Borderlands (Gearbox Software LLC, 2009)
Published by 2k Games, Inc.
Art Directors: Brian Martel, Jennifer Wildes – Art Team Lead: James Sanders
When Borderlands came out in 2009, none among the critics expected the massive success it eventually met in the community. Gearbox was a softco coming from the Brothers in Arms franchise, a successfull brand that sold more than 6 millions copies around the world still failing in becoming an icon for the media as the Modern Warfare franchise has been able to. His second original IP, Borderlands, went through many changes and revisions before going gold, and as usually happens in this case the final outcome was expected to be a vanilla shooter at best. But, surprisingly, the mix of RPG and FPS worked greatly, and the cel-shaded graphics became the cherry on the top of a tasty cake. “Success” was the name of this operation and the two main ingredients in the recipe went under the name of loot and cel-shaded extravaganza.
The strenght of this game is the absence of any intricacy. The game plays simple and looks simple. It’s very straightforwarded despite its RPG-length and gives the player tons of reasons to enjoy and go on playing thanks to the utterly huge quantity of statistics-based loot left by enemy foes. The graphics, so cartoony and apparently light-weighted are basic yet classy, and varied both in enviromental and enemy design. Any of the various maps the player explores during the main storyline is unique in its own way and presents its own landmarks and colors. Man, colors are so special in this game. While portraying the locations on Pandora I was reminded of how they change depending on the place and the time of the day. Crazy Earl’s Scrapyard colors tend to green, while the Crimson Enclave tends to violet at sunset. Rust Common East is grey at sunrise while New Haven‘s air is basicly yellow both at sunrise and sunset. And then there’s the blue, one of the bluest blues ever. It reminds me of my Sega Dreamcast days, when Sega’s skies where the bluest in gaming and, well, that’s just the time and place the name of this blog was born.
Borderlands has been accused to be a ‘consolized’ product and I agree with the definition. Rewriting the .ini files and doing some serious hacking to enable the console were some of the things that I had to learn in the first place while planning this portfolio. And even after all this work nothing was really done, because even through the enabled console only a few options were indeed available. The only weapons I could count on while grabbing this collection where the FOV manager and the tiledshot command. These two options, and the custom gravity to perform big jumps and reach interesting viewpoints have been my only strenghts, yet looking rather enough to reach my target minimum quality.
This collection is -and always will be- a work in progress. It started as my usual “virtual geographics” collection but after a few shots I was already planning some collections focused on #Bosses and #Bestiarium. I’ll put in it all my efforts to be as variegated as possible. Expect many new screenshots in the short-term (some are the ones you see in this blog-session), and some new stuff randomly coming after the half of 2012.
click on the screenshots to access the blog