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Borderlands Member Review for the Xbox360

TheDiesel By:
GENRE Shooter 
DEVELOPER Gearbox Software 
M Contains Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Strong Language

What do these ratings mean?

Borderlands Review [PC Version]

Over three years in development, a complete overhaul in graphics, and a slogan of 87 Bazillion guns:
Borderlands is sure making a name for itself across the board.  Dubbed a "Role Playing Shooter", how will this unique hybrid play against the bigger titles in this Fall lineup?

Right when you jump in the game, you'll be given a backstory of the plot of Borderlands: on the planet of
Pandora, a vault with unlimited power, riches, and awesomeness is opened once every 200 years; and you are on this miserable looking planet to open that Vault and obtain those riches.  With this they have created an over 20+ hour experience, but it doesn't total the fact that plot is pretty paper thin.  Sure the fact that the reason you're on the planet to get to the Vault does not help the fact you're going to forget about the plot about halfway through.  You'll do main missions pertaining to the Vault, but most of the time you're going around doing random quests to continue the story.  Much to blame is the fact they couldn't keep the story in check, the other reason is the game is so much fun, you'll probably not care about the story whatsoever.

Borderlands feels like the story was stapled on with what they worked on the most, the gameplay.  One
of their biggest showings was their take on RPG's and FPS's, constructing a mix of fast paced FPS action with the skills and development of RPGs.  Starting with the FPS portion of the game, they hit this point fantastically.  No need for hot-keying spells when you can run around with an assortment of weapons that feel like they mean business and do damage like they mean business.  The guns are diverse and all really fun to use; with the critical hits and sounds of the guns and what they can do to a human body, or mutant, is very gratifying.  Plus, when they give you a line of "87 Bazillion" guns, they aren't kidding.  Using a generation system that represents Diablo II's weapon system, you're given guns of every look and stature: from Rocket Launchers that shoot five rockets at once to Shotguns that actually shoot rockets, you'll find almost a different weapon every map you venture into.  It definitely makes the looting process of the game interesting and fun to enjoy knowing you have no clue what gun is going to pop up.  Add shields, grenade mods, and class mods to go with it and you have a bunch of loot with your name on it waiting for you to get your grimy hands all over.

The RPG elements of Borderlands though, feel a little lacking compared to the FPS elements.  Almost
in an attempt to be able to run the RPG name in their game, you have the ability to gain 50 levels, apply skills, and have different stats for your weapons.  While leveling up is pretty self-rewarding, most of the skills are pretty minuscule and don't really feel like they have a big impact on the character.  While skills like, when fully skilled, can give up to 50% more damage after a kill; but most others will do little to your character to really help out.  The weapons will all have different abilities to them, including higher zooms, better recoil reduction, and burst fire possibilities, and many more.  The weapons come in different rarities as well, though it's weird how some un-commons will be miles better than some epics, doesn't really make much sense when that happens.

When you're playing through the game, you'll notice the interesting and gorgeous graphics implemented
in Borderlands; deciding the cel shaded graphics instead of the normal CG graphics [which they were using back in early development, you can tell the difference throughout the game via the tutorial lady] was a smart idea on Gearbox's part since it does give the game a lighter tone and essentially make itself stand out in the crowd of MMO games.  Along with the tone of the graphics giving it a more modern and crazy look, the dialogue of the game fits right in with the style of Borderlands.  Strong language, pop culture references, and penis jokes litter the world of Pandora and most of it is really funny and will have you reading the little info boxes for the mission just to see if you'll get another laugh or two.  But the weird thing about the graphics and the dialogue is that it does not fit the storyline whatsoever.  With a story of trying to exceed riches beyond wildest dreams and traveling across the edges of the galaxy to get this once in a lifetime opportunity, having people crack jokes and whatnot doesn't fit the tone of the story, though it fits the game well.  It doesn't help the believability of the story, and just feels like you're there to shoot stuff, level up, and maybe get that thing you were coming for while you're at it.

While you're shooting your way through Pandora, you'll often come to recognize the one most guilty
aspect of Borderlands as a whole: it feels rushed.  Across the land you'll come across enemies with "(none)" as their name, collision problems that can force you to restart the game, typos everywhere, and the game crashing quite frequently.  It's never a good feeling being stuck in a corner with no way to get out, or checking something on the internet only to realize your game crashed completely and whatever your quest was you have to start over again.  Though the maps in Borderlands may be quite big, it's unsatisfactory for this amount of bugs, glitches, and overall problems to be around scattered about.  It almost makes you wonder if they even tested this game thoroughly before shipping out.

All-in-All, Borderlands is a fun and addictive game to be played for hours upon end with your friends; but
only if you can bypass the paper thin plot, the constant problems, and the rushed feel.  This game is the pure definition of a diamond in the rough: if only they took some more time to polish the edges and test for quality, they would have had themselves a truly bright gem.

  • + FPS/RPG Hybrid Works
  • + Addictive as Hell
  • + Great Co-op
  • + Diverse Loot
  • - Near No Plot
  • - Some Lacking Skills
  • - Feels Rushed
  • - Game Breaking Problems

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