BorderlandsBorderlands is an action role-playing first-person shooter video game that was developed by Gearbox Software for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. It was first revealed in the September 2007 issue of Game Informer magazine. The console versions of the game were released in North America on October 20, 2009, and were released in PAL countries on October 23. The console version release for the Japanese market was made available on February 25, 2010. The Windows version was released on October 26 for North America and then on October 29 internationally. The Mac OS X version of the game was released on December 3, 2010 by Feral Interactive. A sequel Borderlands 2, was released on September 18, 2012 in the U.S. and on September 21 in other countries.
Borderlands PlotBorderlands begins some time after the Dahl Corporation's abandonment of the planet Pandora as several fortune seekers, including the player's character, arrive in search of the fabled Vault. After discovering the town of Fyrestone, the player begins to receive instructions from an image of a mysterious woman known as the "Guardian Angel." The player meets a "Claptrap" robot and a man named Dr. Zed who help the player establish a reputation by killing several bandit leaders, eventually leading to the collection of the first alien artifact needed to open the Vault. This causes Patricia Tannis, Dahl's former archeologist still in residence on the planet, to contact the player, revealing that the Vault can only be accessed once every 200 years and that the time of the next opening is approaching. Tannis also explains that three more artifacts are needed to complete the Vault Key. Meanwhile, Commandant Steele of the Crimson Lance (a well-outfitted mercenary force hired by the Atlas Corporation) threatens to declare martial law and demands the Vault Key pieces.
The player secures the second and third pieces by following Tannis' instructions, but the final piece turns out not to be where expected. Steele contacts the player to reveal that there are in fact only three pieces and that Tannis has betrayed and misled the player. Steele then disables the planet's ECHO network, preventing further communication with the Guardian Angel and anyone else. The player infiltrates the Crimson Lance's headquarters and finds Tannis imprisoned. She claims she was forced into betrayal and urges the player to restart the ECHO network and to stop Steele and the Crimson Lance before they reach the Vault. After restoring the network, the Guardian Angel directs the player toward Steele's location. During the final approach to the Vault, the player encounters Crimson Lance forces already locked in combat with the Vault's alien Guardians. The player finally arrives at the Vault only moments too late to stop Steele from using the Key. When the Vault opens, a giant monster emerges and wipes out Steele and the rest of her troops. The Guardian Angel explains that the monster is called "the Destroyer" and was imprisoned in the Vault long ago by the alien Eridians in order to prevent the destruction of the universe, and that the Guardians were posted to prevent anyone from opening it. Although the player defeats the monster, the Vault is re-sealed for another 200 years. The Guardian Angel is revealed to be transmitting her signals through a Hyperion satellite in orbit high above Pandora. The game ends with the satellite sending a signal to a claptrap robot on the planet, changing it into an "Interplanetary Ninja Assassin" (continued in the plot of the DLC Claptrap's New Robot Revolution).
Borderlands GameplayBorderlands includes character-building elements found in role-playing games, leading Gearbox to call the game a "role-playing shooter". At the start of the game, players select one of four characters, each with a unique special skill and with proficiencies with certain weapons. The four characters are: Roland the Soldier, Mordecai the Hunter, Lilith the Siren, and Brick (a Berserker) "as himself". From then on, players take on missions assigned through non-player characters or from bounty boards, each typically rewarding the player with experience points, money, and sometimes a reward item. Players earn experience by killing both human and non-human foes and completing in-game challenges (such as getting a certain number of kills using a specific type of weapon). As they gain levels from experience growth, players can then allocate skill points into a skill tree that features three distinct specializations of the base character; for example, Mordecai can become specialized in sniping, gunslinging with revolvers, or using his pet Bloodwing to assist in kills and health boosting. Players can distribute points among any of the specializations, and can also spend a small amount of in-game money to redistribute their skill points.
Players start the game with the ability to equip two weapons but later gain up to four weapon slots, as well as slots for an energy shield, a grenade modification, and a class modification. Items collected can be sold back at vendors for money that then can be used to buy better items. One of the key features of Borderlands is the randomly generated weapons and items created either as dropped by enemies, found in storage chests about the game, on the ground, sold at vendors in the game, or as quest reward items. The game uses a "Procedural Content Creation System" to create these weapons and items, which can alter their firepower, rate of fire, and accuracy, add in elemental effects such as a chance to set foes on fire or cover them in burning acid, and at rare times other special bonuses such as regenerating the player's ammo. A color-coded scale is used to indicate the rarity of the weapon or item. It was estimated that the random system could generate over 17 million variations of weapons, but actually only resulted in a little over 3,500,000. The Procedural system is also used to create the characteristic of random enemies that the player may face. This allows for enemies of the same species to have widely varying attacks: for example, variations of "spiderants" in the game could leap around and would jump onto players' faces, while another variant can roll up into a ball and attack people, depending on the content generator.
When in combat, the player can take damage if their shield is depleted, affecting their health. If they lose all their health, they must either wait to be revived by another player or attempt to kill an enemy to achieve a "second wind", or otherwise will be regenerated back at the last "New-U" station that they passed, losing a 'ratio-appropriate' percentage of their money in the process. Players quickly gain access to two-passenger vehicles, and can engage in vehicular combat with other enemies. Eventually, a system of fast transit points between the game world is available to the player; until then, players must walk or drive between areas to get around.
The game can be played alone, but also supports two-player cooperative play through split-screen (on consoles), and up to four players playing co-operatively online or over LAN. The game follows the progress of the host player, rewarding the other active players for completion of quests for their characters. If the other players are doing the same quests in their campaign, the completed quests remain the same in their campaign as well as the host's. When more players are present, the game alters the statistics of the generated enemies, balancing the game due to the larger number of players. Players can take part in one-on-one duels anywhere in the game world, or can visit arenas in the game world to participate in free-for-all, 2-on-2 or 3-on-1 combat battles with their fellow players.
SettingBorderlands is set on the planet of Pandora. Lured by its apparent vast deposits of minerals, several colonization ships sponsored by the Dahl Corporation (one of several diversified mega-corporations that appear to control and govern entire planets) journey to the planet and build settlements there. The mining operations are cost-effectively manned by large amounts of convict labor brought to the planet by Dahl.
Prior to the events of the game, one of the other mega-corporations, the Atlas Corporation, found an ancient vault on nearby planet Prometheus, filled with advanced alien weapons technology that allowed them to rapidly overtake their competitors. The presence of similar alien ruins scattered across Pandora spurred Atlas to settle the planet in hopes of finding more alien technology. However Atlas failed to realize that Pandora was in its winter cycle, and the arrival of spring unleashes hordes of dangerous alien wildlife coming out of hibernation. Unable to find any alien technology, Atlas abandoned the planet. The Dahl Corporation then settled on Pandora, starting massive industrial mining operations while undertaking their own search for a vault, headed by Patricia Tannis, a respected xeno-archeologist. Despite all of her colleagues being killed by the planet's wildlife, and being driven partially insane herself, Tannis managed to find proof of a vault on Pandora. News of her discovery reached Atlas, who sent their private military force, the Crimson Lance, to capture Tannis and get the vault's location from her.
Faced with an invasion, those who are rich and important enough leave the planet, with Dahl abandoning the rest of the population to scavenge for their living in isolated settlements in the barren wastelands and industrial trash heaps across the planet. To make matters worse, the Dahl Corporation simply opened the gates of the prison labor camps during their departure, and gangs of bandits terrorize the populace. Despite Dahl's failure to find it, "The Vault" lives on in legends, attracting mercenary "Vault Hunters" to the planet.
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