When it was decided that I would be the writer at Gamer Limit.com who was reviewing Borderlands, I immediately opted for the PC version. While I typically play most FPSs on consoles, this was a game I really wanted to experience on the PC, especially since the developer stated this version would be the best one. Unfortunately it got pushed back a week from the console version, so all I could do was bide my time and wait.
While I waited, I got to see all these great reviews pour in for the Xbox 360 and PS3, so it got me even more excited. The game finally arrived, and that very first night I didnít play a single second of it. Itís not because I didnít have time, or because my PC wasnít good enough to run it. I couldnít play the game the first night it came out because a couple of my buddies and myself couldnít figure out how to get the damn game to connect online to play co-op.
We spent two hours trying to get Borderlands to work online before we finally gave up and called it quits. I was so angry by that point that I didnít even want to try single player. I just said screw it and went to bed. The next day we figured out that to host a game online we had to go into our router and forward a bunch of specific ports. Are you fucking kidding me? This is 2009. Why do I have to do something as archaic as forwarding ports at this point in the life of the PC. Itís fucking pathetic.
So this brings me to the whole point of this blog, which is that I have discovered my review score for the PC version of Borderlands is the lowest on Metacritic
. Itís the lowest because I found lots of problems associated specifically with the PC version which really brought the score down for me. Iím not sure why these donít bother any other reviewers, because some of them are pretty serious. Now if you want to read my full impressions of the game, I recommend you go check out my actual review over at Gamer Limit
. Iím only here to talk about the negative things that really bugged me about the PC version.
Iíve already mentioned that to host an online game you need to forward ports, but thatís not the only problem with this game. A major issue that exists is that the game is obviously a poorly done direct port of the console version. I mean Gearbox said that they needed the extra week to get the PC version ready, but Iím not sure what they were doing during that week. It feels like they got some intern to simply port the code from the console version over and call it ready to ship. I'm sure this is not the case, but it's obvious that the developers put no extra time into making the PC differentiate itself from the console version in any way.
The first sign that this is a poor console port is that the menu screen is freaking huge, with large fonts that make reading very painful to the eyes. Now I understand that when you play consoles you sit 15 feet from your TV, so you need large font. You only sit about 2 feet from your computer monitor, so you donít need the excessively large font.
You also donít need the menus to be the size of the entire screen. Have those guys over at Gearbox even played other RPGs on the PC? If they had they would know that plenty of other games use small menu screens that allow you to play and look at the menu at the same time. This would really come in handy when you are trying to decide if you want to pick up a gun that just dropped and you want to compare it to other weapons in your inventory.
The menu screens are also pretty difficult to navigate on the PC. I mean it isnít that hard, but you can tell the menu navigation was optimized for the console and not the PC. How hard would it have been to modify them just a little so that itís easier to navigate using just a mouse. I canít tell you how many times I tried to click on something on the menu with my mouse and discovered I needed to use my keyboard instead. I should never have to use a damn keyboard to navigate a menu screen.
Another huge problem with the PC version is that the in-game voice chat is horrendous. Not only is the volume to low, but there is no menu option to adjust the volume and there is no option to turn it off. Itís just on all the damn time. In order to turn it off you have to actually go into the code and switch a variable. In order to chat with friends Iíve had to jump on a Ventrillo server or use Skype. How do you launch an online cooperative game in 2009 without a working voice chat feature? How? Someone tell me how! Please!
There are other little nagging problems, such as the large amount of lag that can appear from time to time. There are also a bunch of typical menu options missing, which you would normally find in other FPSs, such as disabling mouse sync. You can modify a ton of options if you are willing to look up how to modify the code, but Iím not a damn programmer. I donít want to do that. I simply want to click on the options menu and change things the easy way. The way every other FPS lets me change things.
So I gave the PC version of Borderlands the lowest score on Metacritic. Do I care? Not really. Itís not like I set out to do that. I didnít even realize it until after my review was posted on the site. What shocks me is why none of these horrible problems bothered anyone else. Did these people not play the PC version, and just use their console version score as the PC review score, or were they just able to look past the problems because the game is so kick-ass? Maybe they were, but I wasnít going to be so nice. Gearbox needs to learn how to properly port a game over from the console. Maybe theyíll read my review and it will have an impact. I can only hope.