Borderlands Review

I’m not a huge fan of RPG’s, to be honest, but so far I am enjoying 2K’s Borderlands. I’m not too sure where the dislike for the genre came from, I think it was the fact that I had to put so much time into the game that my, then, young mind couldn’t handle. Wanting a more varied gaming library may have caused my gaming mind to “mature” and become more patient with these games. I don’t know, either way this game has me hooked.

One of the main attractions of this game for me was the genre-melding FPS gameplay which is mixed with the behind the scenes RPG levelling systems. I have found the different weapons, and their stats, to be a big part of my experience in the game; having the game force me to use something new because the old weapon just won’t deal enough damage. I have to learn how to use the new weapon most effectively; how to conserve ammo with it and even when to use it.

Though, if you don’t get a better weapon periodically you can fall behind compared to the various enemies. Its all based on luck and if you find a better weapon. Of course there is a damage multiplier that rises with each level. But this requires being several levels higher than the cohorts of nasty shooty-bity things.

The Graphics are quite different compared to Fallout 3, Final Fantasy, or most games for that matter. The Cell Shaded style just differentiates this game from the others. The graphics are light, airy and easy to look at; even though they use a very brown pallet in the villages and outposts that I have ventured through, though this does reflect the rundown nature of the world. The draw distance is decent, and there are a multitude of different textures for weapons, the world and the various creatures. Its evident that Gearbox put some effort into this title.

Talking about effort, the sound is good, good enough to get me to download the main theme off of iTunes. What? It’s catchy. The rest of the sound effects in the game seem pretty varied, all of the weapons have slightly different sounds and the voice acting is decent. considering how big this game is and how many different people they would have had to of hired then I’m surprised that the sound development team didn’t push the budget of the game all on its own. Almost every NPC you encounter has something to say, all sounding different apart from the Claptraps. Well, i think they can get away with a few monotonous sounding robots.

There are a few niggles that I have found so far. I don’t like the driving, there is nothing wrong with the vehicles on the game, it’s the mapping of the controls that have destroyed it for me. It just feels really weird to drive, especially for the first 15-30 minutes. It’s not imposable to get on with, yet I maintain that the I would be a better driver with the controls mapped to more “sensible” buttons. Driving aside, the vehicles and effects are well modeled even if there are only a small number of vehicles compared to the huge mass of weapons, it would be nice to see more but the few that are in here do the job well enough.

The jumping seems too airy and light for me, of course its a different planet to earth so gravity might be different and other physics related things. But for me it doesn’t feel right jumping 7 foot into the air. Also, falling from heights is a problem. It might harm you in the lower levels but once you get up above, say, level 10 and have a decent shield then it feels like there is no falling damage; creating the effect that you just float back down to Terra firma.

Even with these niggles, I like this game. I think I’ll be finding myself returning to it to get the most I can out of its expansive environment. So, to the scores!

Sound – 8

Graphics – 8

Gameplay – 9

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