on Nov 16, 2009
I feel like the guy in the Monty Python skit who is trying to bad-mouth the Romans.
Borderlands is an outstanding game and is incredibly enjoyable and I hope everyone-
The rocket launcher sucks!
It shoots right through people! Half the time splash damage doesn’t even register.
True, true. That’s a fair point. But aside from the stupid rocket launcher-
And the sniper rifle!
Yes. The rocket launcher and the sniper rifle. But aside from those-
Well, obviously repeaters. I mean, that goes without saying. Nobody even bothers with repeaters. But aside from the rocket launchers, sniper rifles, and repeaters, its a lot of fun to-
Unless you’re fighting Mad Mel!
Yes. That one was an absolute bastard, wasn’t it? I thought I was going to tear my hair out.
And the giant Rakk. The one where you light the torches and fight it from the car?
Yeah. That was either impossible or piss easy and boring. But still, once you get past the starting area-
The whole world is mud and rust!
I guess that does get a little old. But other than the broken weapons, the difficulty spikes, the bland visuals-
And the stupid story!
The lazy ending!
The plot holes!
Don’t forget the broken matchmaking!
Yesyesyes. Look, all I’m saying is that-
Friendly-fire vehicle damage!
The same six enemies over and over!
The overlong tutorial!
All those unskippable splash screens!
Don’t forget Gamespy!
I still like-
The loading screens!
I’ve been trying to write my Borderlands review for a couple of weeks now, and I keep starting over. They problem is that I want to tell you how fun this game is, and I end up cataloging annoyances and shortcomings.
I want to go over how fun the gunplay is, and then end up with these big digressions on the broken sniper mechanics or how stupid the rocket launcher is.
I want to talk about the fun ideas in the story, but I can’t very well do that without admitting the whole thing runs aground and ends up spinning its wheels even before the end of the first act.
I want to go over the fun of teamplay, but that must be balanced against the brokenness of the matchmaking on the PC. (Xbox players shouldn’t have any problems, though.)
I want to talk about how wonderful and engaging the art style is, but end up on a tirade against the pervasive rust & brown motif, which quickly becomes monotonous.
The quests are fun and varied, but often spoiled by inexplicable difficulty spikes.
What is a reviewer supposed to do in a case like this? “The game sucks but you’ll like it anyway?” Or, “The game is awesome but deeply flawed? “How did all of these favorable review run without mentioning all of these flaws? Why has interest in the game vanished so quickly when it’s so much fun?
What I’m seeing is a game which offers intense fun at first, followed by disillusionment, followed by waning interest. And yet I still say it’s worth a look. But get the demo.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.