I had the opportunity to try out Borderlands split-screen co-op together with fellow GameSync contributor DEATHANGELX at XGS09. After the intro, we are presented with our protagonists; Brick, Lilith, Mordecai and Roland. Each character represents a different class and each has its own unique weapons and abilities. It feels a little like a single player version of TF2 set on a dystopian planet.
Graphically, the cel-shaded style gave it a slight comic book feel, which generally complimented the overall feel of the game. Frame rate was consistent with no obvious signs of lag, even in action-intensive scenes. There’s a minor issue when calling up the player menu on split-screen as players won’t be able to see the full menu, thus having to use the analog stick to move the menu screen.
The default control scheme was pretty smooth with no major issues. Left analog stick for movement, right analog stick for looking/aiming, left trigger for zoom/weapon sights, right trigger to shoot, X to interact and pick up items and the directional pad to select weapons. I expect it to translate it well onto the PC and PS3 versions.
Playing Roland (the Soldier class) was rather straight forward. He starts out with a pretty standard rifle, which you can change later on in the game. The aiming system is pretty good. If you were to fire at certain parts of the enemy, you’ll be able to get a critical hit and do extra damage (eg: Headshot on bandits). DEATHANGELX and I encountered two types enemies of early on in the game, the aforementioned bandits and dog-like creatures called Skags. While Skags are generally quite easy to kill, bandits would probably require keeping some distance since they are able to wield a variety of weapons.
While you start out with limited ammo, enemy drops are reasonably generous with the ammo so that shouldn’t be a major issue. However, there’s apparently no weapon/ammo share in the game. As DEATHANGELX found out much to his displeasure as I picked up two pistols and his shotgun ammo by accident, trigger-happy players like myself might end up picking up the wrong ammo and weapons, leaving none for your partner. I was quite annoyed by this since money can be shared between both players but not for ammo.
While being guided by a “Claptrap” (a guide robot of sorts), we eventually met Dr. Zed, one of the first human NPCs you’ll meet and one of your primary source of missions. The main missions were quite straight forward and MMORPG-like (“Kill X number of enemies”). Fighting enemies and completing missions will net you both money as well as experience points.
While I didn’t have the chance to try out the other features in the game, it certainly whetted my appetite for the game. Both experienced FPS fans and newbies should be able to pick up this game with relative ease.