10 years ago, Diablo 2 entered my life and had me glued to my CRT screen for days on end. It was a great looking with addictive gameplay, yet what set it apart from everything else, was multiplayer was possible between MACs and PC's. For the first time my PowerMac 9600 was able to link with my buddys Pentium III PC via a 56K modem, enabling hours on end of co-operative hack n slash!
10 years later, I load up Borderlands on my Xbox and within minutes of playing, it all seemed incredibly familiar. First up, was the ability to chose from a selection of heros. Each with unique abilities, utilizing different weapon/skill sets that seem to mirror the past...
have been replaced by
With the exception of the Necromancer, they are all present. Which is a shame as he was my favorite Diablo character - being able to make the bones of your fallen enemies explode was very cool :)
The next similarity to fall in line was the equipment page and skill trees, being able to have more than one weapon setups and the choice of dedicating experience points into three skills paths, allows you to shape a character to your playing style. This is one of the nicest parts of both games, as it is possible to play online with multiple Amazons/Hunters knowing that they will all play slightly differently. Something that Borderlands sorely misses out on though, is the ability to change your clothing. When playing Diablo online, you always tried to find the funkiest armor, to ensure your it was your Sorceress that brought all the boys to the bar
By far the most compelling characteristic that the games share, is the loot system. Most enemies slain will drop some kind of loot, and the bigger they are, generally the better loot they drop. Sure they drop money and health too, but it's all about the weapons, shields and armor. Both worlds adopt a rarity system which means you'll always be picking up regular to semi-rare items, but every now and then you'll find an exotic item that totally kicks arse, and the best part is, the more rare the item is, the less chance there is of you online friends having it! And there's nothing better than getting one up on your friends... in the nicest (yet competitive) way of course :)
It also means that you should not get too attached to items, as sooner or later, a better one will come to fruition. And you'll often meet players online that would rather pass on their previously favored items to lower level characters, than leave them out in the desert or sell them for cash they don't really need. Plus this fuels the competition more, as the lower lvl characters show off their new toys to their mates
Of course there are quite a few differences between the games too, being the future there are plenty of vehicles to drive around in Borderlands, plus pretty much all the weapons are projectile based. Comedy has replaced brooding and the bosses are absolutely staggering - in size, detail and fun factor. Online gameplay is flawless, though cross platform sadly never really took off. Yet despite 10 years worth of hardware, software and online enhancements, I still find that I can play Diablo for longer where Borderlands lacks the endurance to keep me entertained.
Maybe I prefer swordplay over gun play, maybe I enjoy it's slower pace or maybe it's knowing that Frank Gorshin (the original Riddler) voices one of the main characters. I'm not sure, all I know is I really enjoyed Borderlands, and I am thankful that it reminded me of how much I enjoyed Diablo, which has now been re-installed on my Mac mini and 10 years later, is as much fun as ever