It isn’t often that I even want to make two consecutive posts about the same game, and it is even rarer that I actually do it. In fact, this may be the first–as far as I can recall.
That said, I have been playing a lot more of Borderlands and since my last post was only a [First Impressions] I think that I might be able to do the game a little more justice now with a full review.
There are a lot of wonderful touches to this game that I either neglected to mention or just hadn’t seen quite yet, there are also some improvements that a patch would really help with.
I am particularly impressed with this Game’s…how should I put this…”move on with the plot” device, or the game’s ‘mascot’ so-to-speak is a cute little one-wheeled robot called Claptrap. He’s kind of like this game’s vault-boy. He walks you through the tutorial, and should you happen to find one of his buddies you can repair it for a reward of additional backpack space. Claptrap will also notify you where and when new quests are available. And as if blowing raider’s heads clean off wasn’t funny enough for you, he also offers a great deal of comic relief. Claptrap is a wonderful touch to the game.
A little further into the game, I also acquired a vehicle. This little two-seater buggy can be used effectively playing solo or in a co-op game (which I was also able to try, briefly). It comes equipped with fixed front-mounted machine guns (worthless), and a missile-launching turret which you can aim whilst you drive (quite awesome). Although, the whole weapons rig becomes rather impotent when you realize that any enemy that should come into contact with your vehicle will instantly explode into a chunky red mist of death whether you are using the (also included) rocket booster to move as mach speeds, or if you are tooling around their camps at school-zone speeds. It doesn’t seem to make sense and I don’t believe it would have been difficult to put in variable damage based on the speed of your vehicle. If you try to run over another player in co-op mode, it simply pushes them back. This isn’t really a major issue with me, just kind of a gripe. But if you’re looking for something like “Grand Theft Auto”-style pedestrian abuse, inquire elsewhere.
It also came to my attention that my comments regarding the game’s difficulty were made with incomplete information. Or maybe fate just wanted to make a jackass out of me, who knows, but (no joke) not one hour after posting that review, the game decided that training time was over and rape time had begun. The AI is still slower than a van with no windows outside of an elementary school, but that is not to say that the game won’t find other ways to kick your ass. It usually just involves good old diablo-style overwhelming of a player, either an opponent is just mathematically too tough for you to defeat, or there’s a crowd of them and they all have guns.
Although, I did discover something quite awesome about this game as I took my punishment, when you “die” you aren’t immediately sent back to your respawn point (yes, respawn point, no corpse-finding…but that’s now what I’m getting at) you are sent to one knee, almost in a nod to Left 4 Dead, you’ve got a few seconds to keep firing from the ground before death. If you should happen to score a kill during this grace period, you will be granted a “Second Wind” that will send you back to your feet and refill a small bit of your health, giving you an opportunity to dive behind a dumpster or a rock. It was a fantastic touch and it’s saved my hide more than once.
Borderlands also comes with a wide array of achievements, which I suppose are slightly more exciting in the Xbox360 version, I wouldn’t know, but on the PC at least they are still fun to do and they reward you with experience points. So whenever you get bored with doing quests you can work on some of the side-crap for fun, like running over a ton of Skags with your car. Oh yeah, I hate Skags and so will you. I guarantee it.
Being the great point of light that Borderlands is in something of a dark period while waiting for more highly anticipated releases, Borderlands could use some small and very simple improvements. Your HUD has a very helpful, very “Fallout 3″ compass with waypoint markers on it at the bottom of your screen. There is also a full map you can access by using the ‘M’ key. For some reason though, there is no minimap, and I learned very soon after getting access to additional areas that a minimap would be extremely helpful. My second big gripe comes to the quest-tracker (or lack thereof). It is very helpful in that it will display a “current” quest on your HUD with a checklist of requirements that you need to fulfill before completing it, but it can get a little frustrating at times when you should happen to accept a new quest, your latest quest is automatically your “current” quest, even if you were right in the middle of another one…you just need to go back to the quest menu and click on the one you were doing, that’s all. I should also not that (as far as I can tell) you can only track one quest at a time. Even if you receive a quest that is something of a secondary requirement to one you’re already doing, it is a separate quest entirely and one one will be displayed as active. This may have been done to alleviate confusion of the waypoint blips on the map and compass, but a color coding system could have easily allowed three or four to be active at once. World of Warcraft does it just fine, and I know Borderlands took a few tips from WoW so why not? I don’t know, am I just picky?
Borderlands is still an awesome game, and an excellent choice for someone who wants more “Fallout-style” gameplay. Definitely a high recommendation from me. Now that I’ve talked about it twice, you should give it a try.
Have a great week!