I don't post journals very often, but this is something that I really need to get off my chest. I just beat Borderlands and my opinion of the game is not a very high one. In fact, I hated this game. A lot. It's the most overrated game I've ever played in my entire life. Bar none.
First off, the game is repetitive as all hell. And by repetitive, I don't mean that the gameplay doesn't change, I mean that the gameplay doesn't change and is extremely boring. A repetitious game doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad since games like Call of Duty, Kingdom Hearts, and even Final Fantasy are pretty repetitive when you think about it. However, the main difference is that I can play these games for hours and still have fun. Some of which I can even replay (if story driven) and still have as much fun as I did the first time playing it. Whereas throughout most of this game, I was listening to YouTube videos over an hour long because they were more interesting to me than anything that was happening on screen. It was so boring, in fact, that there were times I died because I was focusing more on the video than the game itself. If I do that with a game and have no qualms about doing it, that's a problem.
Nextly, the shield system in the game was completely useless. The idea was that the shield would allow you to take a couple of hits before losing any of your actual health and the shield recharges over time so long as you're not getting hit. It's a good mechanic in theory, but not when 90% of the enemies you face follow you wherever you go while the other 10% have ranged weapons and both types can deal enough damage to you to make the shield go away in 1-3 hits when alone. This being the case, not only does the shield go away quickly, but you can't run and hide anywhere to allow it to recharge because the enemies are always right behind you, attacking you as you run away lowering your real health and not allowing your shield to recharge enough to allow you the killing blow. This is especially frustrating when the enemy AI is extremely high to the point where they have better accuracy than you do and can kill you easier than you can kill them even when they when they have worse weapons than you do and are the exact same level (sometimes even lower leveled) as you. Not only that, but all the bosses are enemies that follow you wherever you go and deal more damage to you than you can to them to a degree worse than the normal enemies in the game and you can't run away from them far enough or fast enough to give your shield the time that it needs to recharge, fully or otherwise.
Speaking of running, it takes forever for your character to get anywhere in this game. Sure you have vehicles, but not only do the vehicles control worse than the MAKO from Mass Effect, there are some areas where, even with vehicles, it still takes forever to get anywhere. This is made even more aggravating if your vehicle is destroyed for some reason. Assuming that it wasn't an enemy that destroyed your vehicle that will move on to kill you in less than 30 seconds, you will sometimes have to make it a point to walk around in an area that takes forever for you to get somewhere in EVEN WITH A VEHICLE, accentuating the amount of time you have to waste getting somewhere. And while one person could argue that the game's "Fast Travel" helps with this problem...it does not. The "Fast Travel" system is, yet another, good game mechanic in theory, but it has its own set of problems that make it completely worthless. The first of which being that some areas have more than one "Fast Travel" port while others have none making it useless for certain missions as the area you must go to for the mission is an area with no "Fast Travel" port forcing you to walk/drive a lot of the way there. As if that wasn't enough, there is almost no way to find out which port is which without spending some time making some sort of map to use detailing such information as the map in the game doesn't do it for you.
This brings me to my next problem, the maps. First off, you have to go to the options menu in order to see a map of any kind. For the first couple of missions, it's not that bad because the way to get to your waypoint is pretty straight forward using the compass the game gives you (which, of course has its own set of problems). As you progress through the game, however, it gets more and more frustrating as you have to constantly check the map to make sure that you took the right forks in the road in order to get wherever you want to go. I guess that the developers at Gearbox forgot the industry standard that is the mini-map. Because it's not like games that existed on the consoles before the PS3 and the 360 had something so complex. Not only that, but the game has multiple areas, each with its own map. That's all fine and dandy until you find out that there is no way to look at the maps of different areas if you're not in them. None. This is also something that makes the "Fast Travel" mechanic such a waste as you can't see what areas you need to go to or find out what area with an "Fast Travel" port is closest to where you need to go since you can only look at the map of the area that you are currently standing in. That being the case, unless you feel like wasting an hour or so creating your own map so you don't have to go out and buy a strategy guide hoping that they include a map detailed enough to be useful during your playthrough, you have to make it a point to travel from area to area which, as I said earlier, takes fucking forever, vehicle or no vehicle. The DLC makes this problem even worse as every time you exit the game, you return at the very beginning of the very first area in said DLC, requiring you to go ALL THE WAY BACK to a mission point if you didn't completely finish what you were doing before you left the game.
As I said earlier, the compass is what you are stuck using for this game as opposed to a mini-map. And as I said earlier, it has its own problems that make playing this game an irritating experience. While for some games, like the Call of Duty franchise, the compass works fine, but it only does so because games like Call of Duty that use it don't have an expansive, open-world map. The only real directions that the player can go is forward or backward, and there are no forks in the road or elevated levels to confuse them otherwise. For a game like Borderlands that do have an expansive, open-world map, it doesn't work because there are so many forks in the road to take that unless you frequently check the maps in the options menu, more than likely you will get lost multiple times and often have to backtrack in order to go the correct way to get to your objective, something of which you may have to do even if you do check the map frequently. Because God knows that you don't waste enough time in this game getting from point A to point B.
Additionally, most of the weapons are downright useless. Or at least when compared to the assault rifles in the game. As I mentioned earlier, the enemy AI is extremely unfair and the only weapon that are useful against them are the assault rifles. The handguns and the revolvers don't cause enough consistent damage to an enemy to warrant you using it added with the fact that most of the time, you're facing multiple enemies in one sitting and focusing on one enemy for too long will allow you to get easily killed by another. The sniper rifles work well for the long ranged enemies, but not when you notice that more often than not, you face at least 1 enemy or more that run towards you getting close enough to beat you to death in a matter of seconds. The shotguns are powerful, but they're too slow to use in almost any wave of enemies as you often face multiple enemies at once that run towards you and getting up close to an enemy with a ranged weapon takes too long to do before you're killed by them. The rocket launchers are even slower than the shotguns and don't cause enough damage to normal enemies to use them without getting killed while reloading. Not only that, but what is the point of using a rocket launcher if it can't kill at least one enemy in one hit when you hit them directly? The fact that the assault rifles are the only weapons in this game that are of any use makes this game even more repetitive as I guess the developers of Gearbox believed that repetition in a game that is over 20 hours long is super fun to experience.
The RPG elements aren't much to talk about either. While they weren't as frustrating to deal with as the AI or the area traversing was, they were pretty useless if you were playing solo. Most of the perks that are of any use in single player are only good for strictly offensive strategies, but those kind of strategies will only get you so far in the game without dying constantly. When it comes to defensive perks, on the other hand, most of them can only be used when playing cooperatively making them useless to someone like me who doesn't generally play games cooperatively.
All in all, I would give this game a D rating. Maybe a C- when I'm not overly frustrated by its idiotic mechanics. However, even with a generous C- rating, I can't possibly fathom how this game could be considered even as an honorable mention for Game of the Year during a year when games like Batman: Arkham Asylum, Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time, and Bayonetta were released.