Graphics:
7.0
Gameplay:
8.0
Sound:
8.3
Control:
8.4
Replay Value:
9.0
Online Gameplay:
8.5
Overall Rating:
8.2
Publisher:
2K Games
Developer:
Gearbox
Number Of Players:
1-2 (4 Online)
Genre:
FPS/RPG


Borderlands is one of those games I’ve had my eye on for most of 2009, just because the concept seemed somewhat original – take Grand Theft Auto and use a futuristic, post-apocalyptic alien setting with a zillion guns in a FPS format – and I thought it had plenty of promise. Arnold did his review earlier but while it caused a great deal of controversy, this here is what you would call a “second opinion review.” Therefore, I won’t approach it in the standard way; i.e., breaking each section down in the usual format. I’ll just voice my thoughts after playing for a good part of the day.

First of all, I’d like to address some of what other gamers claim to be 100% positives in this game, many of which were taken from the Comments section beneath our first review. For example, I knew after playing for only an hour or so that Borderlands would quickly appeal to those who enjoy the non-scripted, sandbox exploration style…and I’m going to be brutally honest, here- I really don’t like these people. They tend to come from the PC side of things, where we receive freedom as a substitute for story and character development; they’re entitled to their opinion, of course, but they’re really pushy in their beliefs. They have it in their head that if a game is scripted and has plot points and storytelling elements that it’s automatically inferior to games that just allow you to wander around and do whatever you want. It’s the “freedom and choice is always better than any story we can follow” theory, and not only is it ridiculous, it’s annoying. These people rarely read and I find them downright insufferable.

That being said, I can easily understand why they would love a game like this, as it’s exactly how I described it in the introduction. But while the freedom-lovers will claim that everything remains fresh and original in this fashion, I have to argue. How “original” is it when certain enemies just keep coming back in the same areas? How “fresh” is it to participate in loads of secondary missions that have no bearing on…well, anything? Developers always go overboard in the “choice” and “freedom” idea, which often leads to a player finally saying to himself, “okay, I’m bored with all these meaningless missions now, so how’s about finding some story?” This happened to me, although I will freely admit that the gameplay does keep you interested, and the role-playing elements attached to your character’s development are excellent. Really, it does feel a lot like an “outworld” version of Deus Ex , which is just fine by me.

Now, moving on to the pick-up-item issue: I know you can collect all the items in the immediate vicinity all at once, but that’s not really what I noticed. What I noticed above all else was that, perhaps surprisingly, I was spending more time hunting for loot than I was fighting enemies. It finally got tedious to open random boxes and snag items off the ground; those in support of the game will say it’s a joy to deal with all that loot and it never gets old. Well, I wouldn’t normally find it tedious, either, but it did get to the point where I was just sick of trying to pinpoint the exact spot on the ground to pick up an item. It was all the more annoying when I usually found it was something I didn’t need or didn’t want, and I normally adore treasure collecting. I’m not going to say it’s a major drawback or anything, but just because you can drag in a bunch of items at once in the immediate vicinity doesn’t really mean much in the long run.

As for the rest, I think it’s plenty solid. The game is fun, mostly smooth, and extremely well designed. At first, one might think there’s too much “barrenness” but I’ve always been a fan of atmospheric experiences, and that’s really what Borderlands is (even if I’m not the hugest fan of cel-shaded visuals). Even though there’s a large amount of space and a general feeling of freedom, you never feel lost or bored; there’s always something to do and somewhere to go. Better yet, we always get the benefit of a nicely crafted difficulty/challenge scale: the player is pushed and encouraged to use everything in his or her arsenal, but we never feel helpless, you know? We feel satisfactorily rewarded by conquering a particularly tough mission and saying to ourselves, “man, I’m glad I saved up and bought that gun; I would’ve been dead without it.” Or, “it’s a good thing I upped that stat more with my last level up!” I always get a charge out of things like this.

And being a big RPG fan at heart, I just love how the main character progresses. What I decidedly do not love, however, is how this concept trips over the line into the FPS action, which results in a bizarre problem that may not bother some people. But with all the advancements made in shooters thus far, we’re all used to things like head shots and bullets doing more damage depending on where they hit an individual. Yeah, back in the Wolfentein 3D days, that would seem like space-age technology but it isn’t anymore, and I just couldn’t shake the irritation that went along with the HP in combat- why, oh why should a head shot – more often than not – cause the exact same amount of damage as a leg shot? That just doesn’t seem right to me; I don’t care what the game is. Then there’s the collision detection problem Arnold noticed and all I’ll say is that it does exist in some capacity, but I believe he encountered it more than I did. But I most certainly shot at enemies when up close and personal with a gun that has 93% accuracy, and missed with three consecutive shots. Sorry, but that is wrong.

It just didn’t happen to me often enough where I’d say, “yeah, that’s a crippling problem, I don’t wanna play anymore.” And I know Arnold didn’t say that, either; I’m just clarifying my situation. Lastly, there’s no doubt in my mind that the sheer amount of upgrades, items, weapons, and skills available is downright mind-numbing and when you factor in the four very unique characters, the amount of longevity here is pretty freakin’ high. The online and multiplayer worked out just fine for me as well, and I completely understand how something like four-player co-op can be a blast. But about the 50 gajillion possible guns or something like that: let’s just all admit that during a normal play-through, any player will only see maybe a few hundred. Yes, it’s true that there are millions of possibilities , but we don’t fire “possibilities.” We fire guns. It’s wicked cool that we could all end up with entirely different weapons than our buddies, but I’m not going to say it’s the primary appeal of Borderlands .

No, the primary appeal lies in its original style and atmosphere. It’s not really my bag but the game is solid despite a few technical issues in the PS3 version (hitching in the frame rate, especially upon the deaths of some enemies), and the design is really outstanding. If you go in expecting Diablo crossed with an FPS, you’ll likely be satisfied, but given everything I noticed, I will not place Borderlands in the upper echelon of 2009 gems. It’s a good game; even a great game for some people, but I don’t care what the loyalists have to say…my opinion, and Arnold’s, stands as is.

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Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

WE NEED A SECOND REVIEW for:

Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack In Time!

It deserves a 9!

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Let it GO.

___________
___________
11 years ago

does point 1 of a score really matter?
hell give it 1/10 for all i care im still getting it day of release.
or will i?
according to game, its been set back to the end of november, if thats true insomniac and sony are going to get a very unpleasant phone call!

Qubex
Qubex
11 years ago

I think 8.9 is about right… the demo showed up a few graphical hitches and I also didn't take too the overly complicated puzzle factor whereby my actions need to be recorded to do X and Y. I like the way they did the first Ratchet, and Boo'y

Q!

"i am home"


Last edited by Qubex on 10/30/2009 2:46:15 AM

djduke316
djduke316
11 years ago

HUH? I've been playing R&CF since Tuesday.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
11 years ago

wow qubex you thought those puzzles were challenging. shoot they took some though but none of them took me longer than a couple min to figure out!

i found way more dif. puzzles in other games, its hardly something that should factor in how good the game is! the POP Sand of Time and Warrior Within had some pretty difficult puzzles in it just to mention!

Lazytrappin
Lazytrappin
11 years ago

We need a review for Jerry Springer!

SnipeySnake
SnipeySnake
11 years ago

What ever happened to the review for Cross-edge?

Ultimate_Balla
Ultimate_Balla
11 years ago

Sweet. What happened to the second R2 Review y'all promised BTW


Last edited by Ultimate_Balla on 10/29/2009 11:03:25 PM

NoSmokingBandit
NoSmokingBandit
11 years ago

I hate borderlands. I have the pc copy (its a FPS so i instinctively bought the pc copy) and the gameplay seems great, but i cant play it for more than 20 minutes until i get too frustrated from all the bugs and thoughtlessness. The game was obviously ported in a hurry because the menus are painful to navigate with a mouse/kb (the scroll wheel doesnt scroll through text, wtf?), the graphics options are slim (no v-sync, wtf?), and there are tons off bugs popping up (for everyone, not just me).
I hope they fix it because i really want to play it, but right now i feel bad for spending $50 on this.


Last edited by NoSmokingBandit on 10/29/2009 11:03:11 PM

fundando
fundando
11 years ago

That sucks. I held off to buy it and I was glad I ended up buying for ps3 after hearing about the PC issues. Okus I wanted to play with people on my friends list.
This version still has issues that will hopefully be patched this morning.
psn fundando

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

That's what you get for buying game for your PC. PC gaming is nothing but bungled software in constant need of patching.

Geobaldi
Geobaldi
11 years ago

I have the PC version and haven't encountered none of these so called "bugs". Other than the somewhat retarded A.I., but the console versions suffer the same issue.

fatelementality
fatelementality
11 years ago

I sense anger

NightHawk17
NightHawk17
11 years ago

my second review for the game, after having more time with it. Boderlands grows on you it started out boring but as i leveled up it was more fun, only problem was every time it came to treasure chests people became greedy as hell:(

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Well Ben, you pretty much solidified why I wasn't even interested in checking this game out unless it is el cheapo at some point: you go nowhere but you do it very fast. I need a story, some kind of ultimate goal other than putting items together.

All the same I appreciate you giving it a second opinion, you guys at PSXE (whether we agree with you or not) always give it 100% because you really didn't HAVE to spend your day re-reviewing this title today, but you felt the community wanted it so that's cool. Keep on keepin' on.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 10/29/2009 11:58:22 PM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Thanks. Yeah, this really was in response to feedback. No, I didn't really have to do this – coulda done another review, like Afrika LOL – but it was probably a good idea.

fundando
fundando
11 years ago

Afrika sucks. I rented it from gamefly just for kicks. I spent about an hour with it and was bored to tears.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

@fundando

Horses for courses…

SHADOW
SHADOW
11 years ago

This helps explain why I hate fractional points. You both essentially just gave the game an 8 out 10. Yet this one looks less low because it doesn't have a 7 at the beginning. IMO there is no tangible difference (apart from the fervor) between say a 7.8 and an 8.4. Just give it an 8 and avoid the drama. But that's just my opinion.

Here's my basic assumption on the game judging by what I've read, heard, seen, etc. If you are down with the basics of the game and you have a friend or set of friends to roll through the entire game with this could very well be your favorite game of the year. If you are looking for anything deeper your probably going to come away disappointed. For me this will probably be a pickup once it gets a price drop.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Sorry, but there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between 8.4 and 7.8. I think it's a little better than Arnold thinks; hence, it gets a 8.2.

It's really a severe mistake to assume the point increments mean nothing around here.

SHADOW
SHADOW
11 years ago

I didn't say that it didn't mean anything to YOU. I said it doesn't mean anything to ME. But my opinion on what a review should be vastly contrasts to many people so take that with a gigantic grain of salt.

Wage SLAVES
Wage SLAVES
11 years ago

I see the increments in a 100% form. Like I see this as an 82…its just the way my brain works. So 84 and 78 is a big difference.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

Yup, agree 100% with WSlaves

___________
___________
11 years ago

one thing i loved about fallout 3 and was really expecting to be in this was a deep character system.
in fallout you really feel like your the character and you really feel like your talking to people you just met.
i loved the communication system where you had several lines to choose from, thats what i was expecting with borderlands.
but nope all you do is hit square select a mission, come back once its done hit square than x and theres your reward.
rinse and repeat.
theres no bonding with the characters, to me this is not a RPG, to me its a open world FPS.
what makes it a RPG?
what because it has a level up system?
almost every single game has that in one way or another.
i was really let down by borderlands, the art in the game is amazing, the enemies look so cool.
i turned the game on and besides all the fu**ups i was really happy and impressed till i did a few missions, than its true colors came out and sunk my battle ship.
O and not to mention, the fu***ng game corrupted my second save data last night.
yup, once was not enough, spending 8 hours on the game than having to start again was not enough.
i had to start a new game, spent 10 or so hours than have that one fu**up on me too.
kinda sad too, of the 3 years ive had my ps3, out of the 40+ games ive played on it NOT 1 has done this NOT one.
than borderlands comes across and does it not once, but TWICE!
sorry gearbox studios, but this will be the last game i buy from you ever again.
if you cant be fu**ed making sure your game works, why should i give you 110 bucks of my hard earned cash?

Gabriel013
Gabriel013
11 years ago

Part of me thinks that the single player elements are there just to support the multiplayer.

Beamboom
Beamboom
11 years ago

Comparing Fallout and Borderlands is unfair to both. Fallout is, in my opinion, a very good single player RPG – definately on my top ten list, perhaps only beaten by the KOTOR games even.

Borderlands on the other hand, is better described as a kind of "mmorpg light" – a "morpg" acutally. This is the closest to the "mmorpg-feeling" I've experienced on the PS3 – something I've missed a lot after converting from PC to PS. After playing MMOs for a few years you don't find anything strange about respawning mobs or quests being handed out by automates anymore. It's all about teaming up with friends, enter a dungeon, hack your way to the boss and (hopefully) encounter total chaos and multiple respawns before you finally nail the bastard. Then, of course, the loot. Oooh yes. What might this beast have dropped! Oh, the excitement…!

Oh, and on your way out again you will of course be chased by the mobs you slayed on your way in. Just do like the rest of us: Fire up the shields and run like hell. The slowest in the group will die. But then again he's used to that.

Oh the memories, the sweet MMORPG memories… When will they respawn on my ps3?

___________
___________
11 years ago

O BTW ben are you going to do a review for bayonetta now, or later next year once its out in the US?
just ordered mine off ebay and am interested to see what you think about it.


Last edited by ___________ on 10/30/2009 12:41:01 AM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

It'll be later.

Sir Shak
Sir Shak
11 years ago

What was so controversial about the other review ?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

people wanted a higher score.

Sir Shak
Sir Shak
11 years ago

I don't think psxe should cater to whiners , Arnold's review are tough but he always justifies the score .

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

Arnold's review scored the graphics too low. His complaint was one that is common to the Unreal engine. He could have said the same thing about Batman but since he wasn't too fond of Borderlands' cell shaded graphics, he scored it too low.

Oxvial
Oxvial
11 years ago

in two months people are going to forgot this game.

I can't believe it got a second review.


Last edited by Oxvial on 10/30/2009 12:50:38 AM

GuernicaReborn
GuernicaReborn
11 years ago

As much as I agree with you in the sense that this game isn't my cup of tea, you gotta give the staff here points for listening to the community and responding to criticisms.

Frenchy17
Frenchy17
11 years ago

I just got the game with the Best Buy deal and one of my buddies and I played for about 3 hours tonight. It is beginning to be pretty darn fun now that we are leveling up more. Once we catch up to my other two friends who started the other day, we will join up and I think with four us, there will be much fun to be had. I think so far, I would fall right in the middle of both well written reviews 🙂

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

I'm guessing Borderlands is probably best enjoyed as a social experience.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 10/30/2009 2:33:10 AM

Qubex
Qubex
11 years ago

I guess for some Borderlands works… for others it may have worked for them, but with limited resources and no demo; a lot of us will simply never truly find out how much fun can really be had with it…

Q!

"i am home"

Frenchy17
Frenchy17
11 years ago

Yes I do not think this game with be nearly as fun playing by myself.

King James
King James
11 years ago

This was my free game when I did the Buy 2 get 1 free deal. I'm seriously debating if I should open it, or exchange it for another game.

fundando
fundando
11 years ago

It's getting patched tomorrow and even with all the bugs it is worth it.

ace_boon_coon
ace_boon_coon
11 years ago

exchange it

fundando
fundando
11 years ago

People whining about reviews should be shot. Especially reviews from this site. They are always well written and get the point across.

Read the review don't just look at the score.

Diggity Dan
Diggity Dan
11 years ago

I like other review sites too like Kotaku that don't use a numeric/star score for their reviews. It forces people to actually READ the review, weigh what they liked vs. what they didnt'like, then guage whether the game is for them based upon that.

In some ways I feel that assigning scores is sort of arbitrary. I like both the Beatles' White Album and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Is one a 9.5/10 and the other a 10/10? I dont know, I just know I like them. I can't really compare one album to the other either.

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture" – Frank Zappa

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Zappa said that after receiving a crappy review from a critic. 😉

The point is that few people bother to read much of anything and furthermore, the scores have become deeply ingrained in the industry. Publishers absolutely count on them, and so do game consumers. They most certainly serve a purpose, whether you like it or not.

tes37
tes37
11 years ago

Don't drink the water coming out of that Frank Zappa well, it's poisonous.

Fane1024
Fane1024
11 years ago

@ Dan

You may have pulled those numbers out of your ***, but I'd say you got them about right. Maybe you should review albums. 😀

crapreviews
crapreviews
11 years ago

Maybe you should have gave Sacred 2 a second review back when it came out cuz till this day after Arnold's crappy effort in his review score (all scores was a straight 6's except for one 5.7) i take non of his reviews with credit.

If anyone who actually played the game and read his review, could easily tell he put no effort into the game at all or he would have seen a lot more than the BS he posted. Really shouldn't post what's missing from a game when you didnt even take time to see that some of the things you said were missing were actually there.

Oh well some people will just go by anything someone says and believe that they are right. Second opinions are always good to take into account when it comes to knowing what you wanna buy or not buy in video games. Just make sure the second opinion is coming from a different site.


Last edited by crapreviews on 10/30/2009 5:54:27 AM

djduke316
djduke316
11 years ago

I second. Sacred 2 was a really fun game. It deserves a 7- 7.5.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

DON'T tell us how to do our jobs. It's the one thing that really pisses me off.

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