Game Review: Borderlands (PS3/XBox 360)
Mixing a first person shooter with role playing elements has been done before (Deus Ex, Fallout 3), Borderlands offers something different. I honestly knew very little about Borderlands until after it was realeased. I had heard the name but never bothered to look into it and really didn’t know what it was about until a friend made me check it out.
Borderlands take a different approach on what I like to call a Hybrid genre. Fallout 3 was an amazing game but turned some people off with it’s VATS targeting system and difficult aiming when trying to play without VATS. I love Fallout 3 and still play it but I couldn’t help but have moments where I wished it was a bit faster paced and had some kind of multiplayer. This is where Borderlands comes in, imagine a full speed FPS with a skill tree like Diablo. Add in cooperative multiplayer,a vehicle, and a metric ton of weapons and you have something to talk about.
There are four characters to choose from when playing each with a special ability and prefered weapon types. They are as follows:
The Soldier – Prefers Combat Rifles and shotguns. His ability deploys a turret to attack enemies.
The Hunter – He is the sniper and prefers of course sniper rifles. His ability is a pet Bloodwing that he sends to attack enemies.
The Siren – Prefers elemental weapons. Her ability to phase walk makes her invisible, damaging enemies and move faster.
The Berserker – Likes explosive weapons and his ability is a Rage mode that lets him pund on enemies.
Each of these characters/classes has a corresponding skill tree that with each level (after level 5) grants you one point to allocate to an ability on the skill tree. This method allows you to mix and match many different build types and offers a lot of replay value to this title.
While there are preffered weapons for each class, you can use any weapon you want throughout the game and the more you use a weapon type, the better your profficiency level gets. With each profficiency level you receive a bonus for using that weapon type.
In a nutshell, you are on a planet named Pandora that was thought to be full of rich resources but in the end turned out to have next to nothing of use on it. The mining company pulled out and left behind the colonists and criminal element that they employed. There is a story of a hidden Alien vault that was thought to be just a story to tell children but after some finding could actually be real. This vault has vast alien technology and promises of riches beyond belief. Your a vault hunter and it is up to you to find out if the vault is real and on Pandora.
The visuals in the game are amazing and unique. Utilizing the Unreal engine and cell shading is a nice mix of great effects and a comic book feel.
The humor in the game deserves a mention, I often found myself laughing out loud and often. Some of my favorite mission types are the voice notes from Tannis, they completely crack me up and can very twisted. The voice acting in the game is top notch and really adds to the game and makes the humorous that much funnier.
Playing the game feels like a normal first person shooter with the exception of damage numbers flying in the air as you shoot enemies and experience points for your kills and completing quests. The achievements/Trophies are not terribly difficult to obtain , and even though there are approximately 160 or so quests they don’t ever seem to get boring or repetative to me.
There are also in-game achievements (kinda like the Critierion ones in Burnout) that you can aspire to complete as well and they do have their rewards in the form of experience points.
Multiplayer is also available and comes in my favorite form; Drop in, drop out. This allows you and three other friends to join up and work together on missions that you may be having difficulty with and just have a lot of fun in the process. The difficulty scales on the fly when people join your game and scale back down when you leave. That way it’s not a walk in the park when you have a full team of 4 players.
As you can guess from reading this, I love this game. I Highly recommend that you stop reading this and buy 2 copies right now, one for you and one for a friend.