Posts Tagged ‘multiplayer’

Game Review: Borderlands

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Borderlands earns a Busy Gamer 3

First Glance:
Gun down some baddies in a futuristic wasteland, level up, gun down bigger baddies.

The Short Story:
Borderlands doesn’t try to do everything all at once. At its core, it’s an FPS with role-playing elements and it seamlessly combines those elements for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. You take missions and bounties as you wander the Borderlands as one of four classes. Level up as you shoot your way to your goals, making your character more powerful for the bigger fights. Team up with up to three other players to get the full experience.

The Score:
This game has quickly become a Reckon Crew favorite and even made it into our top five picks for 2009. Hardly a night goes by without a quick round of Borderlands being played. Cel shaded graphics bring the world of Pandora to light and some of the best voice acting in any video game to date helps to unfold the story of four adventurers who have come to this world to search for treasures beyond imagining. There’s a well told story here and it’s worth the time investment to see it to its ending. The multi-player feature of Borderlands allows for short play sessions and the controls are easy enough to learn and not forget after an absence from the game. Unfortunately, it is ultimately the length of the game and the necessity of some form of time commitment to see the game to its end that bring down the score. An utterly fantastic game, sadly Borderlands scores a Busy Gamer 3.

Body of review:
I’ve mentioned on occasion that there are games I shouldn’t be allowed to play due to their ability to make me lose track of time completely and utterly. Borderlands may very well be added to that short list of games in the very near future.

I had seen the commercials back when the game was released and I knew I was going to pick up a copy eventually. When I did, I was expecting the gorgeous cel shaded graphics and FPS controls. What I wasn’t expecting was how engrossed I would find myself with the game after only a few hours.

When beginning the game, you are offered the choice of four characters, the soldier, hunter, siren, and berserker. As we’ve come to see in games where you have to choose a class, each character has their strengths and weaknesses along with a unique special skill based on your choice. For example, the hunter, Mordecai, is primarily long ranged with the ability to summon his companion Bloodwing to help him fight for short periods of time while Brick, the berserker, is a terror in hand to hand combat and can, naturally, go berserk which allows him to heal rapidly and deal massive damage with his fists.

Our character finds themselves outside of a settlement called Fyrestone where we are brought up to speed on what our ultimate goal is and a brief tutorial which allows us the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with our character choice and then it’s straight into the action. The control scheme is easy to learn and the HUD provided is informative without being distracting. The inventory set up can be a bit daunting at first but once you’re familiar with it, you’ll breeze through it quickly enough.

As you progress through the beginning of the game, the tone is set quickly with the voice acting. Each character you interact with is voiced superbly and there is a humor to the conversations that is endearing. It quickly becomes obvious that the planet you are on is akin to the Wild West with the only law being one of might makes right… and most of the people who inhabit the backwater planet soon begin to contact you with tasks and bounties to complete as you make your way through the impressive landscape.

Where Borderlands truly excels is the multi-player experience. Setting up a game session is quick and easy and you can choose whether to allow just anyone to join or if you simply want to play with friends. The more people you have in the game (up to four) the more difficult your enemies become. At the same time, however, the more lucrative the rewards become.

The multiplayer is where Borderlands shines

The multi-player also allows for lower level characters to catch up relatively quickly to friends who may be higher level. While the lower level characters won’t be much help in the bigger fights, the experience awarded is substantial and may be the easiest way to help a friend get to the same point in the game as you.

Missions and bounties are typically fast paced though there are a few that have you wandering all over a map. Areas tend to scale to the level of your character so you don’t struggle when first entering a new map. The areas are self contained which means you can’t accidentally wander into another area without meaning to but the areas tend to repopulate fairly quickly so any place you take your time fighting into may mean you have to fight your way out again.

The weapons available in Borderlands are numerous and are pulled from “loot” tables in order to provide variance. The names of the weapons will typically indicate what traits they have while still managing to look and perform differently. There’s enough weapons to choose from that you will very rarely see the same weapon in a loot pile more than once, excluding unique weapons. And even with the unique weapons, there may be an elemental effect on yours that your friend’s doesn’t have.

Time constraints may become a factor as you start to enjoy the games. Typical multi-player sessions for the Reckon Crew often go longer than an hour as we help one another complete missions or just load up and go patrol an area and lay waste to some baddies. There’s a good sized world to be explored here and you may find one playthrough isn’t enough. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t play this game but you may want to postpone buying anything else for a while if you’re a typical Busy Gamer.

Gorgeous graphics, excellent voice acting and sound effects, beautiful scenery, and two DLCs since the launch of the game with a third on the way this month make Borderlands a solid addition to any gamer’s library, Busy or otherwise.

Gritskrieg – End of Line