Yes it fires 3 rockets at once and yes it burns people. But I bet I can find a better one.
All of this stuff lives within a world that is, for the most part, open. You can go just about anywhere your level lets you, pick up quests from NPCs, and make your way through the world of Pandora. The quests for the most part are your standard kill this guy, collect that stuff type, which in a shooter is to be expected. Thankfully the game spices it up a bit with some humor for the quests like trying to find a guys leg that was eaten by Skags or looking through dumpsters for dirty magazines. If you've seen the webisodes with the little robot Claptrap, you'll be happy to know there are many Claptraps placed throughout the world of Pandora, all with an equally edgy sense of humor and a strong desire to dance.
Throughout the world you'll encounter wildlife, bandits and soldiers. These characters all scale in difficulty according to your level and all inhabit different areas throughout the world. Each is named according to how tough they are, and while screaming midgets with axes are something to fear, when you see the words badass beserker you know you're in for a tough battle. All of these creatures are guided by bosses, and there's plenty of boss battles in the game, and some of these bosses are incredibly large in scale.
All of this culminates with the game's seamless online cooperative mode. Four players can drop in and out of games with friends at anytime to help them with their quests. The game will scale enemy numbers and difficulty, as well as provide better loot. There is one stipulation, if you join a game with a character that is ahead of you as the host - you won't get credit for quest completions in your own game, though you can still earn achievements. Only if the character is behind you or at the same spot will you get credit, so you may need to switch up hosts to make sure the lowest level character is hosting. Players aren't tethered to each other, except by the zone, so teams of four can split 2 and 2 and go off and do quests in a zone to make quick work to get things up to speed. Borderlands also supports a two player split screen mode, with a horizontal split on 4:3 TVs and a vertical split on widescreens.
Yes that is a flaming midget. Yes, it's most likely your fault.
I played through most of the game in co-op, and it's definitely where the fun is at. The on screen mayhem is nothing short of chaos, and seeing two buggies riding across the wasteland smashing through Skags is hilariously awesome. The levels and maps are really well designed for co-op too, with many areas having multiple pathways and overhanging cover for the objective. You can almost see where Gearbox wanted the sniper to go, the soldier to drop his turret and the siren to sneak around. When a well executed mission goes off without a hitch, it's a great feeling, and some of the giant boss battles almost give the game an MMO feel.
It's tough to put my finger on exactly what makes Borderlands such a great game. My first playthrough took me 20 and a half hours, and I was completely addicted the entire time. Perhaps it's the feedback of the damage text on an enemy as I shoot him in the face with a shotgun that provides acid damage. Perhaps it's that constant quest to get a gun that's just a little bit better than what I have already. Or maybe it's the fact I can experience all of this with my friends, and that it culminates everything so well. I have friends that have put 50 hours into the game so far through two play throughs and they keep coming back for more. I think that says a lot right there, especially considering the game hasn't even been out a week. Whatever the game has, it's addictive, and I want more. No rest for me, play through two here I come!
Mike's Second Opinion:
For those of us who chose to take the PC-route through Borderlands, there are a few key differences to take note of. First off, Gearbox decided to go with GameSpy as their means of arranging multiplayer sessions, and as such, you will have to gather your friends' GameSpy IDs in order to invite them to the game. It's annoying, especially if you own the Steam version and already have a friend list and means of sending game invites. As of this writing, it is also necessary to open five ports on your router (or set DMZ) in order to connect to another player, which can cause issues when you're trying to collect three buddies to play with, or if you go through the game browser. The interface is no different from the console versions, which aren't necessarily designed to be navigated through a mouse and keyboard interface. Finally, voice chat is enabled in-game by default and the system will auto-detect if you have a microphone and always use it. This is fantastic, but there's no menu option to disable this in case you'd like to use third-party options for voice chat such as Ventrilo or TeamSpeak.
However, the game (once you get rolling comfortably) is exactly the same as the console versions, with the added bonus of being able to play at insane resolutions with a (in my eyes) superior control scheme. The engine has been optimized incredibly well, the framerate is incredibly high (over 150 FPS at all times on my rig) and the load times are next to nonexistent. As with all PC titles, you'll likely have to futz with some options to make the game work best for you, but unlike some games, it's worth the trouble.
The Co-Op Experience:
Team up with friends as you work through this action RPG in a post apocalyptic universe. Players can trade weapons, use tactics, and level up their characters.
Each player's class as specific abilities that can be used to support other players.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.