Thursday, August 24, 2000

Borderlands PS3 review | 8.0

this is my first review, hope it's helpful (feel free to leave a comment and tell me what i did wrong/right). anyway, on with the amateur ramblings!

when i first saw the trailers for Borderlands a couple of months ago, i said to myself "that looks amazing (in both the graphical and gameplay departments), but it seems to be trying way too hard". i also thought it looked like what Fallout 3 would've been if it was a FPS with RPG elements as opposed to the RPG with FPS view that it is.

as a bit of side information, i got Killzone 2 a week ago and have been playing it nonstop. i've already beaten it twice and i've spent pretty much every waking moment (to my girlfriend's annoyance) playing the campaign or the multiplayer. when i woke up today there was a delivery on my stoop. i told myself i'd open up Borderlands first (i also bought Resistance 2 and a few old school PS1 games (FFIX!)) and play it til the first save or checkpoint. this was at 11am, i'm writing this review at 11:30pm and save for going to dinner with my friends and dropping my sister off at the dorms, i've played the entire time. this game is just that engrossing and sheer fun

i don't think i can explain exactly what makes Borderlands so fantastic... there's just something about it. reviews i had seen on a few sites said that it takes a while for the game to get going and that by the 10th hour or so it really starts to be fun. well, if the game gets much more fun than this, it will be close to my game of the year. everything about Borderlands oozes style and love (meaning you can just tell how much the developers cared about this project). the pacing of the game is fantastic, the difficulty is a little up there, but it works and is never frustrating. the controls are spot on as far as responsiveness, but some of the button mapping is a bit strange (who maps fire to L2? and there doesn't seem to be a way to change it). the AI is fantastic with weapon-based enemies finding anyplace they can to duck behind and fire for cover, while the dog like creatures just get right up in your face. this can be frustrating, but it really makes you feel good when you finally blast them away.

the RPG elements are just kinda... there. while i don't think they detract from the game, i also think that they could have been implemented differently without the overall game changing on a base level. that being said, Borderlands does a great job of Diablo style leveling-up. part of the reason i couldn't stop playing is cause you're ALWAYS building up your character in some small way. it's just incredibly addictive and fulfilling. the one minor nitpick that i can throw in here is having to press square every. single. time. you wanna pick up an item. you can hold it down to pick up multiple items that are very close to each other, but you'll be pressing square A LOT. i know tehre's some things you might not want, but you spend so much time in your inventory screen anyway, they may as well have made it so you just run over something to grab it.

Borderlands sells itself on the concept of it's "87 Bazillion Guns". i've heard real estimates that say there's at least a few hundred thousand and that sure seems to be true. you'll NEVER stumble on the same gun twice. it's both a good and bad thing. obviously it's fun to try out all sorts of different combinations, but a lot more often than you'd like, you'll wind up with a weapon that, while not useless, is just pretty lame and underpowered. when you do find that perfect sniper rifle that shoots lighting, has a 500-round clip and a 120x zoom (just as one of soooo many examples), it'll all be so very worthwhile.

the rest of my nitpicks, and by the way, that's all they are, cause i don't see a single legitimate big complaint with this game, would be as follows: while the game looks cool in it's own way, it think it's almost like a cop-out art style, maybe they didn't feel like doing textures or something. there's also severe framerate issues where you're in the middle of large battles. the vehicles, which make getting around so much easier,don't handle good at all and you get less Exp when you kill an enemy with your car as opposed to being on foot. i wish there were large online multiplayer deathmatches and CoF battles and the like. i'll have to check out the online "duels" at some point, see if they almost make up for that.

when you get right down to it though, this is just an amazing game all around. the graphics have a sheen and polish that not many games have (it's fun to see little HP numbers rolling off someone as you shoot them in the face). i still think Borderlands is trying a bit too hard to be "cool" in the way a Tarentino or Guy Ritchie movie would be, but it just works anyway (much like a Guy Ritchie movie haha). in the end there's just something about Borderlands, some intangible quality, that makes it such a worthwhile experience. i haven't played the online co-op yet, so i can't speak to that, but the single player is one hell of a ride. the areas might all look a tad samey, there's only four character classes to choose from. the driving physics are pretty bad and there's not much variety in your enemies. thing is, none of that matters, Borderlands is amazing in spite of all of it's very minor flaws.

if you've ever liked an FPS, if you've ever liked level-up-fests like Diablo, etc, hell, even if you wanted more action from Fallout 3, you owe it to yourself to at least give Borderlands a chance. this, along with Killzone 2, BlazBlue, Uncharted 2, Dirt 2 (and i can only assume the new Ratchet and Clank game) is one of the top 5 best games of 2009. there's a damn good chance that this game is considerably better than any other videogame you're looking to get on Amazon... pick Borderlands immediately. you won't be let down.

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