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October 2009




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Two genres that just aren’t combined enough are first person shooters and role-playing games.  It’s an interesting dynamic that needs to be explored more.  Shooting up enemies, all the while enjoying a visceral, run-and-gun experience, combined with the loot gathering, stat tweaking cerebral moments that RPGs are known for is an interesting juxtaposition with a lot of potential.  Gearbox certainly seems to see possibilities in combining the genres, as that is just what they are doing in their new game, Borderlands, and they’re even throwing in the option for four-player coop play so players can enjoy the experience with friends (or random internet denizens if they're so inclined).


Taking place in deep space, on the frontier planet of Pandora, players are thrust into an isolated, lawless land far from civilization.  Those who have dared to live on Pandora have a difficult life, fighting off bandits, aliens, and others who would do them harm.  Now there is a new alien force that has awakened, and players must deal with it by finding the Alien Vault that will somehow set everything right.



The first person shooter elements are everything one would expect from the genre.  Run around, shoot up baddies, and even hop on vehicles to drive around blasting up enemies even faster, and with bigger guns.  If you happen to be playing coop, players can choose what role that they would like to perform on the vehicle, whether it’s driver, gunner, or whatever.  It has the potential to be


fun working in a team as such, but then again, if you’re stuck playing with a bunch of morons, probably not so much.


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Borderland’s RPG element has an almost Diablo-like quality.  This is from the game having a mountain of loot for players to find.  This largely comes from the huge inventory of guns that Gearbox is including in the game via a complex content generation system.  There are a number of weapon manufacturers in the game, with each gun type having unique specs, as well as players having the ability to augment their weapons.  Loot treadmills are very good for getting players to return to a game long after it has been released, just look at the Diablo series and World of Warcraft.  It wouldn't come as a surprise to see the same thing happen here.  One thing that we’re not sure of yet is if this is the extent of the RPG elements in Borderlands.  Will there be an experience point system?  We don’t know.


Between this combination of genres, and the stylized approach to the game’s visuals (just look at the screenshots!), there is plenty of potential for Borderlands to be a hit.  We’ll be able to decide for ourselves when the game gets released toward the end of this year.


Mr. Nash
June 16, 2009

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