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I've spent a couple dozen hours with developer Gearbox's first-person loot-fest Borderlands 2, and I think I've found my soulmate — insofar as a collection of polygons that respond to my controller inputs to convert imaginary bad guys into imaginary dead guys can fill that role, anyway.

See that gun up there? The Heart Breaker? I will never unequip it.

I received Breaky (which is what I call the weapon in my head whenever it behooves me to call it anything, which is rare) as a reward for completing one of the game's many optional side missions, and we've been "together" ever since. That was a long time ago; I've had at least two complete equipment turnovers since then, but Breaky has remained. Why? Because Breaky has a lot going for it.


The Heart Breaker is an automatic shotgun with a decent reload speed and a probability to set enemies on fire. It's pretty quick to reload, gets a bonus to critical hit damage, and becomes more accurate with every shot. I've shot down gyrocopters with this thing.

It also fires in a heart pattern, and that's just straight-up charming.

I've had a lot of opportunities to replace Breaky, and I'm so much farther in the game now that it makes more and more sense to do so. It doesn't do a whole lot of damage against the guys I'm up against now, even with its various bonuses. To put this into perspective, my co-op partner's current shotgun does 595 damage with each pellet versus Breaky's 80. And still, not only do I keep it in my inventory, but it's my default walking-around weapon.

For me, Breaky has subverted the usual flow of a loot game, which I've always taken to be "Kill guys, get loot, kill tougher guys, get better loot." What does it mean if, when presented with better loot, I keep my old gun? Do I risk tearing the fabric of the Lootiverse with my loyalty? In a game that touts bazillions of guns, isn't each individual weapon disposable by definition, if not necessity?

Regardless, I'm probably going to keep Breaky along for the rest of the game. We've been through too much together to give it up now.