Borderlands Review – Page 3


Cakewalking the Badlands

Slack's Rating: 9
User Rating

Vote down the othersBig jokeMarginal meritNeeds a LOT of workNeeds workNot badAbove averageAmong the bestFreaking awesomeBeyond reproach (207 votes, average: 9.46 out of 10)
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Not that the game is ridiculously difficult and in fact a huge point of contention on the official Borderlands forums is whether the game is too easy or not.

And in case you're wondering, there are no difficulty settings in the game's options. Rather, when you complete the game for the first time, which is called Playthrough 1, you're granted the option to run through the game again using the same character build, i.e., with all the skills you acquired thus far plus all the gear and cash you collected. Playthrough 2 is the same game, same storyline, etc but with new tougher enemies.

A quick summary of my impression of the game's difficulty level would be Playthrough 1 was challenging enough until about 2/3 of the way through the game. At that point, my character level was higher by about 3 or 4 levels than the level of any mission the game could throw at me and hence all the missions were rated as Trivial (instead of Normal, Hard, Tough or Impossible). Also around this time, I found a couple or three key weapons, one in particular which slaughtered anything in my path —even bosses— without breaking a sweat and, in effect, allowed me to cakewalk to the end of the game. Quite frankly though, I thoroughly enjoyed getting some payback for some of the more taxing parts of the game earlier on.

Playthrough 2, on the other hand was downright hellacious and remained as such until about halfway through when I managed to level up my character enough and get a feel for what to expect and what combination of weapons and equipment to use to handle various situations. My first encounter with a Badmutha Corrosive Skag was a humbling experience as it veritably laughed at the weapons I thought were so kickass near the end of Playthrough 1.

So aside from the last portion of Playthrough 1, as a hardcore single player gamer, my humble opinion is that the difficulty level in Borderlands is just about right and contentions that the game is only fun in multiplayer mode are simply unfounded. For those who are familiar with the game, it should be noted that I did not do any New Haven farming. (I don't believe in farming in RPGs. I find it boring.)

Multiplayer Cooperative Mode

For those who need a game to really put the beat down on them before considering it worthy, Borderlands ramps up the difficulty when you play online in a multiplayer cooperative mode with up to 4 players working their way through the game as a team. Each additional player in this mode makes the enemies tougher to beat but then the game yields better loot once the bad guys are downed.

Now since I'm not a team player at all and never have been right from early childhood (that's why I'm self-employed), I don't enjoy multiplayer gaming of any kind so I can't comment on this mode too much. (Please leave a comment below on your impressions of Borderlands multiplayer mode.)

But from the extensive reading I've done on the Borderlands forums, it seems the multiplayer mode is now overrun with uberpowerful weapons which were created by hacking into the game's files. Here's a video showing someone dumping a whole slew of hacked weapons into someone else's game. Players who create or 'find' these weapons can use them to wipe out entire enemy camps with one or two shots. This has the effect of leaving little for anybody else in that particular hosted game to do. Hence, a quality multiplayer Borderlands experience can only be had by either hosting your own games and playing with friends you know well or by joining games where the host has the integrity to ban those using hacked weaponry.


Should You Buy Borderlands?

Definitely. Despite some minor gripes, Borderlands is my pick for the 2009 game of the year. This unique FPS/RPG hybrid is a total riot to play. Not only will the game's redneck NPCs keep you in stitches sputtering inanities about their "momma's girly parts" but the gameplay will feed you spectacular visuals while you eviscerate the bad guys using any of a gargantuan collection of insane weaponry.

Moreover, the game gives you lots of elbow room via its open world gamescape, the option to fast track getting about using vehicles or the Fast Travel system and it very simply offers you an immense amount of bang for your buck. Despite the aforementioned character outlevelling problem, I completed 118 out of a whopping 126 missions available in the game simply because I couldn't resist attempting to do them all. This yielded 38 hours of gaming time and quite frankly, I felt that I rushed my way through. I would have liked to taken even more time to fully drink in the game's back story which had me galavanting about the alien planet of Pandora searching for keys to open a mysteriously hidden vault which was reportedly full of vast wealth and power.

And mind you, that was just Playthrough 1. Playthrough 2 yielded another 40 hours of game time and I doubt I'll stop there. I think my only big complaint with this game is it has so much replay value that I fear I might not get to any of the other games I bought at the same time as Borderlands for months.

Or have a life for that matter.

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14 Responses to Borderlands Review – Page 3

  1. Bindedfury says:

    I know this review and your play through is dated, meaning a few years old. I beat the game with my friend who got me addicted to BLs. At the time I was not comfortable with the Xbox 360 controller. To many buttons and two Analog sticks. I told myself, "just going to bite the bullet and learn to be proficient at it." I usually play MMOs. I totally understand why you would dislike co-op. There are too many asshats on the net.

    My wife who wasn't a gamer when we first met now plays video games with me. Kinda of nice, just don't let her die.

    Great review and well written.

    I recently purchased BLs through steam. Had a copy for 360 but lost it.

  2. Joseph Brown says:

    Major Slack,

    I'm now playing Borderlands and when I hit a snag (uh, OK, sometimes before...just this morning I got to the Headstone Mine, was about to confront Sledge, and decided I should check out your clip of how to take him down) I check your Youtube playthrough.

    I'm a novice to videogames, I'm about your age but just got into PS3 videogames three years ago...Borderlands was one of the first I tried but was overwhelmed by the missions and the purchasing and didn't know how to read the HUD for where I should go...but just a week or two ago tried it again and man, it is a FUN game.

    Thanks for your walkthrough and commentary!


  3. Moshpitti says:

    Awesome review of an awesome game, Major!

    I know I'm years late to this party, but I just figured I'll check out the review of a game I so loved - and after all these years, STILL love and time to time play actively - and knew you enjoyed as well.

    A very in depth review. Too bad you never got into the DLC (at least far as I've understood).

  4. Lioba says:

    I actually love the level up message rolling. When I know I´d level up by turning in some missions I rather go look for another fight only to see it and level up in battle.

    Your reviews are fun to watch. I also like your comments :)

  5. Trent says:

    Hey slack. I watched your Borderlands walkthrough and I remember you complaining about the game reloading your gun when you pressed the interact key. I don't know if you realize this, but the game actually reload to that and your x key.

  6. bioerror says:

    The co-op is really great, not only do you get to level your character while playing you also level him up for when you play single player. The hacked weapons i havent seen much of, but i was given a shield with like 2 trillion hit points, its only useful if you are with a lot of RL happy enemies, so you dont get 'blown away'.

  7. TheOnlyTrueZak says:

    My only gripe with this game is that it feeds you too much ammo. I think, enemies shouldn't drop ammo when killed. And I would appreciate difficulty levels for this game, too, like Easy, Normal and Hard (and maybe Impossible ).

  8. dmmmsarith says:

    okay i dont have the game yet maybe ill buy it but i watch your wlktroughs becuse your the best ever and you made the game look so fun that i will buy it now :D

  9. Chefwahful says:

    Meh, the co-op is great. The hacked weapon do get a little boring but the funny thing is..I've had a guy with hacked weapons ask me for my shotgun with average dmg, 68.1 accuracy, and a whopping 2.9 fire rate plus 1 acid does this mean hacked weapons arent all that great?

  10. Judokast says:

    Excellent review, all points i would have said myself in what is for me as well, Game of the Year (2009). I've not had so much fun playing and watching in a long time.

    As for your multiplayer points, once again just small reasons why i don't touch multiplayer (except with bots) with a lightyear long foot pole.

  11. SorrowsHT says:

    The co-op is broken. There is no 'trade' menu. So if you want to trade weapons you just dump them on the ground.
    Now if you're playing with real friends then no problem but if you're playing with random people, what happens a lot is, they'll take your weapons and quit out so they get free weapons and you get jack.
    It's really not well-done at all.

  12. woopersnaper says:

    You are my favorite walkthrougher and reviewer !
    Keep up the good work!

  13. MagicAccent says:

    Bordelands may not be the best game of the year(in my opinion). But it sure is best at what is does.

    Also, as far as multiplayer go, I found it even more enjoyable to gang up with 3 friends, spawn some wheels and and do some questing. It's like Diablo 2 all over again :D

    (Also, the bus driver's "Im sure we'll be doing this all over again" really cracked me up, lol)

  14. SevenNationArmy says:

    Great review,Slack.
    The Co-op is just brilliant.
    It's amazingly fun to go co-op with a bud and splat enemies with gunz.
    But the guy who owns the game will probably be in a lot higher level but you, though, but it doesn't matter, cuz you'll easily catch up with him/her, cuz the enemies are like lotz of levels ahead of you.
    Anyway, it's really cool to.. You know, like go; "Cover me, i'm going in!" and go back to back. It gets kinda like Army of Two, cuz you gotta really do a lot of teamwork.
    So all in all, Co-op is really fun, not at least awsome.

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