on October 20, 2009
this is my first review, hope it's helpful (feel free to leave a comment and tell me what i did wrong/right). anyway, on with the amateur ramblings!
when i first saw the trailers for Borderlands a couple of months ago, i said to myself "that looks amazing (in both the graphical and gameplay departments), but it seems to be trying way too hard". i also thought it looked like what Fallout 3 would've been if it was a FPS with RPG elements as opposed to the RPG with FPS view that it is.
as a bit of side information, i got Killzone 2 a week ago and have been playing it nonstop. i've already beaten it twice and i've spent pretty much every waking moment (to my girlfriend's annoyance) playing the campaign or the multiplayer. when i woke up today there was a delivery on my stoop. i told myself i'd open up Borderlands first (i also bought Resistance 2 and a few old school PS1 games (FFIX!)) and play it til the first save or checkpoint. this was at 11am, i'm writing this review at 11:30pm and save for going to dinner with my friends and dropping my sister off at the dorms, i've played the entire time. this game is just that engrossing and sheer fun
i don't think i can explain exactly what makes Borderlands so fantastic... there's just something about it. reviews i had seen on a few sites said that it takes a while for the game to get going and that by the 10th hour or so it really starts to be fun. well, if the game gets much more fun than this, it will be close to my game of the year. everything about Borderlands oozes style and love (meaning you can just tell how much the developers cared about this project). the pacing of the game is fantastic, the difficulty is a little up there, but it works and is never frustrating. the controls are spot on as far as responsiveness, but some of the button mapping is a bit strange (who maps fire to L2? and there doesn't seem to be a way to change it). the AI is fantastic with weapon-based enemies finding anyplace they can to duck behind and fire for cover, while the dog like creatures just get right up in your face. this can be frustrating, but it really makes you feel good when you finally blast them away.
the RPG elements are just kinda... there. while i don't think they detract from the game, i also think that they could have been implemented differently without the overall game changing on a base level. that being said, Borderlands does a great job of Diablo style leveling-up. part of the reason i couldn't stop playing is cause you're ALWAYS building up your character in some small way. it's just incredibly addictive and fulfilling. the one minor nitpick that i can throw in here is having to press square every. single. time. you wanna pick up an item. you can hold it down to pick up multiple items that are very close to each other, but you'll be pressing square A LOT. i know tehre's some things you might not want, but you spend so much time in your inventory screen anyway, they may as well have made it so you just run over something to grab it.
Borderlands sells itself on the concept of it's "87 Bazillion Guns". i've heard real estimates that say there's at least a few hundred thousand and that sure seems to be true. you'll NEVER stumble on the same gun twice. it's both a good and bad thing. obviously it's fun to try out all sorts of different combinations, but a lot more often than you'd like, you'll wind up with a weapon that, while not useless, is just pretty lame and underpowered. when you do find that perfect sniper rifle that shoots lighting, has a 500-round clip and a 120x zoom (just as one of soooo many examples), it'll all be so very worthwhile.
the rest of my nitpicks, and by the way, that's all they are, cause i don't see a single legitimate big complaint with this game, would be as follows: while the game looks cool in it's own way, it think it's almost like a cop-out art style, maybe they didn't feel like doing textures or something. there's also severe framerate issues where you're in the middle of large battles. the vehicles, which make getting around so much easier,don't handle good at all and you get less Exp when you kill an enemy with your car as opposed to being on foot. i wish there were large online multiplayer deathmatches and CoF battles and the like. i'll have to check out the online "duels" at some point, see if they almost make up for that.
when you get right down to it though, this is just an amazing game all around. the graphics have a sheen and polish that not many games have (it's fun to see little HP numbers rolling off someone as you shoot them in the face). i still think Borderlands is trying a bit too hard to be "cool" in the way a Tarentino or Guy Ritchie movie would be, but it just works anyway (much like a Guy Ritchie movie haha). in the end there's just something about Borderlands, some intangible quality, that makes it such a worthwhile experience. i haven't played the online co-op yet, so i can't speak to that, but the single player is one hell of a ride. the areas might all look a tad samey, there's only four character classes to choose from. the driving physics are pretty bad and there's not much variety in your enemies. thing is, none of that matters, Borderlands is amazing in spite of all of it's very minor flaws.
if you've ever liked an FPS, if you've ever liked level-up-fests like Diablo, etc, hell, even if you wanted more action from Fallout 3, you owe it to yourself to at least give Borderlands a chance. this, along with Killzone 2, BlazBlue, Uncharted 2, Dirt 2 (and i can only assume the new Ratchet and Clank game) is one of the top 5 best games of 2009. there's a damn good chance that this game is considerably better than any other videogame you're looking to get on Amazon... pick Borderlands immediately. you won't be let down.
enjoy. hope this helped. =)
on October 31, 2009
This game is very fun to play online! I think the single player option is nice but not the true way the game was meant to play. Its easy to pick this game up and run through a couple quests in half an hour or even join on someone else's game. the action is great and if you minimize travel time between action can be rather short. cars are fun and the addition of challenges make for a fun addition to the game. The four classes are a nice idea but the ability to develop their skill trees differently give these classes more variability.
The mods for the grenades and class skills are excellently done. Also the ability to level up in weapon skills prevents any class from being limited in weapon choice. This game has many layers to it that keep it more fresh than other MMO-type games.
i would recommend it to anyone that liked Diablo/Diablo II's action/RPG elements. The First person shooter element of this game is great!
on February 26, 2011
Let me start by saying that this really is a gorgeous game. It's also a lot of fun and simplistically unique. Usually we see Shooter elements added to an RPG, when there are plenty of people (such as myself) who would prefer a great shooter with some RPG elements instead. And that's what this game provides. It looks and plays like nothing else out there. And, as there are some RPG elements going on here, your character just feels more and more powerful every time you play. Thankfully, the game also keeps the drawn out talks and cut scenes to a minimum and presents them, instead, in the form of activity (always a plus). But there were a few areas where this game fell short for me, which keeps me from honestly being able to call it a 5 star game. Firstly, there's the split-screen coop. I was crestfallen to find that the split-screen was vertical instead of horizontal. This made everything about the coop campaign painful. You already have a very limited range of view in a first person game, without having half of that peripheral taken away. It was too easy to get lost on screen and anytime you had to read something you'd find yourself toggling the controller back and forth to show you the part of the screen that didn't fit. The map was also a disappointment. Sounds a bit nitpicky I'm sure, but since you have to do so much running from place to place in this game (which is another drawback), the map should simplify your trips. But too often it was difficult to get my bearings. And I have dealt with a great many less-than-spectacular maps before. So trust that this is a valid complaint. I didn't like that you couldn't pick things up simply by running over them. I understand WHY you can't, because you sometimes need to leave things behind for the other player (if playing 2 player), but it was still annoying. First you would reload, THEN you'd pick up the objects; often resulting in near-deaths. Another issue was the timing of things throughout the game. I hate games in which objects disappear if you don't pick them up in a certain amount of time. Sadly, that's what you should expect to find here. Certain abilities (such as your jump) were pretty gimmicky. But that didn't really take away from the experience the way it would in most other games. If you can accept these imperfections, then you will likely find that this game is worth owning. There is enough replay value and online multiplayer to keep you enjoying it long after you've beaten it. It won't be for everyone. But most people will find something to love here.
Borderlands is a heck of a lot of fun. As a guy who has played a lot of post-apocalyptic games (yes, including Wasteland/Fallout -> Fallout 3), I have to admit that Borderlands hits that nice sweet spot between pure FPS and pure RPG. In Borderlands, you pick one of four characters and get to go for a romp in a fun quasi-post apocalyptic wasteland that is part Mad Max and part Pitch Black. Basically, you are on a different planet that is a rough and tumble outback world filled with nasty aliens, rogue humans, and lots of gunfights. It's a good time.
Borderlands is not as much an RPG as Fallout 3, for example -- your character is more of a Diablo style with skill trees rather than fully customizable. Quests are also less elaborate, and a bit more on rails with areas unlocking for exploration only as you advance the plot. Borderlands also reminds one of Mass Effect for its combat heavy emphasis and shield technology, but let's get down to some specifics:
1) Guns, guns, guns. I knew Borderlands was hyping its "17 trillion guns" bit, but didn't realize quite how awesome this would be until I really got into it. It really is amazing how varied the weaponry is. With just a 20th level character, I've already found sniper rifles that launch explosive rounds, rocket launchers that set everything on fire in a 10 foot radius, scoped shotguns that put 8 slugs in a tight circle on target from 200 meters away, SMGs that fire 4 shots at a time and electrocute the target, and everything in between. A good gun can really make a difference in a fight, such as finding a strong sniper rifle early, or getting a machine gun with a +60 round magazine that lets you walk up to someone and put a hundred rounds into their face. Sometimes enemies drop guns, but more often you'll find yourself giddy as you open a sealed gun case and see a gleaming new rifle. Really addictive.
2) Weapon proficiencies. Instead of putting points into weapons skills as you level up, you gain bonuses for them the more you use them. This is more realistic and a lot more fun, since it gives you a way to reinforce your powers through use. Clearing a few caves with a shotgun will quickly net you added weapon bonuses that really pay off. Separately you can also (starting at level 5) put points into your skill trees, so you can get some nice cumulative overlap.
3) Second wind. One great concept is the "second wind" -- when you get KO'd, you get a few seconds to kill one of your foes and get a "second wind" that pops you back onto your feet. This is particularly nice when you get overrun by mutant dogs or flying enemies without warning. In a number of fights, I killed nearly every foe only to have the last couple take me down at close range. With a second wind, you manage to survive -- and it is extremely gratifying.
4) Level resets. One nice feature is that quitting and reloading the game resets all the areas, so you can farm areas repeatedly for EXP, different guns, and the like. This lets you level up if you are having problems, make money, and get those weapons you wanted.
Now, a few negatives:
1) No armor. Your character gets a wide array of selections between guns, grenades, and shield generators. However, there is no other armor in the game. This seems like a big oversight and cuts into the customizability of your character a fair amount. It would be nice to have slightly less guns in exchange for boots, gloves, helmets etc.
2) Level-specific foes. Enemies have a high respawn rate and scale somewhat based on your level. This usually works fine, although you will face a lot of dangerous and accurate enemies. One problem however is that you seem to do less damage against higher level enemies. In particular, if a foe is much stronger than you, your weapons do almost no damage, while theirs will destroy you. This might be an effort to keep your level growth under control, but you usually find out through trial and error. I had a character go up a level in the middle of a fight, and he went from doing 20 damage to some high level raiders to doing over 100. It was pretty strange.
3) The graphics in the game are interesting and appealing, but there are some unfortunate bug effects. Despite a nice strong jumping ability, it is possible to get stuck in the terrain, which can also effect enemies. NPC scripts can sometimes get broken if interrupted by fights or the like, usually requiring a reload (for example, I've had that little droid from the start of the game freeze up a few times, meaning you can't get through a gate and the game is basically broken).
4) There are vehicles you can drive around in, which is another nice feature. They also make good heavy weapons platforms if you are having problems with higher level monsters. However they are also a little buggy -- I had one simply blow up for no reason (and with full shields), and another get stuck on some rocks that wouldn't let me exit and required a reload. And reloads take forever.
All in all, Borderlands is a fun game with much to recommend itself. Popping people with a sniper rifle and then cleaning up with a shotgun or assault rifle is a simple joy that is endlessly repeated. If you're looking for a FPS with character development, or an RPG with lots of fighting, this is your game.
on October 29, 2009
If you could only describe a game in one word, that word would be "insane." I've just stayed up till 7:30am and it was all worth it. It's like Killzone2 frantic and the RPG elements of the first Baulder's Gate on PS2. I'm a level 28 soldier. Now the weapons are insane, I've had a shotgun that shot rockets, an SMG with explosive rounds, an SMG with a four spread shot so each round is four projectiles, a heavy machine gun with fire rounds, and a revolver with 303 damage and zoom scope (meaning it's my sniper rifle for medium range, HAND CANNON!). The only thing that sucks is if you have a rocket launcher it has no hit detection (if you think your going to hit a target aim at the ground at its feet, its the only way to cause damage, GEARBOX please send us all a patch!).
Other than that, see you on the Pandora on PS3.
on July 3, 2012
I played this for a few weeks and haven't played it since. My friends where really into it and I did enjoy it but it's so repetitive and the monsters just keep spawning so I feel like I don't make any progress. I'd rather spend my time playing an RPG or Call Of duty I guess.
==What I was expecting==
After all the hype and reviews I was expecting a ripe-off, albeit a fairly good one, of Fallout 3. Of course, Diablo II with it's randomly generated baddies and weapons (and drops in general) was also mentioned. Seeing as how I played Diablo II and its expansion quite a bit when they were released, and absolutely enjoyed Fallout 3 (purchasing all of the DLC and even getting into the double-digit levels for a second evil/neutral player), this sounded like something I would enjoy. One thing I wasn't sure about was the first-person aspect, having a generally weak stomach for 'twitch' games.
Because of this I decided to hold off until the price dropped, after a handful of months. But as I had a coupon that I wanted to use towards a game (since I was in one of those moods where I just needed something new to play) I decided to pick this up.
==What I got==
A pleasant surprise. Having just beaten the game after playing for around 2 weeks (with two batches of the flu in there) this is probably one of my favorite games of the last year; definitely in the top 5.
Borderlands has a fairly robust skill tree, for each of the four character classes, similar to Diablo II versus Fallout 3; the former having a small set of skills, within a couple of skill trees, that you can increase in skill, and the latter having a wide variety of skills, without too much in the way of skills requiring other skills. This makes it extremely simple, ignoring the decisions you have to make when gaining new skill points, to work with this element. In fact, the decision making process is fairly flexible, as you can always reset your skill points (without losing any) to try a different style.
Having played a game with a skill implemention like this, I'll honestly have a slightly harder time going back to games that don't allow you to reset (although within the story this element makes sense).
Speaking of story, it's actually much better than what I thought it would be, after the various reviews. The ending seems a bit abrupt, but everything is tied together, so it may be more an issue with the open-endness of the game. Which brings us to mission structure.
There are seemingly well over a hundred missions, only a small quantity of which are required to advance the story. The rest serve to help increase your level (more on this later) to what is required for the story missions. Generally they tie into the story enough that it makes sense to just do them, especially for the rewards (whether you're going to just sell them or not).
Back-tracking, an essential element of RPGs, is present in this game, but isn't too bad once you gain access to an 'instant-travel network.' With enemy respawns being fairly quick (approximately two in-game days, which seems to be less than an hour) and vehicles available for most large areas, the travel isn't tedious.
Borderlands is a fairly standard FPS, made interesting by the art style it uses and the plethora of weapon choices. While there are a handful of weapon types, most weapons are randomly generated, making it fairly hard in the beginning and middle of the game to choose just four weapons (the most you can have equipped). Generally you'll probably have at least one or two kept in your backpack to swap in.
This randomization and weapon type scope is what really makes this aspect of the game interesting, in my opinion. But when you add in class-specific skills, you end up with something completely more. In fact, I think it's fairly easy to miss out on the importance of your core skills, often forgetting to use them. I personally didn't use my character's skill all that often until near the end of the game, and having played with others online, that seems to be fairly common for lower-level first-timers. Perhaps that just serves to show the deepness of this game.
As already mentioend, I have a hard time with FPS games usually, if they're twitch. While Borderlands can be, generally you survey the area and come up with some kind of plan; rushing straight at enemies at or above your level is suicide.
Which brings us to the level aspect. Each enemy has a set level, excluding one-off mission-related enemies, which is consistent throughout the game. Higher level enemies give great rewards, but are also more difficult. This is the same with the quests/missions. Thankfully there's almost no grinding required (although I should note that I did all optional missions in addition to the story-related ones). Experience also changes based on this, so targeting lower level enemies eventually becomes near useless.
Death is interesting in this, allowing you to get a 'second wind' if you kill an enemy before you bleed out. Failing that, a certain amount of money is deducted and you are resurrected at the nearest 'station' (saying no more in case of minor spoilers) ready to go back up against them.
Borderlands offers on- and offline cooperative play. Offline coop is okay, with the split screen (side-by-side) a little hard to use. Online multiplayer (using Playstation Network) was fairly quick and without issue. You can choose what game you join, making it fairly easy to find a group at your level (or higher/lower if you so choose). (Unlike on Xbox, Playstation owners typically don't have mics, so I can't comment on communication.)
Having let my Xbox Live Gold subscription lapse a few weeks ago, online multiplayer was actually the reason I picked this up for the Playstation 3; surprising since I usually don't care too much about online play with games.
With a new game plus mode (keep everything, replay the story again with enemy levels increased) and four classes, as well as the online multiplayer and two currently DLC (with one more in the works), replayability is pretty high. Once I finish the DLC and a few upcoming games - Mass Effect 2, BioShock 2, and probably Heavy Rain - I'll be back on Pandora.
Overall, Borderlands is, again, one of the top 5 games I've played in the last year (in no particular order, Fallout 3, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Lost Odyssey, with Batman: Arkham Asylum getting bumped). A good, long, game, with an interesting story, and high replayability means I give Borderlands 5 of 5 stars.
on January 9, 2014
Addicted to this game. For those who like the first person style shoot 'em up games, this is a great buy. I personally don't like many games like this, but this is an exception. I love the half realistic, half comic book type graphics on this game. The beginning is a little slow, so don't get discouraged when all your shooting is skags (dog-like creatures). Soon you will be going up against all kinds of men and monsters alike. Tons of guns to choose from, as well as characters. I can sit there and play this game for hours and hours. Recommend to any and all gamers out there!
on August 25, 2011
I bought this game (like most games) about 2 years after it came out. I just finished up with a somewhat disappointing Bioshock 2, and was looking for anything that wasn't a sequel to something I had played before. In spite of the comments from other reviewers that it was like Fallout3 with some more action (I liked Fallout3, but it was my intro to the Fallout franchise) and my resolution not to play sequels, I picked this up at it's current bargain price.
The artwork for outdoor settings is great. Unlike anything else I've played. Indoor settings don't match the outdoor slickness, and are mostly just OK.
Warning: strategy discussion pro/con below may be considered minor spoiler, or more like walk-through material.
The RPG aspect is OK. I didn't start playthrough 2, instead chosing to start playthrough 1 again with a different character. Definitely the different characters require different combat styles to be most effective. Also the active skill trees are hard to predict which branch has most value to develop, and rebalancing skill points occassionally creates some interest and variety in combat style.
The vehicles actually handle quite well, but there's a knack for it that took me a perhaps embarassing amount of time to figure out. If you just put the cross hairs where you want to go and hit the throttle that's where you go. Because the throttle is on L joystick I had a hard time overcoming the normal PS3 move/turn on L, slide on R, kind of control scheme, to have L be just move, and R be turn.
The other aspect that took a little to figure out was strategy for levelling up. Be very selective about the order of the missions/bounties. The difficulty rating is *relative* to your current level. As you level up impossible ones become hard, hard ones become tough, tough becomes normal, and normal becomes trivial. It's much easier to tackle the trivial/normal ones first to level up, until the hard ones drop in difficulty. I discovered this only after my first multiple death experience going up against the same scenario.
Enemies respawn more frequently than loot.
You spend WAY WAY WAY too much time in the inventory screen. Inventory is limited, all the guns are different, and there's a huge variety of shields and grenades, so it's non-trivial to manage having the best guns for different enemies, best grenades, etc.
Saving at save points or manually via exit says "saving all progress" but not really. You get to keep all your loot, but you go back to the beginning of the mission or sometimes a different close-by save station, and you have to re-fight some of the same battles again (seen enemies respawn comment).
Some of the boss battles are tedious. Bosses don't move very fast generally but take huge damage to kill (unless you've over-levelled) so you can spend minutes with fairly repetitive combat to get past them.
Overall a fun game, and one you can easily spend hours without dying once you learn a few small tricks, and the artwork for the outdoor scenes really is great. I might have to reconsider my "no sequels" rule in another 2 years when borderlands 2 is at bargain prices!
on May 3, 2016
My husband and I loved playing this split screen co-op version of Borderlands, along with quite a lot of downloadable content.
We are already into Borderlands 2 and it's a blast! If you're looking for a split screen or couch co-op game this is your game.
The graphics are good and the game play is smooth. We have been taking our good sweet time and savoring every mission.
Warning..it's totally addictive! ;-)