If you couldn’t tell from the above picture, I’m reviewing Borderlands, the “space western” developed by Gearbox Software and released in 2009. Why am I reviewing a three year old game? Because of several reasons. First of all, I got this game on the recommendation of a friend and a GameStop employee. I’m very particular in what I desire in a game, and upon asking about the level of customization, the depth of storytelling, and the sandboxiness of the game, Steve, the Game Boy, gave me all the affirmation I desired to go ahead and purchase the Game of the Year edition. The real answers to those questions were, in order, not a lot, not much, not worth it. Fuck you, Steve. Reason number two is that I was disappointed with this game, it frustrated me to no end. It wasn’t that it was difficult, cause it wasn’t, it was that it was so mind numbingly terrible, that my IQ jumped off a bridge. And lastly, because I purchased the game and hated, I feel as if I feel entitled to express my opinion of this game. But let’s get down to the review, shall we.
So the game takes place on the planet of Pandora, which has been ravaged by treasure hunting, strip mining, and an amount of pollution that would make BP blush. Pandora is apparently known for two things, one being the legendary Vault that contains unfathomable riches with absolutely “no consequences”, and the other being homicidal inbred psychotics and creatures.
Unsurprisingly, you are seeking the first while eviscerating the second. This brings me to my first point about this game I don’t understand. It seems that the planet is literally filled with the least genetically diverse species in the universe. I would have hoped for giant Space Charles Darwin to descend from the sky and bitch slap the planet into extinction. With the major species on the planet being brain dead hicks, and the animal life reduced to 5 or 6 distinct species with more genetic mutations than the X-men, this planet just does not seem that, diverse. I’m not saying that’s a problem for this fictional planet, cause I’d like to see all life scrapped from Pandora, but in terms of gameplay, I get very tired fighting the same creature over and over with different skins and names. When they name a Rak, you know it’s going to have a huge health bar, but at the end of the day, I killed another Rak out of the billion already strewn about the wastes.
Another bothersome feature of the natives and creatures on Pandora is that they either have the worst AI ever or the developers really wanted to portray every species as dumb bricks that had a lobotomy. All the enemy AI is so scripted that after playing the game for 30 minutes I felt like a freaking psychic.
I could tell you how many or what enemy at what strength was going to pop out of what corner of the map. It becomes very dull an monotonous when there is no surprise. You run in and out of the same maps over and over, and the enemies just magically respawn in their place. Some may argue that the type of baddies will change so that makes this mechanic ok, to those people I say, ” Tell your mother to stop spoon feeding you.” Seriously?!? I don’t care if the Legendary Spiderant of Kiss My Ass Goodbye were to pop up when passing the same spawn point as I’ve done a thousand times, it’s still predictable and takes away the surprise of gaming. Even if you come across the aforementioned spiderant, your saiyan scouter will tell you keep away, and you do, because you don’t have a chance killing anything a certain level above you, severely destroying the chance at euphoria when beating something 50 lvls above you.
I could go into how I dislike how the narrative is pushed along by MMORPG style quest boxes (which is a Cop Out), or that the NPCs in game have no life and most don’t acknowledge your existence, or even that all of the quests are little more than grocery list the you are sent away to do for god knows how long while the world burns around you, or that the leveling tree for your character is like a leveling sapling, or … *starts foaming at the mouth, then calms down* … I could, but then this post would be way too long and I’d need to retake my Agression Management Class. So instead, this is what I liked about Borderlands:
This Game doesn’t suck because:
- The Cell shaded graphics work for the cartoony almost delusional setting of the game. The landscapes are stark, but gorgeous in scape, and the NPCs are animated well. This is my very own way of being blonde and saying, “Yay, it’s pretty!”
- The number of guns. Literally this was my favorite part. It might be because I’m a hoarder and a tad OCD, but I loved collecting this shit (sometimes in shit) in order to boost my arsenal. I like the feeling that there are competing arm’s dealers, makes the universe seem bigger in a way, or that the universe is totally screwed, but it works, even though they are the same guns with different skins and stats … need to stay positive.
- The Kickass Cutscenes
What I hope for in the Sequel:
- NPC’s interact with one another
- A story driven by narrative, not boxes
- More Guns
- More variety of Baddies
- Better AI
- Just wow me Gearbox, cause I hated this one
Well, that’s all for this review, now if you excuse me, I have a CD to set on fire. If you have any comments, questions, or perhaps a game you want me to review, leave a comment below. Cheers!