December 28, 2009 by Caleb
Borderlands, a FPS by Gearbox, is the next game in secession to emulate Diablo 2. That may give an idea as to what kind of game it is, a pure shoot-em-up explode-orama mixed with a piles-of-loot dungeon crawler. Borderlands executes this quite well, well enough to earn several game of the year nominations (and awards, depending on where you look).
The idea behind Borderlands is as follows: circle strafe while killing dudes, who then drop better and more creative weapons to allow for more entertaining ways to kill the next mob of dudes. That’s the game. If it were played in any other way, the other way would be the wrong way to play it. That’s it’s highest peak, though there are quite a few problems with it.
In their circle strafing fun, Gearbox decided it needed more depth, so they added an incredibly useless story to tie the quest lines together. They just added some lady’s face in the top right corner of the screen, which is, of course, completely ignored while circle strafing and killing dudes. The story itself is hard to follow, and forgotten shortly after each dialogue.
The 87 bazillion guns was a selling point for most people, and rightfully so. The player was guaranteed to never receive a duplicate item, unless it was from a boss. The weapons could do anything from starting fires, bouncing off walls, shooting in certain formations, and all sorts of combinations. If this system was not implemented, there would be no motivation for anyone to play it. Borderlands would be just a husk of a standard fps, that did nothing for anything in gaming.
The problem with the weapon algorithm is after forty hours of play, the player figures out each gun is exactly the same as the next in terms of how it works, the only difference is how flashy it is. If the number of possible guns were forgotten, how creative would they really be? There’s a few elemental mods, a couple of interesting bullet spread formations, and not much else. It’s really just your standard weapon lineup of shotgun, pistol, sniper rifle, assault rifle, rocket launcher. Realizing this makes the game’s entertainment value drop immensely.
Despite the game’s many flaws and shortcomings, you’ll be happy to play it for a good fifty-sixty hours, especially if you can run co-op with friends. I might add, the PC copy of it is a broken console port, and if you were to buy it; definitely go for the 360 version. The PC SKU is still fun, but the bugs and Gamespy client are a bit overbearing.