Games Meet Metal: Why, it's lootastic!!

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Why, it's lootastic!!

Man oh man, I love me some loot. I approached Borderlands with a great deal of skepticism having played last year's Fallout 3 literally, until I don't ever want to play it again. Was I ready for another post apocalyptic FPS with a side of story? Well as it turns out, yes I was.

Borderlands really has no story to it. It involves a prophecy about a vault and how it holds many treasures. The game tasks you with finding said vault and well, that's about it. There are a myriad of side quests that do little more than either get you an item which is somewhat unique or nabs you experience points. The NPC's you meet along the way do very little to open up the background story of Pandora (which is the planet you are on) but once again, I would argue that this doesn't really matter because this game is all about killing things and grabbing loot.

The controls are pretty simple, if you've played any FPS games in the last 10 or so years, you'll get the hang of it really quick. Borderlands gives you the option of playing with any one of 4 characters, each with their own unique special skills. I chose the option of playing as "Brick" who is the tank of the game. His ability allows him to go hog nuts crazy and start punching things all the while regenerating health. This makes fighting against a good majority of the bosses rather easy, which worked well enough for me. The other characters are a sniper, who has a pet bloodwing which kills enemies behind cover; an assassin type which has the ability to phase walk, and the soldier who drops upgradable turrets down to provide cover and smoke any enemies which you can't get to while regenerating your shields. There isn't really any amount of customization available other than changing the colors of your character's clothes and changing the color of your vehicle.

Speaking of vehicles, the ones present in the game aren't really anything special and really serve little purpose other than getting you from point A to point B faster and racking up experience by running things over. Which is something of a broken mechanic in my opinion because it makes killing things way too easy.

The main focus of the game falls on grabbing loot from your defeated foes. And in this realm Borderlands delivers in spades. It is very rare that you will run across the same exact weapon configuration twice in the game, which is pretty remarkable considering the amount of shit people drop during the course of the game's narrative. While this can get a bit on the old side after a while for some people, I felt that Diablo urge in me being satiated after lying dormant for so long. Borderlands is really all about the loot.

But, I can't leave out the excellent multiplayer which is included in the game. It is rather easy to jump into a game with people online and start killing things with people you'll probably never meet. The options are pretty simple, you can start a private match and invite your friends or just jump into a lobby and let the game find people for you that are around the same point in the game story-wise. That would be my only criticism really of the multi-player component. I was playing with a buddy of mine who was in roughly the same area of the game, but the game wouldn't allow us to sync up our stories and continue with the main quest. We were only allowed to do side quests.

I know it sounds that I am rather ambivalent about Borderlands, but I'm really not. I enjoyed the hell out of killing all the things that Pandora had to offer. If you like grinding out levels and collecting loot, then yeah, buy Borderlands. You'll love it. If you don't, well then you're probably better off spending your money on Barbie's Princess Pony Party.

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