Monday, October 26, 2009

Xbox 360 - Borderlands

Borderlands by 2K games / Gearbox

Borderlands tries to be a semi-comic based roll playing / questing game. It uses an outline 3D model that makes the game look like a cartoon. Combing this with a cartoon image map on the models, it feels like a comic. Unfortunately, while it feels like a comic, I don't like this graphic style as it always feels cheap and unfinished. If they're going to work in a 3D world, then just do the 3D like 3D. Halo 3 is one game that uses a full 3D approach, but still takes a stylistic approach to the 3D models that keeps it from appearing 'realistic'.


You get to pick from four different characters to play. Each of the four characters has their own abilities. I won't spoil that here in case you want to play, but you'll get to see the characters and their abilities within five minutes of beginning the game.

The weapon button system is a bit confusing. So, it will take me a little bit of time to get used to where they are. The movement system is reasonably standard, though. So, getting around the environment is easy. The enemies in the game are all over the place, so you'll have to constantly deal with killing them.

Questing system

In order to level up, you will need to complete quests for various people. As you complete the quests, you get paid back with experience points. The trouble with this game, though, is that I don't see any real benefit to the experience points. I probably haven't played enough through the entire game yet to know if they matter, but it should really be apparent within the first few quests of playing.


There is a map, but it's not that helpful (doesn't show enemies). So, you're pretty much on your own when you need to locate things.


As I said above, the weapon controls are a bit confusing so I have to reprogram myself into this game. I prefer games that choose to mimic a popular game's button system rather than creating their own. When they choose to create their own system, it takes time for the gamer to learn the system.


The game is reasonably well done. But, the quests are silly and the game itself doesn't seem to take itself seriously enough either. So, it all seems very tongue-in-cheek. While that can work, I'd prefer they didn't do this here. Questing / Roleplaying games usually suffer from tongue-in-cheek storytelling and this game is no exception.

This game is not a Fallout 3 or Oblivion by any stretch. For a role playing and questing game, it's a good first attempt. However, it needs a lot more work to get near the caliber of Fallout 3 or Oblivion. I'm hoping that 2k / Gearbox can figure this out for a sequel (assuming it does well enough for that).

  • Sound: 6/10 (better than average)
  • Graphics: 7/10 (low res)
  • Gameplay: 7.5/10 (it's hard to like a rail shooter)
  • Story: 6/10 (not engaging enough)
  • Bugginess: N/A
  • Controls: 6.5/10 (learning curve)
  • Bang-to-buck: 1/10 (not worth replaying)
  • Play Value: $10 (rent it)
  • Overall: 6/10 (doesn't grow on you)

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