Gamer’s Review: Borderlands (2009 Video Game)

“Borderlands” was released in 2009 (same year Batman: Arkham Asylum came out) It received positive reviews from critics and gamers alike. The game spawned two sequels and a prequel. They all earned positive reviews and sold a decent amount of copies.

A film adaptation based on the franchise starring Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart, Jamie Lee Curtis & Jack Black will be released in the future. Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Inglorious Basterds) will direct the upcoming adaptation. Before the movie comes out, I want to share my thoughts on the first installment of one of my favorite video games franchises. My personal favorite is “Borderlands 2.” One more thing, Gearbox Software is working on an upcoming spin-off titled, “Tiny Tina’s Wonderland” is scheduled for a 2022 release.

Today’s review contains no SPOILERS. Feel free to check out my non-spoiler review.

Pros & Cons

Pros: Voice Actors all did a good job for their respective voiceover performances.

Graphics presented in cell shaded format are pretty decent bringing character models, lighting and environmental locations.

Gameplay is presented as a first-person loot shooter. You traverse in an open world wasteland filled with scum and villainy standing in your way.

Combat is awesome. You equip yourself with a variety of weapons such as pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, smgs, grenades, snipers and rocket launchers. The more you level up, the more powerful you obtain guns.

Elemental weapons are electricity, explosive, acid and fire. Use them wisely.

Gun rarity is a strong factor. Obtaining a powerful weapon is worth a shot. No pun intended.

Besides guns, you equip a shield. Like the guns, if you’re current level matches a shield’s level requirement, you can take it if you’re enduring difficult tasks.

Driving a vehicle mounted with a missile launcher or a mini-gun allows you to traverse the world and mow down opponents.

Four characters are playable. You can select Lilith, Roland, Brick or Mordecai. I played as Brick on my first solo playthrough. He’s the muscle. If you have friends, you can play co-op online. The four characters later factor in follow ups as non-playable characters linked to the plot. If you play on co-op with your pals, the game gets slightly difficult yet more loot is worth a reward.

As you may know, Claptrap robots are the mascots of the franchise.

Each character has a special ability. Brick uses his fists to kill enemies one by one. Roland deploys a turret firing a number of baddies. Lilith becomes invisible using super speed follow by a burst of energy blasting foes. Mordecai summons his pet bird to assist you in a tight situation.

As you level up, a skill tree contains three classes for your character. You can pick a specific skill by improving a special ability, health/shield and increase damage either melee or guns. You can reset your skill points for a fee.

The game takes place on the planet Pandora. James Cameron’s “Avatar” primarily takes place on Pandora. Both Borderlands and the aforementioned movie came out in 2009.

Enemies consists of bandits either normal or mutated, animalistic wildlife and guardians. (not from Marvel) If you own the DLC expansion pack, “The Zombie Island Of Dr. Ned,” you can fight against zombies.

If an enemy guns you down, a limit gives you a chance to shoot back at an enemy. If you succeed, you’ll be back in your feet. Be wary.

If you die, you’ll be transported back to a nearby checkpoint at the cost of your hard earned cash.

If you feel lost, a map for each location is useful.

The game and later installments contain pop culture references. If you’re a pure buff of pop culture, you’re gonna crack up.

If you own the “Game Of The Year” edition or bought all DLC, they’ll keep you occupied for additional hours.

Optional Quests are fun to waste your time. A selected one will reward you with a prize.

Once you complete the main story, a “New Game Plus” is replayable increases difficulty, more money and guns to collect. If you wish to replay, good luck.

Cons: Main Story is somewhat forgettable. The plot is simply about vault hunters looking for hidden treasure. That’s basically it. The sequels and prequel drastically improved branching out a cohesive narrative.

The Final Verdict: A-

From my perspective, Borderlands is an awesome start of a beloved first-person looter shooter series. If it weren’t for the forgettable storyline, I would’ve given the first installment my highest grade an A, FOR APEX. An A- will do. If you wanna refresh your memory before Tiny Tina’s Wonderland and the upcoming film, start with the first game and then the follow ups.

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