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Borderlands: If Fallout 3 and WoW had a baby

A multiplayer FPS RPG. Shoot things and get better stuff. Sounds awesome, right?

Set on the futuristic planet Pandora, part trash dump, part Western movie set, part desert wasteland, it kind of looks like Fallout 3, or the planet from Trigun. Your mission is to find the way to open the mythical Vault, a long sought-after treasure trove located somewhere on Pandora. On your quest, you get to kill shit, loot stuff, level up, and, you know, help out the townspeople and all that crap.

FPS element: Pick your weapons: sniper rifle, melee, shotgun, repeater pistol, revolver, SMG, combat rifle, rocket launcher, grenades. RPG element: Pick your special power: go into invincible Phasewalk mode, throw down a turret, send a hawk after your enemies, or go berserk and pummel the mobs.

Level cap is 50, and it works much like a simplified version of World of Warcraft  or Diablo. You get points for leveling that you can put into 3 skill trees. The roleplaying elements are somewhat stilted though. You can’t expect a lot of character development in a multiplayer game, because characters are already pretty much pre-built, but you can choose how to tackle obstacles with your gun and skill tree choices.

So, if you hate dealing with complicated stats and plots (ala Final Fantasy) and like the level up system of Fallout, where it’s more like perks that add to your gun and melee killing abilities rather than learning new ways of magically disposing of enemies, you’ll probably enjoy this system.

Quests are pretty standard RPG-deals; kill something, collect something, talk to someone; nothing interesting. While the multiplayer option is cool, it’s not perfect. Playing on LAN is pretty simple, but I did have a few incidents with glitched quests. I haven’t had any luck with getting an internet game going yet. Plot-wise, I feel like the game promised more than it delivered. It had some neat ideas, but it leaves you hanging at the end without really explaining anything.

The game environments are very smooth, yet somewhat uniform (I got lost fairly often). The music is highly reminiscent of a Western, and when you’re about to fight a horde or a boss, you get a nice musical cue to let you know ‘oh crap, time to take cover.’

Upsides: good leveling system, cool powers, awesome zombie island expansion.

Downsides: multiplayer has its problems, disappointing finale, somewhat limited enemies, sometimes too similar environments.

Overall, the badass gameplay makes up for the lack of narrative elements, and the multiplayer function increases its playability and replay value. Borderlands is an awesome game to pick up and play with a friend to make you feel like you’re a couple of bandits, or to solo and feel like Clint Eastwood. Welcome to Pandora– “it’s a beautiful day, full of opportunity!”


One Response

  1. This game is sick. I bought it as soon as it came out.

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