’ main draw is the addictiveness it offers and the sense of ease with which you can progress through the game without ever reaching a plateau. It’s like many action-RPGs in that regard; funnelling you through quests and supplying you with ever-increasing funds and loot which you can obsessively collect.
The presentation of the game is a key factor too and while Borderlands
’ change of art direction came suspiciously late in the schedule there’s no denying that it brings a certain freshness and beauty to the game.
Unlike most cel-shaded games, Borderlands
manages to be incredibly detailed and beautiful too, with textures still wonderfully communicated despite the intentionally limited colour palette. The gore is particularly impressive too, and it helps make the matter of finding alien weakspots much less of an issue.
Unfortunately, the ferocity of the combat is quite often destroyed by some wonky balancing and lack-lustre AI. Enemies apparently have less intelligence than a glue-sniffing supermodel and fights are often either drawn out impossibly or made insultingly easy by the AI’s refusal to move around the battlefield.
Speaking of which, the cars can be particularly difficult to control if you’re playing on PC too, as there doesn’t seem to be an option to disable mouse steering. That can be a pain in the ass when you’re trying to shoot in one direction and drive in another – and the limit on two occupants per car further hints that co-op isn’t where the game really excels in spite of claims otherwise.
Oh, and the guns on the cars are pretty dire too thanks to a wildly inaccurate machine gun and a rocket launcher that also falls prey to the balancing problems. Barechested bandits can often take four or five direct rocket hits for example, while running them over produces an easy insta-gib and experience boon.
PC players may well want to beware a fiddly interface too, as the inventory system is ported straight over from the console versions and item comparisons have to be made manually and slowly, which isn’t ideal when the PC can display that information much more easily. It’s kind of depressing how quickly we’re becoming acclimatised to consolification of this type though, really.
So, do you come here often?
Consolification isn’t a claim that can be clearly levelled at the rest of the game though, fear not. If anything, Borderlands
’ core gameplay and taxing, if repetitive balancing leans more towards the type of experience you might see on the PC. The first few hours are very easy, but after that then the game ups the challenge considerably and you’ll be forced to change your approaches about a bit and start favouring new and more exciting weapons. It’s here that an extra player can come in handy too.
However you want to play Borderlands
though, it remains a decidedly moreish and fun shooter. We could shoot some more holes in it if we wanted (especially when it comes to the lack of enemy variety), but that’s just getting us further and further away from the fact that it’s a fun game to play. It’s very much mired in the conventions of previous games and draws pretty directly from the likes of Halo
, but that’s all irrelevant when faced with the simple fact that it’s a fun, fast and very accessible FPS/RPG blend.
It has weaknesses and some of them are pretty obvious ones, but it remains a game that we enjoy playing – and it’s hard to ask for more than that.