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From time, media outlets you might not immediately associate with games do offer their take on some of the industry’s movement. Sometimes, this leads to a noticeable polarization between the “insider” world of gaming sites and blogs and those that approach the billion dollar operation from another point of view. From recent memory, we remember how CNN reviewed the Nintendo 3DS by comparing it with an iPhone and how the gaming peripheral was lagging behind the multimedia device. It didn’t go over well and even if the man at hand claimed to be a hardcore gamer growing up on Halo, the credibility from ensuing words remained fleeting. This time, the Wall Street Journal presented its unique vision of Borderlands 2, recently released by Gearbox Software and 2K Games.
Now, the entire review is spun around a different point of view. As mentioned, Wall Street will undoubtedly perceive our large industry through financial goggles, meaning its article is different than most gaming sites that will perceive it as a medium alone. This nuance is needed to not think the review is just a blind observation. If anything; different views are a welcome change to cater to different people. Therefore, people that would want to read the entire thing should keep this in mind in order not to cringe at how odd some claims may be. There’s also no need to bash our peers; we are all entitled to phrasing things how we like. Again, the more, the merrier is true in any case. We will however try and notify you of some of the more “outlandish” claims in the article that might seem the most detached from how the gaming community itself sees things. You can read the full Wall Street Journal Borderlands 2 review (containing spoilers) here.
On its $60 price tag: “At that price point, the first-person shooter, published by 2K Games, inevitably invites comparisons with the Halos and Calls of Duty games already out and due to come in the next few weeks and months.”
On its contemporary aspect: “Borderlands 2 falls short because it’s missing several key elements you need to have in a 2012 first-person shooter game – most notably, a rich multiplayer online mode.[…] In comparison, I read […] that COD: Black Ops 2 will feature up to six teams, for a total of 18 simultaneous players.”
Attempting to label a genre: “Borderlands 2 doesn’t just bill itself as an FPS. It’s a space Western FPS or a role-playing shooter, with the ability to build and customize characters.”
The game’s art style: “The game isn’t manga-like enough to be super-hip, so instead, it just feels cartoonish.”
On fan-favorite Claptrap: “Claptrap, […] a cross between a snarky, profane C3PO with the body of an R2D2 […] is a fairly detestable character, who left me cold.”
On the singleplayer: “Borderlands 2’s single-player campaign mode isn’t as good as what you’ll find in games like COD: Black Ops or the Medal of Honor series.”
On exploration: “I was reminded […] of the desolate feeling you have on the road while playing Skyrim and struck by how long it took to get from one action point to another.”
On the controls: “Controls are very similar to COD, which makes the game very familiar and easy to play right out of the box.”
Recommendation: “As a $30 impulse buy, priced about the same as games like NASCAR Unleashed, I wouldn’t have a problem recommending Borderlands 2. I’d at least counsel waiting to compare it to Black Ops 2 […] or Halo 4.”
It seems that despite going over points that place Borderlands 2 far away from modern FPS games, the review strangely enough always comes back to a comparison. As if somehow the COD element becomes an OCD aspect that no one game with first person view and a gun can be something else than an FPS, even with Skyrim bringing that connection closer. Is that view justified? Do you feel that there are striking similarities between the Gearbox title and Activision’s greatest? Is the line drawn accurately? It does, after all, shoot guns at things that die.