I’ve been having a bad habit of forming bad first impressions of games recently. Sometimes I dream them up before I even start the game, sometimes I’ll do it within the first hour of play. With Borderlands, I started the game with an open mind and started disliking the game almost immediately after the beginning cutscene. “This is a shameless blend of about 5 of my favourite games. What a travesty!” I thought, but I continued playing because I wanted to see if it developed into something my copycat-detector wouldn’t relentlessly beep at. An hour later and I became hooked on this Frankenstein of a game, sewn together from the best parts of the first person shooters and RPGs it emulates. Once you start getting into Borderlands with a perspective similar to mine, there will be one of two outcomes: either you’ll stop noticing all of the elements it blatantly lifts from its predecessors, or you’ll stop caring.


The weapons and abilities are by far my favourite part about this game. In fact, I can pinpoint the exact moment that my love for this game began to flourish; the first time I picked up a sniper rifle with a high chance of causing explosions whenever I shoot something. I began to question whether or not I was psychotic when I started cackling with glee whenever an unfortunate bandit’s limbs and vital organs would be flung into the air with the force of a geyser’s discharge after I popped him in the head. Then there’s the delightful skill of my character, Brick, who can plunge into a fit of bloodlust and pummel my opponents with his fists; with the right upgrades, he can even set them on fire or create explosions with every punch. That’s right; explosion punches. And Brick is just ONE of the 4 characters available to you, each with their own special ability that you can tweak with various elemental artifacts.


Now, the talent tree system sure looks familiar… And yeah, it’s been done before in an almost identical fashion, but few talent trees have ever had such fun/devastating skills to choose from. With Brick, I decided to go with the brawler talent tree, and now my punches are not only more powerful but I reduced the cooldown of his ability from a minute to 30 seconds. It may not sound very interesting of you haven’t played the game, but trust me, it pays off in spades AND it’s a hell of a lot of fun to punchsplode fools so often. Again, each of the 4 characters have their own talent trees with 3 different branches, so the options for character variability are nearly limitless. Best of all, you can take back all the points you spent on various talents and allocate them again in any way you wish at any point in the game.


Borderlands has an awesome multiplayer component as well. You can bring up to 3 friends into your game and do quests, fight eachother, or just wreak havoc on the local wildlife and/or bandits. And don’t think that the game will be just as easy when you’re gallivanting across Pandora’s wasteland with 3 friends; the enemies become harder to compensate for the extra firepower on your side… But the loot gets better as well, so with any luck the people you take with you on your adventures will all come away from it with something special (like a corrosive rocket launcher!).


This game has glitches galore, and in some very inappropriate places. To my knowledge, two of the talents in the game are completely broken. One of them is payback, one of Brick’s skills, and the other is one of Lilith’s skills. Just think of all the players who don’t frequent the internet often, putting their points into useless skills! It’s enough to make me tear up. The other most glitch-plagued part of the game takes place in the vehicle you receive early on in the game. It’s fun to drive around, but occasionally you’ll get stuck on the environment and be unable to get free. A funny instance of this took place when I ran into an enemy car and pinned it against the ground. The good: the driver and passenger got out and I quickly dispatched them. The Bad: I was stuck, mounted on top of this empty car. Fun stuff! Finally, though I haven’t experienced this myself, I’ve seen reports online of enemies randomly exploding. They’re not kamikaze enemies that are SUPPOSED to spontaneously explode; but explode they do. It’s this collection of bugs, which range from negligible to severe, that make me think development may have been rushed a bit for this game. We humble gamers can only sit back and pray for a patch!

Though this game is both fun and mildly addictive, it suffers from a syndrome common to many RPGs: repetitiveness. Quests are sometimes unique and show a good deal of variety, but most of the time it’s either “go here, kill this/these” or something very similar but dressed up as something else (“go here destroy this/fix this/collect this oh look it’s surrounded by enemies”). Normally this is completely forgivable and even quite common in many games, but that’s mostly because of enemy variety. Yeah, Borderlands doesn’t have much of that either. So far I’ve seen maybe 6 different types of enemies, but each type has multiple versions that are stronger or weaker. (Midget Psycho -> Psycho -> Burning Psycho -> Badass Psycho… That kind of thing.) With that type of formula, you could easily end up thinking “Wait a minute, wasn’t that last mission pretty much identical to this one?” It isn’t, but it’s pretty damn close.


Here’s the Deal

So here we have a shooter with heavy RPG elements and a plethora of super-entertaining weapons and skills. Sounds good to me! If it weren’t marred by some glaring glitches and often repetitive quests and enemies, I’d rate it close to perfect. Hell, I’d give it a 9 just if the developers removed those pesky glitches; the repetitiveness is generally offset by the awesome weapons and skills anyway. So, if and when the patch arrives this game is easily a 9/10 in my books… But until that time, I’ll clearly show my disapproval of the developer’s sloppiness by docking Borderlands a point until they get their act together. Those wasted skill points are on your heads, developers. Your heads. Mike D. 8/10

~ by consolecreatures on October 30, 2009.

2 Responses to “BORDERLANDS REVIEW (PS3)”

  1. Crap! I may have to redistribute my skill points for lillith. Oh well. You know I’ve only ran into one glitch where my vehicle actually got stuck on top of a sharp boulder. Looked like I had a vehicle teeter totter but I just ended up jumping out of it and getting a new vehicle. Not a major glitch I guess. I’m only on lvl 20 so I know I have a long ways to go. So far I love the game though. You are completely correct in saying that it’s a frankenstein of a game. It seems though that it’s taken pretty much all of the good parts of different games and mashed em into one. I don’t mind it a bit. I’d still like to try out the online bit but am still rather engrossed in the solo play. I’ll test it out in the near future. Love to get some new more powerful weapons 😀

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