Friday, September 06, 2013

Borderlands - First Impressions

I got a chance to play a little Borderlands last night (about an hour's worth) and since I basically came at this one with very little background on it, I thought I'd put down a few notes.

In no particular order, here is what I think so far:

  • I love that the Cage the Elephant song, "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked", is actually in the game! So often the publisher just uses a catchy song for the trailers, but you never hear it after that. Kudos!
  • Could Gearbox have made the video tuning any more confusing? It is sorely missing a "Suggested Settings" button. I'm no novice at games, but I don't know what practically any of the video options really do and, more importantly, which ones will tax my video and CPU setup. The default startup is no help, configuring the game to 640x480 and turning off everything else. And the one thing I could really use, and it doesn't have, is a V-sync toggle! I'm seeing some annoying screen tearing.
  • I like the cell-shaded art design (ie, comic-book look), but maybe that's because I've been playing a lot of The Walking Dead recently and have just gotten used to it. If it looked more "real", you'd think you were playing Rage.
  • Biggest disappointment so far has to be that while the trailers gave you the impression you were going to be fighting with a group of 4 characters, you have to pick one at the beginning and, I'm guessing, stick with him/her for the duration of the game. I chose the Soldier since he seemed the basic CoD type, but I have to wonder how the Hunter and Tank(?) would be different. More hand-to-hand with the Hunter, but how do you get close enough without being shot too much? I guess the Tank can use heavier weapons? Obviously, the chick can use some sorts of magic. I'll have to try the other classes and see the differences. The Soldier might be too ordinary to play the whole game with.
  • They don't waste any time getting you into the action. I was shooting wasteland raiders almost as soon as I got off the bus. Can't complain about lengthy opening cut scenes.
  • Not sure about the shooting mechanics yet. Yeah, I know, I'm in the early part of the game and I do know you get upgraded weapons as you progress, but I'd like to see a bit more reaction from my targets when I three-shot burst them with my assault rifle. Seems like it takes a few too many bullets to put them down. At least ammo isn't an issue as there is lots of it around. Even in toilets!
  • Why is "aiming" with the pistol practically useless? It looks like the targeting reticle disappears when you try it.
  • Even at this early stage, some of the game feels clunky. I've had characters try to talk to me while mission overviews and completion notices pop-up over them that are accompanied by sound effects.
  • At least so far, I'm finding Claptrap very funny!
So, that's all for now. Stay tuned for more!

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