Xbox 360 |
First Person Shooter/RPG |
October 10th, 2009
November 30, 2009 by Jereme Puik
Welcome to Pandora, a land filled with a myriad of violence and mystery. Here are hopes and dreams of people finding a place called The Vault. According to legend it contains untold power, fame and fortune and only the brave will succeed. While, Pandora was a planet of great lands and people, it eventually died itself out and out came the beasts and demons of the area all consumed in finding The Vault. Most of the popular is gone, and only a few remain doing whatever they can to survive. A few prospects have appeared including you that are looking to make their mark. Will you?
Borderlands come to us from the minds of Gearbox Software whose library includes such famous titles like the Half-Life series and the World War 2 series, Brothers in Arms. Borderlands is an entirely new IP and looks to strike new ground in the industry combining two very different genres, First Person Shooter and RPG. It’s a hard trend begin and with so many things that could go wrong, Gearbox Software manages to keep the ship in tow with Borderlands. As you begin the game you are presented with 4 main characters; one of which you have to choose to create your adventure in Pandora. These four characters are the Hunter, The Siren, the Berserker and the Soldier. The Hunter specializes in sniper and revolver weapons. The Siren can control shock waves and handles corrosive guns and has the ability to Phasewalk. The Soldier speaks for itself and the Berserker can throw a party with explosives and win a fight with his fists. So, the choice is yours and yours alone.
The environment in Borderlands is pretty detailed discounting its cell-shaded art style. The game still manages to pick up speed as the RPG elements quickly take over. Borderlands uses the standard RPG affair when it comes too the gameplay. You’ll be fighting random baddies to earn experience and increase your level. You’ll also find it in your right mind to buy health potions and save your money for weapons. The number of combinations for your weapons is limitless. You can combine almost any weapon in the game and make something entirely different. It’s the one feature that Borderlands has managed to say consistent with. You’ll earn money and experience by doing various jobs and defeating said baddies. You’ll meet plenty of new faces and enjoy a little humor with your little Claptrap friend.
The level cap is set at 50, but by the way my play through of the game went, you won’t be reaching that cap anytime soon. The characters are set in their class and there’s unfortunately no customization at all but that won’t be an issue once you get deeper in the game. The world is huge and you’ll find that you will be kept busy for quite a while. There are people that need help and experience to be gathered. The enemies in the game are balanced well and the levels rise when you’re moving throughout each area so make sure you are on top of your game and match each level. The controls are easy enough, you have your basic first person shooter controls to keep an eye on as well as the lustrous RPG menu system that is something to behold. There are plenty of options to switch weapons and make your customization to come life. The upgrades especially help for more health and level ups when you need them.
Instead of walking the traitorous terrain on foot, you’ll be able to get in vehicles to get around the map faster. There are Catch-A-Ride booths and transporters to help you in your journey. There are a variety of vehicles for you to hop a ride in to make your journey faster with torrents to make those enemy attacks easier on you. Acquiring loot is a big part of the gameplay and you’ll want to explore the world as much as possible to find cash, weaponry and ammo. There are vending machines at your disposal giving you the option to swap out weapons, buy new ones and get grenades and other ammo. You’ll also be able to refill your health here as well. Make sure you manage your space well as you won’t be able to carry everything in one shot. Unfortunately you may have to give up your old favorite. You can earn more space in your inventory by repairing claptrap friends along the way as it’ll be a mission to keep your space in order from the get go.
There are hundreds of combinations of weapons as mentioned before and you have things like poison grenades, pistols that turn enemies on fire, and sniper rifles that can deal extra damage. As with every first person shooter you are given a regenerated shield instead of armor. Enemies vary in strength and size, and all give experience based on their specific level and where you find them in the world. Be careful, they will get in your face no matter what, so be on your toes. If you are low on health you’ll have the opportunity to “Fight for your Life” and have a chance to get revenge. If you are successful you’ll gain an upper hand with regenerated shields and health. The enemy AI is pretty well organized except for a few instances where they can be a bit too territorial except when up close.
Graphics and Sound
The comic book esq. adventure sets the game apart from other games on the market. The landscape is pretty large and can take more then 30 hours to explore. The enemy death animations are pretty entertaining to gander at in a successful kill. Close up shots reveal pixilated shadows, and water effects are non existent especially when it doesn’t ripple when driving over it. Textures will take some loading time to form into the game, so don’t expect to see this complete detailed world right when you jump in. Thankfully the camera is manageable during big fights and doesn’t get in the way of the experience. The game gets itself by with ambient music and a pretty decent voice cast. You’ll have the opportunity to meet some engaging characters and friends along the way.
The highlight of the game is its co-op. You can co-op the game with a friend online or off. However, it is more recommended you head towards online co-op. The split screen co-op locally is horribly designed. The game cuts off half of your vision vertically instead of horizontally. It’s manageable for the most part, but still throws you off your game more often then not. The online co-op is a nice addition allowing anyone to jump into your game and help you out at any given moment. Having trouble with that boss since you aren’t the same level as he is? You can invite a friend to help you out and save your butt. There isn’t any online multiplayer, but for a game that stresses the FPS-RPG hybrid concept, there doesn’t need to be.
Borderlands is a nice new addition to Gearbox Software’s portfolio and will go down as one of the most fun games of 2009, hopefully. There is a lot to explore and with over 30 hours of gameplay offered, you certainly won’t be bored. Thanks to the multiple character classes you can easily find yourself going through the game again and again to get different experiences out of each character. Be sure to rent before you buy.