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Game Reviewed: Borderlands
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Gearbox Software
Platform: Xbox 360 (also on PS3 & PC)
Category: Shooter / RPG
ESRB Rating: M
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First and foremost Borderlands is a first-person shooter, but it also has a heavy emphasis on character-building elements from action-rpgs such as Diablo, Titan Quest, and Too Human.
The story centers around a group of treasure hunters on the arid planet, Pandora, seeking the legendary “Vault” that is said to house legendary alien weaponry and riches. The opening cinematic is quite stylish and makes one think that the story is going to be really entertaining, but it ends up taking a back seat to the actual gameplay and winds up being largely forgettable.
The graphics in Borderlands are downright breath taking and very stylized. It uses a cell-shaded approach but features a lot of detail. This gives the game a very unique visual appeal that needs to be seen in motion to be truly appreciated.
The game is played from a first-person point of view, think Call of Duty or Halo 3. You begin the game by selecting one of four different type characters that each have unique abilities and are more skilled with certain types of weapons compared to the others. Once you make your choice you enter the world of Pandora and begin your quest to find the “Vault,” either solo or online with up to three other players. The game consists mainly of missions that certain characters or mission boards will give you. This is standard; “Go find this monster and slay it” or “Go fetch this and bring it back” type quests. Usually you will receive a reward like a new gun, or grenade mod. As you kill the monsters of Pandora and complete quests your character will gain experience points and level up. You can then enhance the abilities of your character by spending skill points in several different categories such as the ability to increase the damage given by your weapons, have your character be resistant to certain elements, or attain skills to heal. The main draw of an action-rpg or in this case a shooter-rpg is to level grind to build a more powerful character while constantly finding better weapons to be able to take on ever increasingly difficult monsters and bandits.
What Parents Need to Know
Despite the unique visual art style this game features, it is also very bloody and violent. This comes off as more cartoonish than anything, but still quite violent. Blood will spray from enemies, heads and limbs can be blown off or apart. The amount of blood can be quite staggering considering the large amount of enemies that are required to be killed in some missions.
The following words will be encountered in this game: Damn, D**ckbag, F**king, P**sy, and Sh*t. Also, you will hear enemies taunting by swearing how they will kill you.
One of the character classes the player can choose to be is a Siren. This character class wears a low cut shirt and skin tight pants.
Also, there is a character the player can encounter in the game named Scooter who uses some crude language.
This game does not get into spirituality, religion or anything of that nature.
Borderlands is a visually unique and genre blending experience that most gamers who are fans of first person shooters will find themselves drawn too. Parents, however, should keep in mind the M rating and the above mentioned content when deciding if Borderlands is an appropriate game for their children or not.