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Borderlands: Five Words
Bar Harbor
I've been playing a lot of Borderlands lately. It's a new game from Gearbox, sort-of a cross between a First-Person Shooter, and RPG-lite; Diablo with Guns.

There's a lot wrong with the game. It's buggy, multiplayer is a mess, the story is thin to the point of non-existence, the UI is embarrassingly awful, etc, etc. But what it gets right, it gets very right indeed, to the point that I'm finding it quite addictive. The basic cycle of "shoot, shoot, take their loot" is a classic, and the execution of the shooting, and of the loot itself, are both excellent. And though the story is non-existent, the game does manage a fun sense of style.

The variety of loot is a big feature of the game. Almost all of it is guns, but there are zillions of different guns to find. Many of them are hand-crafted as plot rewards, but most are randomly generated out of a wonderfully rich set of variable factors. Many of these factors are straightforward: damage, accuracy, reload rate, etc. Some are a bit more exotic: extra damage when meleeing with this weapon, chance to set target on fire, and so on. And every so often, you'll find a weapon with a *really* unusual property. In my last play session, I discovered a gun that made me laugh out loud, and really sums up what kind of game this is. It was a Shotgun which also had the property, and I quote: "Holy crap! It shoots rockets!"

As it happens, I didn't keep it long. While the hack value of such a gun is immense, its practicality was greatly lessened by the fact that it still *aimed* like a shotgun. I couldn't reliably hit with it, except at close range, at which point the splash damage hurt *me* significantly. Besides, if I really wanted to shoot rockets at my foes, I found this sweet Rocket Launcher that fires its entire barrel of five in about a tenth of a second. I don't use that one often, but when I really want overkill, it gets the job done :-)