Borderlands continues to garner fairly high praise as another wave of reviews for Gearbox's recently released FPS/RPG hits the 'net. Resolution Magazine 9/10.
Initially, the sheer variation of weapons is overwhelming, but it soon crystallises into simple choices. Magazine size versus damage; damage over elemental effect; zoom scope versus unscoped: these are all conflicting components of the weapons on offer, but it won't take long before you can pick and choose without too much thought. As Borderlands is driven by FPS combat, the vast majority of players will already know how they like to play, and thus weapon selection becomes comparatively easy. For example, I found one particular machine gun capable of dealing excellent damage, but its small magazine size and three-burst rounds didn't sit well, so I stuck with an earlier model. The paradigmatic shift to incorporate RPG elements is so perfect, I found myself wondering how anyone has failed to deliver it before now. It boils down to this: not sure about a particular gun? Try it. It's that easy you can always switch back. Even assessing guns in your inventory will provide you with helpful annotations: (high chance for elemental damage;) (effective against armour.) Mix in grenade mods with varying effects, as well as specific shield types, and every player is left with a wealth of choice, all randomly generated, much of it unique.
Add to that, that again and unlike Fallout 3, the numerous oddball characters you'll encounter on your travels prove not to be memorable or interesting in the slightest. Plus the lack of the VATS system - which after over 60 hours of Fallout takes some getting used to. The fact that character dialogue is in the main, restricted to paragraphs of text instead of well delivered audio. And suddenly, when comparing the two, Fallout very much comes out on top.
Connected Consoles 88/100.
The visuals are probably one of the biggest factors into why you would buy the game, mainly because they're a lot different. The cell-shaded graphics really work and are really attractive for long distance visuals and really catch your eye, though the games textures close-up can be a little off throughout. The atmosphere works well with the type of visuals for certain, the game really just hasn't polished enough. DLC which has already been announced for release very soon will help the length of the game.
The Good Satisfying gunplay Tons of weapons, shields, and helpful items Four unique and equally fun-to-play characters Distinct, appealing artistic style Great system of rewards. The Bad Online issues at launch, including broken Friends list functionality Lonelier, slower-paced for a solo player Massively unsatisfying (climax) Lackluster loot sharing system.
Borderlands is perfectly satisfying as a singleplayer experience, but some of your best slaughtering will be done in the drop-in co-op mode, where online players can invite you to join their game, or you can drop into theirs. The quest progression will follow that of whoever is hosting, but the experience, weapons and cash will be carried over by the individual player, and taken with them when they leave. Whilst there is no loot sharing system, which can make for some irksome treasure hogging, the simplicity of the co-op system is as smooth and satisfying as the rest of the game's design. More players in a game will automatically up the difficulty and the number of hostiles, but will also commensurately up the quality of the drops. Tooling across the bandlands in a vehicle with a live player driving and a live player manning the turrets, smoking mutant fools for no other reason than the cash and the chuckles is hard to beat, and when you or they get bored and leave then you can just get back to the quest progression you were enjoying before.
Blend Games 4/5.
For every small thing that Borderlands screws up, it offers up an innovative feature that's both practical and brave in concept. Vehicle depots are located all over the place, and players can spawn a custom vehicle and then teleport to either the driver seat or gunner seat from the same easily accessible station. There are also devices that allow players to fast-travel to any area in the game, which is an absolute Godsend due to the massive nature of nearly every area. Players can re-spec their allotted skill points at any point in the game for an extremely small fee, allowing experimentation and quick adjustments to created characters that would have otherwise been locked into an upgrade path that may or may not have been desirable. There are no difficulty options, which means that every player is given the same challenge. No one gets to act all high and mighty because they wasted 200 hours of their life beating the game on "insane" difficulty, which I personally appreciate. Getting killed in one of the frantically-paced battles doesn't mean death, as killing an enemy while downed earns players a "second wind," which brings the lucky character back to his/her feet and back into the fight, albeit with reduced health. Experience and money are shared equally among team members in cooperative play, but ammo is free game, which causes a mad, competitive rush for ammo drops, which doesn't really fit in well with the otherwise co-op specialized game features.
Co-Optimus 4/5 main game, 5/5 co-op.
All of this culminates with the game's seamless online cooperative mode. Four players can drop in and out of games with friends at anytime to help them with their quests. The game will scale enemy numbers and difficulty, as well as provide better loot. There is one stipulation, if you join a game with a character that is ahead of you as the host - you won't get credit for quest completions in your own game, though you can still earn achievements. Only if the character is behind you or at the same spot will you get credit, so you may need to switch up hosts to make sure the lowest level character is hosting. Players aren't tethered to each other, except by the zone, so teams of four can split 2 and 2 and go off and do quests in a zone to make quick work to get things up to speed. Borderlands also supports a two player split screen mode, with a horizontal split on 4:3 TVs and a vertical split on widescreens.
HEXUS Gaming 9/10.
For all its greatness, Borderlands isn't without its annoyances. The enjoyment of exploration is hampered slightly by the constant need to have to kill enemies. You can leave an area, return, and the enemies - particularly the Skags that you've just killed - will be back with a vengeance, snapping at your heels when all you want to do is have a good look around for ammo or loot.