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Borderlands 5-Years Later Review

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Gameplay:

The best place to start on Borderlands gameplay is probably with one of the best known aspects of the game; its weapons. By using a gun generator, the game can create over 17,000,000 weapons by varying the parts each gun is made from. Shotguns can have a submachine gun clip for high fire rate, submachine guns can have a sniper-rifle barrel for improved accuracy, and revolvers and SMGs alike can fire multiple projectiles, almost like shotguns. All of the variances just add up to make for some very interesting and lethal weapons, and that is without considering elemental damage and legendaries.

Like other games, a legendary weapon has special properties to make them very powerful. Equalizer revolvers regenerate ammo, Cyclops sniper rifles have incredible zooms, and Hellfire SMGs that are practically flamethrowers. In this review playthrough, I actually got a Hellfire and continued to use it more than ten levels after picking it up. It is so powerful that it is still useful and dispatching enemies even a dozen levels above it.

While the legendary weapons do have a certain set properties, they are also subject to the random weapon generator, so you can find a variety of the same legendary as you play. In fact I have found two versions of the Equalizer revolver with ammo regeneration; one fired normal bullets while the other had a chance to shoot explosive rounds. This can translate to some legendaries being useless for your playstyle, because of what they rolled with, even if the legendary property would be perfect.

 

 

 

 

There are no legendary shields or grenades in Borderlands, but high level versions can be very powerful. Grenade mods can make them into mines, teleport the grenades to where ever you point, and even shoot out projectiles that will take health away from enemies, to give it to you. Shields on the other hand can release powerful blasts when depleted, potentially removing the threats surrounding you, until the shield returns. They can also provide you with health regeneration, which is what I personally always go for. Curiously this led me to play most of the game with the same shield, as there was just not much variance in what was dropping. The shields are subject to the random item generator though, while the grenades are not.

You have a choice of four characters from the beginning. The Hunter, played by Mordecai, fills the role of the sniper, with many of his abilities making him more lethal in that way. The Berserker class, filled by Brick, takes special enjoyment with explosive weapons and punching things to death. The Siren, Lilith, is a bit more complicated to describe, as she has unnatural and powerful abilities. The Soldier, Roland, prefers to use assault rifles and shotguns, can throw a turret onto the battlefield, and is the character I played as for this playthrough. Previously I have played as the Hunter and as the Siren.

While the four classes have many differences, none is really more fun than any other. They each do fill a role, so if there is one role you particularly enjoy, you may want to go with that one.

 

As you level up, you will be able to invest points into skills separated into three trees. The different abilities may improve your character directly, grant bonuses for defeating enemies, or modify the character's special ability. For Roland, his turret can be given increased damage, the ability to fire rockets, generate a healing aura, and more.

All of the loot mentioned above can be used by any of the characters. You do not have to be a Hunter to use a sniper rifle effectively, so you can play Borderlands as you wish. There are however class mods that can only be used by the correct classes, and give them certain special properties. One of the properties for the Soldier is ammo regeneration, which I very much enjoy. The ability to play without having to worry about running out of ammo is very nice, especially when you have some very high fire-rate weapons. Class mods can also add points to the character's skills.

Driving in Borderlands works well and has one particularly interesting mechanic to it. You spawn in cars from Catch-a-Ride stations, and from that same UI, you can instantly teleport yourself to the vehicle. That teleportation does not require the vehicle be anywhere near you, so it can be used to quickly cross a map, if you strategically place secondary vehicles, or have a friend do so.

 

 

Borderlands features up to four-player co-op multiplayer, which can be a lot of fun. It has been awhile since I played with friends, but when I did, we had a lot of fun, especially racing around in the vehicles, and occasionally shooting at each other, trying to flip the cars. Unfortunately, because of the system the game originally used to handle online multiplayer, it is no longer available. However, the publisher is working on restoring it by switching systems. The goal is to have this transition done sometime Summer 2014. LAN multiplayer is still possible however.

One of the interesting mechanics of the game is Bleeding Out. When you lose all of your health, instead of dying, you will enter a mode that lets you keep firing. If you manage to kill an enemy, you are awarded a Second Wind and get to re-enter the fight. Of course in multiplayer you are allowed to pick each other up.

Another mechanic worth noting is that instead of a traditional save system, you respawn when you die, losing some money in the process. In single player there is also the added effect of having your enemies regain all of their health, but in multiplayer, so long as one player remains alive, your progress will not be lost. Thankfully the balance of the enemies in this game never quite hit the difficulty of requiring a second player, just to keep from having your damage undone. There is one exception to this in one of the DLC, but it is a clear and understandable exception.

 

It took me 12 hours and 5 minutes to complete the base game, and I do mean complete as I also finished off every mission available to me. That time may be a little less than what some of you may enjoy, as I have played the game multiple times already. If it seems too short for you, do not worry, because completing the campaign once unlocks a second playthrough, with enemies that match your higher level. You can always return to the first playthrough and your character persists between them, so you can bring your amazingly-powerful gear from the late game back to the beginning, where just about anything can be killed with one shot. If you complete the second playthrough, you will enter Playthrough 2.5, which scales enemies up to max level, to keep things interesting, even if the missions cannot be replayed.

The gameplay of Borderlands is a lot of fun, and only improves when playing with friends, which will hopefully be possible again soon. With the weapon randomizer and second playthrough, you can have many, many hours of enjoyment with new gear dropping to look at and possibly use.




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