Developer: Gearbox Software
Release Date: 10/20/2009
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The Good: Flawlessly executed, lots of guns, huge world, lots of missions, neat art style, addictive, awesome co-op
The Bad: Almost no story or dialog, repetitive, short, art style is wasted on bland environments
The newest RPG hybrid is probably FPS hybrids and since these are so new Borderlands can be considered one of the first to perfect it. While Fallout 3 holds the crown let’s just say Borderlands is the prince. If you have had a hard time grasping FPS/RPG hybrids then let me put it simply for you.
Like in traditional RPGs you have elemental attacks. In Borderlands you have these and they consist of corrosion, explosive, fire, and lightning. Some guns can be fused with elemental powers so i.e. a lightning combat rifle will deplete enemies with shields faster than just a normal rifle. A shotgun with corrosive powers can kill creatures faster than a gun with lightning powers.
Another element that you should be familiar with is stats. Just like TRPGs Borderlands has damage, hit accuracy on weapons. You get shields that have certain aspects such as when they deplete they send a wave of corrosive acid, or they recharge faster or give you a health boost etc. You also get grenade mods which change the way your grenades act just like guns. There are also specific class mods that can increase some of your stats even further. Additionally, each character has a specific ability they can use and you can equip special spheres that add attributes to this ability. Sound like a TRPG so far? What about enemies? They too have levels and shields and the damage you deal with them will bounce off of them in a series of numbers along with the experience you get once they are killed.
There are a lot of little tidbits such as the money system, you can purchase items or upgrades at vending machines, saving clap trap robots can give you more storage space, there are healing items, when you kill an enemy you can loot them, you can also loot the dungeons you enter or the open world. See, it still sounds like a TRPG. What makes it different? Just add guns, a vehicle you can drive and shoot from, and a fast travel system. The way to play in all this fun is co-op. More players+harder enemies=better loot. Good math in my book.
This sounds fine and dandy like nothing can go wrong, but Borderlands has its issues. While the game play is actually pretty flawless with lots of guns such as rocket launchers, combat rifles, SMGs, and revolvers etc. The content is very thin. There isn’t much to do but run around the barren wasteland completing the 150+ side missions and 50+ story missions. There is hardly a story or any dialog. You’re just running around trying to find this Vault with some special treasure. All the loot is the same and even the storage bins you find them in getting’s boring to see after awhile. While the game has a pretty neat cartoony graphic style everything is brown and boring and it makes the neat art style put to waste.
The difficulty isn’t something to complain about since it increases as you level up. Each area has to load separately and the load times are longer than they should be. Most of the side missions vary from scavenger hunts to killing people, looting, and more killing, but the core game play is really shallow, but the stuff it’s wrapped around is flawless. This game is really meant for people who just want a straight forward shooter with some more depth and a twist. While it does feel more arcadey than Fallout 3 and more pick up and play it just doesn’t have that charm and amazing feeling to it. Borderlands is executed well but just needs more filling to make it superb. However, the game is highly addictive and even though you know you’re doing the same thing over and over again you never get tired of it. The game has a level 50 cap and can be completed 100% in less than 20 hours, so Borderlands is a great purchase for any shooter fan.