Borderlands is possibly my favourite first person shooter of all time. It seamlessly blends the looting fun of Diablo style games with the fun of scoring head-shots against non-player characters from truly ridiculous distances. It is in a word, awesome, and on Saturday morning I finished my first play through of it. It took me about 20 hours of play time to run through the game, I insisted on doing every single side-quest, and I can say I enjoyed 99% of the game.
But am I alone in feeling that after the first level boss fight that they quickly became…unsatisfying?
In the first area your weapons are kind of weak-sauce, they generally do very low damage, rather anemic elemental effects and the fact that you have built up precisely no level of proficiency in them means you’ll pound away forever at both the mini bosses, and the end of level one. You shields are laughable, and your health-points vanish so fast that you almost want to scream out “I’m melting, I melting! What a world, what a world!”
By the time I found myself taking out an insane boss and his equally insane rocket firing car at the end of the second main area there was no struggle. One death on my side, and he fell. The third boss I didn’t even die, I just scored a few very long-range head-shots against him with a rocket-launcher and boom, the loot be mine.
And you know what? I was alright with that. They were just level bosses. Important story-wise, but not much more than that. They were after all simply overpowered versions of the standard bad-guys. I knew, just knew that the end-game boss would be EPIC!
And I was both right, and wrong. I won’t spoil much, just in case like me there’s someone who is a latecomer to both the worlds of Xbox, and Borderlands out there reading this. But I will say that the last boss is frikkin’ HUGE. It’s e-fucking-normous! It has multiple attack forms. Multiple damage types. And a pool of health-points that Cthulhu would be proud to possess.
It also unfortunately, for me at least, has a fatal weakness that is incredibly easy to exploit. I died twice attempting to kill this monstrosity. Twice. The third attempt I never once worried about my character dying.
And so I walked away from my favorite FPS, to date, feeling unsatisfied. The ending movie was…sweet I guess. I mean I still know nothing about the hot chick with the blue eyes, though I am reliably informed that I will by the end of game 2. And yup I still have four whole DLC levels to play through, as soon as I get them. But Borderlands itself let me down with its bosses, though strangely not the mini-bosses most of whom were utterly bad-ass.
Area one = Sheer Terror, multiple deaths, and loot I cheered for having.
All other bosses = Load up, cross-hair on target, squeeze trigger, don’t let go til you hear a click. Repeat if, and I do mean if, needed.
All that said, if you have an Xbox, or other machine that Borderlands is available for you should buy it. And you should, while saying goodbye to a full day of your life, play the ever living crap out of it. It is insanely fun, stylish, beautiful, and just incredibly playable. But the joy of it is definitely in the areas themselves, and not in beating the bosses.