Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thoughts / Borderlands

My Thoughts:

Borderlands is often described as a Shooter/Role Playing Game, which fits it pretty well I think. It doesn't have the huge and deep story that a lot of RPG's have, but it also isn't the most accurate First Person Shooter out there. There's just something about it that keeps players coming back. There's that feeling that each time you pop Borderlands in, there's the small chance that you'll find something you've never seen before. Hell, I know for a fact that there are things I haven't seen in the game before. On Gearbox's forum (who are the developers of Borderlands) you'll find  players listing their favorite items that they've discovered, I've seen plenty that I would love to have. But with over 87 bazillion guns it's difficult to find 'em.

The Story:

Borderlands takes place on the planet of Pandora. Several mega-corporations arrive to extract the rich minerals of the planet. The mining operations are mostly manned by convicts, brought there by the Dahl Corporation. The Atlas Corporation has found a vault on a nearby planet called Promethia. This vault was filled with alien technology that helped Atlas make leaps and bounds in starship and weaponry technology. Similar alien ruins have been found on Pandora by the Dahl Corporation. Dahl wants that weaponry so it can compete with the Atlas Corporation. The Dahl-sponsored search goes bust, when they leave they just simply release all the convicts upon the wasteland. Some time later, "Vault-Hunters" start showing up to find the vault themselves. This is where our main characters come into play.

The Characters:

There are 4 playable characters that you can choose from at the outset of the game. All of them are "Vault-Hunters" who came to Pandora to find the alien vault, which is said to hold a huge amount of treasure and ancient alien technology. Anyone who finds it is sure to be rich beyond their dreams. Lilith is one of the few known Sirens in the entire galaxy, she has superhuman powers and can travel between dimensions. This causes a phase-blast that can damage enemies, as well as other effects if she's skilled up properly. Brick is a Berserker, a character that is strong in close-quarters combat. He has the ability to go into a berserker rage mode, in this mode he can only use super strong melee attacks. Mordecai the Hunter, he specializes in Sniper Rifles and has a bird called Bloodwing that can be used to assist in long-range attacks. Roland who is an ex-member of the Crimson Lance can use his portable turret to waste enemies while he's off doing something else. He also can heal with his bullets and regenerate ammo for the group.

The Mad Lootz:

87 bazillion guns, that isn't really a number, but Borderland was advertised as having a seemingly unlimited amount of items to collect. I think I remember reading once that there was a possible 15 million combinations of weapons alone. Of course most of these guns are just slight variations of eachother, but that does mean that there is almost always going to be a better gun out there than the one you're currently using. That's part of the reason why this game is so easy to go back to. You can jump in, play for a few hours and there's a good chance you'll come across something new. The list of weapons include, two types of pistols, sub machine guns, rocket launchers, shotguns, combat rifles, sniper rifles, and alien guns. There's also grenade mods, character specific class mods, as well as different types of shields. You can also find the occasional artifact to equip to give your special move an elemental effect.

Online Play

If you're like me, a large portion of your Borderlands game time will be spent online. I don't play with random people however, since loot grabbing is pretty much a free-for-all. So you'll definitely come upon people that grab anything and everything that drops before you can even look at it. So I prefer playing with friends. This game almost has an MMO feel to it even though you can only have up to 4 players in one game at a time. It feels more like an Instance is created and you go in with your created party.

You can also do head-to-head competition matches but I'm not into that much, I play this because of it's co-operative nature. A group of players versus a hoard of monsters, or PvE, Players Versus Environment. Sometimes we get into some serious fights where waves upon waves of enemies attack us and we just barley survive. Those are some of the best and most epic experiences I have with the game. If one of your buddies goes down, you're able to run over and revive them before they bleed out. This adds some strategy because you don't want to just run in Rambo style in most situations because if you go down in the middle of a fire-fight, your friends most likely won't be able to get close enough to get you back on your feet. Sometimes however, you have that perfect gun that is strong against the enemies you're facing and it feels so great to just run in and hit all their weak-spots with the correct weapon.

Downloadable Content:

The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned was the first DLC pack released. I found that this was the perfect piece of DLC to release first. There wasn't anything significant added really, but the story and enemy types that were there were very entertaining. At the time, when we had already plowed through most of the original game, The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned added enough to keep us going.

Next up was Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot. I thought this DLC was pretty crappy. The added function of a bank was needed though, so kudo's to Gearbox for adding that. But the actual gameplay of the Underdome battles didn't click with me. I did a few arena matches, but since I play with just 1 other player more often than not, I found the advanced matches to go on way too long. I think it takes several hours just to complete a single match and so I never really did see all Mad Moxxi has to offer. At least they made up for it with the next DLC.

The Secret Armory of General Knoxx completely blew my expectations of Downloadable Content out of the water. This DLC added a huge quest, and a huge new area to explore. Knoxx raised the level cap up to 61 from 50, which also included new weapons to accompany those added levels. Apparently they also added a new rarity, I say apparently because despite killing Knoxx's new ultra-tough boss Crawmerax, I have yet to see any items that sport this new rarity.

Claptrap's New Robot Revolution will be the 4th DLC to release for Borderlands. Not much information has been released yet, but we do know that almost every enemy seen in the original game will be re-created with Claptrap's in mind. So now we have Rakk-Traps and Skag-Traps. I'm personally hoping for another level cap upgrade, or at least a new set of skills to use. There have been rumblings about a Play-through 3 being added though, which would be super. You can find more information right here, looks like Gearbox is set to unveil this DLC at PAX on Sunday September 5th.