|Borderlands Review (PS3/360) - A Borderlands review by Organization_XIII|
The gameplay in Borderlands is unique if not entirely original. It is a FPS with RPG elements. The RPG elements are only a minuscule portion of the game, as you get a stats screen, weapons that deal damage depending on number statistics they possess, and an ability tree. Other than these few things, Borderlands is strictly a First Person Shooter. One nice thing about this game is that all four of the characters have special abilities that only they possess. Your characters consist of Brick the Berserker, Lilith the Siren, Mordecai the Hunter, and Roland the Soldier. Each of them has a special attack that is completely unique to them, that they will be able to unlock upon reaching level 5. The Berserker has "Berserk", which sends Brick into a rage where you can get up-close-and-personal and deal melee attacks with the strength of actual guns while taking reduced damage. The Siren possesses "Phasewalk", which allows her to turn invincible/invisible and deal a burst of elemental damage after exiting Phasewalk either by dealing an increased powered melee strike or time running out. The Hunter gets "Bloodwing", which lets him unleash his trained falcon to strike enemies from above and makes them yield better loot upon killing them. And finally, the Soldier gets "Scorpio Turret", which allows him place an automatic turret on the battlefield which automatically fires at oncoming enemies and seconds as portable defense barrier. The guns also make each character unique. Each character has a specific weapon class that they excel in from the get go (such as Mordecai being more proficient with sniper rifles and revolvers and Brick excelling in explosive weaponry), although, as you use a certain weapon more, the stats for your ability with that particular weapon will increase. Guns also have a random chance, upon finding, to possess elemental damage capabilities. Even though Lilith has increased probability of dealing higher elemental damage than everyone else, with these specific guns, any character you pick has a chance to deal either Incendiary, Shock, Explosive, or Corrosive damage. Each of these powers is relatively similar, certain enemies will be weaker to certain ailments - shields are weak to Shock damage, flesh is vulnerable to Incendiary, and both shields and flesh are highly vulnerable to Corrosion.
Another more thing to mention about the gameplay is your life bar. Every game and their dog have regenerating life bars, so when things are looking grim, all you have to do is hide for 2 nanoseconds and you are at full life again, but not Borderlands. Yes! It does have a regenerating shield, but that doesn't make you invincible like most other FPSs. Like old school games, and Halo, your shield is what will be drained before your actual life starts to take a hit, so when your shield is gone, you are in actual danger. After a moment or so, your shield will regenerate, but your actual life bar will remain exactly as it was before you got your shield back. Again, this isn't very original, but it still makes the game slightly more playable than other games today. Also, since we are on topic, there is a feature called "Second Wind" comes into play in combat. When your character has been reduced of all their shield and life, you will enter Second Wind. You will have a "Bleeding Out!" bar at the bottom of the screen when this happens. During this little segment, all you have to do is kill an enemy and you be be returned to the battle with a major chunk of your life bar missing and your shield. I have to admit, this made the game incredible simple, but you can't always rely on it. Usually, you have dealt enough damage to the enemy who took you down before you entered Second Wind, but sometimes it was a superhuman sniper with a pistol who got you. This is where SW becomes difficult. When you are in SW, you will not be able to iron sight aim or throw grenades, so you will have to fire at the hip as the screen gradually becomes darker as you bleed out. Sometimes this is not possible, but respawn points are plentiful, so with the cost a chunk of money to use the "New-U", dying isn't that huge of a nuisance.
One of my major complains with this game is multiplayer. Thatís not to say multiplayer is bad, Oh No - Borderlands is one of the most fun games Iíve ever played cooperatively, but the problem comes from other people. Itís not like this is a strictly PvP game, although there is a small arena stage to play that, so the complaint is about people who mod the hell out of their game. For example, one of my strongest guns as of now has a power of 109 x9 w/regenerating ammo and a x4 weapon zoom, so itís not exactly a weak gun, but you will often run into people who mod their guns to have power of something like 95,364 x12 w/regenerating ammo, chimera (possibility to deal Incendiary, Shock, Corrosive, or Explosive damage), and x10 weapon zoom. This doesnít exactly ruin the game for you, but there is just a loss of thrill when play with people who have zero skill and have to outshine everyone else by blatantly cheating. Iím playing by the rules and maybe you should too. I hope Gearbox catches on to exactly how many people are modding their games, and slaps a penalty on them such are reset stats, ban from multiplayer, or labeled a cheater or something.
Graphically speaking, the game is superb. It was originally designed as just another realistic looking FPS, but Gearbox turned around and animated it into a more cell-shaded design. This isn't exactly a cell-shaded game, but actually looks more like a mature graphic novel. Enemies still blow into chunks when you kill them with a rocket or run the over with your car, blood is a frequent on-screen spectacle, and the environments are very very detailed, so don't think that just because it doesn't look like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, you should write it off as a kiddy game.
The sound portion of this game is much to be desired. The voice acting, what little there is, is pretty good, but nothing worth mentioning in too much detail. The music is alright if you can actually hear it over your guns, the enemies, explosions, and other players guns that sound like the world is coming to an end. I'd have to say that the audio portion is easily the worst in all the fields of Borderlands.
So, overall, Borderlands is something you should check out if you have a love of Run 'n' Gun FPS, and hatred of overly-intricate storylines that take away from play time. It's clear why this game has sold multiple millions of copies already, but if that is the main reason you're getting this game ("tons of people bought it, so it must be good"), don't be surprised if it's a little more shallow than what you're used to. Don't get me wrong, Borderlands is an incredible game, just not as well-refined as a lot of other stuff in this generation.
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