Far from legendary
I can't have been alone in being excited by the news that 2K were creating a Borderlands game for iOS. Even the early screenshots made it look like a viable proposition, forgoing the fully 3D FPS style with an isometric based design that looked far more manageable on the hardware.
The animated intro to the game promised much more, with the exciting prospect of entering the Borderlands universe from my iPad. But just like the vault of the first game, the result is far more of a disappointment than I could have imagined.
On the plus side, the game features the 4 characters from the first game; Brick, Lilith, Mordecai and Roland doing what they do best, blowing things up. It also features one of the best game characters of all time, Claptrap, who provides the orders for the next mission.
Borderlands Legends is split in to bite sized missions which usually involve killing everything, killing everything or..er..killing everything. Yes, that’s right, it’s that varied. Destroy some enemies and they may drop cash which you can pick up with a simple tap. At the end of the mission you can then use this cash to buy new weapons, shields and upgrade the characters’ individual special power in a very similar way to Borderlands on console and PC.
The isometric layout works in the game’s favour and creates an interesting control method full of touches and swipes. It makes the game feel more like an RTS than a straight up shooter, but there just isn’t a good enough infrastructure underneath to keep this pretence up for long. Strategy comes from using your powers on the enemy (turrets, psi-powers and giant eagles) or on your group (healing, shields etc) but in the heat of battle the issues soon make themselves clear.
To use your power to help a team-mate you need to create a line between one character and another, swiping across the screen. But if anyone else is in the way it doesn’t always have the desired effect. It’s the same when directing your characters. Often, it’s just better to stand together in the middle of the screen or behind a barrier. The cover system often gets in the way of movement, though it does provide support if one of your party needs to heal.
Graphically, Borderlands Legends isn’t too bad, but there are collision issues with characters fighting the air rather than the enemy and everything is so small that there just isn’t enough detail to enjoy the carnage, not that you’ll have much time to do this while struggling to keep the group controlled, or even alive.
And so it continues, until you complete the game or get bored trying. There’s some fun to be had in shooting the every increasing waves of enemy but then this, too, merges into a monotonous and repetitive blend of shoot, revive and shoot again.
With its simple approach to mimicking Borderlands on a console, the broken control system and lack of variety, Borderlands Legends feels like a missed opportunity and a bit of a cash-in, relying on the name alone to sell the game.
- Sound: 5
- Graphics: 4
- Gameplay: 3
- Longevity: 3
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