Review by Jawnage

"Borderlands? More like "Bored-erlands""

Update Time: It took me a whole year, but I finally managed to finish Borderlands. My frustration with this game came partially from playing the Soldier, who plays more like a support character than a "soldier." If you're playing solo and having a hard time, you should try using the respec option found in the New-U beacon. Overall, my opinion of this game hasn't changed much, since it feels like a chore to play. Sorry for the horrific pun in the title.

Borderlands clearly takes inspiration from modern shooters: you can sprint, "aim down the sights" and melee attack. The guns are standard FPS fare without getting too interesting or unique; machine guns, sniper rifles, shotguns, pistols, revolvers and other weapons are part of your arsenal along with character mods, grenades and an inventory system. Borderlands deviates from standard FPS fare by adding in skill trees and a character specific action button; however, the skill tree and action button are fairly shallow compared to what you'd get in a typical RPG . Borderlands puts too much emphasis on your level when it comes to damage output; baddies that seem impossible to kill at your current level will become mere target practice when you level up once. In order to stop this game from becoming too much like an RPG due to the aforementioned problem, Borderlands allows you to force critical hits if you can land a shot on an enemies' weak point. However, guns feel unresponsive; even when I have my sights locked on a hostile bandit's head, sometimes I miss the shot. I'm not sure if this is a "hit chance" RPG mechanic or not, but it feels annoying regardless.

Borderlands gives you the impression of offering an open world, but in reality, gameplay is quite linear and restrictive. This is made all the more frustrating by the fact that the difficulty between story quests can be quite uneven. I waltzed through the first few quests until I ran headfirst into the brick wall that is the first miniboss. At this point, I realized that Borderlands was interested more in what gear I had than how much skill I have. I don't expect to be coddled and have my hand held through a game like Borderlands, but I don't like having to beat levels by pure luck and patience. Having to grind for hours between story quests isn't a lot of fun.

By far, the most disappointing gameplay aspect of Borderlands is the enemy AI. The baddies in this game aren't particularly bright, they don't want to seek cover, flank or use any kind of tactics; the only time they'll ever be a threat is when you're underleveled. As you progress through the game, you'll fight all manner of bandit reskins, spiders and birds; but, the game only gets interesting during the last act in terms of baddies, but I won't spoil that here.

The story is largely unimportant to the game; I'm not sure why I was running around Pandora or what I achieved when I finished the game, but it doesn't matter.

The music is forgettable and voice acting is bad. It's bad in a campy kind of way, but it does get grating after a while.

Final Recommendation: The game lasts around 20 hours and can be bought for cheap now, but I'd only suggest this if you can find a few other people to play this with.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 05/17/10, Updated 09/30/11

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


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