Borderlands is bold looking. It’s not quite as bold as MadWorld, but it’s prettier, and looks just as much like a playable comic book. You’ll be pressed up against the scenery just to get a good look at the textures. It doesn’t disappoint with the gore, either.
However - and it’s not a huge “however,” but it has to be said – the environments do feel samey. They all have certain distinguishing features, but after a while, they start to blend together into a mush of deteriorating shacks and rocky landscapes. Still, Pandora is a well-imagined wasteland, and is worthy of at least one long trip.
Above: The very first town you enter
Above: 22 levels later, and looking just a little similar
Is it better than…
Halo 3: ODST? Signs point to yes. We swear we’re not reviewing games with a Magic 8-Ball - this is just a challenging comparison. Borderlands is bigger, more complex, more diverse, and is generally a newer experience, but ODST is built on an established and already well-liked universe, whereas Borderlands’ Mad Maxey, Tank Girlish planet and non-story become a little “meh” after a while. Though so do Halo’s, depending on who you ask.
Fallout 3? Don’t be ridiculous! …Though it might be nice to mash them up. A game with all the charming layers of Fallout 3 and the weapons and combat of Borderlands might work very well. But as it is, Borderlands is a game with excellent mechanics and not a lot of soul, so despite its entertaining combat, it’s far from a challenger to Fallout’s status.
Red Faction: Guerrilla? Maybe. They’re both open-world shooters with vehicles, but they’re immensely different. Red Faction is about gameplay variety, choice, action, and Borderlands… isn’t the opposite of all that, but it’s much more calculated and paced. Your missions in Borderlands are accomplished by going to a marker and killing some bandits, not crashing through buildings, rescuing hostages and then blowing some shit up just because it seems fun. It’s difficult to say if one is definitively better than the other, so we’ll just say that if you like instant gratification, pick up Red Faction: Guerrilla.
Just for you, Metacritic!
Borderlands is a very entertaining shooter and a rather bland RPG. It rewards dedication with new guns and new things to shoot at, which is all kinds of fun for players who enjoy MMO-style progression. But if its charm and depth hadn’t been abandoned so quickly, it may have been absolutely brilliant.
Oct 19, 2009