Borderlands Review – X360/PS3 – Ain't No Rest For The Wicked

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Borderlands hits the scene in an attempt to mix a few game genres together and make an entirely new experience.

The big question is, does it work? Set on the planet Pandora and boasting a cartoon-styled version of the Unreal Engine 3, Gearbox Software has promised a crazy, fun-filled, co-op experience that is deep yet easy to pick up.

We decided to be the judge of that and packed our bags for Pandora. Hit the jump for the full review.

Borderlands puts you in the shoes of a couple of bounty hunters that have come to the Planet Pandora, a planet with a very wild-west feel about it, in seek of fame and fortune, with the trip fueled by a legend of a lost alien vault that contains some crazy technology.

The game plays out in an open world environment with large open areas, towns and a couple of vehicles to get your butts around (quick travel is unlocked later).

Jumping into the game you are given the choice of four different classes, which in this case are characters. The four classes are made up of a Hunter, Berserker, Siren and Soldier. Each class has their own specialities, such as the Berserkers ability to go into a rage, running in and punching the living crap out of everything or the Siren’s ability to phase walk.

Each character also has three different skill trees to choose from or split their skill points over, meaning that each class can still play differently for different players.

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When it comes to controls, Borderlands is a shooter. On the other hand, the rest of the game is made up to be that of a hack n’ slash roleplaying game such as Diablo or even World of Warcraft.

This means loot, lots and lots of glorious loot. Killing enemies drops shared cash and experience as well as ammo, items and weapons. This is where the real fun kicks in. Borderlands is a constant loot fest, while the fighting is incredibly enjoyable, there is always that knowledge that when the dust settles, the looting will begin and everyone will start poking around, looking for chests and seeing what has been dropped.

Due to the fact that Borderlands randomly generates weapons, shield and so on, there is always something new to find that will be great to use or possibly just good for a quick sale and will never leave you hanging on to one weapon for too long.

The looting mixed together with the level up system (as well as challanges) gives the player a constant feeling that they are progressing and always keeps events interesting.

It is very clear that Gearbox really did their homework with Borderlands. Many little features have been added to make life simpler, ranging from one holding a button to pick up all the loot in front of you to having the ability to pay some money in and reset and redistribute your skill points.

The game can be played in various ways, single player, 2 player split-screen, 4 player system link and 4 player online. You are able to keep multiple characters, which means that you can keep one for single player, one for your online buddies and another one for that LAN you are attending next week.

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The game can still be really enjoyable in single player mode but the true fun arrives when playing with friends, so I heavily recommend finding some friends to play with using all of the different options mentioned above.

The art style in Borderlands is a cartoony, pencil-outlined look that serves to increase the feeling of fun even more. Characters and environments are interesting to look at and the game keeps a smooth steady framerate at almost all times, with a few hiccups here and there when there is a lot going on on screen.

Borderlands feels very simple on the surface but has an incredibly deep gameplay mechanic that will keep you upgrading, leveling and swapping items , as it has been created as a perfect balance between being a shooter and being an RPG.

I could talk for hours about all of the different aspects of the game but instead, I can just make it clear that the game is fun and easy to get into and once you are comfortable with they way it works, you will find yourself addicted and already contemplating multiple play-throughs.

Scoring

Gameplay: 9.0
Fun, engaging and well thought out as both a shooter and an RPG

Presentation: 8.9
Feels like it looks exactly how they intended, great art style

Sound: 8.5
What you would expect. Good use overall

Value: 9.2
A lengthy campaign that can be played multiple times

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Overall: 9.0

The most co-op multiplayer fun I have had in years. Incredibly addictive.

Last Updated: October 29, 2009

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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