September can’t get here fast enough, y’all.
I know a bunch of good TV shows are coming out that month. The New Orleans Saints and other NFL teams will play their first games of the season. I’m sure some people are excited about movies coming up.
But for me, September marks the month of release for expansions of two of my favorite video games: “Destiny” and “Borderlands.”
Some of you might say, “Aren’t those both basically the same game?” You’d be partially right. Still, I’m excited to play both of them.
Both are first-person shoot-and-looters with fun mechanics and good replay value that extends past the initial story. Both feature multi-player aspects where you can join up with friends and tackle the same challenges. Both feature a sci-fi angle that expands the possibilities of a shooter. (Why play a boring, old military simulator when you can go to alien worlds and command lasers and space magic with huge explosions?)
But both put an emphasis on different aspects of gameplay:
• “Borderlands” (which encompasses three games) goes all in on its story and absurdity — especially in “Borderlands 2,” where you can find guns that shoot exploding swords and that yell at you when you miss shots. The game’s story and characters are fantastic, and the signature cell-shaded look of its environments makes it feel like playing a fantastic comic book.
• “Destiny” in all its iterations has put its emphasis on gunplay and mechanics. While the missions started out repetitive and bland, the feel of the weapons made each boring run-through worth the trip. Since the game’s debut in 2014, it has steadily grown into a quality expansion with a decent story, intricate mysteries and incredible locations. What the weapons lack in creativity, they make up for in feel.
So what’s coming in September?
“Borderlands 3” will be available on Sept. 13. It’s been five long years since there has been a new “Borderlands” game. Actually, you could make an argument that it’s really seven years: 2014’s “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel” was a full game, but it was made with the engine and resources of 2012’s “Borderlands 2.”
Storywise: As the planet of Pandora reels from the fall of Handsome Jack (the villain in “Borderlands 2”), a pair of twins rises to power across the galaxy and forms a cult with the goal of taking possession of the Vaults. We players have been recruited as Vault Hunters to stop the twins and protect the Vault’s treasures for ourselves.
Many of the mechanics are familiar in the new game. I’ll get to choose one of four main character classes, and be able to slowly expand their skills as I level up. I’ll be able to find many of 87 bazillion guns and other power-ups. I’ll be able to laugh my head off and enjoy the sarcastic trash-talk from unique characters. The world of Pandora still has its signature cell-shaded look.
But developer Gearbox has learned much from its time off. Characters will be able to mantle up on ledges instead of just jumping in frustrating futility. It changed a polarizing loot drop system from common drops for all players to each player seeing his own loot drop (thus ending the annoying habit of “loot ninjas,” although a setting will allow you to play that way, if you like disappointment).
Familiar faces and beloved characters are poised to return, as well as new ways of expanding the endgame.
“Destiny 2” embarks on an interesting journey on Sept. 17 with the release of “Shadowkeep.”
One of the key differences from “Borderlands” is that “Destiny” has been continually updated with yearly expansions and the release of “Destiny 2” in 2017. While there has been no gap in gameplay, our Guardians will finally return to a popular setting from the first game: The moon.
Storywise: As we Guardians have been busy reclaiming Earth from the invasion the Red Legion and avenging a prince for killing our best friend Cayde-6, a figure from our past has been hiding out on the moon, stirring things that shouldn’t have been woken. Of course she lost control.
Of course, we have to clean up her mess.
Because “Shadowkeep” is effectively an expansion, not a true sequel, it will further develop a game that has gotten pretty good. I’ve written about “Destiny” countless times in my column, and yes, I’m still addicted.
But what’s different now is the nature of the game is changing to a free-to-play MMORPG model.
Earlier this year, developer Bungie announced its separation from publisher Activision. Without going into a lot of detail, it was believed that Activision crippled Bungie’s ability to grow “Destiny” in a better direction.
Starting on Sept. 17, “Destiny 2” will become a free-to-play game. New players can do everything in the first year absolutely free, as well as many of the current activities. We’ll still pay for new expansions and seasons, but it will be more a la carte-based than ever. It’s an exciting development that stands to expand the player base significantly.
No time forother games, probably
I imagine both of these will keep me pretty busy. “Borderlands” and “Destiny” have a lot of interplay between my gaming friends because of their similarities.
I’ve been so excited about these that, quite frankly, I don’t care that I don’t know what else is coming out. What I love about these first-person shoot-and-looters is that they still find ways to be exciting and rewarding, even after doing the same things.
That probably reveals problems with me instead of changes to game design, but I don’t even care about that. I can’t wait to see what kind of loot I’ll find in both of these games.
Joe Hadsall is web editor for the Globe. Contact him at email@example.com.