Borderlands – Review

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I finished the primary story mode of Borderlands today.  I just dinged over to level 36 before finishing (out of 50 levels in the original release).  According to steam I played this game for about 60 hours, but I also played some multi-player at work for some of that time, and I tried out a few different classes first.  I really enjoyed Borderlands, a lot more than I expected.

I originally bought the game as a Steam deal for around $7.50 which included the original game and all four released DLC packs.  The game seems geared to be completed around level 35 so you can then go back through the second play which is a harder version of the first time through.  I have yet to even look at the second time through.  I have started on the first DLC, which was The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned which is pretty good so far and includes zombies in a game I already liked.

I think there needs more games in this type of genre, it’s basically an FPS RPG.  Which actually go well together, and makes me want to revisit Oblivion, Morrowind, and Fallout 3.

I played roughly 15 levels as Mordecai the Hunter character before I realized that the classes aren’t really differentiated by what weapons they use, for the most part all characters will use a combination of all the different weapon types (to a degree, Mordecai definitely has a sniper preference and Brick has a melee preference).  The main difference is the special ability and the loadout of the skill tree.

I tried about 5 levels of Lilith the Siren but I really didn’t like her skill tree or special ability.  I finally ended up on Roland the Soldier who skews more toward Machine guns but I still used a lot of sniper rifles and pistols.  The only character class I haven’t tried yet is Brick the Berserker, whose special ability is a “berserk” melee ability.  It’s not really my style but I’ll probably give it a try at some point.

The story was understandably flimsy (you are a guy on a planet and you have to do some missions for people) but it gave me the impression that it was a good story.  It kept me compelled to play late into the night on a number of occasions.  The voice acting is great, and the game obviously doesn’t take itself too seriously (which is a huge plus).

One negative is that I don’t think I will want to play through the entire game again, either with a different character or for the “second play through” mode.  This is actually pretty common with me and video games, I feel I’ve experienced the game and I move on.  I feel if I went back through it would be similar to rolling a new character in an MMO where you know exactly what to do for the quests and where to go so you blow right through them in order to get to the higher level content.  I think it’s important to choose a character you enjoy playing to see the game through for the first time, and maybe it could be fun to play through a second time cooperatively as the entire game can be coop and definitely plays out differently.  But for solo play I may just tinker a bit with the other classes and play my soldier in the DLC packs.

I highly recommend Borderlands even for the current Steam price of around $20, it was days of fun.

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