Loot collecting, co-op, skill trees and other RPG elements give depth and add more fun to this FPS
Games tend to fall neatly into genres most of the time, but sometimes you get some creative blends that try something a little new. In this case, the mechanics of an FPS were blended with an action RPG and a loot collection game (ala Diablo
), keeping the elements that make each genre fun but generally avoiding the worst of each.
The RPG elements have pretty much been distilled to the ones that work best with action. Skill trees let you add or improve various skills, ranging from carrying more ammo per clip to reloading faster to improving class-specific skills, such as the Siren's ability to turn invisible and run very fast. While you have to go on World Of Warcraft
-esque quests such as killing or collecting X number of Y or defeating a boss, this essentially takes the place of "true" grinding. You get enough experience points doing the quests normally and defeating the enemies along the way that there's no need to run around and defeat enemies to grind.
One unusual feature is the fact that, while dying, you can kill any enemy to immediately get back on your feet. Keeping a weak enemy alive during a tough fight for the sole purpose of using it to revive proves to be a viable strategy. The penalty for dying is merely being zipped back to a checkpoint with minor loss of money. Bosses refill their health.
The cooperative multiplayer works great. You find items that only certain classes can use, so you either sell them off or give them to someone who can use them. The enemies become tougher when the number of players increases, giving players more of a reason to work together. And fighting bosses, tough enemies or large numbers of enemies in a group is a lot of fun when you heal each other, take advantage of distracted enemies, and basically work as a team to take them down.
Finally there's the loot. Randomly generated stats and qualities for guns results in pistols with very long-range scopes, burst-fire rocket launchers that shoot 3 missiles at once, and shotguns that electrocute enemies. The guns are neat, and finding a better one than the ones you have is really rewarding.
Ultimately, while not perfect, Borderlands
is a breath of fresh air in an industry that focuses too much on realism and copying popular ideas. This hybrid of unlikely genres is one of the most refreshing experiences yet.