Borderlands is a gritty sci-fi western set on a desert planet in the far future. It is a strange mixture of an FPS and RPG, and has been commented on as being ‘Diablo with guns’; This, of course, is not a bad thing.
|Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date: October 26, 2009
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
JustRPG Score: 97%
+Tons of weapons
+Plenty of Gore / Effects
+Amazing Co-Op Gameplay
Players in Borderlands can take control of one of four characters that fill archetypal ‘classes’ from other RPGS: Brick, the ‘Tank’, a massive man capable of entering berserker rages where he is extremely resistant to damage, regenerates HP at a ridiculous rate, and uses his ham-sized fists to beat people to a pulp; Lilith, the Siren, a woman with strange, super-human powers that allow her to fire off shock waves and turn invisible; Mordecai, a famous ‘hunter’ who is skilled with the use of sniper rifles that is aided by his gigantic pet vulture, and Roland, the Soldier. Roland has the ability to deploy massive, unmoving turrets and heal his allies. The players take control of one of the characters as they attempt to find out what strange technology lies inside ancient vaults on the planet of Pandora, all the while helping in a multi-planet war between mega corporations.
By, Robert D. Stock
Welcome to Pandora, a distant planet we had hoped to colonize, but turns out to be quite desolate, with some alien ruins and some nasty, native creatures. Most of the colonists have fled, the remainder trying to eek out a life on the harsh, lawless planet. Rumors have spread about the “Vault,” a site that may or may not contain vast “riches.” Will you survive to find the Vault? Does it even exist?
Borderlands is the best RPG/1st-Person Shooter I have played to date (I played the PS3 version). Much of this stems from the advanced RPG elements, often almost overlooked in an action RPG. You play as one of four mercenaries—Mordecai (hunter), Lilith (siren), Roland (soldier), Brick (berserker).
Where this game truly shines is in its co-op gameplay. I have actually played co-op most of the time with my brother. Co-op is different in a few ways from single player. One of the differences is that the greater the number of players, the higher the difficulty is. Online offers up to 4-player co-op, while we were able to play 2-player co-op on our single machine.
Mordecai is the hunter. He is able to summon his hawk, Bloodwing, as his action skill at level five. He begins with a sniper rifle. His talent trees are sniper, rogue, and gunslinger.
Sniper focuses mainly on (no surprise) sniper weapons. Things like reload speed, magazine, and sway can be upgraded. The rogue talent tree focuses on Bloodwing and his attributes. Gunslinger focuses on damage and pistols. With this tree you can really dish out the critical damage with sniper shots.
Lilith is the siren. She is sort of like the mage of Borderlands, but she can be good with guns. She prefers to use pistols, which tend to have elemental damage. She is able to use Phasewalk as her action skill. It enables her to become invisible and to damage enemies once she exits. Her talent trees are controller, elemental, and assassin.
Controller focuses on dazing the enemies for reduced movement speed and fire rate. It also increases her shield capacity and allows her to survive for a longer time. Elemental increases her damage, fire rate, and elemental resistances. Assassin increases critical damage, damage with melee attacks, and guns. It also increases damage and cool down in Phasewalk, as well as damage reduction.
Roland is the soldier. He can pretty much be anything, depending on how you put points in his talent trees. He prefers to use shotguns and combat rifles. He can summon a Scorpio Turret as his action skill. It can do some major damage and be used as a shield. His talent trees are infantry, support, and medic.
Infantry focuses on all guns and the turret. It increases damage with the shotgun and magazine size, and recoil reduction of the combat rifle. It will also increase the turret’s damage and let it fire a missile. Support focuses on shields and ammo. It increases shield regeneration and allows the turret to give ammo when near or to shoot out ammo. Medic increases health, health regeneration, and resistance. It can also allow the turret to heal and have a chance to revive. You can even heal with bullets.
Brick is the berserker. As you may expect, he is the one that can take the most damage and go into battle fists first, pounding everything to the ground. He likes to use launchers, like rocket launchers, but he prefers his fists. His action skill is berserk. It allows him to use his fists with R2 and L2, and he has resistance to all damage and can regenerate health. His talent trees are brawler, tank, and blaster.
Brawler is completely melee and betters his berserk ability. It will also increase melee damage. Tank helps him survive for a very long duration, increases shields, shield regeneration, health, and health regeneration. It also increases the health from reviving, the crippled time, and resistances. Blaster focuses on launcher weapons. This tree is all over the place and doesn’t really focus on one thing. It increases explosive damage and resistances.
Once you have chosen one of the four, you will get off the bus and meet your first CL4P-TP, or Clap Trap. These robots are great sidekick humor and tend to get shot at by bandits. You will find some of them in dungeon areas, lying down and saying, “I can see the… Code.”
They will help you through some of the technology, such as the interface and the New-U station. On the interface, you will be able to see your health bar along with shields on the bottom left. The bottom middle contains your experience bar and compass. The compass tells you where things are, if you are within range. Loot looks like money bags. Quest objectives are shown as diamonds on the compass and map. Enemies are displayed as red dots, and allies are displayed as white dots.
The first quest you get is to kill five skags. Skags are like mutant dogs. They eat anything, and what they can’t digest, they puke up. These piles of puke are called skag piles. You will be smashing these for random loot.
Each enemy has weak points. You can’t afflict a critical hit by just attacking, you need to utilize the weak points. A skag’s weak point is its open mouth. Since they don’t open their mouths often, it is not easy to get a critical hit. Humans, on the other hand, can be easily hit on their weak point, the head. Gotta luv the exploding heads!
When you lose all of your HP, you will go into a crippled state where you need to kill someone to get a “second wind”. If you fail to kill someone and bleed to death, you will regenerate at the nearest “New-U” station or a checkpoint. A new-u station allows you to change your name, your colors, and quickly travel to other new-u stations. It will cost money, though, the amount of which depends on your level. So try and get that second wind kill before the screen goes black.
EXP increases when you achieve challenges. Challenges range from opening chests that contain items to running enemies over with vehicles.
You will get vehicles after you finish the quests at the Catch-a-Ride station just outside of Fyrestone. These vehicles are a time saver and can be your greatest weapon. You can equip them with either a rocket launcher or a machine gun in the turret. I do not recommend using the rocket launcher, because it can easily kill you if you fire it at too close a range. The best part about the vehicles is that you can crush anything that comes near you. It’s such a delight to run over skags, that I tend to get in a vehicle and just hang out near a skag den. Roadkill at its finest!
Borderlands is an awesome game for any RPG lover or any FPS lover, or anyone that wants to kick some ass with a friend or two. And I did forget to mention the dismemberment. Some of the absolute best I’ve seen in a game. Critical hits to the head—exploding nirvana. Critical body hits—blood and organs galore.
Final Verdict: 97%