The First Hour Of... Borderlands (Part 2)

Yesterday I posted the first thirty minutes of my first hour playing Borderlands. Today I'm posting the second thirty minutes.

If you missed yesterday's part one, then read it here before coming back.

00:31 - Night had fallen by the time I had made to the bandit camp, partly because time moves fairly quickly and partly because I got distracted looting another skag nest. I've now equipped myself with two pistols after ditching the SMG: the scoped Swatter is my sniping weapon while the Double Repeater may lack the zoom and accuracy but its double damage bonus is very effective at close range. 00:33 - There are eight bandits in the camp, the largest encounter I've faced thus far. I use the corrugated iron fences as cover—but of course so do they. I crouch behind the walls until I can hear a bandit reload, then pop up and plug him with a headshot or two. Unlike earlier, I manage to make use of the exploding barrel conveniently located in the middle of the camp. It's a good fight, but these guys are just low-level fodder really, and I prevail fairly comfortably. 00:36 - Back in Fyrestone I turn in my quest and find that Zed wants to introduce me to his friend, an old coot called TK Baha who lives up in a little farm just east of the bandit camp. I run into a trio of wandering bandits on the way there and have to adjust my tactics to cope with their shields. Taking a leaf from the Halo playbook, I switch back to my SMG to deplete their shields then to the Swatter for an now-unarmoured headshot. It seems to work well. 00:38 - TK's been having some problems with skags too. They've stolen his food supplies and he wants them back. This involves heading out to a large plain home to about four skag nests, killing them all, including a tougher breed of skag (the welk), and returning with the food. They key here is to only attract the attention of one nest at a time to avoid being overwhelmed...which of course I fail to do and find myself strafing and backtracking furiously as I'm surrounded by yelping mutant pig-things.

00:42 - Handing over the food to TK nets me enough experience to reach Level 5 and, with it, my first look at the skill tree. It's structured the same for all four characters: the first skill is mandatory, then it splits into three sub-classes, each of which has two further branches for a total of 22 skills per character. Plus, each skill has a certain number of ranks as well that improve its effectiveness. My mandatory initial skill is Phasewalk, which lets me turn invisible and move really fast. Sounds useful. 00:44 - TK tells me about this guy, Nine-Toes, who is basically the gang leader of all these bandits infested this part of the world. He reckons I should go after him. He also recommends I go grab some grenades from Marcus, the weapons vendor in Fyrestone. I like the sound of grenades and heed his advice. 00:46 - On the way I pass back through a skag nest I'd previously cleaned out, only to find the critters had respawned. they go down much easier now that I've levelled up. Also, just outside Fyrestone, where I'd previously encountered those three shield-wearing bandits, I run into more trouble. This time, though, it's from two psycho midgets, as they're called—these little axe-wielding monkey creatures who just run at me screaming. My character actually laughs as I fill them full of lead. 00:48 - In town again, I can now access Marcus' shop across the street from Zed's. Marcus ain't home, but his weapon and grenade vending machines are fully operational. I am now the proud owner of three grenades, the maximum number I can carry at this level. Sadly, my dreams of also being the owner of the TEK12 Burning SMG (with its "chance to light enemies on fire") are dashed through, well, not having enough money. Do I go and grind to get enough? Or do I proceed with my quest?

00:51 - Reluctantly I decide to press on with my quest, saving you from hearing me describe how I killed some respawning bandits over and over again. Leaving Fyrestone once more, the very first skag nest I cleared out (remember that?) has respawned its inhabitants, while also those three bandits appear to be back patrolling along the road to the west. I tap LB and activate my phasewalk ability, rendering me invisible and, with the speed boost, I'm able to run nearly all the way to TK's farm without attracting any attention. 00:54 - Now suitably prepared to tackle Nine-Toes, TK's gives me directions to the gang leader's base camp. It's off to the northeast, up in the mountains, behind a boarded up pass. I thank him and make way there, through another couple of skag nests—easily butchered with my Double Repeater—and eventually arrive at the gate. 00:58 - Much of Borderlands is an open world, but select areas are fenced off behind loading screens, akin to an instance in an MMO. TK has rigged some explosives in case he ever wanted to get into Nine-Toes' hideout, so I trigger them and head through the newly-renovated entrance.

So, the big question is… Do I want to keep playing beyond the first hour?

I do. To be honest, I've cheated here a little, since I did play beyond this point at the press event 2K held last week. I know what happens when you face Nine-Toes and I know how much I enjoyed that extra play time. What I'm keen to see is how much co-op adds to the experience and how varied the combat becomes as you face new enemies and diversify your skills.

What I've experienced so far feels like a really solid combination of shooter and stat-and-loot-based role-playing. I'm not sure there's much here for the story-driven role-player, but despite that the world Gearbox has created has a distinct atmosphere that's easy to lose yourself in.

If you need to scratch that "find more cool stuff" itch, then Borderlands delivers.


    I recently played through the same sections of the game and must say I totally agree, it is a great game and will certainly get better the further you play through (although we were magically at level 10 with a sniper rifle that made people catch on fire after their heads have exploded) :)

    One thing that I also found great was the humour. Some of the things people say when they are giving you missions is hilarious (or at least for people that enjoy the occasional mum joke).

    My time with this game made me want to play it even more and I can't wait to get into this with 3 other people in co-op.

      In-game, what's the soundtrack/ambient sounds like?

        To be honest I was having that much fun shooting things and blowing stuff up that I didn't pay a lot of attention to the finer details.

    Seriously can't wait for this game, even for box art alone!

    One thing though Mr. Goose. Is the co-op available as a split screen on the same console, or does it have to be through live or system link?

    Only as most co op i play sitting next to the person - it's a much better experience, even if you have to sacrifice half of your screen..

      There was a co-op video released this week that features split screen play.

      I was informed its 4 play co-op.

      But only 2 players (via splitscreen) on ONE console. The other two can be another splitscreen by Xbox Live or two players from different consoles on XBL too. Or all 4 different players on different consoles.

      Not sure on the Level Cap, but someone below said 50. So we'll see how that pans out and how long & hard it is to level up. And if DLC will arrive, could increase it. I wonder randomization of the engine could work well in terms of, DLC and increasing the level cap after completing the game (if its still playable after finish unlike Fallout 3 until DLC fixed that issue) and that increasing a lot and the engine would make enemies harder.

      I may not make sense, but like Bethesda said, they are limiting the Level cap because of how easy it will be to kill enemies etc.. if you had such a high level. I wonder if Gearbox could fix that issue but making the AI increase too so you too can.

      ANYWAY.. unrelated. But i do notice that "People with a waistline over 88cm are at risk of heart attacks" is always advertised on this site. GO FIGURE!

    Dumb question, is there a cap on the Level? If so, what are we looking at... as reaching Level 5 within an hour seems rather fast... ;)


    There is split-screen and the level cap is 50, which will take more than one playthrough to get to btw.

    So this one time, at bandit camp...

    This should answer a few questions:

    I especially like looting the toilet and shaking down a gravestone for cash.

    The one problem i have with this article is the the fact you point out about the storyline.

    I've never really played a game being all like "OMG THE STORYLINE SOUNDS SWEET".

    Halo has a great storyline if you understand it. But i play Halo cause its Halo. First time i played COD4 i didn't know what the hell was going on and only understood it doing Veteran cause the amount of restarts and watching clips you actually bother to listen to what they're saying.

    Even playing some RPGs... i don't play for the storyline, but the entertainment. Yes sometimes a story can give some entertainment buts its the shooting and killing and upgrading and doing some side missions that are fun and non-related to the story that gives the most entertainment to me.

    But critics always look at the story and unfort. grade a game on that. When the most important factors are the AI, controls, graphics and all that. The story is the last thing i look for. IMO anyway.

      Hahaha i was thinking exactly the same thing. There are these silly previewers that babble about .. "oh the story isn't all that" it's like ... please im 21 .. do i reeeally need a reason to be blowing off bandits heads with an explosive shotgun with a revolver clip and wider spread, immediate answer NOOO!! =)

      Plus!! i will add that as a forum member of this game, can vouch that the main story actualyl look quite neat, what with the mysterious Vault and Lady woman giving you advice and directions, not to mention almost every NPS has a back story and hilarious moments! So if that doesn't involve you in a games story, then by Zeus Beard! What does?

      One more thing Borderlands is going to be awesome! and i urge you to go over and have a look at the forums! specially if you got a question or two, the people there are lovely =D

    off topic but i dont know how else to contact you.

    David, will we be seeing a Sunday Supplement this weekend? or are they dead and gone?

    When at Gencon today, they had 6 360's up with an old build of Borderlands going, and I have to say, it was fucking awesome.

    Even on a console, the game is really well done, easy to control and works nicely.

    First gun I found after getting past the scripted ones, a Rocket Pistol, it was awesome.

    A while ago there was a post on here about an interview with one of the borderlands developers and was asking for questions. Has this interview been done and posted? I can't find it anywhere. Something I wanted to know was if the player could actively mod the weapons themself, taking bonuses off one gun and putting them on another. It's something I think all RPGs should have.

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