Belated Review: Borderlands

Wow this game is serious gun porn. Just an incredible amount of weapons; And it’s not just the quantity, but the presence as well, seeing how they drop like candy out of a pinata. Expect constant weapon swapping! Weapons are divided into basic classes: Sniper Rifles, Shotguns, Machine Guns, Rocket Launchers and so forth. 200,000+ guns sounds very impressive within the context of a first person shooter, where 20 weapons would be considered a lot. But, within the context of a role-playing game? Not so much. In reality, most of the guns are your standard randomly generated RPG varietyala Diablo II or WoW (they even follow the same color system: white < green < blue < purple < orange :P). Most of your drops are going to end up being vendor trash.

But, that’s not to say that each weapon is drab or similar feeling. Weapons are differentiated between each other by variances in damage, firing rate, reload speed, elemental attributes, etc. While minor statistical differences might not seem like it would matter much, would would be surprised at how differently some of the weapons play. For example, a pistol with a large clip, low damage and high reload speed plays very differently than a slow pistol with high damage and a large clip. It is very much about finding a weapon that suits your play style and situation. Besides, all bets are off when you have a sniper rifle that sets targets on fire.

Gameplay wise, it is at heart a straight up shooter. Critical damage is determined by hit location. Circle, strafe, circle, strafe etc. The RPG elements are very similar to any other FPS/RPG blend: experience based leveling and talent trees. There are basic classes to choose from each with a distinctplaystyle , weapons specialization and special ability. Mordecai the hunter for example, is adept at Sniper Rifles and Revolvers. If you though for example, prefer to play him with machine guns, you can do so effectively. It just won’t be optimal.

The graphics are cell shaded, which is interesting given how late in the game this change was announced. Cell shading worries a lot of people for some reason; I think people were afraid that the game would go Wind Waker on everyone. Fear not though; the graphical changes in Borderlands give it a unique feel, as opposed to the standard shades of brown pseudo-realism going around in nearly every other first person game. ThinkTF2 (cell shaded, tongue in cheek design, stylism) + Fallout 3 (general setting).

Cons: Some elements of this game are a bit finicky; Bullet collision through certain objects for example, feels off to me. Most weapons are balanced well except for the rocket launchers, which do surprisingly underwhelming amount damage in comparison to similar weapons in other games. The AI could also use some work. Most anything, even many bosses can be line-of-sighted and kited around for a not-too-challenging kill. The mobs very easily get stuck inpathing loops or run into collision problems.

The quests themselves leave a lot to be desired and rarely, if ever, step out of the “kill x and bring y to z” flavor. Until you hit a certain point in the game, expect massive traveling and fetching. If I haven’t already mentioned the plot. Yeah. The plot…But, most of the above a nitpicks. If you are looking for a fun way to feed your obsessive compulsive urge to collect shit, Borderlands is worth a play.

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