Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Borderlands review

So last week as you all remember I promised a Borderlands review. So here it is.

I've never  had much luck with the game. You can read all about it here. But despite all this there must be something good about the game. Right? People are raving about it. More importantly, people are raving about it to me. So I've decided to give it another go because of what I've heard about it and also because I won it so I've paid nothing for it and will not feel the slightest bit ripped off if it sucks.

From what I've gathered the game is the classic tale of seeking treasure and having to go to great lengths to get it. It's a bit sci-fi with the whole on a remote planet far far away thing. The game is set far off in the future on a desert planet called Pandora hunting for a treasure of infinite wealth. I don't know if they were trying to be ironic or not with the movie Avatar being set on the luscious green planet of Pandora. Anyway at the beginning of the game you are given a selection of four people. They are the different class types that you can play as. So there is the soldier who likes to get in the fight with machine guns, the Sniper guy who likes to be stealthy and shoot from a distance, The mindless brute who just likes to smash things and the games equivalent of a mage called the siren. I'm not really sure how her character works in game. I'm tempted to start another game as her to find out. But I'll leave that for another time.

The graphics are really cartoon like. People are always going on about photorealism and clarity and "Oooh I can see the other side of the map and there is a guy waving at me." I along with many other gamers play games to escape reality so realistic graphics are counter-intuitive. Yet somehow the game is really clear. The lines are clean and crisp. It is all well drawn. I like it, the game doesn't take itself seriously and just expects you to run and gun all the while having a lol-fest blowing up bandits with a well placed headshot.

The game feels like a total conversion of fallout 3 (see what I thought of fallout 3 here) it just makes a lot of the damage info which ran in the background and brought it into full view of the player. I don't mind this because in a heavy firefight you can see who you need to focus on and who to ignore till later. Especially in an FPS where because of the perspective it can get difficult keeping track of who is where. One thing it lacks is no V.A.T.S which this game should have had. Yeah its a total rip off but think about it. The problem with V.A.T.S is it made the game seem less real. A set back in Fallout but a major advantage in a game that was unreal in the first place. The random weapon generator is a blessing and a curse at the same time. What it does is every time you open a weapons chest, or a locker or anything for that matter if it is supposed to spawn a weapon Borderlands randomly generates a weapon to put in there within reason. You're not going to find a rocket launcher in a letterbox. Its good because low level characters can get their hands on some powerful toys (regardless of if they are of a high enough level to wield them) and a set back because you will more likely than not get rubbish low level weapons.

Borderlands makes it easy to find out which weapons are better. With a compare screen in the inventory and weapons shop. When you look at a gun on the ground a small box pops up above it to tell you the weapons stats and allows you to compare equipped weapons against it on the fly. The only problem with it is that the text can be a little small at times and be difficult to read. But if you have a nice big TV unlike me you will have no problem. Its a nice touch that I would like to see implemented in other games.

The soundtrack is quite nice. But is nothing I would put on my MP3 player. The song at the start is rather good (It's Aint no rest for the wicked by Cage the Elephant from their self titled album) but thats about it. The rest of it is background music that while good in game is useless everywhere else.

I haven't had a go at multiplayer yet but from what I've seen its nothing spectacular. It supports 4 player co-op and there is an competitive PVP arena system. Similar to Rainbow six Vegas the experience points and weapons you accumulate in the single player carry over to the multiplayer and vice-versa. On the surface it seems cool but the major drawback being that there is that the skill level isn't even. For example, a level 40 player can be worse than a level 20 player because the level 40 player earned his levels in the singleplayer on easy difficulty. But the level 20 player is better because he did the same thing on hard difficulty. Games like Call of Duty which have a ranking system have you level up based on your skill online which is way harder than singleplayer because the person on the other end is a human not a computer. You can predict a computer, You can't predict a human. Take from it what you will but at the end of the day you have noobs with level 50 characters.

It's funny how I originally hated the game and now I really like it. The is very lighthearted and asks you to have fun. As all games should. We've been caught up in the whole "realistic combat" crap for too long and Borderlands is a breath of fresh air to the long stagnant FPS genre.

9 out of 10


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Borderlands interuption (Warning: Rant below)

Yes I did say that this week I would be posting a review. I was going to talk about Beaterator for the psp. However I have been interupted by Borderlands GOTY Edition. I won it on Saturday (big thanks to Level 3 for the game check them out here) and have not stopped playing it (except to well you know tell all you about it) since. My first thoughts are that it feels like a total conversion mod for Fallout 3 (Review here) but with the exception of an overarching storyline.

My relationship with Borderlands until recently was that I hated it but this may have been because of how I was introduced to the game. I first saw the game way back in 2009 before it was released at the 2K booth of the International Digital Lifestyle Show (or IDEF for short) here in Melbourne. They had Borderlands along with whatever the latest basketball game was at the time. I saw it and thought 'cool cartoon FPS' looked a bit like the xbox game XIII and gave it a go. I had a sniper rifle and a bunch of bandits in the distance. Awesome I'll take some pot shots. I lined up the cross-hairs on a bandits head and fired with the expectation that he would drop. NO! The game tells me I scored a critical hit and he returns fire along with all of his now pissed off mates. I raged so hard. I PUT A BULLET THROUGH YOUR SKULL AND YOU ARE NOT DEAD! WHAT THE FUCK! A brief firefight ensued before I died. I put the controller down, collected my free Borderlands T-shirt (I didn't care that I hated the game, a free shirt is a free shirt) and left. I thought it was Final fantasy FPS style with the whole DPS and critical hit stuff.

About a year later I'm in a net cafe with my mates playing COD 4 when we decided to take a break, eat, crap and update our facebook statuses at 2AM. What an age we live in. I was getting a bit bored of getting my but kicked in COD so I decided not to join the next round and play something else. On the list of available games to play under the RPG folder was Borderlands. Having remembered the last time I played it I decided to give it a second chance. By this time it was a hugely successful game, people were raving about it, talks of new DLC coming out had people excited, everyone was jealous of my Borderlands shirt and it was 2AM. I fired it up. Created a character and started the campaign. Everything was going well. I was killing bandits with my big machine gun and collecting heaps of loot. Once I'm in firestone Claptrap asks me to open up Dr.Zeds door (no I'm not giving anything away all this happens in the first 5 minutes of the game) so getting over the fact that I hate the little cowardly bastard telling me what to do I go to open the door. It must have been the only glitched copy of Borderlands and it happened to be on my computer. The switch did not work. I thought I was in the wrong place (I now know I wasn't) and searched the whole town for the switch. Aside getting heaps of money and ammo I was no better than I was 20 minutes ago. I restated the fact that I hate Borderlands, quit the game and got my but kicked again and again in COD 4 for the rest of the night.

To top it all off about 4 months later my mate lent me a copy on Xbox 360 and told me to try it again. I put it in it loads up to the point where it informs me that Gearbox software helped make the game then freezes. I had to hard reset my xbox. Tried again, loaded again, told me that Gearbox software helped make the game again and froze...again. By now I had the impression that 2K and Gearbox software hated me and just made Borderlands to piss me off.

So as you can imagine I was a little scared when I won a copy of Borderlands GOTY Edition. Not only was there the game there to screw me over but four DLC codes as well to get in on the fun. Still it comes with a download code for the Duke Nukem Forever beta which was really cool. Yes I promise to review the Duke Nukem beta. Right after I kick ass and chew bubblegum.

However it seems that it is fourth time lucky for me. The game works fine I've downloaded all the DLC and I'm really liking the game thus far. Check out next week when I actually review the game.

Till then Peace.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Back at school

I'm back at school now. It's been ok but the 7AM wake up time is kicking my arse. I'm so used to staying up till 4AM either gaming, Surfing the internet or blogging. Not to mention the fact that I have a ton of homework and all this extra study is taking up most of my time. Still, it gives me an excuse to put on pants and leave the house.

This is my final year of high school and I'll be glad when it's over. Mostly for the fact I'll have more free time to do other things like work and get some money which would be really good. During the holidays I discovered how much you can do in the six or so hours that you would normally spend in school, which is a lot. It will be nice to get that time back at the end of the year.

I know that many of you read my blog for the reviews and not to listen to me whine about my life so next week I'll post a review I promise.

Till then Peace.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

This One True Fan business

If you are an avid reader or just joining us you will see that at the bottom of the screen is a bar asking you to share this blog and 'check into this page.'

I am wondering what you guys think of it. Please comment below and tell me if you think it is worth keeping or not.