Story – Borderlands is not a story driven game. The beginning and the ending is only when cutscenes really take place and story really takes place. There are parts of the game when you get missing tapes to collect or you hear things going on over the intercom but this game lacks with story or originality. The characters you play yourselves are not speaking and are only witnessing what is going on, except when they say lines such as “Critical Hit, Biatch!”+
The story is very scarce. Basically, you are a treasure hunter searching for a place called The Vault. The Vault is meant to give you enormous riches and attention from women. These riches though are hard to find and you will figure that out, as you are searching through the massive world of Pandora. Although, the story is scarce, there are funny moments and also sad moments, which will make your spine tingle in fright. I will not give any spoilers but at times, it can be scary.
As a final note on story, the ending does feel rushed through so it does feel disappointing, when you go through the game, expecting a great ending but being slapped in the face.
Gameplay – This game is both a roleplaying game and a first person shooter. It reminds me of a game like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion but this time, it has guns. The creators of this game, Gearbox Software state that this is a new genre of video games, that have been appearing recently. It is called the RPS genre (Roleplaying Shooter) and indeed it is in many ways a roleplaying shooter. You obtain skill points and choose which weapons to use at certain times. There are various types of weapons. There are pistols, rocket launchers, shotguns, machine guns, snipers, SMG’s and another class I do not want to spoil. You also have elemental effects on some weapons such as the ability to send people on fire or electrify enemies. There are literally millions of weapons to pick up. They are randomly generated using an AI system on the game. The gameplay is a mix match of World of Warcraft, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Halo. It is like World of Warcraft because you can collect weapons or items from the people you defeat. This could be very interesting because they drop different kinds of items such as; weapons, ammo, grenade modulations or shields. Also, there is a class system. You can be; the beserker, a character, who uses their fists, the siren, a character, who uses magic, the Soldier, who has an overall balance in weapons, and the Hunter, a character who specializes on snipers. All classes have their own special moves.
Borderlands is very much like Halo in retrospect. The controls are like any other FPS and the controls of driving a vehicle is familiar as well so if you like Halo, you’d definitely be at home here. If you like role-playing games or first-person shooters, this is a game for you, in terms of game play. The game is challenging if you are playing Borderlands in single player but the good thing about this game is that, you can find help from your friends on either 2 player offline co-op or 4 player online co-op. The downside to this, is that the game is too easy, when this happens and during online, you can experience problems with voice chat…but you do get a great sense of teamwork from this experience, which is rewarding. Also, low level players can level up as there are higher level enemies on the field. This leads to another flaw in the game. You have to follow whatever the party leader is doing. You cannot do your own thing and mix around missions between yourselves.
Overall though, these flaws do not hinder the experience of attacking onslaughts of bandits heading towards you. It is incredibly fun with friends and if you want to experience a new type of FPS or RPG, pick this one up. It is a blast.
Sound – The sound in this game was amazing. The music, although not being a masterpiece, captures the atmosphere of a post apocalyptic world perfectly. The music expresses to the player the silent atmosphere of the desert land but as you are influenced in a fight, the music helps you feel under pressure against the insanity of the bandits. The voice acting is average. There are no sparks of incredible acting for the characters but you can instantly tell, the kind of character they possess from their voice. The most annoying voice from the game, which is repeated OVER and OVER again, is the character, Scooter. He is the character in the game, who spawns the vehicles for you and he always repeats the same line, “This is where cars live! Come get some!.” The sound effects in this game are incredible. Every gun has it’s own sound as you shoot towards an enemy. Minus a few hiccups such as Scooter and the car respawning center, I was deeply immersed in the game because of the sound. It was very well done.
Graphics – The visuals of this game are very unique in the spectrum of this year’s releases. The cartoon cel-shaded visuals are very ironic and influences the fact that this world is full of crazy maniacs like in Looney Tunes but gone wrong. The game lags at many times of the game, which is a shame but it fixes itself quickly so it does not affect the gameplay that much. The one thing that points out in the game is how the windmills stand out from faraway. I love how detailed the game is and how vast the expanses are. On the other hand though, the consistent desert, post apocalyptic scenery can get boring at times. Overall, it does not match the graphics of it’s competitors, Modern Warfare 2 and Uncharted 2 but it does create a sinister atmosphere, which makes you want to know what happens next.
Replayability – There are many missions on the game. The game lasts for about 20-30 hours from the beginning titles to the end credits. It is impressive, compared to other games released this year. Nevertheless, Borderlands does repeat the same mission types over and over again. There are many search and retrieve missions which do drag on. The game does have a second playthrough option, which increases the enemy’s levels, making them harder. If you like to collect items and unlock achievements, this game would last you for a long time.
As a conclusion, this game does succeed on creating a game with both role-playing and first person shooting mixed together. Although the story suffers, the gameplay itself is addictive and very fun to play through with friends or by yourself. I recommend buying this game, if you want something new to experience.