Games I Like – Borderlands is out and is GOLD!

Okay; so suffice it to say I’m a huge fan of Post-Apocalyptica. Be it the Zombie Apocalypse, the Nuclear Holocaust or an Australian Gasoline Fueled future-nightmare.

Borderlands

Borderlands is set on the wasteland world of Pandora. You arrive on a bus to the tunes of Cage the Elephant in a fairly funny montage. You are looking for a Vault (a nice dig at the Fallout series) full of ‘riches’.

From the start of the game it’s clear that this design firm is going to take the piss. Right from the opening its evident that these guys on the bus are a bunch of stereotypes. I was instantly taken back to Diablo II’s characters… or even further to Golden Axe. or Gauntlet. Choose your character and you get a specialty. There’s a soldier (Assault Rifles, Shotguns, good all-rounder), a sniper (pistols and long-arms, does long range support), a stealth assassin (and misdirection powers) and finally a two-fisted berserker that’s literally busting out of his skin-tight under armour and has a worse complexion that Markus Fenix. So you pretty much get to choose your specialty. Not that you can’t pick up a sniper rifle as the soldier (I did almost right away!); you just get no perks with it.

So I was interested in this game from the trailers a few months back. I was absolutely shocked yesterday when I started looking to pick it up on a whim… not a lot of buzz or fanfare online about it; but it was pretty much TOTALLY sold out in downtown Toronto. I ended up finding a copy in a hole-in-the-wall HMV no one ever goes to after trying a Best Buy, Future Shop, EB Games and street-level HMV to no avail. This was at two o’clock in the afternoon on release day!

So I popped it in last night and I’ve got to say after about eight hours of playing it I’m pretty damn impressed. I’m going to go into some pretty hard-core video-game-nerd-speak for a moment now to try to capture where my brain’s at… so bear with me if this doesn’t make sense.

Take Diablo 2, mix in Fallout 1,2 and 3, a bunch of art by Brom… the animators of XII and Crackdown and finally a touch of Left 4 Dead’s multiplayer experience… and finally every movie made in the last thirty years about the Apocalypse and you’ve got Borderlands.

This game has pretty much kicked my ass for a day. I’m at level 22 of 50 at this point playing as a Soldier… and I’m hooked. Plenty to explore and a nearly endless supply of ‘Go here do this find stuff out and explore’ missions are still on my to-do list. The monsters and baddies are cool and really very smart… with a good mix of ranged and melee threats to keep the game interesting. The experience, drops and weapon system is pretty much first person Diablo 2. There’s a skill tree and everything! You become more proficient with weapons the more you use them (like in Bethesda fantasy games) and your weapons are almost constantly being improved upon so you don’t tend to hang on to anything too long.

I was lucky enough to bump into a buddy of mine online today and we tried out the multiplayer. I was impressed right away that we were able to play the same character; both soldiers. I was doubly impressed that as he was lover level than me (17 vs. 19) I was able to jump into his game and help him complete missions I’d already done. Simple and easy! We later tried it vice versa and discovered its best to have the lower level character host as he can join but cannot claim any of the missions you’ve completed if you host the game at a higher level.

Overall I’m heartily recommending it to anyone who is a fan of all the stuff I discussed above. The gameplay is smooth, the multiplayer and missions really challenging and the cell-shaded Brom style art is really cool. I’m giving it a 4 out of 5 so far as I’m only halfway through. Those of my age will also chuckle at all the ‘jokes’ throughout the game. Very Fallout. If you can find a copy (and I can’t speak for the PS3 Experience) go get it!

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~ by Achilles on October 22, 2009.

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