Review of 2K’s Borderlands

I liked this fight because it felt like one part Shadow of the Collosus, one part Serious Sam. Half of me was saying "Why am I killing this giant lumbering beast that just wants to be left alone?" and the other half was saying "Holy crap I'm gonna explode the hell out of this guy. Seriously!"

I’ve spent the better part of the past weekend playing through Borderlands, a new first person shooter with RPG elements from 2K. I had fun playing so here are my thoughts on the game.

What was interesting: I liked the Diablo similarities where you get procedurally generated loot for killing enemies. While it can be cumbersome at times to sort through all the drops it did certainly feel satisfying when you found the rapid-fire-rocket-launcher-of-lighting-your-enemy’s-face-on-fire. The tech tree part was fun too, I played as a Berserker and leveled up my ability to punch people to death instead of the tried and true shooting method. The missions that you picked up, while mostly formulaic, kept me engaged enough to want to keep playing to see what happened next. Finally, I really enjoyed the voice acting for a couple of the characters, especially the hillbilly who offers you vehicles (“Get you one!”)

What was ok: The vehicle sections were about as mediocre as I expected, and felt very reminiscent of Halo Warthog Jeep (alas, no flying motorcycle or tank). The plot was entirely throw away as far as I was concerned (I’m searching for some secret treasure vault? Who gives a shit?) but luckily the game didn’t really shove it down my throat too much. The game had a nice visual aesthetic with some cartoony/serious graphics, but after a while things started to blend together and I got tired of the whole junkyard look and feel. It’s too bad they didn’t explore different environments with different colors more! The boss fights were generally good, with some memorable tangles, but there were too few bosses to break up the game play.

What sucked: After a while things started to get a little bit repetitive, especially in the enemy department. By the end I was just playing for the sake of playing, not because I wanted to see the next exciting thing. Some of the fetch quests were kind of annoying too, especially when it clearly felt like a fetch quest.

What I missed: The multiplayer! Everyone tells me this is one of the best features of the game, but I only played through single player. After I find my gold trial I’ll give the co-op and death match modes a shot and see how they play out, I’m sure they’re a ton of fun.

Overall I think Borderlands was a lot of fun, and it appeals to me even though I’m not usually into FPS-es. I’d definitely recommend giving it a shot, especially if you like playing with friends. Accept its flaws and you’ll have a good time.