E3 2009: Borderlands

Are you a fan or RPGs? How about FPSes? What about both? Well, Borderlands from 2K Games and Gearbox just happens to be that. With playing up to four characters you can level, name, choose and build your character any way you want, while shooting creatures in the face. The first thing I thought was this is Diablo from a first person view. Diablo is one of my most favorite games ever, so this makes me plenty happy.

Each of the characters have their own personal set of attributes that you can max out or distribute evenly between the other skill sets. There are three skill trees to experiment with. For example, the biggest character, Brick, has "Heavy" skills with one of them being "Adrenaline Rush." After this is activated he pretty much Hulk Smashes anyone that is standing in front of him. As you fight, enemies will drop items including numerous weapons. 2K states that thousands of weapons with unique advantages and specification will be available with their new content generation system. In the demo we were shown vehicle stations where you can build your own tanks to help fight and move across terrain faster. With your tanks, you can engage in vehicle to vehicle combat, however, you can stop whenever you want to explore, loot and level amongst other things.

The Borderlands story is very "Indiana Jones," said Gearbox's President Randy Pitchford. I believe it also had a Mad Max feel to it. Individuals arrive on the planet Pandora in search of better life and the planets mineral resources.  Once they find that the planet offers very little, the inhabitants turn to violence and disorder. Their only hope is a mysterious "vault" that is said to hold alien technology and secrets, which is the players ultimate goal.

We didn't get to play, but we did get to see Brick and female character Lilith in action. Our quest was to obtain large amounts of money by killing a certain amount of enemy type called Skaggs. However, while fighting we came across "midget psychos" that sounded very similar to Grunts from Halo, and Fire Skaggs who were considered "badasses". Pitchford stated, "WoW has elites, Borderlands has badasses." Just like elites, the "badasses" will be harder to kill but will also drop better items. Items are also color coded and a window screen will let you know information about it, i.e. weapon class, damage and value.

Borderlands will also support splitscreen, LAN and online with the ability to jump in and out of online games. The game is running on the Unreal Engine 3 and is beautiful. I absolutely love how it looks, almost as if they laid the characters on top of a background. However I do know it includes hand drawn textures that really make whatever is on the screen pop. With Borderlands expecting to drop this holiday season, it is definitely something I'd like to get my hands on. You can look for it for XBox 360, PS3 and PC.