[PC ~ Multi5] Borderlands

[PC ~ Multi5] Borderlands

Let’s be honest here for a moment. When Borderlands first came out, the PC version got a lot of heat for bugs, especially when bringing the game online. For these reasons, as well as my inability to look at this game with more then a mild interest, it had quickly become on the top of my “Maybe one day if I can get it for a steal” list. (This list, for the record, is insanely long.)
So when the game went on sale for a weekend at Direct 2 Drive, I decided to pick it up, and about a month later, installed the game for the first time…. and right off, I can see I’ve been missing out.
In Borderlands, you play as one of 4 treasure hunters in a Mad-Max post-apocalyptic environment, and soon finds yourself on a treasure hunt for the legendary treasure known as “The Vault.” There really isn’t too much more detail to the overall plot, but this game doesn’t really need it. Rather the details are all in the environment, and bits of the world you pick up on when you take on jobs for the locals. To that end, the story and the world has a LOT of character.
Graphically, this game will more then please as well. Running on the Unreal 3 engine, Gearbox managed to avoid the “everything is wet and shiny” look this engine is famous for by taking a decided more cartoony look…. and I mean that literally. This game brings back the cell-shading tactics of a few years ago, and looks absolutely AMAZING while doing it, from the first Claptrap that greets you to the end conclusion. This game is both gorgeous artistically and technically… a rare feat in today’s world!
Soundwise, this game will immediately strike with it’s very limited soundtrack, choosing instead to go for ambiance and a subtle and not so noticeable music score more often then not and letting just the theme song (“No Rest for the Wicked” by Cage the Elephant) stand out strongly against the rest of the game. The result is a game that pulls you into the world all the more, although at the same time, the battles are left to do that on their own more or less. But with enough character to ooze out of the drives of your computer, this is far from a bad thing.
And of course we come to the meat of the game, how it plays. With little story, little music, a cartoon atmosphere, and a game that focuses on being multiplayer, the gameplay clearly becomes the star of the show, and man does this star shine. From the moment you log into Gamespy (you already have an account if you play any other PC game that runs on Gamespy networks), you are in for a treat. Imagine if Diablo and Halo had a baby that went to Halloween as MadMax and you pretty much have EXACTLY what this game is. You will have the leveling and skill trees of Diablo meshed in with a colorful post apocalyptic world and all meshed together in a first person-shooter for up to four players and boiled down to the fun of being a team taking on a major adventure. Hot-seat-joining is more then welcome!
The game even has fully supported and button free voice-chat! Making for a functionality to match playing online on XBL or PSN, but with higher quality sound (even if you won’t be talking privately… sorry, but voices are over the main speakers, not separated to a headset). This feature, according to friends I played with, has been recently added, though so all the more, be sure you patch this game before you play!
Not to say that this game is flawless, however. For reasons I will never understand, 2K Games did not include controls for Borderlands to detect what version it was running when you logged in and patch to the newest one on the spot. And anyone who says Gamespy games can’t do that are full of it, because the feature works just fine on games like Dawn of War. It was an oversite, which can cause some issues when playing with friends, as you will have to make sure everyone is playing the same version to get into a game. A blast from the past that, like having to type in IP addresses (which you thankfully do not have to do), would have been better left there.
Overall, this game has apparently improved immensely since it’s initial launch and has easily become one of the most fun multiplayer titles I have played in a long time. At it’s current price of $30, it’s a no brainer to anyone craving a game to join with some friends and play online,or to bond with new friends, as an open game WILL attract players in there to do the same thing you are… have fun.


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