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C+P Review: Borderlands December 2, 2009

Posted by Will Hanes in Copy+Paste Original, Copy+Paste Review, FPS, Games, PC.
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Borderlands. What can I say about Borderlands?

Imagine Diablo: scores of baddies throwing themselves upon you, with only your inventory and stash of potions to fend them off.

Now hold that image, except place yourself in a backwater mining colony on the planet Pandora (aka a Mad Max-inspired post-apocalyptic wasteland), and replace the hordes of skeletons, goat-men, and (annoying) succubi with bandits and vicious alien creatures (like “skags” and “spiderants”).

Next, replace your spells and steel with bullets, electricity, and rocket-mounted “Outrunners”. Get the picture?

Check out the full review after the jump.

If not, no worries — Borderlands’ graphics will take care of that. The cel-shaded graphics are a nice look, sacrificing realism for a grittier comic-book feel, which can be pretty hilarious at times.

Leveling is smooth — with each level increase one skill point is gained, which is deposited in skill trees a la Diablo II.

However, unlike Diablo II, where skill points usually unlocked or improved new abilities, the skill points in Borderlands primarily consist of character improvements, such as an increased magazine size, greater health, or buffs to a class’ special skill.

Each of the four classes (Soldier, Hunter, Siren, and Berserker) has a single, unique, rechargeable skill.

For example, the Soldier can deploy a turret that can be upgraded to give health and ammo regeneration, or even fire rockets, while the Hunter can call upon Bloodwing, his falcon pet, to attack enemies from afar.

Borderlands' classes (from left to right): Soldier, Siren, Hunter and Berserker

The abilities fit seamlessly into the otherwise-standard shooter gameplay, creating a fresh and interesting take on the genre.

The story is nothing special, but I nevertheless found myself addicted to unraveling the next pieces of the plot as I played. Don’t expect a whole lot in terms of background and character development, though.

The world is fairly large, but traveling around is a breeze thanks to conveniently-placed vehicles and fast-travel hubs.

I was particularly impressed at how few trips I had to make to resupply, as well as how little time was wasted on walking between quest locations.

Annihilating hordes of enemies is always better than bickering with shopkeepers or twiddling your thumbs during a 10-minute auto-run togglefest.

I didn’t get a chance to play the multiplayer (yet), but from what I’ve heard, it’s a lot of fun. Many of the class skills are designed for group play (such as the Soldier talent which allows the player to heal friends by shooting them), so I imagine playing through Borderlands as a team would be a pretty different experience. To be honest, I felt a little like I was missing out by playing it alone.

So, Borderlands. Worth  $50? Maybe. Worth $30/Cyber Monday price? Absolutely. For the record, this review covers the PC version, so console gamers, feel free to comment about any differences to your hearts’ content. Also, if you’re playing on a 360/PS3, you might consider picking up the recently released DLC, “The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned.” PC gamers will have to wait a while longer, unfortunately (the PC version’s release date has yet to be announced).

Copy+Paste Score: 5/5

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