8 Overall Score

Borderlands (2009)
Platform: PS3, Xbox360, PC
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games

Borderlands is centered around a mercenary (or group of mercenaries) in a strange and baron planet called Pandora inhabited by nut job rednecks and wasteland. Oh and enormous insects, spiders, crab worm larvae, and dogs that love attacking your gonads. The entire plot is pretty sparse: you are on a journey to find an alien treasure, which turns out to be not what you expect. The plot is really just there to push the gameplay along more than anything, this isn’t a game designed around plot; this is a game designed around progress. The story is simply there to push you along the missions, or perhaps vice versa. You’re guided on your journey by an annoying robot named Claptrap who I’m pretty sure is based entirely on Invader Zim’s G.I.R. and the humour throughout the game is actually quite similar, in a good way.


Borderlands is probably the most exciting experience I’ve had in any co-operative video game of the current generation, and it’s definitely the game I’ve spent most co-operative time on in the last 3 years. First person shooter / role-playing games aren’t a relatively new combination genre, however it is one that has such untapped video game potential, and it’s a shame there aren’t more games of this type. The co-operative mechanics are quite well done, with shared loot and experience for certain aspects as well as individual loot and experience for others. This creates a very balanced growth rate in your co-operative party, as you all grow steadily as a group, but upon acquiring certain ‘achievements’ such as ‘Killing 500 Skags’, you will receive individual EXP growth. This is great as it (almost) eliminates greed and kill stealing among members, as so much is shared. It forces people to work together, and of course grants many benefits.

Oh my god, it’s Skagzirrraaaaah!

As a first person shooter, the game works really great, and combat is extremely satisfying and takes a certain amount of skill. Some firefights can last an eternity when the “Badass”, “BadMutha” and “SuperBad” versions of the regular enemies come into play. Not only this, but ammo management is huge in this game, and often there will be large areas where there are no ammunition vendors, and the game starts feeling like Resident Evil where every shot counts, and this offers a really thrilling challenge  to the game that’s both welcomed and rewarding.

Get your liquid penetration on!

The game offers a steady mix of combat, growth and exploration that’ll leave you encapsulated for hours up on hours upon hours. Each class has their own special abilities; the soldier’s healing turret, or the hunter’s bloodwing, which gives the game an added depth of personality and strategy. The classes also have special passive abilities, which you improve via adding ‘skill points’ which are acquired by leveling up. These might be something as straight forward as “improves accuracy of all weapons equipped”, with each skill point added being an extra 10% accuracy, or something as specific as “team scavenge extra items” which let’s your team acquire more loot from kills. The object of the game really isn’t to get to the finish as fast as you can, and you will actually enjoy the game far more if you play through all the side-quests to get money, weapons and experience, which is far more rewarding than farming. The intensity and thought put into character growth in this game makes for a really fun experience with each character really developing differently, offering you many paths to evolve.

Bloodwings are a Hunter’s best friend, and a faces worst enemy.

Visually the game looks beautiful, and its not-quite-cel-shaded look really adds to the appeal of this game and I think it would be at a loss if it were completely cartoony or completely realistic. The style matches the humour and Pandora’s plains perfectly and while there are a few visual glitches every now and then, it’s a well crafted open-world.

The world of Pandora isn’t without its flaws, and like many co-op centric games Borderlands single player can be very tedious. Progress is slowed due to longer and a greater number of battles, and due to the desolate nature of the world you do feel very isolated. The long walks can also get very dull, and when you come to a way point and realize you can’t take your vehicle, you know you’re in for an annoying mission.

The desolate world of Pandora looks stunning

Overall, Borderlands gets the best of both worlds. It’s an incredibly stylish game with an extensive leveling system that will leave you intoxicated in gameplay for weeks. The bizarre desolate world of Pandora may get repetitive on your own, but with a friend or three the game really comes out of its box, and with expansion packs and downloadable content, it’ll leave you wanting to clock in many more hours long after the credits.

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Author: TheCliveShow View all posts by

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