This is a highly polished game and it opens with one of those integrated tutorial intros, but this one is actually good and sucks you right into the action while teaching you the basics in a stylish manner. You are a scavenger of sorts, new to the area and keen to make a fortune. The way to do this is to embark on quests and collect loot. The opening leaves you in no doubt as to the standard first-person shooter gameplay, but as you get into the action you’ll soon see the RPG structure beneath.
To begin with there’s the quest system which allows you to take on missions from various sources. You can have more than one quest open at any one time and it is easy to flick back and forth in the menu system to check on your progress. You can also just go exploring and there are creatures to kill and loot lying around everywhere.
You will also engage in some character specialisation. You’ll need to choose from one of four classes at the start. They are the Soldier, Berserker, Hunter and Siren. Character customization in terms of appearance extends as far as changing the colour of their outfit but this is first-person remember. It doesn’t matter how you look. You can earn skill points through gaining experience in the Borderlands slaughtering dog like creatures called Skags and baddie mercenary characters or taking on quests. There is a tree of skills for each character and you’ll need to choose carefully because you can’t acquire everything.
The weaponry is a big boast because the game supports procedurally generated weapons so there are literally millions of possible combinations. In effect they are split into pistol, rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle, machine gun, rocket launcher and alien weapons. There are also explosives and melee attacks. The most interesting category is the alien weaponry which often has weird and wonderful properties. There are also various damage types and ammo types and to top it off each weapon has a value and a rarity rating. You can read more about that in our Borderlands Weapon Guide.
The gameplay is classic first-person shooter and the AI opponents come in two basic varieties, the run straight at you and try to bite your face off variety and the hide behind a rock and shoot variety. The quests are mostly pretty straightforward with the odd boss fight punctuating your progress, but there is also a mysterious female apparition who ties together a deeper narrative. After your first play through you have the option to start again with your experience intact. The only difference is the enemies you face are a bit tougher. This offers some nice single player replay value.