Borderlands mixes spaceships and six-shooters into a sci-fi western, with gameplay that offers both shooter and role-playing elements.
The desert planet Pandora has attracted all kinds of gunslingers and do-badders. Now you have a chance to join their ranks by playing as one of four different characters.
The characters aren't fleshed out beyond the bare essentials, although each has a unique skill, such as the ability to deploy a gun turret or become invisible. The story is pretty weak, but then the cartoon-style visuals hint that the game focuses on style over storytelling. Thankfully, the action is consistently exciting. Wandering through the large open levels, killing baddies and completing missions for the locals is a lot of fun and each mission rewards you with new abilities or guns.
There are literally thousands of different weapons in the game, although most of these are differentiated by role-playing game-style stat changes rather than visibly different effects. The arsenal is impressive, though, with plenty of interesting quirks, such as machine guns that fire exploding bullets and rifles that shoot lightning. The stats are hidden during combat, when the game plays like an ordinary shooter. Delve into your inventory, though, and you'll find lots of kit and stats to explore.
Your opponents are Borderlands' weakest point, as they can sometimes get confused and wander round in circles or just stand still as you shoot them. Some are also ludicrously tough, which can break your sense of immersion, and they all tend to look the same, which soon makes missions repetitive.
You can band together with friends online to complete some of the longer missions, which breaks things up a little and make the game more fun. Even played solo, though, Borderlands' blend of genres makes for a strangely addictive game, even if it lacks polish and variety.