Borderlands Reviews

Another day, and the supply of unanimously positive Borderlands reviews keeps coming, as the FPS/RPG is living up to its "sleeper hit of 2009" promise.

GameSpy 4/5.
You'll likely hear an abundance of other reviewers touting the four-player co-op mode as the game's best feature, and it's just one more piece of what makes Borderlands a surprisingly fun affair. Playing with friends often leads to some hilarious moments, but I vastly preferred playing solo, as the slower-paced single-player game allowed me to thoroughly consider each loot drop. The accessible nature of Borderlands -- with its relatively non-punitive deaths, constant checkpoints, and convenient fast-travel systems -- makes it a fantastic game for introducing FPS fans to some basic RPG tropes. And, most importantly, the killing and looting never ceases to be fun.

VGSensation 89/100.
Borderlands bravely slaps you in the face, reddening it with a genre-splitting game that blurs the line of gaming definition once again. Its amalgamation of smooth, real-time, visceral FPS combat and thinking man's roll the dice gameplay fuses together perfectly. With a few friends, or on your lonesome this game is well worth your time. Hopefully, as it is this type of game, Borderlands will in time offer up more downloadable content for avid gamers alike.

Games On Net 4/5.
Though a bit bare bones for my taste, the RPG and shooter mechanics are rock solid and mesh fairly well. And now that they've got the engine and basis structure down, I suspect Gearbox will really go to town in the sequel, much like Blizzard did with Diablo 2.

That Gaming Site 7.5/10.
Action, not plot development and story, is what Borderlands is all about, and it delivers in spades. Most of the primary missions are simple hunt-kill-retrieve solo blood fests; chock full of engaging and thrilling combat that will keep you playing long after bedtime. After equipping your desired weapon, you are let loose in the badlands to pursue missions as you see fit. Usually, the direct approach is best. Marching into an enemy stronghold, guns' blazing, is so satisfying in Borderlands that FPS fans unconcerned by the lack of story and content depth should buy this game without hesitation.

Your enemies attack thick and fast, and whilst many can be felled with a few shots, others take a literal lead-factory of bullets to put down. All the while you'll find yourself ducking behind cover, reloading and then advancing through countless waves of reasonably intelligent AI enemies. Every time you land a hit your enemy's health and shield bars drop and a series of hit point damage figures pop onto the screen surrounding your target. In fact, the simple shield meter and health bar are the only two items on your HUD (and your enemy target) that really matter. The system is simple and unique, and allows players to instantly determine just how many more hits an adversary can take, or just how many more slugs their character can take.

IncGamers 8.6/10.
I was concerned the claim of "millions of weapons" would mean we'd see the same guns with a barely noticeable amount of variation. I was wrong. Within the weapon classes, which include the sniper rifle, revolver, shotgun, SMG, rocket lanchers, etc.; there are different weapon types. So let's take the rifle for example. There is the standard bullet firing rifle, the incendiary rifle, a shock rifle (which can knock an enemy's shield down) and a chemical rifle. And, of course, some weapon types are more useful against certain types of enemies. More importantly they all feel different and, should you make a wrong decision with your weapon choice, you'll find yourself in a whole world of pain.

Endsights 4.5/5.
However, straying from what you might expect from an RPG-esque shooter, you don't equip armor in Borderlands. Instead, there are three inventory slots you'll fill. There's a class mod, which will give specific class bonuses depending on the item; there's a grenade mod, which makes your grenades act differently (healing you for the damage dealt, doing elemental damage, etc.), and then there's the shield slot. Along with your standard health meter, you'll have a shield meter, which, depending on the shield item you have equipped will behave differently. Some shield mods will make your shield stronger, some will regenerate quickly, and some will even regenerate your health over time, which is pretty useful considering your health won't regenerate on its own.

PC Gamer UK 8/10.
When the quests allow you to move beyond Firestone, leveling acquires more depth. You start to find character class mods, either as pick-ups or in the vending machines, defining further skill specialisations. We picked up a Heavy Gunner Class mod that augmented our weapon clip size and bullet impacts, and a Support Gunner mod that increased team XP-gathering by 22%, enabling us to swap either when needed. You level-up quickly, and that single upgrade point got under our skin. How could we spend it wisely? Is it more useful to have a turret that helps the team but can't be deployed at will, or the ability to regenerate grenades?

Everything For Gamers 7.5/10.
Over all, Borderlands isn't a Fallout 3 killer, or anything like that. But that game does provide seamless movement from one objective to another while keeping your attention. It's well done when it comes to the game play, but lacks in multiplayer and vehicle driving. It's defiantly worth a shot to play, but make sure you have a couple buddies who can help guide you along the way. Rent it first and if you like it, then it's a buy.
The first sign setting off warning bells for me were the character interactions, or lack thereof. Basically, the NPC "characters" hardly qualify as such, being nothing more than personality-free constructs placed to dispense quests. Although I didn't expect hours-long backstories for each one of them, there are a number of games today that at least make vague gestures at spicing this end of things up. Borderlands' missions are presented to the player in we-know-you-won't-read-this text blobs and are never interesting or original, being mostly comprised of kill or fetch-and-kill. The situation might not feel so blatantly mechanical if there were actually some kind of minor plot-based cause-and-effect to show achievement upon completion of tasks, but there's absolutely no concern for this sort of thing.

GDN 8.5/10.
While you can play this on your own, Borderlands offers excellent online play and this may well be the most enjoyable part. The co-op aspect lets two to four players team up to deal with missions, and allows them to trade weapons with one another if you're willing to trust the other players. While vehicles are also present in solo play, they become much more practical in co-op since there is usually room for passengers/gunners. And if you'd rather not work together, you can challenge one another to duels out in the open, or go to arenas where specially made battlefields are offered for the express purpose of fighting your friends. There do not seem to be any major penalties for killing one another (and friendly fire is disabled unless you go out of your way to pick fights with another player), so this all works well enough.

PlayStation Universe 8/10.
The plot of Borderlands is almost nonexistent, though we can't say we had much of an issue with this, as there is just so much to do in the game. To be honest, the world felt a bit like an MMO. You know, the kind where you and 20 other players spend hours in a random instance, trying to take down a boss for some sweat loot. But the story isn't nearly as deep as those games; instead it's pretty vanilla and completely unimportant. As one of the four characters, you are essentially a treasure-hunter, brought to the planet of Pandora in search of the vault. The vault is believed to hold some alien technology, but that's not really important to the story. You'll start off in the desolate town called Fyrestone and are instantly contacted by a mysterious woman who only you can see. She starts to talk about the vault and tries to emphasize to the gamer that your character is important. Again, none of this felt really successful, though we'll be the first to admit that a game doesn't necessarily have to offer a strong narrative in order to provide for a compelling, enjoyable gameplay experience.