Published on September 10th, 2009 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder
PAX 09 Impressions: Borderlands
If you follow the site, there should be no surprise that I was at PAX this year representing GAMINGtruth. If you follow my twitter account, DeejayKnight, you’d know that I spent the first night of PAX at Gearbox’s Borderlands’ Panel. Beyond that, I spent at least a couple minutes at the Borderlands booth daily. Now that I’ve recovered (from exhaustion, not the other thing that PAX attendees have been going through), it’s about time to give you the rundown on the game that worked to pull me to PAX in the first place…
So yea, I’ve been stoked about Borderlands for quite some time. CrazyEcho got me on record the night before the event started professing my love for it (you’ll want to see 2:25). How did it fare? Let’s just say October is too long from now…
To start off, a brief description of Borderlands:
Borderlands™ sends up to four co-op players to the harsh frontier planet Pandora in search of a mysterious Alien Vault legend. Featuring a unique First Person Roleplaying Shooter gameplay, you’ll customize your character as you explore and battle enemies in frantic FPS combat.
When I started playing on the first day, it was from a fresh game. I decided to go with Mordecai because I’m a huge fan of sniping. Arriving in Pandora you learn the basic controls from Claptrap, a cool little robot that walks you through the town you start off in, while killing people and avoiding some fairly major explosions in the process. One of the first things I noticed about the game was the interface. Rather than the icons floating everywhere all the time, the interface is very similar to the web. When your reticle points at something or you come close enough to it, you get a roll over effect. Like the “X” button in the image above. It’s refreshing to see it presented like this in a game.
While getting the controls down and taking down a bunch of enemies, the loot had already started to drop. I picked up a pistol that had a sniper scope on it, which was great for my playing style. There were various chests around which opened up to even more weaponry/ammunition/cash, so if you’re all about loot, this is definitely going to be a good time. After this, I ran around causing as much destruction and mayhem as I could, so here’s a bit of info on the other aspects of the game.
Each character has special moves. I only got to play around with Lilith’s, but the ability was to create a temporal bubble that temporarily makes her invisible, as well as damaging enemies when she goes into it. Roland has a Shield Turret, Brick has ‘Berserker’ – a rage that boosts his melee attacks, and Mordecai has ‘Bloodwing’, an alien that assists with attacks.
In case you haven’t been following the game, Gearbox developed an AI that just builds weapons. The devs have settings for each one of the game’s weapons manufacturers, of which there are multiple: Jakobs, Hyperion, Vladof, Dahl, S&S and Maliwan are known up to now, but there could be more. Beyond the settings, the AI randomly builds weapons depending on your level and where you are in the game. What’s more is that the weapons have an economy built around them based on their manufaturers. For example, Jakobs weapons tend to have wood, but since there’s no wood in Pandora so they cost a bit more. Maliwan weapons, while they might be good, are made of lower quality materials which lowers their resale value.
To say that they’ve spent time on the weapons would be a gross understatement.
Missions range from resource gathering to taking down targets – standard RPG fare. What happens during the missions, though, is what differentiates Borderlands from the other shooters you’ve played. Considering the staggering number of weapons in the game – somewhere in the range of millions – you’ll be seeing new weapons pretty regularly. Between my personal playing and the panel, I saw a shotgun that outright melted a guy. There’s always going to be a weapon that fits your playstyle, I’m sure.
I got to play a bit of co-op, and I can see how the loot drops can cause a bit of friction. If someone takes your loot, melee them to start a duel! If they melee you back, you get a dome that surrounds the two of you and you can duke it out until one of you is down. Then, you revive them & keep it moving. The funniest part is that when you melee someone, a status update pops up saying something to the like of “Deejay Knight demands satisfaction!” That’s classic.
So this “Impressions” has gone into a bit more about the game than I expected, but it’s all relevant. There’s a lot more that I haven’t gotten into, but that’s best left for a review, wouldn’t you think?
Bottom line, the time I got to play Borderlands has cemented my purchase, and I can’t wait until October to play more.
Borderlands is set to release on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC on October 20th.