Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Looking Back Through the scope: Borderlands.

Ok first things first: this retro review is possible due to the service ONlive which in my view is the best thing since the blowjob. I could write a entire article on how good onlive is and never do it justice so i'll just leave a link at the bottom and you can check it out for yourself, add "Cynical hunter" if you fancy a game some time.

Borderlands has to go down as one of my favourite games of the last generation: its a great shooter with the best parts of the RPG genre with a great art style and a sense of humour that has me crying some times. That's it *walks away from screen.... returns to screen at the command of man with pump action shotgun pointed at my head* fine I'll write more.

Lets start with the shooting shall we: Borderlands was released with the boast that it had over a bazillion guns to use to rain down death on the inhabitants of Pandora and you know what? THEY WERE RIGHT. The only time i've seen the same gun twice is when they are drops from certain bosses such as Sledges Shotgun which at the level of attainment can be stupidly over powered. Every gun has its own maker and specs which makes choosing a weapon not just which one does the most damage but which ones handle right for you. one gun may have loads of recoil, high fire rate and a large clip while a other will have no recoil, slow fire rate and small clip making choosing a gun for you if a case of trail and error honestly, which some may like while others don't. Guns sadly can't be modded which was a fact that surprised me but with so much choice already isn't a big deal. The shooting it self is great fun as any class and with any weapon, be it a automatic pistol to acidic rocket launch.

On the RPG side of things; there are 4 different character classes to choose from: The soldier who leads the fights with turret ability, the siren who can phase through different dimensions, the hunter who acts as sniper and commands a hawk to attack the enemy and the berserker who smashes foes with his fists. All of the classes have there distinctive strengths and weaknesses, that said I've honestly find the soldier to be the most well rounded for both team and solo play due to his turret pet just being overpowered in certain cases. As you go through the game you can customize your skills by choosing from a variety of different skill trees, meaning that in teams of 4 of the soldiers there will be some difference in play styles between each of them, which can be handy but I'll explain during the multiplayer section. All characters can equip grenade mods that change the way grenades act for example a transfusion mod will steal health from the enemy and give it to you, this combined with class mods can make each character different in how they approach the situations at hand.

Multiplayer is the surely the main piece of the Borderlands ensemble with up to four people blasting their way through changing environments, picking up loot, killing midgets (there are a lot of them), driving across the wasteland, killing more midgets and getting your ass handed to you by Crawmax the secret last boss. Each member of the group scales the difficulty up so it doesn't become too easy, this scaling of difficulty becomes more noticeable when you have people who aren't similar level; For instance I was playing with a group of 3 mates all around level 17 when a level 47 entered the server, this made the enemies stupidly hard and the three of us quickly wiped while the new guy just griefed us before we learned we could kick him and make the server private. There is a slight bug I've noticed on the steam version of borderlands that makes on of the first quests of the game always appear on the quest log as incomplete which quickly becomes annoying when it becomes apparent that the quest is almost viral in its nature and anyone who comes into contact with your character becomes infected as you did making it some quest based STI.

Borderlands is a blast of a game and well worth a look at if you haven't already. Borderlands 2 is on the horizon in 2012 and if it comes to Onlive i will most certainly be picking it up and hope to see you on Pandora.

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