Borderlands Review (PS3)

The timeline  for Borderlands is a storied one that features a new art design, juggling of genres and so much more. It wasn’t an easy process for Gearbox to throw away the original art design and start over with the cel-shaded look that they have implemented in the final package. For the team to decide, “It is time we started over and redesign the art style” a lot of thoughtful planning had to be done. What Gearbox finally delivered with Borderlands is a first-person shooter that evokes dozens upon dozens of hours of exploration and combat.

In the same vein of Blizzard’s Diablo, – or any dungeon crawler for that matter – Borderlands isn’t so much about a large and epic storyline, but a centralized plot to allow the gamers to play in an open world as they complete quests, find new weapons, and take down hordes of enemies that stand before their leaders. If players aren’t into collecting items, building weapons, and extracting loot from their enemies, they may want to look past Borderlands. The driving force behind Borderlands is clearly cut as a loot hunting title with a cooperative experience to boot.

What a lovely shot.
Desolate and vacant.

Players start out with old and clunky weapons that will need to be replaced to keep the action in favor of the “good guys.” Progressing through the campaign, players come across a wide variety of weapons that can be imbued with elemental effects to provide more damage. From the close range shotguns to the long distance sniper rifles, Borderlands doesn’t lack on the weapon front. By the end of the game, players should have built up an effective arsenal of weapons to switch between to combat any sort of obstacles set before them.

The actual “role-playing” features that consists of leveling up and acquiring new skills aren’t as in-depth as the weapon crafting. Each class is gifted with one primary action skill to use in combat. The Berserker is able to charge through enemies as if he was The Juggernaut from the X-Men rogues gallery. Similar to The Invisible Woman from The Fantastic Four, The Siren is able to enter a state of invisibility. As it’s clear to see, each of the classes (four in total) have their unique perks, but the character development isn’t a large focus of Borderlands. The character class skill trees won’t be the primary reason for a player to keep coming back for more. If players are unsatisfied with their character’s attributes, they can always pay to redistribute the points to create a more diversified character.

The weaponry is the main attraction.
Vehicles allow for fast travel.

In the regards to the overall gameplay, Gearbox has made sure it is fast-paced to the point that requires players to be alert of their surroundings. First, and foremost, Borderlands is a first-person shooter, it’s important to become acquainted with the weapons and accessories that accompany the characters. The lack of character customization and the missing ability to change up armor is disappointing. At face value, Borderlands looks to employ a high degree of customization, but when digging deeper, the customization options that cater to hardcore gamers are very little to none. It’s best to treat Borderlands as an introductory title into the genre.

The variety of enemies that are thrown at players is a high point for Borderlands. Players should relish the wide assortment of enemies presented to combat with – the further they advance in the title, the more unique enemies they’ll be introduced to. Fighting large packs of enemies who all deploy different tactics, Gearbox has put forth a smart title that is interesting till the bitter end.

As stated earlier, Borderlands has an art style that differs from when the title was first introduced to the gaming world. The design choices that were made for the final product are intelligent. The boss battles are incredibly epic, so players should feel great joy when they take down a monstrous behemoth that stands before them. Capturing a world that is torn apart by vigilantes, looters, bandits and exotic creatures, Gearbox has created a world that is ever-inviting to its audience. If there is to be a sequel, Gearbox has an excellent starting point in terms of a game world. The visual style is unique and clever enough to help it stand out from the rest of the games released in 2009.

No jobs? There has to be a job somewhere!
Burn, baby, burn!

By the end of the journey through Borderlands, it was evident that 2K Games and Gearbox created a franchise that needs to be revisited through sequels to expand the lore. The multiplayer moments were brilliant as they allowed for cooperative aspects and the ability to fight one another if players were obliged to attack their teammates. Allowing up to four players to tackle the adventure together, Borderlands is best played with friends and family. Once players do find a good collective of teammates to play with, they’ll soon understand how Borderlands can be an addictive experience.

For fans of loot hunting and a cooperative multiplayer experience, Borderlands will unquestionably steal their soul. Their days will be wrapped around figuring out how to put more time into Borderlands and trying to find out who they can ultimately trust as a teammate.

Top Game Moment: Creating mayhem by stealing an enemy’s dropped loot from a teammate.