Review by ProfessorPwnage

"Borderlands: One of the best co-op experiences to date"

Game play 9/10

Borderlands has a mix of fun and exciting game play, paired with an rpg –style loot collection system. The Borderlands experience is divided will involve either trekking it out, on foot, or riding through the desert in one of the games multiple vehicles. The first constitutes the majority of the time you will spend playing. Whether or not you like this will likely determine your overall enjoyment of the game and this game play is not for everyone. While some people are fine with repetitively killing hundreds and thousands of monsters again and again so that you can level up, collect some loot, kill some thousands more, repeat, etc... One major flaw to this is that, near the beginning of the game, vehicles are quite powerful, and will likely be your weapon of choice if you want to take a mission with a lot of baddies, but as you advance further into the game, they become a simple means of transportation, as your guns begin to considerably outdo those of the cars. As well, originally, the cars have a very useful knack of running over enemies, that might have taken a couple rounds of fire. But as you advance, even this enjoyment is taken from you, as some of the standard enemies during the later portions of the game can cut your vehicles health in half.

Another major attraction to the game's game play is the sheer amount of weapons that you can collect during your travels in Pandora. During quests, you will constantly be finding new, and better weapons to equip, and once again, this game play element is not for everyone. While I'm fine spending hours deciding whether to equip the sniper rifle with +10 fire damage, or the sniper rifle with a 50% chance to do a critical hit, others might prefer to just jump into the game, and not waste time equipping new weapons. Of course, for those of you who fit into the latter category, there is no way around this. Overall, I would have to say that this portion of the game was addicting and fun, especially if you have 2 or 3 friends online that you can play with.

Another excellently used part of the game play is the class system. Each class is unique: the soldier can take on bosses or other monsters using his Scorpio turret, while the hunter can summon an eagle to help him in battle. The strategies used in each class differ greatly because of the special abilities assigned to each. Another great feature is the ability to reset your skill points at any time and remake your entire class from the ground up. This is a great addition to combat problems such as reaching level 50, and realizing the build you've made is not the play-style you would have liked.
Overall, the game play is amazing, and there is next to nothing to deter from the many hours of fun you'll have with this game.

Co-op 9/10

The best part of borderlands is the online co-op. The enemies get harder, game play gets more frantic, overall, it feels like a dial was turned up to ludicrous speed. But I, like others, would have wanted ludicrous speed to be lag free. While the game only gets more fun with the co-op, game spy's servers have been constantly crashing since release, and are untrustworthy to say the least. While the online could have been great, It's ruined by the many problems plaguing the PC version of the game.

Story 7/10

There's not much to say about the story, because it doesn't exist. Like most fps's the story exists only to keep you moving through the game and onto the online*cough* mw2 *cough* .But, unlike other unnamed games, this one doesn't have more plot holes Swiss cheese. The characters are creative and quirky, and will be much more interesting than the final goal of the game: to get to the vault. I'd say that the game's primary motive to keep you going would be its addicting game play, as well as the co-op play contained within. Overall, the story is just there to give you a reason to play, while it's not exactly bad, it doesn't compare to the rest of the game's art design and addictive game play. It could have been much more than it is.

Graphics 7.5/10

Borderlands has a unique and fresh art style, that can be compared to cell-shading, but not quite. It is its own art-style and I consider it one of the game's shining moments as well as bringing life to the game's crazy and quirky characters. The graphics look fine, but certain textures can look a bit blotchy, and of course, the quality of the graphics depends greatly on your PC's performance. The animations were excellent and each unique character has as realistic movements as you'd expect from a cell-shaded game. One of the major complaints about the game's graphics are it's creatures. While I'm fine with repeatedly killing thousands of monsters, I'd like some of them to be different at least. The game constantly throws reskinned character models your way, and the barrage of identical enemies quickly gets old. As far as stabilizability of your character, I've found that it's a bit lacking, but that is just a minor complaint in a very solid experience. Overall, I'd say graphics are one of the best parts of this game, and I think this is probably one of the best looking games of 2009, if not for the many identical creatures, the game might have stood out more than it did.

Innovation 8.5/10

Borderlands' unique game play, and its creative art-style can easily be considered innovative, as is the overwhelming amount of guns available. While I found borderlands to be a new experience, I found the loot system similar to many other games, and it's bland, deserts, while not a bad thing, have been done before. This is my only complaint with the innovation in this game. The sheer amount of different guns in the game is enough to make your mouth water, and the constant power increase will keep you hooked on the collection system. Overall, the gun system is the factor that really makes this game stand out.

Controls

The default controls in the game are quite good, and with an option to assign actions to a myriad of different buttons, the controls remain good for newbs and pro's alike. I'm not going to rate the controls out of 10, because in my opinion, most game's either get control's completely right, or completely wrong, so I'll just give it my seal of approval.

Music/Sound 7/10

The music in borderlands doesn't really stand out, and many of your hours will be spent in the sounds of gunfire. This isn't exactly good, since many of borderlands guns have very similar sounds. While there is some variation, it isn't exactly entertaining to hear the same repeating Psheew sounds emanating from your rocket launcher. This is one of the game's low points, and what helps bring the score up is the voice acting from the game. While you will meet few denizens of Pandora on your travels, those you meet will be a bit on the weird side. Each character has a distinct voice, and the voice acting is, overall, quite good.

Re-playability

Borderlands has a great amount of re playability because of the different classes, as well as the addictive game play elements and hours of online fun. While I doubt anyone will replay the game to go through the “thrilling” story, the loot collection is enough to get you to go through the entire game again. But the place where the game is really at its best is when you're playing online with 1 or 2 friends. While during the game chaotic game play, and huge waves of enemies make the game fun and exciting to play, while online with a couple friends, the chaotic nature of the game explodes into tiny chunks of flesh, raining chaos. AKA, monster numbers increase, loot increases, weapons get better, the game basically gets put in overdrive, and you'll have fun just seeing who can get the most kills. This is also where you finally see that the game's classes mesh together perfectly, and team's composed of any classes will play perfectly together.

The Bottom Line

Borderlands is a game I highly suggest you get, as you will have many hours of fun just killing monsters, to say nothing of the art style. However, repetitive monster design, as well as flawed sounds will detract from an experience that is otherwise worth the time. While Borderlands isn't perfect, it's certainly worth a shot. Here's hoping the issues found here, will be addressed, should a sequel ever emerge.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/12/10

Game Release: Borderlands (US, 10/26/09)


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