Geek Out: Borderlands

In this new feature I’ll share something I’ve been geeking out about this week, and I’m going to do my best to keep it restricted to just the current week. (That means I won’t be writing about how much I geeked out over Kirby’s Epic Yarn last month, so just know that you need to play that game, no matter your age. It is pure electronic happiness). You’ll get a brief description of what it is, the reasons why I geeked out about it, who else might geek out about it too, and how or what you need to get in on the geekiness. They won’t always be games—I’m a multi-purpose geek—but you can expect to see games here quite often. The biggest blip on my geek radar this week was Borderlands.

GEEK | WHAT

Borderlands is a 2009 first person shooter-RPG hybrid. It mixes the solid shooting that developer Gearbox is known for, with the carrot-on-a-stick loot-filled quests of the hack and slash RPG genre. You play as one of four distinct adventurers scouring the desert world Pandora for a legendary vault, which supposedly holds a mystical treasure.

GEEK | WHY

Loot: Borderlands has a constant stream of loot. The weapon and upgrade combinations are limitless. If you like finding cool weapons, and then using those cool weapons to find even cooler weapons, you’ll love this game.

Style: I really like the cel-shaded style. It adds character to the dusty world of Pandora (which is like the exact opposite of James Cameron’s Pandora). I remember years ago that the game had a different art style when it was first announced, but I think this one works better, helps break up all the brown.

Replay: I like how the game keeps tabs of how many times you’ve played through it. My profile says “Play Through 1” next to it; a constant reminder that there’s still so much to play. Enemies scale and loot gets better with each play through, a great incentive to keep going after the credits.

Customization: Borderlands offers four classes and I went with the soldier. At first glance it looks like you might be pigeonholed into a certain play style, but your individual character is highly customizable. I can balance my soldier in a variety of ways by upgrading different stats.

GEEK | WHO

If you like questing, character progression (in the statistical skill tree sense), and cool guns, you’ll probably enjoy Borderlands. If you’re looking for a strong narrative, you won’t find it here. There’s lots of character, but little character development. This is a game for people that like to shoot stuff in games and get rewarded for doing it.

GEEK | HOW

Borderlands is available on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. I’m playing it on Xbox 360. I purchased it for $16 through Gamefly, I’m sure you can find similar prices online. There is a game of the year edition that includes all the downloadable content released for the game in 2010. I believe you can pick that up for around $30. I’ll be hitting up some multiplayer questing tonight, and I expect it to be just as enjoyable as the solo experience. You’ll need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play Borderlands online on the Xbox 360.