Best of 2012: #8 - Borderlands 2

Amongst the sea of numbered big game sequels to come out in 2012, Borderlands 2 distinguished itself by avoiding even a whiff of disappointment. Easy though it may be to laugh at its own claims of being more badass than its predecessor--to the point of creating an in-game reward system built on "badass points"--it's that very mantra which guided it to success. Borderlands 2 improved on every element that made the original click. The end result was a game that felt like getting back together with a well-known friend, one with whom the relationship had matured over the last couple of years.

While it appears to be a shooter, Borderlands 2 cements the series' place as an action role playing game that just happens to use a first person perspective. Quests, characters, and exploration all play their part, but Borderlands 2 seals the deal with an almost evilly addictive loot system. The guns, oh the guns. They come in every imaginable combination of type, projectile, and elemental damage and better yet look the part with moving pieces, all manner of sights, and just crazy detailing in general.

And Borderlands 2 just gets better the more you play it. True Vault Hunter mode is a delight. Enemies don't just get tougher, they use the same tactics as players, employing elemental attacks and taking considerably better advantage of the potential cover provided by the environment. It's times like these that a partner comes in handy and as has been said countless times since its release, Borderlands 2 shines all the brighter played co-op with friends.

For all these reasons Borderlands 2's spot in the best games of the year list could not be denied. The badassery rhetoric that drew a little snicker before the game came out has completely transformed into a smile-inducing "Hell Yeah!" that would make Mr. Torgue proud.

The Shacknews Best of 2012 Awards were determined by ballot voting across the entire Shacknews staff. Garnett, Jeff, John, Ozzie, and Tyler voted for Borderlands 2, earning it 185 points and the 8th place position on our list. The Shacknews Community chose the game as the 4th Overall Best Game of 2012. Stay tuned all week as we reveal all our winners.