Borderlands - game review

Author: Krystian Smoszna
Date: 2009-11-02 13:36:00
The review was based on the PC version.

The first new game from Gearbox Software in years was to be one of the three hits that 2K Games was preparing for the hot pre-Christmas period. However, as it usually happens in the world of electronic entertainment, the reality has verified the publisher's plans and ultimately the other games from the big three - BioShock 2 and Mafia II - experienced a delay of several months. So Borderlands remained alone on the battlefield, the product from the above-mentioned group, theoretically the weakest, which long before its premiere aroused mixed feelings among shooting enthusiasts. Has he managed to defend himself? See for yourself.

Borderlands takes us to the planet Pandora, located somewhere on the edge of the universe. The world-like climate attracted a large group of adventurers many years ago, but it soon turned out that the barren wasteland covering the globe has, in fact, little to offer. The only interesting object on Pandora is the legendary Treasury, which is allegedly filled to the brim with products of extremely valuable, alien technology. Although none of the inhabitants of the planet knows where the mysterious shelter is located, some want to find it and lay their hands on the artifacts stored in it. You will also have the same goal.

As befits a racial shooting, Borderlands is a production focused on spontaneous action. Killing enemies is subject to absolutely everything, so putting an equal sign between this game and, for example, the third Fallout, does not make any sense. Yes, the work of Gearbox Software allows you to explore the world, allows you to develop characters based on the experience gained during the game and offers a large number of quests, but even the existence of elements characteristic of erpegs does not change the fact that Borderlands is all about sowing a conflagration in a totally dexterous style .

The struggle is characterized by a certain amount of freedom. The player can freely travel around the areas available at the moment (both on foot and in vehicles), complete tasks in the order of his choice, and in the meantime purchase equipment and gadgets in numerous vending machines. There are a lot of quests, but it's hard to praise them for their variety, because in most cases the missions are all about executing a specific target. From time to time you also need to find an item or press a specific button. Nothing difficult, as long as we manage to lay down a row of opponents protecting them earlier.

Fighting in Borderlands makes a great impression for several reasons. First, the world is densely populated with enemies. It is difficult to traverse a small part of the map without being attacked by bizarre creatures or bandits, most often represented on Pandora. The pluses also include the fact that the area once cleared does not remain extinct until the end of the adventure, because the enemies respawn incredibly quickly. I do not always like respawns in such productions, but here I took them with joy, because not only do you need to be vigilant thanks to them, but also new enemies are a source of additional experience points.

Third, the fire exchange itself is carried out extremely efficiently. People from Gearbox Software cut their teeth during first-person shootings and you can see it at every turn in Borderlands . The gameplay is extremely dynamic and at the same time very demanding, because the rivals attacking in groups, although they do not sin with intelligence, can give a hard time and often force the heroes to adopt defensive tactics. More than once I doubled and tried to take down a group of experienced opponents, while trying to avoid whistling bullets in the air. Each battle won with great difficulty brought a sense of relief, but also satisfaction from a task well done. It's been a long time since I have seen a product where shooting would be as fun as in Borderlands .

Of course, one of the game's most advertised features - the variety of handheld arsenal, also influences such and no other assessment of the fight. In Borderlands, the amount of doomsday is in no way limited. The authors divided the weapons into seven categories (ranging from small pistols, through sniper rifles and rocket launchers, to energy weapons), prepared several dozen different models of poppers, and then described them using the factors determining the damage dealt, magazine capacity and rate of fire. Only these three features would be enough to create an infinite number of combinations, but the game's developers went a step further by adding a whole range of additional features that also affect the operation of the weapon. As a result, we are dealing here with the same situation as in Diablo, where, for example, two magic swords could look exactly the same, but due to differences in coefficients, they dealt completely different damage.

The unlimited number of weapons is not the only feature of the game that the authors took directly from the Diablo series. As in the famous productions of Blizzard Entertainment, in Borderlands we choose a hero from several different classes, and then develop it, distributing the points received in a three-branch skill tree. Individual characters specialize in different areas and have one, characteristic bonus, so choosing different daredevils can be sure that the gameplay will be completely different each time.

In the Diablo style, an insanely playable co-op mode has been implemented in Borderlands, which allows up to four people to have fun together. The difficulty level increases automatically with the number of players. Opponents start to deal more damage and become more resistant to blows, but eliminating enemies and completing quests are rewarded with better rewards than during solo struggles. If fighting side by side with comrades gets bored, players can try their hand at fratricidal clashes with each other. The superiority of one hero over another is best demonstrated in arenas that have been designed specifically for such duels.

The PC edition of Borderlands , which we had the opportunity to test, was released on the market with a slight slippage compared to the console counterparts, but this time the owners of the "tins" should not have any reason to complain, because they are said to have received the most refined version. The specific graphics look great in motion, and it is good that, in the end, the developers decided to change the style. If Borderlands were realized in the original concept, it would have too obvious associations with the third Fallout and it probably wouldn't have worked for him. The authors should also be commended for creating a great atmosphere. The music blends in perfectly with the atmosphere of Pandora, generally providing a serene backdrop to a wasteland journey, only accelerating noticeably when it gets really hot on the screen.

Borderlands is an interesting proposition compared to other action games available on the market, although it must be said clearly - it will not appeal to everyone. People looking for a product similar to the last Fallout in Gearbox Software's work will be sorely disappointed, because here in the foreground is slaughter, and the rest is only its complement. This can be seen in character development, all about combat (bowing to Diablo again), and in quests that are more like regular kill contracts than the long and interesting quests known from traditional RPGs. For many of you, the poor storyline will also be a huge disadvantage of this game. The main purpose of visiting Pandora, i.e. finding the treasure, is forgotten after a dozen or so minutes of fun, and the program, unfortunately, does not bother to talk about it too often. The game clearly lacks cutscenes and dialogues with NPCs that would push the story forward. The fun in Borderlands goes from order to order, and since these are not very diverse, after a few hours you can feel clear signs of weariness.

Of course, there is also the other pole, which is the excellently produced and spectacular shooting part. Fans of virtual murder will be in cloud nine, because the number of killed enemies will quickly exceed the values unattainable for other products of this type. Additional flavors in the form of the possibility of playing in cooperation, a lot of loot to get, an incredibly rich arsenal of means of extermination or the possibility of spreading death not only on foot, but also through vehicles, only increase the joy of the game. However, you have to really like such productions, because Borderlands requires at least a dozen or so hours before the final credits appear on the screen. And yet there are three other heroes whose combat capabilities are also worth testing.

Personally, I like the game very much, although I admit that it would be even better if a little more attention was paid to the plot. I have no problem enjoying the pure action, but after all, after a few hours of non-stop slaughter, I dreamed of a moment's breath, whatever for a moment would distract me from the need to constantly fight. Borderlands, unfortunately, does not provide such breath, so the key to enjoying this dish is eating it in small portions. Then the Gearbox Software product turns out to be one of the nicer debuts that have hit stores recently and worth recommending to all fans of first-person shooters.

Krystian "UV Impaler" Smoszna