Borderlands Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Borderlands box art
System: X360, PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Gearbox Software 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: 2K Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 20, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

In addition to looting and glove-slapping, players will also have to take on missions - adding purpose to their adventuring. As with any RPG, about half of the missions you'll take on are little more than ways to boost your character's stats. Still, many of the objectives are story-driven. In any case, goals are always challenging. If you want to test yourself and your party a bit more, you can always accept missions that have a challenge rating above the level of your group. While the mission structure is standard RPG fare, it is well implemented in Borderlands; you'll always have a lot to do with friends.

Borderlands screenshot

Shooting mechanics are sound. Players used to delivering headshots and teabags will find a lot to love in Borderlands. Weapons all control distinctly, and clearing out bandit warrens with lead and shrapnel is a joy. The only area I felt that needed work was the lack of a cover mechanic. It would have been great to find some sticky cover to snipe dudes with. As it stands, Borderlands is really a run and gun game best-suited to tank classes. Sure, I loved the lightning-fast pacing, but using a Siren or a Hunter should place more of an emphasis on stealth. Heck, even the Soldier should seek to use tactics to its advantage. Alas, pretty much everyone just has to run out in the open, guns-a-blazin'.

In terms of production values, Borderlands is top-notch as far as I'm concerned. The voice acting that is featured is of high quality; though don't expect every encounter to be voiced. In fact, voice work is somewhat sparse, but what's there is full of humor. Graphically, the game kicks ass. While I tend to prefer photo-realistic graphics in shooters, the hand-drawn (don't call me cel-shaded) look in Borderlands is perfect. It feels like you're battling your way through an anime - only cooler. The dusty, lived-in environments, the great character designs, and the rock-solid framerate makes this game a real looker.

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I could go into so many more details about combat, customization, fast travel, vehicle joyriding, Second Wind, DNA Reanimation, the HUD, the maps, and inventory navigation, etc. However, why bore you with minutia? Simply know that Borderlands is a deep and engaging, RPG-shooter hybrid that needs to be played to be fully appreciated. Blending the best elements from games such as Fallout 3 and Diablo II, Gearbox and 2K Games have put together a real winner. Don't let it fall off your gaming radar this holiday season.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.7
Graphics
The visuals may not be the photo-realistic renderings of MW2, but the hand-drawn style is arguably just as attractive.
4.1
Control
The shooter aspects are solid, but they're not quite as tight as what's found in genre-leading entries. A cover mechanic would have served the game well.
4.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice over work is sparse but hilarious. The wasteland that is the Borderlands of Pandora is nicely captured in sound.
4.6
Play Value
Pandora is a huge world, and the co-op play is some of the most satisfying to date. I would have liked to have seen more classes, but future DLC could augment that - certainly fun modules are already on their way.
4.5
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Role-playing shooter: Frantic first-person shooting action combines with accessible role-playing character progression.
  • Co-op frenzy: Fly solo in single player, go at it with a friend in two-player split screen, or drop in and out with up to four-player co-op online and offline for a maniacal multiplayer experience.
  • Bazillions of guns: Your gun lust is fulfilled with rocket-launching shotguns, enemy-torching revolvers, sub-machine guns that fire lightning rounds, and tons more.
  • Radical art style: The new visual style combines traditional rendering techniques with hand-drawn textures to create a unique and eye-catching spin on the first-person genre.
  • Intense vehicular combat: Get behind the wheel of and engage in intense vehicle-to-vehicle combat.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Borderlands screenshot - click to enlarge Borderlands screenshot - click to enlarge Borderlands screenshot - click to enlarge Borderlands screenshot - click to enlarge Borderlands screenshot - click to enlarge Borderlands screenshot - click to enlarge Borderlands screenshot - click to enlarge Borderlands screenshot - click to enlarge Borderlands screenshot - click to enlarge Borderlands screenshot - click to enlarge Borderlands screenshot - click to enlarge Borderlands screenshot - click to enlarge

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