I remember it like it was yesterday. Sophomore year, easy homework and 4 hours or more guaranteed time to myself on xbox every night. This little gem called Borderlands was coming out soon, and I did not exactly understand it. I watched videos that displayed a cell-shaded style that I did not quite like, numbers flying everywhere as bullets were shot, and it all just seemed so absurd. But then I kept looking into it deeper and deeper with each outing of Game Informer giving me more of the details I wanted. Four player Co-Op, RPG elements, and bazillions of guns. I was sold, but not many knew of what it was. I picked it up the day it came out and burned through a dozen quests or so and stopped. I immediately texted some classmates and convinced them to pick it up, and I did not play until they did. A week later, it was more than worth it. To date the original Borderlands is still one the best experiences in a cooperative sense I have ever had. We were dedicated comrades who only played together, playing for hours on end and never straying from the pack. I didn't even bother creating a second file because I knew I would only want to play with them. Through the main storyline and all the dlc, it was us four toughing it out and splitting up caches. Tight controls, over the top action, hilarious writing, and just a generally fun time held this wonderful game together. It just worked so well within its universe, and never took itself too seriously. Its open world, as well as its dangerous inhabitants, were all varied and diverse. Borderlands even gave us the great Claptrap, who is all but unofficially Gearboxes mascot not. It is no wonder it has since spawned two sequels with a third in the works, and even has an ongoing TellTale episodic series that switches up the dynamic. The original followed 4 vault hunters as its predecessors mostly have, and was essentially the story of a ragtag group banning together but with their own goals. Its only downfall was that its large dusty world felt alarmingly lifeless when no action was going on, especially without friends in your party. Borderlands could have easily been a sleeper hit that spawned no sequels had the masses not found it, but they did, and Gearbox now has one of the most popular properties under its belt. I can not wait to see what they do with current technology and only hope I can find the time to play it like I used too.
By Edwin Velez
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