Gaming – Borderlands

Borderlands… Mini review and Liperty’s progress

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I started playing Borderlands quite a while ago and recently picked it back up and thought id actually attempt to FINISH a game – which hasn’t happened a lot since I became a dad! Needless to say, the ‘end goal’ points have moved a few times, as is often the case with ‘quest’ style games and the end of the game is not completely clear – in the meantime I have got back into the game, picked up a few more tips and got my ‘twitch’ back and can fling my weapon up for a head-shot with respectable accuracy once again.

Borderlands is an interesting game – it has stylised cell shaded graphics giving it a gritty cartoonish look about it while also maintaining a depth of field.  This creates a lot of the games atmosphere and makes for a really interesting change from ‘Battlefield’ style games / Crysis styling.  These days game developers seem to be charging head first towards more and more accurate models, graphics, details, polygon counts.. and while they look fantastic, that’s not what draws me into games.  The cell shading styling of Borderlands really works for me and I get great frame rates, even at high resolutions on a GTX 275 – the lack of complexity / detail doesn’t detract from the gaming experience, if anything it lets me concentrate on what’s important.http://www.co-optimus.com/images/upload/image/2009/Borderlands42.jpg

Gameplay is simplistic in many ways – single player is a quest based style – where you pick up assignments / tasks from the local town or characters you meet.  They can generally be broken down into – kill this person / thing, collect these items, destroy such and such – and aren’t particularly inspiring.  The stories that go along with the missions are colourful as are the characters – but really this is a sandpit game with personality.  The real enjoyment in the game is action.  I have been playing as a Berserker – who drops his weapon, rushes in and ‘brawls’ with enemies – dealing out massive damage with fists while regenerating health.  Not my normal choice of character, but I have found the brute force action very satisfying after a day in the office.  Much of the game is spent navigating relatively simple terrain – identifying and killing enemies to reach an objective. In this sense it is repetitive and there aren’t many puzzles between you and your goal.  There is less variation in enemy types than you may have come to expect from games – with ten or so character models appearing for most of the game.  As you progress, enemies make better use of their weaponry, deploy shields and turrets and don’t just allow you to hang back and snipe as much.

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The entertainment here lies in the many and varied ways you can engage enemies and the weapons that are available.  Weapon stats are often random-generated and shields, weapons, character abilities and ammo are littered about EVERYWHERE.  Because weapons have wildly varying stats – you find yourself checking out almost everything you pick up to see if it could be useful.  You might find a sniper rifle with low damage, but extremely high fire rate.. or a pistol that shoots rockets… or a SMG with explosive damage and lighting fast reload time… Personally I enjoyed searching through the trash and trying my new weapons on the unhappy faces of my enemies.  Before too long you have found yourself three or four ‘favourite’ weapons, and then trawl through the gear for improvements and to sell at shops.

If you are looking for a deep RPG with lots of varied gameplay.. Borderlands probably isn’t for you.  On the other hand if you enjoy the idea of racking up a few more kills with your corrosive SMG and hear your enemies disintegrate as your check out the gun they dropped, Borderlands will likely bring a smile to your gaming day!

I’ll post my gaming experience once I’ve finished the single player campaign and also got some friends to jump in and come hunting with me.  Playing this game with mates is likely to be one of the strengths of the game – so I’m looking forward to taking a break from the ‘one man army’ and sharing the love around.

Update

I’ve run through the single player campaign and I have to say I enjoyed the ride!  The ending did introduce a few more enemy types but the difficulty didn’t really increase much toward the end.  I kept getting the feeling that the layout of the game, the excessive amount of loot and ammo pointed to the fact that this game was primarily designed for multiplayer co-op madness.  The last hour of play seemed to provide the craziest gear, and I confess I wandered the desert plains a little more, just to try out some of the fine loot I accumulated toward the end.  Just the same, I rarely perished and only had to backtrack to find cover while my shield replenished most of the time.  Perhaps it was because I played berserker, but the bosses in the game were generally an ‘easy kill’ with a bit of patience and a bunch of rockets.

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One Response to “Gaming – Borderlands”

  1. Bryce Moselety says:

    Nice review Midda Main, might have to have a look at this game.. once I have exhausted Battlefield, conquered Starcraft 2 and found some time…

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