Gearbox’s addictive Shoot ‘n’ loot is mindless fun.
Do you ever come home from work or school and your head is swimming in numbers? Ever come home and just want to kill things, no questions asked, no plot to ponder about? Borderlands is for those days. It’s mindless fun at it’s best – a perfect blend of shooting, leveling and collecting.
It’s unique style of genre blending coupled with four distinctive characters and a gorgeous cell shaded art direction combines to create something unlike anything you’ve ever played before. And yet even the first time you play, you’ll feel a sense of timeless familiarity, as if Pandora’s an old friend that has always been there and always will. You owe it to yourself to buy this game.
Borderlands is unlike 99% (!) of all video games in the graphics department. Take Wind Waker and Resistance, stick ’em in a blender and then add monsters. that’s sort of what it looks like. Sort of. Regardless, it’s a beautiful game with a brave cell shaded style that gives it a cartoony feel.
That’s worth noting. The game is rated (18), and rightly so, as people are corroded, burned, electrified and shot to pieces. Yet the whole feel of the game is very light and cartoony. Character designs and critter movements are stylish and fun, as the game never truly takes itself seriously. It’s through this shameless excitement that the unique world of Pandora is created.
Borderlands is about two things: Killing things and getting better loot. There are thousands of guns ranging from fire spitting pistols to shotguns that spew acidic rockets. As you level up and unlock new areas, the enemies level up also, dropping progressively stronger weapons and shields. If you play in co-op mode (up to four players), the enemies in any given area are even stronger and drop even better items. It’s a highly addictive formula, aided by a strong control scheme.
Guns control well, if slightly clunky, and are all very responsive. You know when you’re firing a machine gun; the recoils is powerful and the shots violent. Similarly a sniper rifle feels sleek and deadly as each bullet finds it’s mark. Your character can run indefinitely, which is great for when the vehicle stations are far away. Oh yeah, there’s vehicles. And they come in pink. Last thing to note: your character jumps like master chief. This is a good thing.
The story involves you coming to Pandora in search of a mystical vault said to open once every two hundred years. In the vault as the legend tells, is infinite wealth and alien technology. I’m going to be honest here – the story isn’t great, but nobody gives a damn. Mission after mission hits you in the blink of the eye, all done by text – based dialogue. This doesn’t exactly make for an enthralling story because the plot ain’t no Morrowind.
But it’s enjoyable enough, and helps push the narrative forward. Plus, when the play is this good, who cares if the story is rather lacklustre. Sadly, the ending is worse than that. Without spoiling anything, it’s extremely anti-climatic, and the boss fight is ‘meh’. A disappointing end to a great game. Thankfully, you can do a new+ game to continue the fun.
I’m not going to waste time waxing any more eloquent reasons as to why you should buy this game, just know that you should. Get it, play the hell out of it, and then get Borderlands 2 when that arrives. Above all, this is comfort gaming and who doesn’t love that?
GAME PLAY: 9/10
Overall: 23 / 30 (Mindless fun).