Monday, November 16, 2009


Borderlands is an interesting blend of genres. As a FPS, you control a mercenary who shoots his way through the bandits that infest the planet, the animals from the planet and a corporation's army that is trying to take over the planet for its own nefarious scheme. As an RPG, you have an adventurer who goes forth, looking for the mysterious Vault, trying to get riches and power beyond your wildest dreams, gaining levels and completing missions to get more powerful to get to the end. Now, I was confused when I heard the premise, in that it is an FPSRPG (a First Person Shooter Role Playing Game), but it truly lives up to that premise and does it, I think at least, fairly well. Now, sure, in RPGs one of the things that always bothered me was people who are weak bosses at the beginning and then people who would be their subordinates later being more powerful or just random guys being more powerful, simply because it's later on in the game. For instance, some of the bandits at the Dahl Headlands are said to be pissed and crazy specifically because of Sledge's death, but they are equal level to him or higher. Also, attacks that should kill or horribly injure are weaker as you are a lesser level. Now, in FPSs, that has often been the case, where you aren't going to die just because you've been shot, but this takes it to extremes in that you can take your three high-powered sniper rifles and shoot a guy in the head with a bullet that sets him on fire, a bullet that secretes powerful acid and a bullet that shocks and paralyzes him and you still haven't killed the guy. I'm not even specifically referring to a boss, but Bruisers (Brutes on the second playthrough) can take ridiculous amounts of damage without dying. And while I thought RPG stat systems wouldn't apply well to an FPS, they actually did it really well, in the guns. Plus, the damage system actually works well, once you get over the things that should have been kills, but only injure the guy.

The story, I think, is not the deepest, but is executed fairly well and I actually like it. Now, people who have played the game have bitched a lot about the ending, but I think it made sense and worked well. Spoilers ahead for those who are actually interested in the story of the game. So, you've been sent to find the Vault for money, fame, power, etc. Along the way, you're guided by certain people and things to get there and you eventually do get there. Basically, you made the key, but then Commandant Steele steals the key and you chase her to the Vault where she opens it and is immediately killed by the Destroyer, a being from another dimension sent here to destroy everyone. Once you kill the Destroyer, then the guardian angel that guided you to the Vault explains she knew that the Destroyer was in the Vault and is sorry she couldn't tell you earlier. It is also revealed she is a satellite up above Pandora, the planet you are on. See, I think it is cool and does explain things well enough. Sure, there is a lot you can speculate about her origins and how she knew, etc, etc, but I don't think that it is necessary or important. I never really cared about who or what she was originally, so finding out she was a satellite isn't that big a deal for me.

Otherwise, the game was pretty darn cool. I mean, basically, you have a post-apocalyptic-type world, with tons of crazy characters that are cool and interesting, with cel-shaded graphics that make the game look interesting. The game is fun, and I think I probably could beat the game without dying, although dying isnt' that bad. Basically, if you die, then the enemies you didn't kill are all back at full health and shields, just like you are, and you lose some money. The only place it is incredibly annoying is against the final boss, where you have a tiny room and you respawn right against it. It is incredibly awkward. Still, the respawning is explained, and works well with the premise. The second playthrough is basically just more, tougher enemies that are ridiculously difficult to kill and is incredibly difficult, even with your enhanced weapons and stats. Still, there is enough to do that you can play through the game with each character and it would be different each time and interesting each time. It is a really fun FPS especially if you like RPGs and an interesting RPG that you can like if you like FPSs.

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