Borderlands Review

Gearbox’s Loony Tunes riff on Fallout 3 is bordering on greatness.

By Stuart McAndrew, October 27, 2009

Not quite Oblivion.

Not quite Oblivion.

Unfortunately, as a roleplaying game Borderlands is not as deep or as customisable as we’re used to. While the weapon selection is diverse, character models are the same for the four main characters, with a colour palette swap the only way to differentiate your soldier from another in the party. The skill trees are adequate, but more variety and powers would have been welcome and fitting given the game’s “Have it all” approach. Still, these are minor issues when the gunplay feels so good.

Our protagonists are also rather lacking in personality. They’ll make the odd quip when killing an enemy with a critical hit, but a greater vocabulary would have given more life to the team of off-worlder mercenaries. When compared to the squelching, screaming denizens of Pandora, they come across as stoically cold in their search for the mythical vault.

Lillith in what is commonly called a "provocative pose".

Lillith in what is commonly called a "provocative pose".

The other main faults concern the game’s levelling system. Joining a friend who is a couple of levels above or below you is fine, but a friend five levels above you will make mincemeat of your opponents. You’ll spend more time asking him to revive you than shooting at the bad guys in his game. The option to save your character frequently means you can load a less experienced profile to join another game, but retreading your own steps as the same character is an unsatisfying experience.

Missions and challenges are level-based, but completing one or two of the missions aimed at a level 14 character will give you enough experience to make any missions for your level pointless. You’ll feel like you’re missing out on much of the content, though this does admittedly leave more to go back to should you replay the game as a different character.

No Mad Max homage would be complete without a big spiky vehicle.

No Mad Max homage would be complete without a big spiky vehicle.

Shooting bad guys in the face is something many of us spend an alarming amount of time doing (in the name of entertainment, of course). The Gearbox team are no greenhorns in that department, but this time they’re offering more – more guns, more enemies, the chance for you and three mates to shower psychotic, masked, axe-wielding, screaming pygmies with acid and lightning. Borderlands will not immerse you in a future of tinned food eaten in cold bomb shelters, but it will put a grin on your face.

8 out of 10

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3 Responses to “Borderlands Review”

  1. Brush says:

    Very enlightening

    will have to give it a bash at some point.

  2. Edwin says:

    I’m itching for a go at this, but there’s Fallout 3 to finish first.

  3. Evan Edwins-Thirwell says:

    Second Take-

    -Game deserves a 10


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