When I picked up borderlands, I was expecting an FPS with RPG elements that would be relatively short. Boy was I wrong about that last part.

Available on: PC, PS3, X360
Genre: FPS, RPG

"Big numbers, yeeeessssss, I love me some big numbers" 
Borderlands came out in 2009, in an attempt to mix the FPS and RPG genres.  This is in no way a stretch of the imagination, since most of the elements are already there: going through a story mode while fighting stronger and stronger enemies and picking up better and more badass-looking weapons. Add quest-hubs and an experience bar however, and bam! You have an RPG hybrid.
The game begins with a short tutorial where it introduces what might be the most annoying NPC of all time, Claptrap. And since you’ll find dozens of them along the adventure, you might as well get used to it. The tutorial consists of brief explanations of game elements as you encounter them for the first time. It’s integrated in the game and it’s pretty seamless. It also doesn’t hold your hand so much as to seem condescending, so extra points for that.

After suffering through an unskippable intro movie (even if you’re already on your third playthrough), you choose your class out of 4 possible options and arrive at Fyrestone. After getting rid of a few bandits, people suddenly open their doors to you and start making you work your socks off, killing pretty much anything in sight. This plot point is conveniently asserted through a virtual stalker who, albeit being apparently omnipresent, needs you to open “The Vault”. The Vault being the game’s ultimate objective of course, the stuff of legend, filled with whatever you can imagine, attracting countless adventurers and vault-hunters (like you) to the planet of Pandora.
Starting from here, the adventure goes on until the epic finale, where, you guessed it, the vault is opened. Except, here, thanks to the wonders of DLC, the game goes on, and on, way after the Vault‘s been dealt with. So let’s take a look at what stood out as I played it, good or bad (no spoilers):

— Some good humor in some spots in the game, especially in the Knoxx DLC. Wacky characters and some funny references.

— It feels pretty satisfying to melt enemies and bosses with insane amounts of bullets. Ammo is abundant in the world, especially when you can cheat the RNG making it so you always get bullets for the weapon types you want. After a while, bullets become unnecessary if you use an Ammo Regeneration mod, making it less annoying since you don’t have to keep looting it.

— Looting is this game’s major annoyance. Press a button to loot an item, and then repeat the process for each other item scattered on the ground. Certain enemies, like bosses, drop a ton of stuff, making it so you’ll spend most of your time in Pandora looking at the ground and looting. You can hold the loot button to execute an area loot, but the range is extremely short and you inventory is very small, meaning you’ll stop being able to loot items after half a dozen of these, at best.

Killing the biggest boss in the game awards you with a couple of items...
— The loot/weapon system is a mess. Weapons have a huge array of variable stats, including shooting speed, magazine ammo capacity, inventory ammo capacity, damage per bullet, bullet accuracy, bullet lag (I’ll come back to this one later) and elemental damage. The first time you play through the game, you obviously won’t have any idea of which elements are effective against each type of enemy. Making things worse, you can only equip four weapons at once (late game, 2 weapons early game), meaning you will also spend a lot of time swapping guns every time you enter a different area. No, you don’t get to use your favorite gun all of the time. It just doesn’t work. Also, seeing as your inventory is very small even after fully upgraded (by saving Claptraps) most of it will be filled with guns of various types and elements that you will need, making it so you have close to zero inventory space for loot and have to keep running back to vending machines to sell your crap. Loot rarity is also mostly non-functional, since, thanks to randomly assigned bonuses, it is possible for the crappiest low level weapon be stupidly good until 20 levels later, due to RNG.

— Bullet lag. That’s right. Some genius at Gearbox thought it was a good idea to make each type of gun have a different bullet lag. If you shoot a medium distance object with a rifle, it will take way longer that it’s supposed to for the bullet to reach it. Even with a sniper, it’s near impossible to hit a non-stationary enemy at long distances. And forget about hitting moving targets with SMGs, unless you’re literally on their faces. What were they thinking, honestly.

— Quick Travel is a blessing, but it’s not present in the Knoxx DLC, which by coincidence, has Kilometers of highways and makes you travel for a long time every time a mission asks you to go somewhere (very often).  Also the missions tend to be repetitive and sometimes you have to kill every boss in an enemy base every time you get a mission to do anything in said base. Also, having to go through the base game twice and then going through all the DLCs to reach the level cap. Also, weird level sync where monsters are always 2-3 levels above you making them excessively hard to kill……

That's some pretty aggressive advertising right there.
— Heavy Texture popping, especially after loadings, collision detection problems, where a small rock or piece of metal on the floor will bring you to a grinding halt, which means certain death against most bosses.

— Most achievements involve hours of mindless grinding and some are virtually impossible unless you use exploits or design flaws. And even then the Coliseum achievements take several hours of uninterrupted play.

— Multiplayer scaling is weird, making every enemy have several times more health, meaning that unless you and the other players are always focusing fire, each individual enemy becomes near-impossible to kill, unless you have infinite ammo or an ammo regen mod.

— The FoV is console-tier, and to be honest, I have no idea how console players can play like this. it's set at 75° by default and the only way to change it is by editing INI files and setting keybinds to change it. And even after doing so, you have to keep pressing those buttons, since the game resets the FoV every time you enter/exit a vehicle, etc.

So there you have it. There’s no doubt the game has a lot of problems. I haven’t found time to start on Borderlands 2 yet, but I trust many of these issues are no longer present in the sequel. That being said it was a fairly poor first attempt taking into account that we’re talking about Gearbox. Buy at your own risk.

Final Gameplay Stats:

Time played: 115 Hours
Achievements: 80 / 80