Jamie is a freelance video game writer, you can follow all his video game related content on analogaddiction.org.
Published July 9th 2012
As a child I was quite the collector, ranging from Pokemon cards to Tazos. I loved the satisfaction of ripping open a packet and getting a card that was better than the ones I had already collected, the feeling of excitement and happiness was overwhelming. Being a little kid it was easy to excited by such minor things, I never thought something would be able to infuse that sense of addictive collecting in myself once more, this is where Borderlands (Developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games) the 2010 first person role playing game succeeds. The anticipation of getting a brand new collectible card is brought back to life when collecting Borderlands many guns, when I say many guns, I mean 17,750,000 guns (Guinness World Records 2012).
Borderlands takes place within the fictional world of Pandora, your character has arrived at the town of Fyrestone to look for the fabled "Vault" and collect the contents inside. With the help of your "Guardian Angel" you are set out on the task to find the keys to open the vault, let our journey begin.
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This is my biggest gripe with Borderlands, the story is barely touched upon and I will honestly tell you I did not know what was going on until about half way through the game. The talk of the Vault is lost, the explanations are sorely lacking and you feel as if the main story is only there to put forward more challenging missions. The ending of this story makes barely any sense and leaves you watching the credits, scratching you head and asking yourself, "What just happened?"
The world of Pandora is gorgeous. The art style Gearbox implemented looks beautiful and makes playing the game and exploring the environments a treat. Though environments do tend to blend into one another, the arid bare wastelands becoming a strong theme throughout. The game tends to open up towards the end in variation, adding snowy elements and adding more enemy types to the mix.
Enemies at the start of the game tend to appear often, which can be a drawback as you do become bored being faced with the same enemy for countless hours, but that slowly deteriorates through the story.
Many side missions are also given during the game, which have a tendency to lean towards the "Fetch Quest/Meaningless tasks" criteria far too often. Though these do provide you with more gameplay and chance for better weaponry, more variety in quests would have been appreciated.
Borderlands shines when it showcases its arsenal of weaponry, the amount of diversity within each gun is crazy. Not only in stats that may work better with your character, but in the detail, design and art style. Each gun almost has its own personality and you may even get attached to these weapons as you would an ally. These guns are your friends and memories of a weapon helping you out in a rough situation may keep you from selling certain items along the way.
It felt strange to have an attachment to a weapon like I did in Borderlands, yet I would continuously avoid selling guns because I felt like a gun had served me well during gameplay. Speaking of gameplay it feels very smooth, jumping feels floaty but becomes very useful and the shooting feels strong. The main feature Borderlands is loot, killing enemies, loot appears, opening chests, loot appears, it's done very well and keeps pushing you forward towards your next find.
One mechanic that worked very well was Fight for your Life, meaning if you lost all your health you were given a certain amount of time to either continue to fight and hopefully get another kill reviving yourself, or choose to give up and respawn at your last check point in exchange for some of your money. Time after time I was able to use this ability to my advantage, sacrificing myself in order to take out stronger enemies and have a weaker minion lined up for a successful revive. These moments are exhilarating and are some of the most memorable in my Borderlands experience.
Borderlands is a unique adventure on consoles, the lack of story really hurts your ability to care about what happens which I think could throw a lot of players off. If you get sick of gameplay (Which occurred occasionally) you will have no other reason to play as the music even ends up repetitive come the conclusion of the "story". But most will have an enjoyable time when they visit Pandora, few technical problems and a sound loot-drop mechanic that could get you addictive to collecting guns. The campaign will take you upwards of 20 hours to complete, plus the many side quests available and co-op gameplay.Collecting cards was one of the most fun experiences as a child, Borderlands is able to bring back those memories.