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Borderlands Review (Playstation 3)
Review Score:

Borderlands E3 Screenshot 4 Borderlands Review (Playstation 3)

Yep, another first person shooter to add to the pile, the classic ‘run about a bit, chuck a grenade, shoot some guys, reload, shoot some more guys, die, respawn’ affair has been recycled an unbelievable amount of times over the years, and with the release and guaranteed success of Modern Warfare 2 on top of us like a ton of bricks, I am expecting another flood of FPS games in years to come. Borderlands, however, is different, it’s still a first person shooter in the sense but has a huge amount of elements that set it on an island in the ocean of generic games.

The game plays a lot like a cross between fallout’s RPG elements, Far Cry 2’s action and realism when it comes down to shooting, and about as much fun as GTA4 online with a whole party of friends, beer and helicopters. The RPG elements of the game shouldn’t put off fans of FPS games too much, as the game has been labelled a new genre. A RPS (Role Playing Shooter) and seeing as the RPG parts are mostly in the upgrading your stats (making for more action in the shooting elements) and switching up to some big guns (no really, a shotgun that fires missiles for example.) With over 16.8 Million guns in the game, it’s no wonder how there’s always something new every time you play. Enemies are levelled, and can often be challenging if you are below them, but there’s always something else to train up on (which doesn’t get boring) and enemies will always have a Diablo 2 like drop system, be it money, ammo or more weapons, varying in rarity and firepower.

GamesCom 15 Borderlands Review (Playstation 3)

Graphically the game is an absolute stunner, the cell shading and cartoony style is pulled off extremely well, and I honestly don’t think it would have the same amount of charm, humour, and be able to get away with being so over the top if it was a super realistic 3D affair. The characters are well designed and look individual, they also look like their speciality, for example, Mordecai, the sniper, looks like a hunter compared to the ‘berserker’ Brick, who looks like a pure meathead. Enemies tend to look evil and pretty scary and as do the weird and wonderful creatures of Borderlands. Pandora (the planet the game is set on) is a character of its own, with amazing landscapes, well designed towns and cities, and a truly huge amount of stuff to do, from hunting down bandits, to shooting giant bird shit off of a wind turbine (seriously.) The guns in the game have an unbelievable amount of detail, each one is unique and more importantly, looks awesome. The effects are nice, with bright green acid shooting out of corrosive guns, crisp cartoony flames from fire guns, and purple balls of death from Eridian weapons. There are vehicles in the game, but not many, the ones that are present look rugged, beaten up and realistic, but more about the vehicles later. WARNING TO ALL YOU SENSITIVE TYPES OUT THERE: THIS GAME CONTAINS GORE, and lots of it, but it’s not to be taken seriously, and to be honest in pretty funny in a non sick way, because its pulled off in cartoon, it’s not much different to say, Happy Tree Friends, however the crucial difference between them is that Borderlands is fun. The first headshot I got on a Bandit with a sniper rifle, was one of those moments where you say out loud, ‘O SHIT’ then giggle with glee like a school girl, this also happened the first time I played crash mode in Burnout. (Is it only me that experiences this?)

After playing lots of missions in the game I can officially say, that I didn’t find a single one of them boring, and if there was a tough one (and believe me there are a few) it’s easy enough to just go off and explore, or do a mission from one of the many bounty boards in the game so that you can level up or get some better weapons. Levelling up and doing side missions in this game doesn’t feel like you are grinding, so much as just taking a break from the unbelievable amount of action. The storyline is well written, introduces you to some ‘interesting’ characters (Crazy Earl springs to mind) and more information is often found in the side quests throughout the game. Story missions are plenty and offer a new challenge with each one, which is something nice and refreshing in an FPS game.

GamesCom 3 Borderlands Review (Playstation 3)

This game has a few things wrong with it, the first noticeable thing is pop in of textures, especially when loading a save game or entering a new area, despite noticeable, but not too long loading times. Enemies can be overpowering if you aren’t exactly the same or above level as them, this can make things frustrating if you’re new to the game, but once you know your characters limits, it’s not a problem. One part of the game that really gave me problems whilst playing on my own was Sledges Safehouse, it’s an indoor section with tight, winding corridors, loads of enemies, and unfair spawning (I died so many times that the enemies began to respawn around the respawn point I unlocked, meaning I was getting shotgunned, set on fire, and having everything thrown at me every time I spawned.) As I mentioned before I would go into the vehicles more, unfortunately it’s in this section, the driving is basic to say the least and unfortunately there are very little to no physics in the cars, sure you can pull off jumps, go pretty fast and all, but you can pretty much drive up the side of walls, which isn’t too much of a deal, but the entire driving mechanic seems rushed.

The online in the game, is incredibly fun and even if you are only playing with one other person, the whole thing gets pretty chaotic and before you know it there will be grenades, rockets, snipers, explosions, blood, laughing down headsets and then the unfortunate having to leave your new online friends. If you have a few of your mates who own the game, then that’s brilliant, as long as they are the same level as you, otherwise you will be constantly reviving them and vice versa if they are higher. Having more than one player makes enemies slightly stronger and improves the drops you get from enemies. If you have a bad connection or connect to a bad host the worst thing that can happen is that buttons will become unresponsive and lag, but the game will carry on fine and look nice, it will just be unplayable.

To finish up, Borderlands is a game that is incredibly addicting, it will keep you occupied for a long time, with the vast exploration, the various side missions and the brilliant story, even the hope of finding a bigger gun every time. I personally want to thank 2K Games and Gearbox for making a first person shooter, that everybody else in the genre can learn from, and one that rises above the average generic games out there.

-Dean Case

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Rating: 8.4/10 (5 votes cast)
Borderlands Review (Playstation 3), 8.4 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
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