Normally here at DailyGame we try to provide a narrative review, one that follows some sort of an outline and structure. Sometimes, though, particularly with open-world type games, such a review style just doesn’t seem to fit. After all, when the game experience changes with each play-through and from person to person, it’s almost impossible to review a static product because, well, it’s just so darn dynamic.
Such is the case with Borderlands, the newest open-world shooter/RPG from 2K Games. When we first saw Borderlands more than two years ago, much ado was made about the game’s online co-op and million-plus weapon combinations. Yes, you read that correctly. More than one million possible weapons. The reason for this is that Borderlands uses compiling technology that builds weapon loot on the fly based on like-leveled pieces that would be available to the player at his/her point in the game. With online co-op and more than a million guns, you’d better believe our ears perked up.
During the following two years, Borderlands changed slightly, most notably in its graphical style (it’s now cel-shaded a la Crackdown). But the open-world structure, the online co-op and the ridiculous armory at players’ disposal all stayed the same, providing a rather diverse product to try and review. So, we’ve switched things up for this review. Rather than provide a single voice and a single structure to our Borderlands review, we’ve decided to take a different tack and provide an unfiltered pseudo-play-by-play conversation between two DailyGamers as they made their way through the game. Below is that conversation, for better or for worse. We hope the nature of the forthcoming comments give you a sufficient taste of the game, or at least a little more insight into just how differently players can tackle the main campaign and multiplayer aspects of a game like Borderlands.
Spot778: The single-player campaign is pretty much “run and fetch” in the early going, and yes there are a lot of guns. Borderlands feels very “Bestheda” in its quests, but without all the nonsense that existed in Morrowind or Oblivion. Hit level 30, and it gets stupid tough for a bit, though. It’s all about enemies and weapons management, and doing those things on HUGE maps. In fact, the single-player can be a bit lonely, as the levels are so big. And the maps aren’t exactly empty. Caves can be CRAZY on the second play-through, and some quest bosses are stupid hard. It’s not quite Phantasy Star Online for the Dreamcast, but it’s close. There’s a lot of stuff here that works, and some of the sets are really nice.
Ardewn: I love this game so far. I’ve remade my character about 10 times, finally settling on the Solider class. The characters in the game are awesome — especially Clap Trap — and I love the different weapon combos. Even in the assault rifle tree, there are different weapons and scoping. When I got to Level 20, I realized that I really loved the questing in this game. I normally like my RPGs a bit “heavier,” but this one hits all the right notes. I can’t recommend the solider enough. Mulitplayer is pretty much awesome with more people. The assault rifles are the best so far (I have three equipped: one for short range, one for medium range and one for long-range sniping), and I’m surprised how much variety there is even within the gun classes.
So far, the vehicle combat is my only real annoyance. It seems like it was thrown in at the last second, and it lacks any sort of the custom elements, which the rest of the game has in spades. It would be nice in future versions to have each class contribute to the vehicle — extra guns if you are a solider, more shields if you are brick, etc. — rather than just the pick a gun, pick a paint scheme here ya go.
Calico: I’m really loving this game, too. It’s basically TimeSplitters 4 as far as story and attitude go, and it’s just a lot of fun. I’m only Level 10 I think, or really close right now. The guns gets more interesting the more you play, and when you get into the RPG elements (which are very light, thank God, a lot like Bioshock’s), it’s great. To me, this is Fallout 3 — but actually fun, and not just a re-skinned Morrowind with VATS.
Spot778: One thing I came to realize pretty fast is that Borderlands is all about shooting things — lots and lots of things — again and again. And throw some friends into the mix, and Borderlands gets hard! Co-op is where Borderlands really shines, as the maps are huge; a single mission in Borderlands lasts longer than many other games’ entire co-op campaign. With co-op you have some company to talk to whilst you take care of business. The company’s also quite nice in some of those missions, which can be a real pain the way the developers have hidden things.
But I’ll tell you what: I haven’t played something this constantly and for long play-throughs in quite a while. Really, Borderlands is like crack. But these 16 hour marathons have to stop. I have laundry and other things to attend to.
If you’d like to learn more for yourself about how Borderlands is stacking up, you’ll have to get it for yourself. You can click the following link to buy Borderlands for Xbox 360 from Amazon.com, or use this link to buy Borderlands for PS3. See you online!
- Score: 8.4
— Spot778, Ardewn and Calico