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


1 comment:

  1. Great review, from all the other reviews I have read, it's
    pretty unanimous that Borderlands is a pretty decent game. I was really
    impressed with 2k’s other games like Bioshock and hope that this one will not
    disappoint; I am definitely going to put it at the top of my Blockbuster queue
    list so I can get it sooner. I like Blockbuster a lot, because I can rent games
    or movies all for the same price. As a DISH customer/employee, you learn an
    appreciation for options, since TV does get boring after a while. With
    Blockbuster, I get to rent movies and games with no late fees, and access to
    online content and new channels through DISH.