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Avatar ImageGamer Limit Review: Borderlands PC
By: | November 3rd, 2009 | PC
PC |Review

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[Feel free to check out Christopher Matulich's review of the Xbox 360 version.]

Are you tired of playing first person shooters that pigeonhole you into using the same old small selection of weapons?   Do you believe in the old saying that you “don’t need to be a better shot, you just need to shoot more bullets?”   Are you constantly yearning for wide open spaces on distant alien worlds inhabited by talking robots, bandits, and secret alien artifacts?

If any of the above apply, then you need to grab your mouse and keyboard and take a seat, as I tell you about the wonderful world of Borderlands.  Make sure you grab three of your closest friends though, because you won’t want to go on this journey alone. But if you don’t have any friends, don’t worry.  You’re only going to have about a bazillion guns to keep you company.

At it’s core, Borderlands is a FPS with RPG elements thrown in, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it plays like an RPG.  All the talent trees, special abilities, and high levels in the world won’t help one bit if you don’t know how to aim and fire a gun; or if you’re oblivious to the idea of getting your butt behind cover when being shot at.

No shooter would be complete without a solid line up of weapons. What makes Borderlands unique is it has roughly a million-billion guns to choose from.  The game is able to create this unending supply of firepower thanks to an ingenious system that mixes and matches hundreds of different weapon components.  The end result is a large array of guns in which no two are the same.

Perhaps you’ll want an accurate weapon with high damage output and a scope for head shots.  Maybe you have terrible aim and just want to spray as many bullets as possible in a short period of time.  Or, you could be the type of person who likes big booms.  No matter what type of gun crazed maniac you are, Borderlands has the weapon for you.

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What’s great is that every class of weapon in the game packs a big punch.  The fun part is trying them all out, because what seems like a weak weapon might have a secret ability that makes it a force to be reckoned with.  Oh, and don’t be fooled into thinking that repeaters and revolvers are for babies, because they can be just as deadly as the best rocket launcher.

Before you can begin finding guns, you’ll need to choose one of the four classes.  The first is Roland, a jack of all trades soldier who comes equipped with a deployable turret.  Next up is Mordecai, a hunter with a pet falcon who excels at sniper rifles and pistols.  Then there is the voluptuous Lilith, an expert assassin who can phase walk right through enemies to injur them.  Finally there’s the tank of the group, Brick.  His name kind of says it all.

Each class has a set of three unique talent trees, which let you customize your characters traits as you level up.  At level five you begin earning points to fill in these trees, each subsequent level providing an additional point.  Talents range from increasing health and weapon clip size, to granting special offensive and defensive abilities.  If you find you’ve built a character you don’t like, you can always spend cash to reset your talents.

Besides the billions of guns and talents to choose from, you’ll also be able to customize your characters with shield, grenade, and class mods.  Each of these provide you the opportunity to create a character who is entirely your own.  Like all the items in the game, these mods can be dropped by enemies after you kill them, or they can be purchased at vending machines strewn all about the world.

Speaking of the world, the entire game takes place on the planet of Pandora.  This desolate wasteland is filled with rolling desert hills, shanty towns surrounded by towering piles of trash, and coastlines filled with raw sewage.  There’s lots of it to see, because the world is gigantic.  The great thing is, Borderlands does a good job of slowly introducing you to it all by telling you where to go so you never feel overwhelmed.

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Notice I haven’t really mentioned the story yet.  That’s because there really isn’t much of one.  There is a big vault that contains enormous amounts of wealth, and you are a vault hunter who is out to claim it and become super powerful.  Sure, there are some colorful characters who help you along the way by giving you plenty of quests to do, but this isn’t a game you play for the story.  You play it for the hundreds of quests, the chance to discover the billions of guns, and the opportunity to play with up to three friends.

Four player co-op is where the game really shines.  While the single player is fun, having others in your group really helps to balance the difficulty.  While enemies aren’t any harder in multiplayer, there are a lot more of them, which drastically increases the amount of rare loot that drops.  While you have the option of joining random online games, I highly recommend you find some close friends and start a private game.

The visuals in Borderlands are absolutely fantastic, thanks to a hand drawn art style that gives everything a real edgy and gritty look.  This is accompanied by a spectacular sound track and some incredible effects which make the weapons feel extremely powerful.  It really is a treat for the eyes and ears.

Unfortunately the game suffers from some problems.  First, it’s very obvious this PC version is a port of the console version.  The menu system was clearly designed to be navigated with a controller, not a mouse and keyboard.  This makes it very difficult to get around in the menus.

At least you’ll have no trouble seeing them, because all the menus fill the entire screen with huge font sizes.  This is something that was clearly done to help console gamers see the menus while sitting 15 feet from their TVs.  It’s painful on the eyes though when you are only two feet from your monitor.

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Another serious issue is that you won’t be able to host an online game unless you go into your router and forward some specific ports.  I honestly can’t believe that in the year 2009 you are required to do something this archaic to play a PC game.  Once you do connect to a session, don’t plan on using the in-game voice chat to talk to other people, because the volume is extremely low, and unfortunately there is no menu option to turn the sound up.  Other menu options are missing as well, including disabling mouse sync and disabling voice chat altogether.

While all of these problems are really annoying, most of them can be overcome by searching the internet for solutions, and none of them really detract from what is an incredible single and multiplayer experience.

After 30+ hours of gameplay, you’ll probably beat Borderlands somewhere around level 32-36.  A second playthrough can then be started with harder enemies and even rarer high level weapons.  Be careful though, as the game gets much more difficult the second time around.

If you can get by the problems, you’ll have an absolute fantastic time with Borderlands.  Gearbox has really gone out of their way to create a FPS with RPG elements which is completely different than anything else out there right now.  Even after 60 hours of gameplay, you’ll continue to come back for more co-op, and to find that next gun which kicks a little bit more ass than the last.  If you are a fan of the genre, you owe it to yourself to give this one a try.

Rating Category
6.0 Presentation
While Borderlands oozes style and has a great coat of paint on it, this PC version suffers from being a direct port of the console version. Connection issues, menu navigation problems, and poor voice chat will have you wishing you purchased it on the PS3 or the Xbox 360.
How does our scoring system work?
9.0 Gameplay
Having an endless supply of different weapons to choose from really brings this FPS to life. Mix in a fair amount of RPG elements to create a character all you own, some great 4-player co-op, and you have an incredible gameplay experience.
8.0 Sound
There might be a bazillion guns, but they all feel completely different and extremely powerful thanks to a wide array of incredible sound effects. A great soundtrack rounds it all out to create a wonderful treat for the ears.
9.0 Longevity
While your first playthrough will probably take around 30 hours, a second, and more difficult playthrough will give you the opportunity to get even higher in level, and find more rare kick ass guns.
7.5 Overall
If you can get past all the problems that plague the PC version, you'll discover an extremely fun and addicting FPS that sprinkles in some RPG elements, and a "bazillion" guns, to create a unique experience unlike anything else.

  1. Not really my cup of tea but great review! :-)

  2. avatar Takeshi

    Rakkhive looks like a big walking vagina therefor I give it 11/10.

  3. Aside from trying to team up with randoms and the low quality voice chat, this game is really fun.

  4. Yep, 7.5 is about right.

  5. I’d agree with a 7.5 for the PC version, and an 8.5 for consoles.

  6. Dead on, Chris. I love the 360 version, and I don’t know if I’ll really ever stop playing it. Theres just so many guns to find. Too bad the PC version was ported from the 360; this game could have been killer on a computer. Not to mention that I’m sure they’ll be mods galore in the coming months and years.

    • avatar Carlos

      suaytwheartsmakehp1 on November 7, 2011 to be honest i have never been asked this question but for you i’ll answer, well my favourite food has got to be chineese noodles and the soup just the best

    • avatar Flow

      clnaaldrad on September 4, 2011 I love when moms figure out ways to work from home. Kudos to her. Her products are adorable and unique! Love them!

  7. avatar Mike

    no way…there are no issues with this game. I’ve played it on 3 separate machines and don’t see how you could give this a 7.5 because of “problems” with the port. The menus are NOT hard to navigate…jeez how many games do you guys play if you agree with that? The controls are the same as any other top quality FPS game. I’ve played them all and am probably much older than most of you, so take my word as being a reliable second opinion before you blindly follow this review.

    The game breaks the standard profiteering style of game you see these days. As a last word, notice that the tag line for this review is “if you can get past the problems in the pc version…” Please do not trust that statement otherwise you will be missing out on a great experience. And note to the reviewer, for a true FPS pc gamer playing these games on a console is not an option…we despise gamepad junkies :) .

    • avatar Andy

      >> for a true FPS pc gamer playing these games on a console is not an option

      Absolutely, although I’d go as far as saying, for any newbie FPS pc gamer who is just about competent with the keyboard and mouse control combo playing these games on a console is not an option! Makes you wonder about the reviewer…

  8. ^ 7.5 isn’t a bad score, dude. It’s clear that this is a fantastic game but you can’t just be blind and ignore the UI problems altogether like that.

    Your comment on age is pretty silly and I think you should probably check and see how old some of the staff here are before you call them out on things like that. Even then, being old doesn’t automatically make you a “reliable second opinion” – you’re just coming off as an ignorant dick. There’s no such thing as a “true FPS PC gamer” either, just ignorant PC fanboys.

  9. @Mike
    The menus are a straight port from a console: there’s no customizable hotkeys to allow easy dropping of loot, and it doesn’t hold a candle to nearly any other game out there on PC in terms of navigation. Any “true PC gamer” will attest that they needed to customize the menus for a PC game.

    As for the statement “true PC gamer”. Well, you’d be missing out by playing this game on PC, because a large part of the community will not know the work-arounds in order to actually get online. I own both the PC and 360 version, and on PC, I can find probably half the games that I can on Xbox Live, and the voice settings are terrible.

    The fact is, you don’t need to be a “true PC gamer” to play Borderlands: it’s incredibly easy! It’s super simple to get a second wind, whether it be from a teammate or on your own, so I haven’t found the 360 Gamepad to be an issue whatsoever: I beat the game with minimal deaths. While I’d normally join in on the sentiment that “MOUSE AND KEYBOARD RULES!” this is a coop, not a competitive game, therefore if I can rock hard with a gamepad, I’m not complaining.

    While I’m normally a PC supporter for shooters given the mouse and keyboard set-up/dedicated server availability (hello World at War), this is not one of those games that actually follows through on PC. Would you support Modern Warfare 2 PC over the console version, given that it’s a gimped console port? It is possible for PC games to do things wrong.

    • avatar Meeko

      sgro77777 on September 21, 2011 hey buddy i liked foeiratvd and subbed:) i would reallly appreciate it if i won the microsoft points thanks<3

  10. @Mike

    Considering the author is over 30, I daresay he is old enough to remember the good ol’ days.

  11. Mike fails… I can’t believe he is happy with having to actually push enter which for most hardcore fpser’s involves taking your right hand off the mouse since the left had is busy hovering over the holy grail that is asdf :) Combine that with actually having to move my mouse to the item and hitting space not right clicking and the fact that the [PC] version of the game actually has XBOX360 icons in it for how to do things should tell even the simplest person that it’s a straight port. I agree with the 7.5 due to the designers choice not to go with steam works on steam and failing to support the multiplayer component that the game is designed for “from the ground up”. If that is designing from the ground up I really don’t want to see what “its added along the way” looks like. Sloppy job with that but hopefully there will be a patch is all I can say… The game is good and if you like shooters with RPG elements then don’t pass this game up but BE AWARE there are some issues with multiplayer right now and the game is best when played multiplayer.

  12. This game really put the rest of my library on hold, and I bought this with Best Buys buy two get one free. I’ve yet to get started on Demon Souls or Tekken 6

  13. avatar Newbo

    To be honest, I have the PC version, and haven’t found any major issues yet… yes port forwarding is a drag, for the first 5 minutes that are required to forward those ports. However, the other “problems” with the PC port are barely issues. Large font and the menu system is quite basic and does not detract in anyway from the game. I think you’re being a little anal with your analysis. Nice try though.

  14. avatar Stupid Review

    The menu is fine. I like the animation in the background. The game runs smooth and looks way better then the 360 version on my PC. This “use a gamepad so console is better” argument is stupid. You dont have to use a mouse and a keyboard on the PC. PS3 and XBOX360 controllers work on my pc so what is this you must press the enter button crap. Just use the controller then. I use mouse and keyboard and the setup is perfect. If you dont like the mic volume and online port then play lan game, get gaming laptops and play through wireless router, this game performs good on a toshiba a505 with 4570. its better and simple to setup. And your nearby so you dont need a mic. I give review 2/10

  15. @Stupid Review
    /Facepalm… Umm hey asshat, the entire reason to buy it on the PC is to use the mouse and keyboard for precise aiming and control. Good for you if you’re using a mouse and keyboard, but you fail like Helen Keller at Karaoke if you don’t see the major inconvenience forced upon PC users. Have you played the console version versus the PC?

    • avatar yanz

      prcenpeknc on October 20, 2011 Taken because its a action/myst. and playing the dad would be great. Get to go and find those that taken his daughter. Bust drug ring and illeage selling of womn for prostution. I think the story line is built for it.

  16. avatar @Stupid Review

    The point is, a console to PC port shouldn’t be supported. Having to “use a controller” because the menus aren’t like every other PC game just sucks. It’s obviously a console port, and that’s not something the gaming community should encourage. Also, enjoy using page down/up for menus.

  17. I hated having to press enter for the menus too, but I also attempted to play the game using my wired 360 controller on my PC. I hated that worse, so I dealt with the crappy menus.

    I agree, the menus for the PC version should have been tweaked and I despise them for using GameSpy as their connectivity option, but using Tunngle with the few of my friends I’ve played with means we haven’t had any problems. Besides, the FFA loot system means playing with people you don’t know leaves you in the dark for good loot if you’re not just as much of a loot whore as they’ll likely be.

  18. avatar YourMom

    Yes, it’s your Mom again kids. j/k

    I bought this game on steam with the 4-pack, and it’s fantastic. I was blown away to see a review of 7.5 because of a menu, or crappy voice chat.

    Also, opening ports on a router is very easy, and there’s tons of docs online to help you with it (I’ve even come across programs that’ll do it for you). I myself wouldn’t consider opening ports a workaround…

    I had actually rented this game on ps3 (since PC was a week late), and loved it as well. What drove me nutz about the console version though, was the split screen. Talk about menu navigation problems.

    Anyways, love this game, I would have given it 8.5 on PC as well as consoles.

    Love,
    Mom

    • avatar Mukesh

      yaogfavrul05 on August 30, 2011 I like that I’m a very happy person I tend to make the best out of any stituation whether it’s good or bad. I always find a way to cheer people up. Can get a lil weird too haha I love having fun, laughing is the best medicine

    • avatar Busisiwe

      mhemstikean3 on September 29, 2009 I agree! If they just garaged it, it would still be new. The people who thought of this should have been buried in the tomb along with the car, what a bunch of idiots!

  19. avatar Playthrough 3?

    I’m currently done with this game as of two days ago. I’m unbelievably experienced with oldschool RPG’s. Dragonquest, FF1, 2, 3, all completed before most of you were even concieved. I’m a vetran of counter strike as well, playing since v1.1. This game provides a beautiful blend of both honestly, with visuals and physics to match. However I sat and played all of the afore mentioned games for hundreds of times longer than I’ve been able to play Borderlands, why? Borderlands stops the interesting part of the gameplay after the first absolutely busted ending. I was somewhat psyched to the second playthrough but was pretty bored the entire way through as I had done 95% of the quests already. Hoping for some kind of different ending or SOMETHING to make the game seem worthwhile to beat twice I was thoroughly let down to know that you only get to go through the entire world with every mob at lvl 49+, no new quests, no third playthrough. I’m not sure what you guys are smoking when it comes to calling a game that only provides 20 hours of unrepetitive gameplay good, but I’d like to be there with you because as of right now I’m calling this very beautiful looking/playing game one of the shittiest of all time. Shame on the developers for not doing more with it.

  20. @Playthrough 3
    I agree. Whereas I was playing Diablo II and Phantasy Star online YEARS after release, I doubt this game will have much of a following in 6-8 months.

  21. avatar I played for 10 hours straight

    Pff. Who uses voice chat.

    Borderlands is screaming fun, and challenges the Player in a way which make the Player experiment with tactics and weaponry. I prefer Long range attacks? Just use Longbow Grenades and a Sniper Rifle. I prefer Halo Style Beat-em-up? Use Bouncing bettie/Sticky grenades and Shotguns/SMG. There are a Bazzilion other possible stratagies to be tried aswell.

    This is Phantasy Star Online + Unreal Tournament 3. Amazingly well combined. The Movement system is implemented well, but Players seem to bounce off cars when attempting to stand on top of them. If cars are hit with Melee attacks, they seem more occupied with moving in a direction and flipping then bouncing around like they would in reality(if the Player was a Muscle Man, rather than a Lax Couch po-ta-toe).

    The coupling of this Unreal Engine 4, and RPG Elements is a bit like 2 ugly people getting together and making really good looking offspring, although there is an issue. Borderlands Streams Textures almost constantly, and having a low spec computer, coupled with programs (Windows Fista/Anti-virus/etc..) updating and using up your hard drive causing the mouse to skip and have jittery aloofness, is a recipe for INTENSE angry swearing at computer screens. Keep a tissue handy to wipe off excess spit.

    Cheers to the Borderlands team. Playing a Port from the 360 is still a privelage to be playing this game.

    Thank you and good night.

    • avatar Guy Henderson

      Who the hell doesn’t use voice chat? When I play with friends I like to, see if you understand this, TALK TO THEM.

  22. avatar I played for 10 hours straight

    …in a direction and flipping rather than bouncing around as they would in reality*

    Apologies.

  23. avatar Mike

    I wish I could get the game to run.
    After the install I click on the shortcut nothing happens,even going from programs nothing happens.
    I even opened and closed the dvd drive that at least brings up the menu to hit play which of course does nothing as well.

  24. avatar The shiz

    I’d give it an 8.5, probably cause of all the horrible other pc games

  25. avatar The shiz

    I played for ten hours straight, we upgraded our old piece of crap and the mouse dosnt do anything, it works fine.

  26. avatar Ukrainian Man

    I’d like to agree with you, but honestly this game had almost no substance after the first playthru, I beat it once and up until the ending it was a great game, but second playthru on it just seemed a drag. No replay value for me and this is coming from a person who has beaten Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl a good 4 times. I’d give it around a 6.5 for previously noted UI and just lack of replayability.

  27. avatar Justin Rei

    I agree the replay value sucked, i mean the DLC for zombie area gave me 4 hours more, for 800 GP I was exspecting more, but oh wells :/

  28. avatar Azad

    I have to disagree with the complaints about the poor porting. I just played through the game and apart from the inability to scroll down on the quest information when you are given it (instead you have to accept it and access it from the menu) I didn’t notice anything wrong with the porting. The visuals looked great without any glitches, mouse controls were great, auto-aim, although on by default, could be turned off and was never in the way.

    But that hosting thing is BS, thankfully I have friends with better internet connections so I never have to host.

  29. avatar Azad

    Also there was not one mention of the fantastic writing and voice acting. Scooter and Tannis (and all of the claptraps) always made you smile.

    “Like my dad always said. Better wheels than heels! But he was paralyzed…”

  30. avatar Joe

    iabtndsits1 on November 29, 2010 the egyptian units were drag not lift but yes they had a good start and there is evidence they had even found aerodynamics in another example.if you want to get over tsr 1 you need to have a true lift profile

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