(http://www.borderlandsthegame.com) For Mature Audience 17 and over. Perhaps following the trend of genre-hybrid games, Borderlands by Gearbox Software challenges the possibly hardest combination – First Person Shooter (FPS) and Role Playing Game (RPG). While this game appears similar to the popular Fallout 3, it offers a lot more in terms of gameplay. The exceptionally enjoyable multiplayer coorperative play found in Borderlands had become rare in the recent months. The remarkable depth in most aspects along with all these unique features, Borderlands is a game not to be missed for the year of 2009.
(http://www.borderlandsthegame.com) For Mature Audience 17 and over. Recently, there have been a lot of games that combines different elements from different genre of games. Borderland by Gearbox is one of these game that try to merge two genres that has never been combined before, First Person Shooter (FPS) and Role Playing Game (RPG). Surprisingly, the elements from the two genres seem to compliment each other and created an immersive and addicting game. On the surface, Borderland seems to be a clone of the popular Fallout 3, where a story is weaved through travelling the vast wasteland in search of a vault. However, the main focus of this game seems to be a First Person Shooter with the RPG elements and a massive collection of weapons and items along with its online cooperative gameplay. Initially, I had my doubts about a First Person Shooter based story game because it can become repetitive quickly. However, the much needed depth is added to game with the RPG element of having four different characters classes that has different abilities and growth. Once you have spent sometime in the game, you will also notice there are a lot of weapons and items in this game. All the weapons and items are very unique because they randomly generated with different appearances and attributes. Even if you were to visit the same play for the same weapon, you will notice that weapon’s attribute will change. For the gamers who like to collect items, they will find themselves constantly scrounging through the different areas of the world in search of a better weapon or item from this randomly generated system. Lastly, the online cooperative feature enables you to play the game online with other players cooperatively through the story with your existing characters. It has become rare these days to find a game that allow you to play with other players working toward a common goal. With all these unique features, Borderland is a game not to be missed for the year of 2009.
As unique as the wasteland planet “Pandora” that Borderlands takes place on, the presentation of the game is nothing short of special. While some of its artistic style is reminiscent of 2K’s BioShock, namely the retro-futuristic artworks, it is limited to 2D decoration on vending machines, menus and such. The distinctiveness of Borderlands’ world thanks largely to its cel-shading technique, it also allows for a huge playable area for each part of Pandora. The world setting of the game is interesting, with the characters exist as a data-like entity, allowing them to reconstructed upon death or be instantly transferred to another area at some communication locations.
As mentioned above, Borderlands is rendered entirely using cel-shading technique. But with plenty of well placed high-level details and particles, the game does not look cartoony like other cel-shade rendered titles. Instead of cartoony and flat, Borderlands should be described as surreal yet immersive. Especially as a game played from the first-person view point, after playing for just a few hours, the player will wonder if reality should be looking like Pandora instead. The character design is simply outstanding, there’s no better match than Pandora’s psychotic inhabitants for its rugged wasteland. Not to mention the 4 stylish playable characters each bearing physique and clothing uniquely fitting for their class.
The music nicely portrays the desolate and isolated feel of the game world. The tone of the music also changes dynamically according game’s events. If you were to be walking in the desert or the town, the mood music would be depicting the inhibited and isolated environment. As you are engaged in battle, the music will changes into an upbeat and intense score. All the music adds to the overall experience. Also, the sound effects to almost all the guns are completely different. This makes the experience of acquiring each new weapon truly unique. The voices and dialogues from the different characters are humorous and entertaining. You couldn’t help yourself from laughing when the comical relief robot helper’s remarks “Look at me everyone, I am dancing, I am dancing” or “Oh my god, I am leaking, I’m leaking”
From a first look, Borderlands looks like a standard first-person shooter where the player runs around only seeing their gun and the environment; but in fact it features an excellent balance between RPG elements and shooting gameplay. Starting with just one gun that is immediately recognizable in any other shooters, the player will soon come across a larger and more imaginative of arsenal to pick from. Although there are plenty of guns and equipments to find and pick from, they are not always immediately available for use; often times they have a level requirement higher than the player’s current level, which is one of the ways the feelings of rewards of an RPG game is introduced. Another RPG-like reinforcement is the character leveling and customization itself. Each of the 4 characters has their own unique skill tree, and each skill tree contain 21 skills to choose from.
For all its in-depth leveling and character customization, Borderlands’ multiplayer experience is very unlike any other online multiplayer game. Instead of endless newbie killing and harassment, the focus of the multiplayer is on co-operative play. The intuitive game lobby allows players to quickly get into action by simply picking a room with less than 4 players and then start playing. Players can join or leave the game at any time. Besides having battle support and companionship, the game also rewards multiplayer games with more loots; however, the loots are on a first-come-first-served basis. Competitive play is also included although it is limited to the arenas of the world unless 2 players consent to it by using a melee attack on each other.
Borderlands does not bring any memorable foreign concepts to the gaming world, however, it brings together pieces that normally do not belong. Where many of its predecessors had failed miserable, Gearbox Software is able to masterfully achieve that goal. The brilliance of that balance is where the creativity behind Borderland shines.
This game’s replay value will easily speak for itself. The character customization alone will guarantee several playthroughs, as different character build will bring a completely different experience. In fact, even the same character with a different skill set will play quite differently, and each character can hold their own whether it is solo or multiplayer. The excellence in class balancing in this genre-hybrid exceeds many pure MMORPGs in terms of replayability. Furthermore, Borderlands has an intuitive weapon generation system that will keep the player killing random enemies in hope of getting the next rare weapon. All things considered, it is impossible to see everything in Borderlands.
It is rare that RPG and FPS come together, and fans of either genre usually will avoid games of the other genre like a plague. Even so, combining RPG with FPS had been done before, but it is rarely as good as Borderlands is. From the RPGs, Borderlands gives the rewards of character leveling plus equipment hunting while ditching the unskilled competitive play; and as an FPS, it features more than enough guns to satisfy all types of players. Then the developers add the cooperative play factor into the game, the most extraordinary aspect of Borderlands is that everything mixes together so excellently to create a true best-of-both-worlds experience. All in all, Borderlands is truly a one-of-its-kind experience that deserves some serious attention.
The following Video May Contain Content Inappropriate for Children**