Thursday, October 22, 2009

Borderlands is a blast

For fans of first person shooters AND RPGS, Borderlands is definitely a great game to play.  Picking one of the four types of characters while riding on a bus in the opening moments, you learn that you are on the planet Pandora to find a mythical treasure known as the Vault. 

The game hooks you in by giving you lots to shoot at and lots of loot to collect and sell.  Quests vary from finding items to repair appliances or other machinery to killing X number of bad guys.  As you walk through one area to another mobs spawn (or re-spawn if you've traveled past a location before) to give you experience points and loot.  To help you stay alive you wear a shield that can be swapped out for an upgrade (as with all other weapons in the game).  The shield takes the damage first and once it has been depleted your health will start to drop.  Various shields will replenish faster or slower depending on the type you equip.  Some even revive health. 

Battles can be fierce, but given that each class type has a special weapon that can be utilized, combat seems to end in the players favor.  Upon leveling up from killing enemies or completing quests, you earn a talent point that can be used to give your character an advantage in whatever style of play you prefer.  With the Hunter, Mordecai the choices are Sniper, Rogue or Gunslinger.  Similar to WoW, there aren't enough talent points to allow you to pick every talent to it's fullest.  This gives you the choice to pick one talent tree to get the best of one type of play or choose from some of each.  Talent point distributions like this really allow the game to give the player the opportunity to play their own way.  Another nice touch with gunplay in the game is the fact that as one type of gun is used (shotgun, pistol, combat rifle, etc) the character increases their proficiency giving them a better chance for critical hits and better damage.

Borderlands also allows for four player online co-op and 2 player split screen local co-op.  As of this writing I haven't had a chance to try out either because I have been enjoying my solo adventure.  The way combat is set up, it is obvious that game play would benefit from having more than one class playing at a time and the ability to invite friends from your friends list to your own game is a nice touch.  From the main menu of the game you can also browse for and join random multiplayer games which also allows you to see what level other players are at and what part of the world of Pandora they are in.  This is really great as well.

Aside from not trying out a multiplayer run through the game I can say that this game will definitely occupy a lot time for me in the foreseeable future.  My only complaint so far with the game is driving vehicles.  Everything is backward in my opinion.  Steering and moving forward are handled with the analogue sticks instead of the trigger buttons as is typical with most driving games.  I think if I give the driving enough of a chance I'll be able to not drive straight into rocks or buildings and hopefully rather drive over bad guys as the developers intended.

This is definitely a must have game this holiday season.  I'll keep you all updated as I spend more time in the world of Borderlands.

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