Monday 6 December 2010

Greatest Games I Ever Played

Today's GGIEP serves both as a reminder of a fantastic game that can be picked up today at a great price, as well as a possible idea for any parent reading this who wants to get their child or gamer partner a present from the more obscure range of titles available from the vast range of choice out there across the consoles.

Today's subject is Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition, available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. The game is a post-apocalyptic first person shooter set on a world called Pandora (not the one from Avatar), and combines role-playing elements with the first person shooter mechanics, as well as adding in a dynamic weapon creation engine.

Said engine is one of the first reasons I love the game. As a gamer seasoned on his fair share of Diablo, Diablo 2 and even the more recent Too Human (don't judge me, I love that game), I've always enjoyed the stat-comparison element of weaponry and armour in those games. I even enjoy (to an extent) trawling through stats on games like Football Manager to find the best buys. Where Borderlands comes into its own here is that the game uses this system on weapons only, but on guns specifically.

Take it from someone who knows: It's not uncommon in this game (in fact, I imagine that Gearbox would encourage it) for you to pick up a new gun, take it all the way to the main hub town and test-fire it a few times to see how it feels. Of course, the more effective barometer is to fire it against enemies, and that does happen eventually, and more often than not my co-operative sessions were spent trawling through the post-apocalyptic wilderness giggling like a twat while shooting off fire bullets from a shotgun. Yes, you heard me correctly. Fire shotguns. Win.

As well as the exhaustive weapons selection available, the game also has a great difficulty scale-up, with the game providing a great challenge no matter how far you get into the game. You, however, have 4 character classes to choose from, each with their own unique ability sets and perks as you level up. One class even has a hawk that goes off and pecks people to death! Stop me when this isn't awesome!

The game's also got a fantastic sense of humour, with most of the humour coming from a couple of key characters, and the game's gateway characters, the Claptraps. Just in the start menu alone, the Claptraps are responsible for some comedy moments busting some serious dance moves or rolling around on fire. The game also has some great colourful NPCs who come out with some dynamite lines at times.

Borderlands is also one of the few multiplayer-focused games that also works as a single player experience. Of course, games like that are usually better on multiplayer games (in this case as a co-operative experience for up to 4 players), but in this case to have something like this that works for a single-player experience is a considerable achievement as well. Factor in the above 4 character classes, as well as the weapon variety, and you have a game that has a tremendous lifespan simply because you can play it differently every time. As with games of this type, such as the kinds mentioned above (Diablo and so forth), you have the ability to play the game through many times before you start to see the same weapons or find the experience exactly the same as the previous times. Of course, if you've got XBox Live or PSN then there's no excuse for it being the same.

As if all that wasn't enough, and the thought of a fantastic game that's playable in both single and multiplayer isn't enough for you, then bear this in mind: The Game of the Year edition also includes four pieces of downloadable content. As far as I'm concerned, incidentally, GOTY editions are possibly the best value for money in terms of game purchases, as you tend to get a ton of extra stuff for your hard-earned cash. In the case of Borderlands, the downloadable content adds a significant amount to the game, including an arena combat mode, a level cap increase and a scenario focusing on the robot Claptraps.

But don't just take my word for it. Check out this parody video made by my all-time favourite games journalist, David Clayman, formerly of IGN. IGN Podcasts aren't the same without him.

In association with 2K and Gearbox,
E14 has a Borderlands-themed competition this week. We have a code for the Claptrap's Robot Revolution expansion DLC available for Playstation 3 only. In order to be in with a chance of winning, send your name in an email to before Monday 13th December 2010 at 12:00 GMT. The draw will be made at random, and the winner will be contacted by email. Good luck!

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