Strange now, when Borderlands is as big as it is and as synonymous as it is with bug-eyed shrieking, to think back to the transformative and ambitious promises of the first few times we glimpsed it. The idea of an FPS with the mentality of Diablo was ahead of its time, and at the time seemed thrilling rather than, as is the case now, the most lucrative business model. And that cel-shaded look in the era of Gears of War? Woof-woof.Oh, and it was Mad Max with randomly-generated crazyguns too. God, the concept was thrilling. The execution? Rather more conservative than we’d hoped, really. This was dead world in more ways than one, starkly limited in interactions beyond bullet-to-face, with a jarringly dour plot underpinning the vibrant look.
Still though, I enjoyed its essential feel, which was why Borderlands 2 going so far in the opposite direction – i.e. a screeching, ever-more-brash one – was disappointing. I wanted Borderlands Plus, I suppose. Or proc-gen Stalker, if I’m being honest.
Maybe the result wasn’t quite there, but I haven’t forgotten quite how exciting action games seemed when Borderlands was on the horizon. Hype is ultimately bad for us, of course, but in this rather hesitant age of mono-brand dominance and ugly monetisation strategies, I’d love to see something come kick the door like that again.