BORDERLANDS — SCROLL TO READ
It’s 9 o’clock On A Saturday…
(And I’m Still Playing Borderlands)
Written by William Nadel
I’ve been following Borderlands since I read the first details years ago. Gearbox Studios was crafting a four player online First Person Role Playing Shooter. I recall drooling at the thought of looting, driving and blasting my way through a massive landscape filled with towering monsters and mythical titans. Yes, I was amazed when I heard there would be “Bazillions” of guns in the game due to the game engine’s procedural content generation system. I can still feel the anticipation creep up my spine when I heard the game supported Split-Screen capabilities. I’ve now clocked over 40 hours with the game and I’m nearing the end of my second playthrough. Was all of this build-up, hype and gnawing anticipation justified?
Absolutely. Congrats Gearbox, you have delivered quite the loot hunting and level grinding experience. Like Diablo for the PC, Borderlands successfully pulls you into a color categorized world of magnificent desolation and cerebral treasure hunting. Starting off, the player is given the choice of four playable treasure seekers. These mercenaries have come to Planet Pandora seeking untold riches hidden in the legendary and mysterious Vault. The Vault is hidden somewhere on the planet, placed there by an ancient alien civilization. Pandora is a Mad Max style world filled with outcroppings of “human” settlements and seriously evil creatures that only live to kill you.
Thankfully, each character possesses unique abilities that serve you well as you attempt to survive the increasingly maniacal onslaught. Each class has a varied skill tree that can dish up truly different experiences, depending on which areas of expertise you decide to invest your points into.
The Soldier class can drop a shielded turret that lays down fire while also being able to heal and rearm your team. The Soldier specializes in rifles and the good ‘ole shotty. Ah, the acid shotgun comforts in my time of need… The Siren class is a female Phasewalker that turns invisible and runs at high speed. She’s one with the elements and prefers weapons that fire incendiary, shock, and corrosive acid rounds. Clever girl, because those elemental attacks cause persistent damage and corrode the armor of the tougher enemies. The Hunter class can summon a bird of death that can be used offensively in battle. The Hunter is a master sniper with a taste for the smoking revolver. Finally, The Berserker class is a human tank that can go into a blissfully surreal and mercilessly brutal melee rage. He rather enjoys beating people down and blowing people up. When augmented, his fists can deliver serious explosive and corrosive damage while generating money with each punch.
The gameplay is phenomenal and caters to both the role player and the twitch shooter. There are an infinite amount of progressively rare guns, shields and class mods, that alter the game and add replayability. The graphics are stylish and gory, with hand drawn cartoon-like textures applied on detailed worlds and characters. The sound design and execution really helps solidify the immersive experience with slick music and appropriate sounding weapons.
This game does suffer from some issues. The dancing robot called ClapTrap repeats his comments far too often. I also experienced mission critical bugs in Split-Screen and Single player which will be addressed in a downloadable patch. The story falls short of sufficient and could have been presented in an immersive manor that upheld the rich feel of their universe. Xbox Live four player co-op ramps up the fun to borderline illegal levels, but my loot was lost when the host disconnected mid-game.
None of these flaws are deal breakers. If you like twitch shooters and treasure hunting, do yourself a favor and buy this amazing game. My Xbox Live gamertag is X Trippopotomus and I’ll be right along with you
searching for untold treasure.
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