Quick Thoughts: Borderlands
Posted by deckard47 on September 15, 2009
Owen and I are looking forward to Borderlands, here at the Cross compound. It’s going to be pretty sweet, we think, and the thing that kills us is that we probably won’t be able to play it together. Even though we have 3 (yes, a fancy PC, a 360, and a PS3) systems that can run it, none of them will play with each other. Maybe we can get Owen’s (pre black keys/sharp edges) Macbook to run it? If so, there will be some quite epic co-op matches going on.
But I’m forgetting my reasons for posting. Kotaku (yes, them!) have a brief preview up about Borderlands. It’s the kind of short, pointed preview I like, generally. If you aren’t going to go all fancy and critical on a game, it’s sometimes nice to hear about someone’s strong/ gut reaction to some integral part of the game. The funny thing is, the way he writes about the game just makes me want to play the game more, even though he’s kind of/sort of panning it. Check it out:
The damage modeling, too, is a big plus, allowing you pinpoint precision in how you take an enemy down. I was able to snipe off a bandits foot from across a map. Yes, that means there is plenty of gibs and gore. And for a while I was satisfied running around shooting things, playing Borderlands essentially like a first-person shooter map packed with bots.
But overtime that grew a little dull. The enemies aren’t altogether that intelligent, and the spawn points can be, no matter how random the results, very predictable.
So I jumped into a few missions and the game really started to trudge. Why would I want to run out and hunt Borderlands version of feral dogs? Do I really need to clear out the gangs in this dust bowl? Why do I care about the garden of an amiable loner?
Without much of a plot to anchor the missions too, I was losing interest quickly. Fortunately, I eventually started to hunt down some missing logs and journals for a couple of missions and the audio recordings began to fill me in a bit on the backstory.
Huh. Well, it is basically an FPS-postapocalyptic Diablo, right? Which is exactly what he described? Actually, it’s funny, but that little summation I just did makes me think of Fallout 3 (oh snap!). It too was a post-apocalyptic RPG with annoying, numberless AI (horrible AI) goons who “aren’t altogether intelligent” who had random spawn points that just weren’t enough.
Now I’m being mean. But really, if we’re talking Fallout 3 here: “Without much of a plot to anchor the missions too, I was losing interest quickly. Fortunately, I eventually started to hunt down some missing logs and journals for a couple of missions and the audio recordings began to fill me in a bit on the backstory.” Which is exactly how I felt about Fallout 3. The main story is boring and forgettable, and only the side missions make the main game any fun.
But, I must admit, i’m making an unfair comparison, and I’m reaching. His (Crecente, sadly) article just makes me think that I will absolutely love Borderlands. It’s going to be like a version of Fallout 3 without the wretched voice acting and horrible shooting controls you mean? Yeah, I hate the sound of that. What’s that you say? It will have a palette that paints in colors other than puke green and brown-grey. Say it isn’t so.
Really, I’m sure that the “story” won’t be amazing, but when I think of a lot of games I’ve played lately (like Darkest of Days, Call of Juarez: BiB, Dead Space, Fallout 3, Fable 2 and many others), not a single one of them had a terribly compelling main story. And let’s be honest, diaries and logs can only make up for an absent story so much. Eventually, we reach a situation I like to call “we don’t actually have a story.” Which is, again, a surprise for Crecente? He’s used to better treatment from his ARPGs? Wacky.
Of course (again), it’s a pointless argument. Some people want to argue that Diablo has a convincing story and world, and isn’t repetitive and boring. I think they’re completely wrong, and I think that Borderlands’ world looks more exciting and fun, and the gameplay looks much better. So I guess it’s time to end this little “pointless exercise in making fun of someone else’s opinion” post. Because I never engage in that, right?
Oh, and this reminds me, forthcoming post on a little post from Kotaku (from yesterday?) about race, games, and design (I know, you think I’m fucking kidding).