Borderlands is…

Well…

It’s…

It’s Fallout 3.

It’s different, to be sure. The emphasis is more on shooting and less on stats. You have a class-based skill tree instead of a list of perks. There’s no VATS, obviously. But at the end of the day you’re a man searching a wasteland for quests, branching out and making friends/enemies, gaining experience and leveling up, and just doing that RPG-ing that the kids love so much.

So what does Borderlands bring to the equation? Multiplayer for a start. I haven’t had an opportunity to try it yet, but four player co-op is a considerable selling point. Vehicles. Oh, how arduous it was slowly walking through the wastes of DC. In Borderlands I have a tank; it moves fast and it blows things up; I call it Peacemaker and we eat ice cream together. That last bit is fabricated, but if I could eat ice cream with an inanimate object I would choose to eat it with a tank named Peacemaker.

Moving on.

Qualitatively, Borderlands is up there. It’s highlighted as having near-infinite weapons, but so far most of them follow the same core with some different stats; it’s more of an iterative upgrade than a brand new weapon. The main storyline is your typical western RPG storyline (read: there isn’t any). A ton of disjoint quests, fun in their own right, but if there’s actually a bigger narrative there it’s taking its time. Lots to tinker with. And challenge. Fallout 3’s difficulty curve fell apart when you had a shotgun big enough; you walked into a room, hit the VATS button, and watched heads explode. Borderlands has enemies that keep you on the move, shooting and stressing and wondering if that big dog actually just wiped out all your health in three attacks.

I won’t say Borderlands is better than Fallout. It’s a different experience, similar enough to draw considerable parallels but different enough to make them both worthy investments to the game collection. It’s certainly fun and stylish and well executed.

And it has four player co-op.

One man. One night. Five peanut butter sandwiches. This is his story.