Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes. Sod it… Shoot them anyway
I’m not usually a fan of first-person shooters. They’re far too clichéd, full of idiots online and often like to push controversy for no other reason than to try and get a few extra sales.
So you’ll probably be wondering why I can’t get enough of 2K’s rather excellent Borderlands; which, by all definitions is just another FPS entering an already saturated market. Well that’s what I thought. Well actually I thought: “Right, so it’s a cel-shaded Fallout III, well done Gearbox”. My cynicism couldn’t have been more poorly placed however, as Borderlands has become one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences that I’ve had on my PS3.
For you see, while Borderlands appears to have all the trappings of a first-person shooter, it actually has more in common with the likes of Diable, Phantasy Star Online and World of Warcraft and I bloody love Diablo, Phantasy Star Online and World of Warcraft.
Critical hits are not only satisfying to pull off, they look nice too.
Initially though you may wonder what all the fuss is about for you’ll be wondering around the beautiful cel-shaded wasteland shooting a hell of a lot of rats and doing very little else. Take heart though as once you reach level five and start getting new attributes Borderlands really begins to open up. You meet numerous NPCs that give you quests and you’ll be immediately rewarded with an item and precious experience points once you complete them. Some will simply require you to shoot a set amount of enemies of harvest precious crystals, while others will require you to take out huge bosses that take a massive amount of punishment before they finally keel over and die. What makes Borderlands work however is the sheer organicness that surrounds quests. Complete one and a couple more crop up; finish those and you’ll get an even larger amount to play around with. It’s a great way of opening up Borderlands’ gigantic game world and you’ll always find yourself with something to do, and perhaps most importantly, plenty to shoot.
Enemies will often surround you, so make good use of second wind.
While enemies come thick and fast, Gearbox have given you plenty of ways to combat them. There are hundreds of gun combinations to mess around with, shields can be worn to give you some initially protection from enemy fire, while money is liberally scattered around the game world. Then there’s the Second Wind mode that enables you to revive yourself should you get killed. As the screen fades to black you can instantly bring yourself back to life by killing an opponent. This amazing idea becomes an essential strategy as you continually wound enemies so you can keep cheating death.
Get a vehicle and Borderlands really begins to open up
Arguably the greatest aspect of Borderlands however is its fantastic multiplayer co-op mode. Four players are able to team up with each other to complete quests and suddenly you’re playing the Dreamcast’s Phantasy Star Online again. The comaraderie that develops as you’re fighting huge rats or beating down behemoths like Sledge is immensely satisfying and a world away from most over first-person shooters.
Add in vehicles and a healthy level cap and Borderlands offers something for everybody. If you’re interested in playing with me and have access to a PS3 then my PSN name is Strideristhebest. Otherwise check out these great reviews at Nowgamer.net so you can see what all the fuss is about.