Borderlands Legends Review
- Retains some of the flavor of the Borderlands world; visually rich, diverse and humorous.
- Poorly designed interface drags down the gameplay; lots of busy work with little sense of immersion.
- Retaining experience and loot on death may be fair, but the stages never scale to make up for such a huge advantage.
Borderlands Legends may walk and talk like a tactical shooter, but it drowns out the tactical aspect with clunky controls, divorcing it from the action-packed FPS that gave it life.
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The life of a Vault hunter isn't an easy one - aside from the hostile environs of a place like Pandora (which is, incidentally, the planet they're on), there are Skags, aliens, and more than a few bandits who are all too happy to loot your still-warm corpse. Borderlands Legends follows on from the first title, with Mordecai, Roland, Lilith, and Brick seeking the treasure they found (and lost) from the Vault.
An all new method of control accompanies Borderlands on its iOS debut, with players taking control of the four-man crew via an isometric overhead view, reminiscent of tactical shooters of the past. However, instead of being able to pause to issue orders, everything plays out in real time, forcing you to frantically tap and drag in an effort to keep everyone alive. This becomes all the more apparent as you level up and place more points in to each characters skill tree, unlocking abilities that you can only keep track of while having them specifically highlighted, forcing you to cycle through everyone almost religiously to maximize their use.
That isn't to say the game is challenging - far from it - should you fail a mission you'll start over again with experience and items intact, effectively ensuring you can out-level and out-scale the challenge set before you. In fact, the most challenging issue you'll likely face is having one of your team members out-level everyone else, resulting in vending machines full of loot you can't use yet.
The missions themselves are a grab-bag of tasks, mostly involving surviving several waves of enemies before moving on. Combat lacks any real visceral impact thanks to a disconnect between your actions and their results - on the smaller iPhone screen getting a team member in the right position is a painful exercise in watching the AI pathing utterly fail as poor logic means characters refuse to go near waypoints too close to objects in the environment, or worst of all, can't work out how to walk around their fellow teammates.
However, despite all of these flaws and teeth-grindingly frustrating quirks, there's a spark of what made Borderlands so brilliant in the first place. From the visual flair to the amusing scenarios you ultimately find yourself in, it's a sweet (if broken) homage to the first-person shooter it's based on. In a way this makes playing the game even more heart-breaking, but if you're a hardcore fan of the series you may still manage to find some joy from what's on offer.
Borderlands Legends has all the weight of an excellent franchise and the incredible power of a real-time tactical gameplay system to work with, but despite all this it's hard to recommend its monotone experience.