Borderlands – Game Review
For those who have friends who have different gaming tastes, it can be hard to find something that brings together different genre elements to make a game fun for everyone. As it turns out, Borderlands does a fairly good job of melding genres. Taking elements of first person shooters and RPGs, as well as a little bit of beat-em ups, Borderlands tries to compress them into an engrossing experience.
The one element which is least noticed is the story, while it is a driving factor in determining what you will do next, it can be completely ignored. For those who enjoy story, there are various in-game cutscenes for you to absorb, as well as some audio tapes which you collect for quests that contain additional information about the world of Pandora. As a game story, it functions well, but the premise is a bit weak. The heroes are tasked with trying to find the Vault, which contains numerous treasures. Of course to do so you must discover the location of the vault by doing quests for the local inhabitants. Of course Borderlands is not really a game to be played for the story, but for the gameplay.
The game starts with a choice of character class, this decision shapes what skills you learn as well as what weapons you will be able to get bonuses for. The classes are as follows, the tank class Brick, the support class Soldier, the sniper class Sniper, and the rogue class Siren. Each character gets a single activated skill and three skill trees of six skills each which can either boost their activated skill or passively improve some other aspect of the character (ie: health, shield, damage with certain weapon, ammo capacity). Each also starts with a different weapon based on their class. At the start of the game you have nothing but your gun and melee attack. This means depending on your class the opening portion may be easier. When you reach level 5 you get your active skill, which will probably change your play style. The Brick character gets a berserk move which allows the character to attack with punches for a period of time, it also makes them difficult to damage. The Soldier gets a placable turret which lasts for a period of time, allowing them to suppress enemies. The Siren gets phase walking, which makes them go invisible, and allows them to damage enemies when they enter and exit phase mode. The Sniper gets a hawk, which can hurt one or multiple enemies. Of course these abilities take time to replenish, so most of the time you will be using guns or grenades to do damage. As you use a gun you gain proficiency which allows you to do more damage, have a faster fire rate, or recoil reduction. Grenades work in an interesting way, you get mods which can be used to change how your grenades behave, from making them stick to things or heal you when they explode. The other “weapon” you get is a buggy-like vehicle which you can use to get between areas, running over enemies or shooting them with a machine gun or rocket launcher. The driving can feel a little weird, but it is certainly faster than walking everywhere.
While you can use any weapon you want, each class has skills that make certain types of weapons work better, and certain weapons have better stats than others. This is due to a randomly generating loot system. The weapons you pick up from various chests are random, only certain unique items dropped by bosses are guaranteed to be the same. The differences range from fire rate, damage, accuracy, magazine size, and recoil reduction. Weapons and grenades can also have elemental damage. This simply adds an additional effect to the item. Ultimately deciding on the right weapon comes down to preference. You may prefer a gun that has a small clip size but does tons of damage over a gun with a fast fire rate and large clip size. Since the game relies on skill as well as stats, you can get away with using weaker guns if you are more skilled.
Graphically, the game is interesting to look at, and being cell shaded means the graphics won’t look really dated for a while. It also means the enemies can look a lot more bizarre. The enemy types in the game always look strange and dangerous enough to make you want to fight them. Unfortunately there is one problem with the game graphically which only exists in the console versions, and arises when you play in split screen multiplayer. The various menus in the game, not including the main menu all require scrolling, which can make doing some things a little harder than they ought to be. The other reason this can be a problem is the game not pausing when you open these menus while in a split screen game, adding difficulty when you need to change weapons to one you don’t have in your quick slots while in a boss fight.
Time for a rating, if you are getting the game for the PC, it is definitely a cool. If you get it for the consoles and don’t expect to play split screen multiplayer it is also probably a cool. While split screen multiplayer fans may not like the menus, it is still playable and doesn’t detract enough from the experience to make it less than a cool-. Though if you want a game with more than a little bit of an RPG element you may be asking too much from Borderlands. For shooter fans who don’t really care about the RPG elements, the game is still fun without using the skills, though it makes it a lot harder.
Which class do you think is the best, or consider your build the ultimate, comment below.
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