Tag Archive: Borderlands


Read the full in-depth review HERE

Developed By: 2K Games
Platform: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Players:1-2 (split-screen)
Online: 4 Player Co-Op

What It’s All About:
Welcome to Pandora, a bandit-ridden wasteland that draws the attention of off-world scavengers for one reason: The Vault. The Vault is a mysterious structure that is believed to hold the most powerful and wealthiest treasures in the universe, and everyone from scavengers to fortune seeking global corporations wants to get their hands inside. This is the setting you will find yourself wading through with Gearbox’s latest title Borderlands, a FPS meets RPG.

What It Did Right:

  • Great character development
  • Unique art design
  • Reward system
  • Fantastic Gunplay

What Brings It Down:

  • Vehicle Control
  • Lonely, anti-social single player experience
  • Cock slap of an ending

The Final Verdict:

Borderlands succeeds as a perfectly balanced combination of the RPG and FPS genres. Along with it’s unique gameplay style, it boasts an art design that makes Pandora come alive and will keep calling you back to the bandit ridden wastelands. With satisfying character development and an impressive arsenal of weapons, this game will keep you busy for a long time. There are a few places that the game could be improved, especially when it comes to the anti-social and lonely nature of it’s single player experience. All in all, Borderlands is a great title that is well worth checking out.

8/10

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Written By Stephen Heller

Welcome to Pandora, a bandit-ridden wasteland that draws the attention of off-world scavengers for one reason: The Vault. The Vault is a mysterious structure that is believed to hold the most powerful and wealthiest treasures in the universe, and everyone from scavengers to fortune seeking global corporations wants to get their hands inside. This is the setting you will find yourself wading through with Gearbox’s latest title Borderlands. While the lands of Pandora are hostile, they are filled with a rewarding and unique experiences that leave you with a sense of something new, but it’s not always smooth sailing.

Pandora is a desert wasteland, but it manages to bring with it a unique and eye-catching visual style. Not quite cell-shaded but definitely cartoon feel graphics will remind you of similarly styled titles, laying somewhere in between No More Heroes or XIII, and adds an edge that makes the game truly stand out and feel alive. The devil is in the details, and Borderlands is never one to skip on the little things. Some areas of the Pandora map do look alike, but there are enough distinct differences to ensure that the world doesn’t just blend together and become a blur.

It’s not only the setting of Borderlands that makes for a interesting journey, it’s the one of four characters you will making the journey as that will keep the title fresh as each character brings their own abilities and charm into the journey. The Hunter can release a vicious bird of prey, The Soldier can deploy a bad-ass machine-gun turret, The Siren can go into stealth mode and stalk their prey and The Beserker goes bat shit crazy and delivers skull crushing punches to his enemies. These abilities are unlocked early into the piece, but you will continue to upgrade your skills, and you will customize them strategically to suit your playing style.

Upgrading your character’s skill set is one of the most rewarding experiences in Borderlands. It’s simple, kill enemies and complete missions to earn EXP points, this in turn levels you up. Upon completing bonus missions or simply hitting certain levels you will also be granted Skill Points that can be used to upgrade your skill set. Along with improving your skill set and leveling up you will gain weapon proficiency as you use different types of weapons. That’s not to say that a Beserker can’t use a sniper rifle, yet when he has better ability using a rocket launcher why not capitalise on that opportunity?

While leveling up and increasing your skill set is one way that Borderlands constantly rewards you, looting is just as much fun! Cash, guns, ammo and other bits and bobs are dropped by enemies, found in containers, piles of rubbish or given to you as a quest rewards. Borderlands ensures you are never short of new toys, especially when it comes to the weapons of the game. Guns are put into categories such as Pistols, Combat Rifles, Rocket Launcher etc, and each class feels perfectly weighted and distinct. The shooting mechanics are right on the money, everything feels just as it should which makes it fun to blast your opponents down with each and every weapon in the game, and there are an impressive number of them. Each weapon has some variables to take into consideration such base damage, fire rate, accuracy etc and certain weapons have some exciting, unique features. Shotguns that shoot rockets anyone? How about some incendiary guns to set some bad guys on fire? These are just some of the fun ideas that Borderlands throw into the mix with their weapons.

You’ll be quick to utilize the vast abundance of weaponry as you soon realise that 99% of the general population of Pandora is hostile. Enemies are varied and interesting and will be sure to keep you on your toes. There are the human bandits that have shields and guns, Psychos who light themselves on fire and run at you, the dog like Skags who are ready to bite your jugular, Rakks that are giant bat like creatures, the list goes on. You’ll literally encounter hundreds of each enemy type and this goes a long way to keeping the game feeling fresh and full of variety.

You’ll also be quick to notice that Pandora has a whole lot of room to wander around in, so luckily you gain the ability to get into some vehicles and drive around. Some areas are more fun to walk around on two legs, but there is nothing like some vehicular manslaughter to bring a smile to your dial. The problem is that the handling of these vehicles are somewhat touchy, and there are a number of strange physics issues, especially when cashing into rocks and walls. It’s not a deal breaker, but it certainly is an issue.

The other issue Borderlands presents to us is that it’s simply not as much fun to tackle this journey alone as it is with a group of mates. Borderlands performs like a completely different title when played online. The pacing, the frantic combat and the fun factor is all brought to a new high, and once playing multiplayer you simply cannot go back to traversing the lands alone. Thankfully for those who don’t have online access there is a split screen option, and I’d suggest you make good use of it so you can enjoy this game as it was intended to be played.

The driving force of Borderlands is the incentives of leveling up, killing enemies, gathering loot and playing with guns. There are a number of quests that try to put a reason on why you are going to point A, collecting item and taking it to point B but the main reason is to level up. The few friendly characters who do offer quests often have a sense of humor that will stick in your mind long after you’ve left them behind and headed onto the next area. The fact that these characters are few and far between further go to prove that this is meant to be a multiplayer experience, a social experience. For the single player out there, Pandora is a lonely place.

The Final Verdict:

Borderlands succeeds as a perfectly balanced combination of the RPG and FPS genres. Along with it’s unique gameplay style, it boasts an art design that makes Pandora come alive and will keep calling you back to the bandit ridden wastelands. With satisfying character development and an impressive arsenal of weapons, this game will keep you busy for a long time. There are a few places that the game could be improved, especially when it comes to the anti-social and lonely nature of it’s single player experience. All in all, Borderlands is a great title that is well worth checking out.

What It Did Right:

  • Great character development
  • Unique art design
  • Reward System
  • Fantastic Gunplay

What Brings It Down:

  • Vehicle control
  • Lonely, anti-social single player experience
  • Cock slap of an ending

8/10