Review: Borderlands

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I had never heard of Borderlands until the day I purchased it from Target. A great friend of mine called me up and said, “Zack, if you don’t go buy Borderlands right this minute, I will not be your friend anymore.” So I went out and bought it. Of course, the friend told me loads more about the game before he swayed me away from my money-consciousness. The conversation was indeed quite lengthy, but I will not bore you with all the gory details. I’ll merely try to sum up everything that my friend told me that made me interested in the game, and everything that I have experienced as I have played through the game.

Do you remember when press starting coming out for Fallout 3? How nearly everyone saw what the gameplay mechanics were like, saw that the game was published by Bethesda, and brushed the game aside as “Oblivion with guns.”? Well, it turns out all those people were wrong. That game was pretty close to perfection, at least in terms of storytelling and production values. And I must admit that I did notice several similarities between Fallout and Oblivion. You may wonder why I’m even bringing Fallout 3 up, since this is supposed to be a review of Borderlands.

I bring it up, ladies and gentlemen, because Borderlands is “Oblivion with guns.” It truly is. From the generic “go here, kill this guy, bring back this thing, rinse and repeat” missions to the almost unbelievable amount of items to be found within the game, Gearbox has created an awesome mashup of Oblivion and the modern FPS. This isn’t to say that there aren’t issues to be found. But let it be known that I found very few. My only complaints (on the 360 version) were the load times between new areas being a tad lengthy, and the fact that the fast transport system isn’t unlocked ’til about halfway through the game. Jeff played the game on PS3 and had various technical issues, including some very glitchy sound problems that distorted both effects and voices. Twitter-follower briguyd played the game on PC, and filled us in about “awful PC multiplayer connection issues.” He went on to say, “Why do I have to forward 9 ports? It’s 2009!”

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Instead of boring you (again) by going into any gory details, I have come up with a very simple math equation that will help you, oh beloved reader, decide whether or not you would enjoy Borderlands.

Literally thousand upon thousands of items to choose from

+

An amazing art style (I’ve loved cel-shaded shooters since XIII)

+

A great sense of humor (That refuses to take itself too seriously)

+

A fairly diverse set of story- and side-missions

The incredibly boring interesting dialogue of Fallout and Oblivion

x

4 (getting 3 other people together to play online co-op is an absolute blast)

=

Borderlands

Borderlands is an awesome little game. It may not win any Game of the Year Awards, but it’s some of the most fun I’ve had on my 360 in quite a while.

MidwestGamer

About: Zack:
Zack
  • http://www.jeffrshearer.com Jeff

    Here is a great instance where Zack and I are completely polarized on a game. And not to slam his review, but rather to give perspective to the opinions presented by this blog, I present my side of the case:

    As Zack mentioned, I had numerous technical issues with the PS3 copy, but I put those aside completely in my judgment of Borderlands.

    I found the plot dull and generic, the “thousands of items” claim rather disappointingly limited to guns only, repetitive and monotonous gameplay, and most of all, a completely lifeless world, which feels like the developers were just too lazy to add any more NPCs to create a realistically living world.

    I definitely can’t claim the game is Oblivion with guns, because frankly, Borderlands reminds me more of World of Warcraft, but with all the grinding and none of the fun of playing in a persistent world.

    I find I dislike Borderlands more every time I try to play it again. I can’t think of a video game purchase I regret more this year.

    So there you have it…while Zack loved it, I hated it. Try it for yourself, when I bought the game I sure was convinced I was going to love it, but now I just wish I had bought Batman instead.