[Game Review] Borderlands (Xbox 360)

System: Xbox 360 (Also on: PS3, PC)
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Genre: FPRPG (First-Person Role-Playing Game)

I first heard about borderlands through a mailing list from Gearbox Software, the company behind the game. For months I waited eagerly as more information about this new FPS/RPG surfaced, and about how wicked awesome the designers promised it would be. Now that the game is finally out, I am here to inform you that it is, in fact, wicked awesome.

Borderlands takes place on a desert planet somewhere in the solar system named Pandora. Pandora has very little but “mud, guns and dirt!” as one NPC says. The whole game centers around a legendary vault, said to contain technology and weapons of a long dead alien race. You play as one of four characters in search of the vault. Mordecai, Roland, Lilith, or Brick. Each character takes the role of the traditional RPG class, warrior, archer, mage, and tank.

borderlandsrobotThe player(s) are dropped off at a back woods settlement with a population of about three. You are instantly introduced to the game’s comedic relief, a series of boxed uni cycled robots called “Claptraps” (not a euphemism for prostitutes transmitting chlamydia I assure you.)  These guys show up a lot in towns and settlements across the world, often beat boxing and attempting to break dance.

The commercial for Borderlands boasts the game contains over 87 bazillion guns, and while the actual amount tops in at over 200,000, I can assure you finding two of the same gun will be hard. Even ones I have managed to find that are identical are aesthetically different, with different stocks, sights, barrels, etc. This feature guarantees every playthrough will be unique. One minute you have a sniper rifle that melts enemies, the next you have a shotgun that shoots missiles (my favorite), and after that you’ll have a weird alien gun that shoots lightning storms (also awesome).

The graphics are very nice as well, featuring stylistic cell shading. Everything has a gritty, post apocalyptic Mad Max feel to it (with several inside Mad Max references I may add).  Objects in the distance are blurred and unclear, but clear up as you either gain ground or peek through a scope. Everything has a good amount of detail as well, whether looking at the massive scrap mounds near New Haven, or plunging into the depths of one of the many dig sites on the planet.

borderlands sniperThe best thing about this game is the simplicity. You don’t need to be a hardcore gamer, but if you are the game will appeal to you. It is simple enough to jump in and out of playing, and the quests that dot the game give you a large number of options between, or during the main quest of the game. One more great feature is the quests, whether it be from people, claptraps, or the various “bounty boards” that dot the way stations and outposts through Pandora, there seems to always be something for you to do. Add to that the fact that you can cue up as many as you can stomach, and knock out two, three, four, or more jobs all at once, giving you a good way to level and gain loot.

The game also offers much in the lines of replay value. You can bring previous characters into new games with friends, or use your character in a second playthrough after the first time beating it. The second option comes complete with higher level enemies and better loot.  One more minor thing that I enjoy about the game is the corporations. There are a handful of companies that produce the 87 bazillion guns in borderlands, but as you enter towns and settlements, they make a number of things ranging from fuel tanks to garbage cans. Minor, yes, but it was a nice little touch that I enjoyed.

Final Words:

Borderlands is for anyone who enjoyed Bioshock, or either Diablo games to date. The idea of a FPS with RPG elements as opposed to Fallout 3’s RPG with FPS elements seemed a bit iffy to me, but after a few hours all doubt is cleared. It plays like a dungeon crawler at times, and like an open ended RPG others, while still retaining a shoot-em-up first person flair.

pros:

  • Great game, solo or with a party.
  • A crap ton of weapons and grenades to make game play crazy.
  • Diverse skill set with the 4 classes, giving you a good number of custom builds.

cons:

  • Free roam is limited until later into the game.
  • Enemies tend to look the same after a while
  • limited character customization, aside from name and colors.

Score: 8.75/10 (Great)

5 thoughts on “[Game Review] Borderlands (Xbox 360)


  1. I’m really surprised that this game is becoming the mainstream success it is. People are getting interested in it, buying, and loving it which is definitely a good thing because this is a quality game. I just didn’t expect it to find such mainstream success.

    I really want the game myself, but being poor is a huge pain in the ass.

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  4. Bagh, another game I desperately want to play! This and Brutal Legends are at the top of my 360 list alongside Modern Warfare 2. I HATE being forced to be a responsible adult.


  5. Gonna be straight here, not a massively big fan of this game. While it did provide me some hours of enjoyment, it just started feeling so repetitive. Brick feels borderline useless after a certain point.

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