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About Deviant Premium Member Phillip M JacksonUnited Kingdom Group :iconb3tards: b3tards
B3ta meets deviantART
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Deviant for 11 Years
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Phillip M Jackson
United Kingdom
Current Residence: The darkest corner of England
Favourite genre of music: Contemporary Classics (A contradiction, but accurate appraisal)
Favourite style of art: Comic book/Anime/Manga
Personal Quote: "Fortune favours the prepared"
The original Borderlands is one of my favourite video games, so much so that it inspired me to return to writing futuristic science fiction science fiction, something which I hadn’t done since the 90s. It was a real breath of fresh air after the endless waves of grim, brown, cover-based-shooters and Call of Duty wannabes.
Having played through both Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel, I’m not entirely sure that either Gearbox or 2K really knew themselves why Borderlands worked, because both additional entries into the canon failed to grab me in the same way.

Here are the reasons why I thought Borderlands was great, and why it’s sequels weren’t.

1: The opening.
There are very few games that set the scene as perfectly as this. In just under 2 minutes, you know everything you need to: Going by that weird dog-thing, Pandora is an alien planet. The crusty looking billboard suggests it’s a frontier world which people were lured to a long while back. Marcus’s pep talk implies a “gold rush” atmosphere and his heavily armoured bus lets us know you can’t be sure when and where danger is going to come from. Not that any of that should make you think this is a serious, po-faced game. Backed as it is by a kick-ass tune and the squelching sound of road-kill, this whole sequence informs us that Borderlands is a comic book illustrated by a crazy person using dark humour for ink, and you’re going to enjoy the ride.…

The intros to Borderlands 2 and The Pre Sequel simply didn’t spark in the same way. They had a checklist of everything that featured in the original and it shows that they were simply ticking boxes. Tune? Check. Character introductions? Check. Gore (without understanding why it was funny in the original)? Check. There’s just no charm to it. I could watch the original over and over. These I just skip past.

2: It was set in a desert.
Pandora seems to be a very arid place. Nothing but jagged rocks and dust. The only places you’ll find any kind of flora is around the pipes discharging waste from the scattered, run-down looking population centres.
This was awesome. It gave a real Mad Max vibe and made you feel like you were in the middle of nowhere. It gave more of a reason as to why everyone was so crazy, here; they were all desperate, fighting tooth and nail to stay alive.

The sequels f**ked this all up. You have no idea how annoyed I was when I found Borderlands 2 kicked off in the tundra and remained in a more-or-less temperate climate for the duration of the game. You get to see a little bit of the old desert, but there’s some dull, Mordor-like volcano-level between you and it. It didn’t actually make any sense that it was still there, either, as the planet had undergone some sort of climate shift since the original.

3: There were a sh*t-ton of guns.
I’m sure there were more guns in the original game than in the sequels. Probably not as many potential variations, but there were certainly more gun-cases lying around. I felt like I was tripping over them. Borderlands basically invented the concept of “shoot-and-loot”, which is why the lack of “loot” in Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel really grates. In both sequels there seemed to be an age between the moments when I found myself torn over what gun to keep and which to ditch. That was one of the most memorable aspects of the original. It felt it had been diluted in favour of set, special weapons granted by NPCs upon completion of missions, which detracted further from the sense of achievement found through exploration of the environment.

4: You were alone.
There wasn’t much NPC interaction in Borderlands. Your main form of communication with Pandora’s population was by shooting them in the face. Those not quite as crazy talk briefly over the Echo communication system, outlining some of the missions. On the whole, though, there’s not a lot of chatter. I liked that. It added to the sense that you were on your own out here, and no one really cared if you lived or died during your treasure hunt.
In the sequels…..people don’t shut up.
Scooter was memorable in the first game because he had a few good catch-phrases and some really funny lines, all of which added to the backwater nature of Pandora. That all changes in Borderlands 2 when he, like the rest of the returning cast, have their roles expanded. They talk and talk and talk and aren’t funny or memorable at all, partly because they’re not terrible well written but mostly because their voices are drowned out by the gun-battles they always choose to call you during.

5: It wasn’t epic.
Your role in Borderlands was entirely selfish. Regardless of what the weird Angel kept saying over the radio; you were a prospector, going out into the wilderness to pan for gold. There was no other agenda, no grand, world-saving goal, which really made the game stand out from other shooters. As with the desert setting and the lack of NPC chatter, it added to the sense of isolation. This was a game about YOU. YOUR progress is the focus.

Again, this wasn’t something that carried over to the sequels. What happens in Borderlands 2? Oh, there’s an evil, invading empire and you have to join the resistance to fight them off and save the world.
How very original.

Having completed the Pre-Sequel, and heard mention of an approaching war, it seems that we’re not going to see a return to anything that made the original Borderlands so special, which is a damn shame.


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Phoinexforce Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014
I second this.
Sper3 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
no sir i didn't see you playing with your dolls again.:D (Big Grin) 
kaiomutaru25 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Happy Guy Fawkes day ^w^
Icecold100below Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The infamous jolly Jack my friend was talking about  Nice to meet you 
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ragpikki Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014
Because you're an older gamer enthusiast like myself, I thought I'd post here that they are re-releasing x wing and tie…
jollyjack Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014
About f**king time!
I want to know why there haven't been NEW versions of these titles, though!
ragpikki Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014
While there has been plenty of time, most recently I have to blame the house of mouse, as they shut down the videogame development arm of the franchise.
SherbertTCat Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I want you to reflect on that statement.
What happens every time someone remakes something?
People like you pitch the mother of all fits, that's what.
jollyjack Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014
Who said anything about a remake?
(1 Reply)
AquaticEmperor Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014
Jack a fellow adult artist by the name of gairon can no longer post art because some bullshit. He could use some help so when you can please spread this message.
Paleodon Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014
This current Sequential Art storyline is getting to be the funniest one yet.
otaku247 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014
Jack, just an FYI I was walking through my local Tesco and spotted that they started selling Hostess Twinkies in the American import section of the World Foods aisle for about £7.50 per box of 10. I seem to remember you saying in a post you had trouble getting hold of them so maybe you could check them out see if your store does them too? 'Im planning on sneaking some with me to watch the 30th Anniversary screening of Ghostbusters at the cinema in 4K :)
Marshall123x Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014
I've been meaning to ask you a question Jack, You may have already answered ages ago but, what did you think of Fable 3? A lot of people were saying it hurt or even ruined the Fable franchise because it was really bad. Me personally, i did have much to say about it really. I mean, it was a Fable game. It was pretty much what i expected it to be. Mostly short and sweet but still a fairly worth while title if you can ignore the fact that you can beat it in about 3 sit downs. Take that for what you will.  
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