As you might have noticed I enjoy video games and cats a lot, so today I'd like to review Borderlands series in one go - some time ago I played Borderlands 2 (as Zero and then halfway through as Geige), and then replayed Borderlands 1 with all the DLCs.
The games have far more similarities than differences so it makes more sense to review them together.
The goodFirst of all, Handsome Jack - Borderlands 2 managed to pull off one of the most memorable antagonists in the history of gaming, even though you only actually meet him in a brief (and fairly easy) fight. In most games villains are totally replaceable, and you could switch any Mr Doom with Doctor Destruction or Big Bad Alien and nobody would even notice - you just go forward because quests tell you to, not because you care about the ending all that much. In Borderlands 2 Handsome Jack contacts you every now and then to taunt you and otherwise acts as a total douche and throughout the game he manages to build a lot of personality this way. I'd give some examples, but I don't want to be spoilerific about something so awesome.
The next great thing is cartoonish style. Yes it's a postapocalyptic wasteland kind of environment, but it manages to be really happy and colorful! Just as Simpsons (in the old days), South Park and Family Guy (more recently) have shown - you can get away with a lot more if you look silly and cartoonish. I don't really see any "serious" series being able to pull off things like Tiny Tina.
That's one thing I really disliked about Fallout: New Vegas and Skyrim - they try too hard to keep this awful brown/grey/different shade of grey (plus some snow white in case of Skyrim) color palette popularized by "serious business" modern shooters, and it really doesn't suit them.
I really liked how various playable characters from Borderlands 1 become major NPCs in Borderlands 2 - that's the best storyline transition to the sequel I've seen in any game.
I absolutely loved how you can respec your characters for a small fee. In far too many games you need to make your spec choices before you have any idea what you're doing, and there's no way out of them other than by restarting the game. The idea is either that it's "serious business" or that it adds to replay value, but it's bullshit either way - every game should have some way to respec your character, no exceptions.
Another thing I quite liked contrary to many other reviews is how vehicles worked. In most games they are pretty awful. In particular Bandit Technical with barrel catapult was a lot of fun to drive.
The badThe worst thing about Borderlands is levelling system - it's almost as bad as Oblivion. It forces you to do all the side quests in the right order, since if you delay any for a few levels it will be laughably easy.
- Witcher 2
- FarCry 2
- Crysis 2
- Doom 3
- and other such total crap (OK, Witcher 2 wasn't as crappy as the other examples, but drop in quality from awesomeness of Witcher 1 was huge, and only partly explained by pandering to the dirty console-playing peasants and their shitty controllers)