written for a videogame but it’s fun. Gearbox Software focuses on the originality of characters, clever and often hilarious dialogues and a large diverse environment where the story takes place. I’ve never found it a choir to replay the story twice with all five classes to obtain the best possible loot. The game just kept pulling me in and left me aching for more…videogames must be addictive.
Run, Kill and Loot stuff!
The gameplay in Borderlands 2 is simplistic, but again very fun! You have the main story missions and heaps of side missions guaranteeing hours upon hours of gaming pleasure. There are even rare random enemy spawns that yield some of the strongest gear in the game. This leads me to weapons and gear, there are lterally bazillions of different guns to find on the hostile planet of Pandora. Farming the weapons is very time consuming and often based on shear luck, but the rewards are truly magnificent. The loot game really starts at level 50 because that’s where all the good stuff is found. One of the best aspects of Borderlands 2 is the ability to play up to four player co-op online and offline. Running trough the game with a couple of friends is loads of fun and very well executed. To be honest, I haven’t had this much co-op fun since Gears of War 3. Therefor “Best Multiplayer Game” is a well deserved VGA award if you ask me.
Another great thing about the gameplay is the fact that Gearbox Software releases new content on a regular basis. some might argue that dlc is released way too fast, but for most hardcore gamers more content equals more replay value. First, most of us (the ones wise enough to place a preorder) were rewarded with a free fifth character class, Gaige the Mechromancer who was very well received by the community. Soon after that Gearbox treated us with the hilarious Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty downloadable content that offered even more loot, fun and new invincible raid bosses. What more could a Vault Hunter ask for? How about an explosive second campaign dlc named Mister Torque’s Campaign of Carnage? All I know is that Gearbox Software delivers! There are still two unreleased dlc’s and the current level cap has not been increased yet though. Gearbox also stated that another new class is also a possibility for an additional non-campaign related dlc. Who knows what the master minds at Gearbox have in store for us next. It will potentially only get better!
In an era where next-gen graphics are becoming more important bythe minute Borderlands 2 isn’t anything special. But if you look at it from an “outside of the box” perspective you must realize that the Borderlands series would be just another fps if it didn’t have it’s original layered textures graphical style. (It isn’t cell shading remember, Gearbox Software PR doesn’t like it when the press calls it that.) In the end it will surely come down to personal taste, but I like my Borderlands games just as they are!
Great dialogues and charisma.
Like I mentioned earlier Borderlands 2 has some awesome characters. The main bad guy, or good guy if you would see things from his perspective is the masked Handsome Jack. Jack, a character most players will love to hate is only one of the many characters with great dialogues and charisma. Tiny Tina being one of my absolute favorites. A game without interesting characters and dialogues to relate to is boring. Gearbox really did an excellent job here and were ofcourse handsomely rewarded. (pun intended)
Gearbox Software cares.
Another thing I love about Borderlands 2 is the huge community. You can visit the official Gearbox Software forums to meet thousands of fans that share stories, tips, builds and more. Most players I’ve met were very friendly, helpful and social. Not like some of the elitest jerks that play games as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Diablo 3 to name but a few. Another cool thing about Gearbox Software is that they use social media to reward the community with in-game goodies known as Golden Keys. These keys open a special golden loot chest in the floating city of Santuary The chest rewards players with rare and often very powerful weapons. Gearbox cares about the fans and they show it plenty.
I have been playing Borderlands 2 since it’s European release on September 19th and have clocked hundreds of hours on al five classes that are all level 50 characters equipped with some of the most powerful endgame gear that is currently available. It’s still addictive, fun and I just can’t get enough of it. Let’s just hope that Borderlands 3 is twice as good as it’s predecessor and goes home with the Game of the Year title at the 2015 VGA’s.
So to conclude my rant, why is Borderlands 2 my Game of the Year? (short version)
– fun story
– awesome characters
– great dialogues
– great music
– great sound effects
– bazillions of guns
– non-conventional graphical style in a generic market
– great replay value
– great downloadable content
– great community
– great support
– excellent game, period!