Replacing Older and Newer Posts by Actual Names

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Borderlands 2: Shoot Loot and Squinting

So once I was finished with Witcher 2 (killed the dragon thrice, and earned every achievement before I was done with it), I turned my attention to the latest version of the "Shooter R.P.G" game, Borderlands 2. This was my first tryst with the Borderlands series, but I was intrigued by the concept of a Diablo like weapon system, and an R.P.G. like leveling system only this time the weapons are guns, and you are actually in a F.P.S.. The fact that the game provided a local co-op option made it a much more tempting buy, and the rest (doubts if any) were taken care of by the anticipation and the excitement built around the game by the gaming industry. This is probably the first game, that I have owned right from its release date, and thus this review is probably the most relevant one ever. So with further ado, lets drill down to Pandora(that by the way is the name of the planet where the action happens).
Check out the reveal trailer before reading the review:

So the first thing Borderlands is that its BIG. Now I haven't played Skyrim, so I don't know if it matches those scales, but the game has huge sprawling environments. Most of them are are icy glaciers or barren wastelands agreed, but they act as big expansive battlefields which give you ample clear space to run and shoot. The both of which you would end up doing a lot. After about every 15 min or so, you will run into a hectic set-piece, which will have waves of enemies, a lot of swearing, and a lot of healing you co-op mate, so he can do the same later. The look and feel of the game is that comicy shade that you see now and then in animations. So I can't really say how amazing the game looks, but it looks okay for the most part.

The menu text however, is something I have a problem with. The menu is akin to what you have in Dead Space but the text is so skewed that you have to squint and read them inches from your TV screen. Especially when you are in Co-op, the menu becomes vertically scrollable and more often than not the more important info is not the first thing you see (happened more than once that my partner picked up a gun before I was able to properly evaluate it). As you go along you learn to compare you weapon by the arrows rather than the numbers, otherwise avoiding the menu in most cases (just pick up a mission and follow the square on your mini-map is what I did for most part). I do believe this makes you miss out on a lot of extra fun information which would not have been the case if the text was much more readable. Apart from that no real complaints, textures, framing and all other things run just fine. You can find yourself in a graphically tight corner (like in-midst of some icicles which you have jumped into and are not able to get out) sometimes, but overall it works for me.

Graphics And Sound- 8/10

The game is a shoot and loot. As is obvious, there is a lot of shooting involved. There is something awkward however, in watching yourself shoot and hit-points bleeding out of your opponent, especially when its in a F.P.S situation. What this leads to is you spamming your shoot button heavily (which by the way is a solid strategy), which again is a deviation from regular shooters in which the onus many a times is on how you use your ammo. Ammo is something though, which you will frequently run out of, but worry not, the loot is plentiful in this land, and everything from enemies to their frozen poo pile will spring you guns, money and ammo bountiful. You would hardly start a mission with low ammo, and you are sure to end one with a high count. This brings me to the guns, of which there are basically 5 categories: Shotgun, Sniper, Assault Rifle, and S.M.G. This in no way means that you have a limited arsenal, instead different random combinations of ammo size, damage, status effect (yes bullets have status effects, this game is awesome or what?), accuracy and the like present you with a gazillion options to choose from (remember how I said the weapon system is like Diablo). Thus, you can never have the ultimate weapon, and you are always on the look-out of that next big thing.

From the guns, lets move to set-pieces, which for me are the highlight of the game (yes even the plethora of guns to choose from pales before it), after every 15 minutes or so, you will run into an ambush, and as goes the rule ('NEW is always BETTER'), each ambush is bigger, badder and awesomer in every way.  While in the battle, you have little time to relax, as the enemies come from all directions, and because the enemies are diverse, you never find yourself using the same gun, even in the same battle. Apart from that the R.P.G. elements will not exactly engross you (thanks to the difficult to decipher menus) but they provide you with strategical relief from the frantic action. The game even rewards you in two ways, not only do you level up your playing character by killing enemies, but you also strengthen fields(like health re-generation, and shield capacity) which you can carry over to any of your character by finishing challenges. All in all the game doesn't meddle too much with any genre and concentrates on keeping the game shallow and fun, which in the end works out just fine.


Story wise, its no Halo to be sure. I am told that the story this time is an improvement on the earlier game, so that's that. There is Handsome Jack (he wants to kill you), then there is Sanctuary(a city where other people Handsome Jack wants to kill lives), and then there is a race for a vault(which currently hold an old ancient Alien warrior who is controlled by the one who opens it). The rest are just smaller sub-lots with a splattering of humor, which is nice. The game at no point takes itself too seriously, and even the most serious situations are presented in a tongue in cheek manner.

Story- 5/10

The game is as fun as it could be to run headlong into an army of henchmen, difficult but definitely not impossible. I remember having 3 guns equipped and 2 in my inventory with full ammo for all of them, and by the time I was finished defending a beacon (a mission from the game) I was almost out of ammo in all of them (I was down to my least favored weapon). That's how frantic the game can be, fast-paced, swearing filled, umpteen minutes of bullet pumping action. The only downside is that so-much adrenalin and the squinting that you have to do every time you open the menu (the menu is the only down side of the game), doesn't let you play the game for long hours (which I believe should be a facet for a R.P.G.). Anyhow, I can't fault Borderlands for the shooting, leveling up and the bad-ass moments it provides almost every 15 minutes

Mojo- 8/10

Kabelled Score- 8/10

Signing Off,
Ayush 'Kabel' Chauhan

No comments:

Post a Comment