Reader Review: Borderlands

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Steven does, as he dumps that purple for a sweet orange.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Steven Bogos. If you’ve played Borderlands, or just want to ask Steven more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Borderlands (PC)

Borderlands is an FPS/RPG hybrid that takes place in a futuristic, open world, desolate landscape. While that seems like a familiar concept, Borderlands is very different from that other game, and it’s not just the lack of a 1950’s aesthetic.

Loved Not too hot, not too cold: The main problem with other games that meld genres is that they try to balance all elements. This seems like a good idea, but doesn’t work out, because the RPG elements make the game too complex to keep a fast paced FPS feel. Borderlands is more accurately a core FPS with added RPG elements. Each character has but a single action skill that they can upgrade through three different trees, and loot is limited to guns, class mods, shields and grenade mods. It keeps it simple, and it works.

Tell your friends: Too many games tack co-op onto their campaigns, making player two no more than a clone of player one. Borderlands, on the other hand, feels as if it was built primarily around co-op. The good part is that single player doesn’t really suffer from this, as the dynamic difficulty of the game makes sure the challenge is accurate according to player count and level.


I thought I bought the PC version? Borderlands PC bears the telltale signs of ‘console portitis’. There are many irritating quirks that are obvious holdovers from the console versions, but the most annoying of the bunch is the horrible online server browser, and the lack of push-to-talk voice chat.

Change the quest, please: The quest tracking and map system in Borderlands is the only real gripe I had with the core mechanics. The fact that you can only track one quest at any time, and only the host of the game can select which quest is being tracked means that you should expect to spend a lot of time backtracking through areas where multiple quests are present, and politely asking the host to change which quest he is tracking.

What else can I say? It has a few flaws, but nothing really game breaking. In all other regards it is a fantastic game that recaptures the feel of the old school dungeon runners of yore in a new format. If you’re still not sold, know that Brick can upgrade his berserk ability with explosive power, meaning his punches can MAKE PEOPLE EXPLODE.

Reviewed by Steven Bogos

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 300 words - yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


    "...know that Brick can upgrade his berserk ability with explosive power, meaning his punches can MAKE PEOPLE EXPLODE."


    Seriously, though, I'm loving this game. Played it for about 4 hours non-stop with friends over the weekend, it was awesome.


      Yes to you sir Andrew, yes to you.

    But it's boring.

    I spent the better part of a week playing it and couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was... but I think that everytime I picked back up the controller was a chore.

    I think it was just missing a compelling narative, a little more variety in enemies and maybe an improvement to the vehicle control.
    It's not that it needed more time in development, more that it needed more time in pre-development / story boarding.
    Without that it became a grind-fest, for the sake of being a grind-fest.

    One other thing, if you're going to add a single player to what is a co-op game... then make the other charectors playable by AI, think Left 4 Dead.

      I hit level 26 and just couldnt be bothered playing anymore.
      Its a chore. Its the same thing over and over. And the scenery and enemies are all the same.
      Im just fed up with it.
      And looting. There is too much looting. Spend most of your time looting and sorting crap.

    Lame ending, for a game all about "teh epic loot" the final boss dropped me a worthless grenade mod far below my currently equipped one.

    I Can Play with Friends?
    On the Ps3 via LAN, no. Tried to get a LAN happening with two PS3s and 4 players, you know, what Halo has been doing for years, no joy. We could either split screen OR LAN, not both at the same sime, no split screen online either.

      Actually i have to agree with this. The end boss was a MAJOR disappointment -_-

    It got so many big things right with the game (rpg elements), its a shame theres so many small quirks to deal with... no customisable controls and crappy presets, dodgy waypoint system, beeing booted(no save) if the host is disconnected and NO MINIMAP!!!

    ur kiddin....

    The console portitis really harms the experience for me.

    The FOV is horrible and vomit inducing. Sure its probably perfect for sitting back and watching the action on a big screen from afar, but on a desktop widescreen the field of view is dizzy-tastic.

    Toggle to crouch is a definate console hangover and no option to change it without trawling .ini files is just ridiculous.

    No toggle to zoom? holding the right mouse button down and firing with the left is not something we should have to put up with, again, fixable with .ini file editing, BUT WHY SHOULD WE HAVE TO?

    After the previous interviews with the gearbox heavyweight siting the PC version would be the ultimate experience i find these ommisions befuddling to say the least.

    Its a pity, the game is actually great fun and loottastically addictive.

    I guess the benefit of being a PC gamer is we can always just wait for the patch :)

    It's funny though, as didn't the guys say all through development that Borderlands was designed as a PC game?

      They certainly did say that.

      It's not as bad as some people make it out to be though, that is to say that it's unusable in any way, but it sure is disappointing on the heels of the PC-first comments from Gearbox.

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