Oh dear loot shooters, how you’ve grown. We’ve had two Destiny games, two Divisions from Tom Clancy, Warframe is still going strong and even BioWare’s had a nibble with the divisive Anthem. Nowadays this is a sub-genre with well-defined rituals, core loops, challenges and, of course, highly involved loot systems.
The loot shooter is such a known quantity, in fact, that it’s easy to forget how much it owes to Borderlands. The first instalment of the rambunctious franchise burst onto our screens in October 2009, just a whisker shy of five years before Bungie’s Destiny. At the time I remember hearing just how many guns were in this game – 17.5 million, if you were wondering – and thinking it was nonsense. No game like this would ever catch on, I thought, that’s such an overabundance of loot that people will hit saturation point and just stop caring. Oh, how wrong I was.
With Borderlands 3 on the horizon, the big question now is whether a new generation of Vault Hunters will be able to stand tall alongside the Guardians, Division agents, Tenno or Pilots of today, or whether the OG buddies-with-blasters formula will seem staid and outdated. As a way of hedging my bets, I jumped into the conveniently-just-remastered Borderlands Game of the Year Edition to see how well the granddaddy of the genre is holding up, and the old boy is doing surprisingly well.