The FPS and RPG made a baby.

borderlandsbox

“The FPS and RPG made a baby.” One sentence sums up Borderlands. This statement however, may actually create more questions than it answers. RPG: “Will I be grinding to reach that next area, or will I be doing gathering that are monotonous to say the least?”. FPS: “I don’t know about this RPG thing, is it a disease? I just want to shoot stuff!” Fear not my fellow gamers, all these questions and more are soon to be answered.

Story     6/10

The game begins by introducing the “vault” and the planet of Pandora. It is rumored that the “vault” contains treasure, fame, and possibly even enemies. Soon you are introduced to the selectable characters that you are allowed to choose from. After picking a character, your “guardian angel” introduces herself and you begin to explore the world of Pandora. Your ultimate goal is to reach the vault and open it. The story itself isn’t all that original, and suffice it to say that most gamers have seen some variation of this story line. Characters you encounter along the way offer witty rhetoric that should keep you entertained.  Gearbox obviously has a sense of humor as well, citing multiple pop-culture references throughout the game (with various easter eggs).

Sound     4/10

The sound quality of this game is mediocre. While sound placement (where a shot came from, where that screaming enemy is) is done right, epic scores found in most console RPGs are nowhere to be found. The only time I ever recall even hearing music is during boss fights. This did add to the ambiance, however I feel that it was just a little too little a little too late.

Graphics     9/10

While at first I was turned off by the cell-shading, it soon began to grow on me. Borderlands is by no means the first to use this technique, however it is certainly done right. The art lends itself very well to the feel of the game, emphasizing moments where light is scarce. This also makes the comical moments even more so. Cell shading also serves another purpose in Borderlands (even if unintended). The astute gamer will notice that when first entering an area it takes perhaps half a second or so for the textures to fully render.  Because cell shading is used in place of the more traditional style, this is harder to notice. The dull shade allows less contrast between the backdrop and the actual texture itself. There is also significantly less dead areas (by dead areas I mean that If I force myself into a corner, or ease against a wall, the texture will glitch and a void will be where it the texture should remain) which shows a thoroughness by the graphic designers that I rarely see.

Game play     9/10

The game play of Borderlands makes it among my favorite games of all time. It brings the best elements of both FPS and RPG together to form a fantastically fun game. Elements such as skill trees (seen in many MMORPGS), levels, quests, and even critical hits are taken from classical RPGs and applied to the FPS. Choice of four different classes allows players to choose what weapons they will be best with, and what ability they will use. All of the traditional FPS weapons are available including: pistols, snipers, Rockets, SMGs, and Rifles. In addition to class choice, skill trees allow each player to customize their character to the way they play. While selection of guns in most FPSs is limited to say the least, this is not the case in Borderlands. There is essentially an endless array of guns. Everyone who plays is almost guaranteed to not receive the same identical weapons in terms of stats. While many are obviously similar, variations of the same weapon allow for some to be better than others. Doing quests in Borderlands (story or optional) is a refreshing experience. While there are a couple exceptions, there are no monotonous quests. The gather quests that do exist are fairly easy, and most quests can be completed in a couple of minutes. Quests should be a players main source of experience, however a player may choose to grind if they so wish.  Critical hits are scored by either scoring a headshot (on humanoid opponents) or by hitting a “weak” spot on an enemy. All of these elements combined form a game that is thoroughly engrossing, and I believe (after two play throughs) that I could play through again at least twice more. My experience with the game play of Borderlands is nothing but extremely positive, however it should be noted that many players experience glitching of quests and/or achievements. It is for this sole reason that game play has been docked a point and positioned 9 out of 10.

Multiplayer 6/10

The multiplayer of Borderlands leaves something to be desired.  Many feel that having only a Co-op mode (with no versus) is a drawback. I feel that this allows players to immerse themselves into the story and experience it together. You may duel your friends, or other online players, once you join a game. The arena allows for a versus mode that is similar to many online versus FPS games. The biggest hindrance of co-op is the matchmaking system. Higher players (and people past the first play through) may have a very hard time finding games with similar progression. The matchmaking list is flooded with people on the first play through, and on the first half of the game. I found myself posting on forums to find people around my level because the matchmaking system was so horrendous.

Overall  7/10

Borderlands have been a delightful game to play, however I cannot rightfully give it a higher score for a couple reasons. Firstly, mediocre story, sound, and a terrible matchmaking system leave something to be desired. Lastly the sheer audacity of a game developer to release a game with many known glitches and problems is a sad day for the gaming industry. A patch is already in work (so soon after the release date may I add) so hopefully these issues may soon be resolved.

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~ by Walsfer on October 29, 2009.

2 Responses to “The FPS and RPG made a baby.”

  1. Thanks for the in depth review>>

  2. Thanks, very informative stuff here.
    Keep it up

    Regards
    Tom

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