(Slightly) Old Video Game Review: Borderlands

What a surprise this game was.  Everything was great, from the storyline to the graphics to the gameplay.  It was an amazing experience everyone should try to experience.  A first-person, RPG isn’t unheard of, but a rare finding in video games of late.  And…it was a good thing Gearbox Software did a damn good job giving the gamer a damn good game to play.

First off, the story.  It is a simple science fiction story arc you can follow without being bored, yet somewhat get involved into it.  The story isn’t deep, but deep enough to keep you finding out what is going to happen next.  The story starts you off as a treasure hunter on a planet called Pandora.  You are involved in finding a mysterious vault that hold vast riches and fame, but you aren’t the only one looking for it.  There are mercenaries to raiders to corporate armies you have to fight to not only survive, but get inside the legendary vault.  Besides the humans, you have to compete with the natural wildlife that also hinder your way to the treasure.  A simple, yet engaging story to keep you interested enough to plow on through the game.  The characters you play are…voiceless really, never really saying anything but a few lines after blowing someones head off or the constant grunt the character makes while jumping.  The NPCs are what really shines in this game.  Claptrap is my favorite of all of them, the quick witty lines and the cute whimpers as it runs off scared.  The others are pretty fun to listen to, but in the end, they are out shined by Claptrap.

Claptrap has the best lines ever.

The gamer can choose either on becoming a soldier class (with abilities on deploying sentries to fight and protect you), siren class (where you can phase from one dimension and back), hunter class (where you can send your pet hawk to fuck shit up), or berserker class (where you just beat the shit out of every little thing with your hands).  The berserker and hunter class are irrelevant to me as the berserker needs to get up close and personal to kill, while the other just snipes away.  The soldier and siren class get a lot of action, which makes those classes fun.

BOOM! HEADSHOT!

The combat is excellent as you are using various weapons to take out various foes.  I usually stuck with the typical SMGs, combat rifles, shotguns, and sniper rifles.  There are a couple more weapons from repeaters (pistols), revolvers, rocket launchers, grenades, and Eridian weapons (alien weaponry), but I seldom used those weapons.  An RPG element implemented in Borderlands allows players to play in a specific way by leveling certain weaponry by using it.  The more you use a weapon, the more efficient you are at that specific weapon.  Each weapon received or found has unique stats and elemental properties.  Also, there were a good number of gun manufacturers that provided hints on what kind of weaponry you are receiving.  The number of weapons found are enormous.  There seems to be an infinite different number of guns that have different stats and properties.  Which led to the next great part of the game…hoarding.

GUNS, BULLETS, AND MONEY! BUT MOSTLY GUNS!

If you like collecting and hoarding in game items, well this is definitely a game you want to play.  Like Diablo, you will be running around trying to find the best shields for defense for you (and teammates if you like playing online or co-op) and weapons for offense to beat your enemies senselessly.  You will be collecting a lot of guns and money, and I do mean A LOT. Money to buy some more guns, bullets, shields, mods, health, and explosives.  Finding guns and other goodies are the best part.  Some are super rare and others are common (colors indicate what is rare or not).  Some weapons are completely useless and some are utterly freaking awesome to use.  The violence caused by each weapon is beautiful as you blow heads or limbs off from various humans and animals and the elemental usage can either shock, burn, corrode, or explode your enemies into itty bitty pieces.  The possibilities are endless I tell you!  Just get your favorite gun and just start fucking blasting away.  The weapons makes things more interesting as you just fight your way through hordes of baddies.  You will also be finding class mods (that upgrade certain abilities), grenade mods (turn your grenades into more useful items), and shields (to protect you from getting your ass handed by the bad guys).  Ahhhh…collecting by killing and looting is a fun past time for gamers.

Some RPG elements you take control of.

There are no real problems about this game.  I mean there are some, but it’s really nothing to even worry about.  One small problem is the artistic direction of the planet Pandora.  Pandora is just a sandbox, literally.  Mostly a desert scene, so the colors aren’t that vibrant to look at.  I mean the blood from all the dead may shine more on screen, but that shouldn’t be the brightest color all the time.  Yeah, the last levels of Borderlands are on top snowy mountains and The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned expansion does spruce up the dark atmosphere and there isn’t a very “sandy” outlook, but it doesn’t help the complete feeling of the bland environments. The guns are also kind of “bleh” at times as well.  The death animations and the effects of guns are great, but there are few guns that really wow you on you on looks and bullet effects. There was only one gun I remember getting (throughout the whole game) that had a cool “bullet effect”, it was called a “Wave” Shotgun and every time you shot it, you can see the bullets do the “wave”.  I don’t know if there were other guns like it, but for sure there wasn’t enough.  But again, these are small problems as the vast world of Pandora has a lot to offer and keep you interested throughout the ride.

Kill ’em all!

There are four different expansion packs for Borderlands to continue the experience of Pandora for gamers.  The first was The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, which obviously nowadays, have every game deal with zombies in some ways or another.  Doesn’t add anything really new except some better weapons and new kinds of enemies.  The atmosphere is great, because it has a nice haunted mansion type of feel to it.  Not to real, yet just crazy enough to look at.  The story is very simple, Dr. Ned is creating zombies and you have to stop him…by killing him.  The name of the expansion kinda explains itself.

Surprisingly one of the few females that show up in the game.

The second expansion is Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot.  This is for sure the worst expansion out of the four.  You have to complete challenges by going through waves after waves after waves of enemies to kill.  It’s like survival mode, but has some twists like low gravity, vampire effect (kill enemies to replenish health, weapon challenges, etc., etc.  The expansion is seriously tedious and I lost interest in Borderlands thanks to this expansion (thankfully I played the other three before this one).

Ahhh yeah! This is where the fun begins.

The third expansion is called The Secret Armory of General Knoxx and it was a great expansion…except for all that freaking driving.  Borderlands weak point is the vehicular combat and there is a lot more in this third expansion.  I must say the enemies are a real blast to fight with as you fight the Crimson Army and their fast Ninja Assassins.  The looting is to a max on this expansion, there is just so much stuff to collect!  If the vehicle combat was kept to a minimal amount, this expansion would have been the best one of the lot.

Ready for a Robolution?

The last expansion, called Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution was fun and the longest one out of the four (story wise, Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot is just long in general).  You are fighting the lovable Claptrap from having robots turn Pandora their planet and making everything into robots.  Claptrap is and always will be my favorite character in this game and it’s just so sad you have to blow these bastards up.  I had the most fun with this expansion, because it was just a lot of shooting.

BRING IT!

All the expansions had one BIG problem and that was the starting point.  In Borderlands, there were multiple checkpoints throughout the land, but in the expansions, the only checkpoint was the beginning.  Meaning, you have to walk the whole way from beginning to end, EVERY FREAKING TIME!  Besides that though, it was still enjoyable to play and kept you playing Borderlands longer.

Hate driving.

Borderlands is freaking amazing.  It is one helluva ride from start to finish.  Yeah, there are a few bumps in the road, but that doesn’t stop it from being one badass game.  Play this if you never have, because you’ll be spending days just trying to finish and collect every little thing.

Rating: 8.9/10

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