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Borderlands review

It's a dog-eat-dog world on the frontier, and the dogs breathe fire

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

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.

Oct 19, 2009

More info

DescriptionHowever you play it, Borderlands is a fun, addictive and overwhelming game. It’s a gun-nut’s paradise.
Platform"PC","Xbox 360","PS3"
US censor rating"Mature","Mature","Mature"
UK censor rating"18+","18+","18+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer