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Borderlands (PC, 360, PS3)


Coco
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I've been waiting for this one for a while, didn't see a thread on it...

 

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:cninP2L_UWvn0M:http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2430/3812966958_c243da43df_b.jpg

 

http://ie.xbox360.ign.com/articles/102/1024753p1.html

 

September 15, 2009 - With under two months to go until the release date, you should know at this point that Gearbox's Borderlands could turn out to be one of the year's most unique and interesting titles. It's a game that combines first-person shooter gameplay with the loot-drop mechanics of action role-playing games like Diablo. You run around in a giant open world called Pandora, take on quests from non-player characters standing around in towns, earn experience by killing and questing to learn new skills and become a more durable and effective combatant, and can join with up to four others to participate in co-operative gameplay. As long as Borderlands manages to maintain the momentum of its gameplay beyond the first few hours, it could mean great things for anyone who picks up a copy.

 

A large chunk of the early game was included in a build I recently checked out, letting me play from the beginning for hours on end and experience quite a bit of the leveling and questing systems, and most of what I saw seems good so far. The game offers four classes to play around with, each of which has a primary skill. The soldier – my class of choice – gets a deployable turret that can be dropped on the ground. Once deployed, it automatically sets up and starts firing on its own as soon as it hits the ground, making it easier to wipe out groups of foes.

 

http://ie.xbox360.ign.com/dor/objects/957206/borderlands/videos/borderlands_gmp_splitscreen_91409.html

 

It's much more than just a temporary gun, however. There's a shield that extends to either side which you can hide behind, giving you a little bit of cover if you're under heavy fire from humanoid enemies or acid-spitting monsters. As you level up and are awarded skill points, its functionality can also be altered as you dump points into learning new skills. The Soldier's skill tree, like the other three classes, is divided into three segments. All Soldiers must learn the turret skill, but beyond that it's up to you. For the first tier of upgrades, you can make it so the turret regenerates the health or ammunition reserves of all allies nearby when it's active. Obviously this could be important when playing with others. For those who prefer higher damage and a more self-reliant style of play, the base turret damage can also be augmented.

 

Each skill can be boosted with up to five points to enhance its effectiveness. Once five are allotted to any combination of tier one skills in one of the three branches, the second tier opens up in that branch, and so on. In this manner, just like in plenty of action-RPGs out there, you're forced to choose in what manner you'd like to specialize your character class. Following the Medic skill branch gets you additional healing skills where your turret has a chance to revive allies and where your friendly fire can restore their hit points. It also allows you to strengthen your bullet resistance, bolster magazine capacity, and following a successful kill gives you and any allies the chance to get a bonus to health regeneration.

 

In the Support branch, you'll find more general purpose skills that increase how effectively your shields recharge, boost the number of shots your turret can spit out, reduce the time you need to wait before again deploying the turret, and even alter turret functionality to make it shoot out supply drops at timed intervals. The Infantry branch is about offensive power, giving you the option to boost your effectiveness with combat rifles and shotguns, and even modifying your turret so it can blast out guided missiles as it shoots.

 

http://ie.xbox360.ign.com/dor/objects/957206/borderlands/videos/borderlands_gmp_punchingskaggs_91409.html

 

In terms of your character's equipment, you'll find four slots for weapons, one for a shield tool, one for grenades, and another I didn't manage to equip anything to. The shield tool determines how much damage your Halo-like shields can absorb, how fast they recharge, and special shield tools come with added bonuses like a boost to your health rating. All sorts of grenade types can be fitted in the appropriate slot, including an interesting one we found called MIRV grenades. In addition to causing fire damage, these grenades exploded into even more grenades, which then, naturally, exploded. Pretty satisfying.

 

Considering it's been said by Gearbox that there are anywhere from a few hundred thousand to over one million guns in the game, it's no surprise I've come across quite the variety so far. Plenty are trash that fall from weaker foes, and the ones I've managed to pull from the corpses of bosses and "badass" enemies (elite, or more powerful versions of a base enemy type) are the ones I've stuck with, which is pretty much standard operating procedure for loot-based games like this. Higher quality weapons carry different color associations with their names, like in Diablo. I'm currently using a purple rifle called Bone Shredder with a 2.4x zoom that's proven to be quite effective as a primary weapon. For backup, I've got a green BLR Static Repeater – it's a pistol with a 4.1x zoom that does electrical damage and happens to be highly effective against shields. I also keep equipped The Clipper, another pistol associated with fire that can periodically ignite its targets, which does damage over time until the flames go out.

 

When you find better stuff, you'll need to sell off the old items to a vendor to bring in some cash, or just drop it in the field if you really don't care. Med Kits along with your weapons, shields, and grenade mods will also be taking up space in your limited backpack, so you'll need to be mindful of what you're bringing with you when you leave town. Obviously it's a good idea to keep handy the best guns you have, but you'll also need to play attention to a weapon proficiency gauge for each type. The more you use pistols, for instance, the higher its proficiency will go, which can alter damage, reload, speed, and accuracy of all pistols equipped afterward. So do you simply switch to your best item, or do you instead choose to build proficiency with and stick to specific weapon types? Or maybe you don't care and will just build all proficiency types so you can equip anything without sacrifice.

 

All this information, along with a quest log and a map are stored in the tabs of the game's menu system, which seems easy enough to read and use. Like in most role-playing games out there, things start out simple with only a few quests and tasks. Before long, once you're out of the training period and the world opens up, you'll find there's quite a bit of information to juggle, NPC quest givers to visit, and spots to explore. I even wound up discovering a fighting arena in one part of Pandora, where I was challenged to survive waves of enemies in an enclosed space and given a reward at the end, though it proved far too difficult for my level and gear. Exploring and fighting will also help complete many of the huge range of challenges the game offers up, including things like getting 4 seconds of vehicles hangtime, shooting 100,000 times, and buying 50 items.

 

Also in the menu system is a slot for an artifact, whatever that may be. I'm assuming it'll be pretty good.

 

http://ie.xbox360.ign.com/dor/objects/957206/borderlands/videos/borderlands_gmp_madcriticals_91409.html

 

From all this description it seems clear there's a lot to consider when playing Borderlands, just as there is when outfitting characters in role-playing games. My only potential concern is that the different builds within a character class might not feel that diverse with the emphasis on passive percentage buffs. I suppose the lack of variability there could be made up for by the fact that the arsenal is so diverse, and considering I've only begun to explore the world of Pandora, it might not be worth worrying about at all.

 

Vehicles were included in the build as well, which can be selected at vehicle outposts scattered around the landscape. Once you pick a type of transportation, it materializes in front of you and can be used to more quickly traverse the terrain, blast apart enemies with its powerful weapons, or simply run them over. With multiple players running around it's easy to see how this could be an entertaining and rewarding aspect of gameplay.

 

As far as quest structure goes, it seems to consist of standard kill and collect quests, but the combat has yet to grow tiresome. You'll battle humanoids with guns and beasts that charge at you or hover back and spit projectiles. I'm eager to see how these enemy types progress as more of the world is explored, since so far it just seems like increasingly powerful versions of demon dogs called Skags, though there have been plenty of gun battles against humans and fights against airborne critters similar to the monsters from Pitch Black.

 

Really one of my favorite bits of the game – and it's pretty nerdy, but considering the subject matter, I figure that's ok – is how the user interface is set up. There are numbers everywhere in Borderlands. Damage totals pop out of foes like raindrops from a cloud when riddled with bullets. It's nothing new if you play a lot of RPGs and MMOs, but it's still appreciated and pulled off to a satisfying degree by Gearbox. It's also interesting that as you walk across guns, you see the entire statistical readout pop up onscreen without having to collect the item and examine it in your inventory. That means damage totals, accuracy, fire rate, special effects, sell value, and even how it compares to your currently equipped weapon are visible as you walk near it. For multiplayer matches, this should greatly alleviate the issue of sorting out who gets what since everyone will be able to survey the spoils of a battle without having to collect and trade every single bit of gear that's available.

 

For anyone who hates to play co-operatively, the game still feels like it works well for solo play. If health reserves are depleted in a fight, for instance, and you're by yourself, you don't die immediately. You drop down and enter a temporary near-death state, and if during its duration you're able to score a kill with your still functional gun, you pop back up on your feet to continue the fight.

 

With a slick graphical presentation and so much left to see, it seems like Borderlands is on the right path. Expect more coverage before the game ships October 20th for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC platforms.

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Found this too...

 

"Borderlands was made to be a co-op experience. Sure you can play single-player if you choose to, but in co-op is where this game shines. Borderlands supports two-player split screen for local co-op or four-player "drop in, drop out" co-op online. Many games are built as a single-player experience with co-op thrown in, but Borderland thrives on its intuitive and well-designed co-op style."

 

Perfect imo. Being able to play away at my own game and then one of your buddies pops in for a bit of co-op.  :pow:

 

Much better than the likes of Halo etc, where the game dies if someone leaves, or Fable 2, which was a clusterfuck...   :harry:

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I always feel like a dick when I pop in on someone's game.

 

You're welcome to join my game anytime...    O0

 

 

So you can do all the work and then at the right moment, I'll steal all the glory...  :shifty:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Aye 27 million or something.

 

EDIT: Gearbox say 17 million... insane.

 

How did they physically do that though? Wouldn't you rather 100 well thought out guns? Fallout 3 had more than enough tbh.

It's just the insane amount of tweaks and customisations. It's not 17 million completely different guns.

 

dan, have you played Fallout? If so, how does it compare?

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They were on about a gun generator in an interview i watched...

 

The different guns will just be slightly modfied versions of the usual Shotgun, Sniper, pistol etc...

 

Yeah they're just different levels of SMBs, Shotguns etc. Sometimes the exact same gun but different condition/level. 'rusty/super/average' etc.

Aye 27 million or something.

 

EDIT: Gearbox say 17 million... insane.

 

How did they physically do that though? Wouldn't you rather 100 well thought out guns? Fallout 3 had more than enough tbh.

It's just the insane amount of tweaks and customisations. It's not 17 million completely different guns.

 

dan, have you played Fallout? If so, how does it compare?

 

I'm a really, really bad person to ask this because I don't have the patience for any of these games really. I have got fallout, but I didn't play it for very long.

 

My simplistic comparison would simply be that Borderlands seems a lot more lightweight/fun/frantic, but I really didn't get far in to Fallout. I'm already getting my arse handed to me on borderlands, simply because I need to level-up some more before taking on my current boss guy.

 

But for now, I'm gonna have my yearly dose of Smackdown vs Raw disappointment. Every year, IT'LL BE BETTER THIS YEAR, IT HAS TO BE. Every year, same game.

 

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First DLC announced:

Tasked with keeping the workers of Jakobs Cove alive, Dr. Ned (who is not related to Dr. Zed from Fyrestone) does his job a little too well, creating zombies and other abominations that now run rampant in this region. Players will have to work alongside Dr. Ned as they embark on a quest to cure the inhabitants of Jakobs Cove in this full-fledged expansion filled with new enemies, new quests and rare loot drops.

Will be available before the end of the year for 800 MS points.

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