Locations feel designed with four players in mind. The literally thousands of different combinations your characters can have in their skills and weapon loadout (Borderlands boasts over 750,000 procedurally generated guns, you may have heard) mean you'll have a really moreish time trying to discover the most successful combinations.
The game's main story quests are already pushed quite high in the difficulty department (you can try to storm through the plot but you'll quickly find your puny weapon struggling) but the challenge is bumped even further to accommodate co-op play, with tougher, angrier baddies.
The nature of the WoW-style 'fight through the fortress to the nasty boss character' quests means MMO and FPS players alike are likely to enjoy the challenge. Each class has its own role in the action as hunters move into sniping positions, and Brick charges in swinging to those wide-open areas.
Thanks to the procedural generation system when you open up a dusty chest in a wasteland shack you really don't know what you're going to get. The bazillion guns form a truly immense arsenal, ranging from pistols with scopes, shotguns that shoot bouncing energy balls and even fire-spurting sniper rifles.
The stupid amount of stats include damage, accuracy, fire rate, plus tons of other tweaks including recoil and fire, shock and acid modifiers. On top of that are grenade modifiers (want them to stick, bounce, flame?), shields and class modifiers with enough stats to keep you hunting and swapping until... well, until Aliens Colonial Marines comes out, whenever that might be.
The system doesn't only compliment the MMO-esque feel of the game, it's essential to it; the thrill of questing and building up your character is amplified by every discovery, plus the mad scramble that follows a defeated boss character tipping his rare loot on ground.
Though you're not going to count nearly a fraction of what's on show, the attention to detail is very impressive and adds a ton of depth to an already massive game, that does a brilliant job of celebrating the fun of RPG character development.
If you open the door expecting Fallout 3 with extra colours, you're likely to be put off by the sometimes dodgy enemy AI (imagine an axe-wielding mercenary standing perfectly still while you shoot him in the face) and the surprisingly poorly presented story.
But overlook-able faults aside, Gearbox has delivered one of meatiest, most wholly satisfying hybrids yet.
One of the meatiest and most all-round entertaining shooter-RPG hybrids of the generation - especially in co-op.
- Nails shooter elements
- Offers a great sense of character progression
- Fantastic co-op play
- Incredible arsenal
- Occasionally rubbish enemy AI
- Poorly-presented story