The Borderlands Series Game Review
Genres: first-person shooter, action RPG
Game-modus: single-player & multi-player
Developer: Gearbox Software, 2K Australia, Telltale Games
Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux, Playstation 3-4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Okay, so I’ll be the first to admit that this series might not be the newest most sparkly thing to review, considering its first game appeared in 2009.
Why choose to review it? Well for starters, it has received a lot of media attention lately due to its new spin-off Telltale game (which I will discuss later) and a movie adaptation announcement. Yes, this series will be brought to the big screen by Lionsgate, a studio known for big hits like The Hunger Games series and The Expendables.
Secondly, and most importantly: this entire game series is just so much fun to play.
The first title of the series is “Borderlands” and basically make you comfortable with the setting and world this series takes place in: a hostile, futuristic alien planet where everything tries to kill you. Welcome to Pandora.
You will get familiar with the quirky and unique art-style of the game, which is best described as cartoony or comic like. Everything has bold outlines and looks really grouchy (considering you’re playing on a anarchistic lawless planet; it’s fitting).
At the start of the game there’s four classes/characters to pick from and each has its own perks and disadvantages. It comes down to this: you, the hero, needs to find a vault. This vault is a place filled with riches. To get to this vault you’ll need to defeat a lot of bad guys. Easy enough.
From left to right: hunter, siren, berserker, soldier
After the introduction there’s quests, lots and lots of quests, mostly involving killing things (with guns, kick-ass guns). Sounds repetitive? Well, yeah, to be honest, it is. Thankfully, creative and funny writing makes up for this. There’s tons of jokes and quirky, well-written characters that made me laugh out loud more than once.
Don’t get me wrong though, there is a main story line (the whole vault finding thing), it just feels insignificant and one-dimensional. In fact, the ending of this game might leave you to be disappointed.
That’s were “Borderlands 2” kicks in to make that empty feeling disappear. See, this game is very much story driven. You’ll learn that “Borderlands” was just there to familiarise you with the universe of this series (which it does a good job at). This sequel introduces you to a lot more information about the political situation of Pandora, a more significant and less vague goal to work towards, background-expanding on the existing characters, and a villain. A villain who’s one of my personal favourite video-game characters of all time: Handsome Jack.
Handsome Jack: he’s so handsome
(what would be behind the mask though…)
Is he ruthless? Yes.
Is he sadistic? Yes.
Is he a complete jack-hole? Heck yes.
Is he hilariously and cleverly written? Most definitely.
You’ll love this thrash-pile of pure garbage as much as you will hate him. This guy will try to murder you and every character you care about throughout the entire game. Funny thing is: the way he’ll attempt this will make you smile.
This character has gotten so popular that an entire game has been dedicated to his background story “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel” (got to love the original title names).
Villains aren’t born, they’re made.
This game basically explains how Jack has grown into becoming the villain. Here you’ll get a new perspective on the world of Pandora, and you’ll see that everything isn’t as black and white as it appears (two of the playable characters are even minor villains in the previous games).
The Borderlands series are all about showing you that perspective in conflict situations is key. There are no heroes, there are no villains, there’s just people. People who try to kill each other because of their own selfish reasons.
This is what makes Borderlands such a good series: you’ll start to doubt your own “heroic” intentions and think more about the consequences and motives of your actions.
If your interest has been sparked for the Borderlands series, but you’re not a big fan of shooters (as I personally wasn’t), I can highly recommend you to play the game “Tales From The Borderlands”. This game has been developed by Telltale Games, also known for the Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead game adaptations, and it’s basically one big story were you can make decisions that have impact on the tale’s course and ending. This game initially introduced me to the series and it will give you an idea what Borderlands has to offer to you.
Finally I’d like to talk about the game’s price, since we, poor students, are obviously interested in that.
“Borderlands” is priced at €19,99 on Steam, “Borderlands 2” at €29,99 and “Borderlands” The Pre-Sequel” at €39,99. This might seem a bit expensive, but there’s often sales on Steam and on HumbleBundle. I bought my “Borderlands” game for just €9,- and my “Borderlands 2” for €10,-.
My boyfriend even got a better deal and bought both the games plus a lot of extra content for €15,- and received a coupon to buy “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel” with 75% discount.
Since “Tales From The Borderlands” is still a relatively new game there haven’t been a lot of good sales for this but they’ll come.
With a little patience you can get this series for very little money and I think it’s worth every penny.
I hope this review has made you enthusiastic about this great series. Give it a chance, give it a try, you’ll probably like it.
By Mijntje Boon