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Borderlands Series




Summary


The Borderlands series … wow ... where do I begin?! Borderlands is a first-person shooter video game that takes cartoon madness to the next level, in the best way possible! The Borderlands Series is generally rated Teen 15+ because of the heavy level of violence, profanity, and gore, however, if your child is mature enough, we consider that this game could be played by ages 12+. In Borderlands, you are vault hunters who are tasked with traveling across the universe to locate the infamous "Vault" which contains ancient alien technology and riches beyond your wildest dreams. But, you're not the only one looking for the Vault! Apart from the main storyline, the game offers MANY side features such as the ability to explore the in-game world, complete optional side quests and experience fun DLC’s (downloadable content) to further carry on the story. The beauty of this game is while it can be played solo it can also be played with up to 4 people, either in offline split-screen (same screen but shared by two people), or online cooperative gameplay with friends or random players online giving you plenty of options. The Borderlands series is available on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox which has an initial cost but then you are all good to go. Borderlands is truly chaotic in every single way. Why is this game so popular? Well, it contains some of the most exaggerated violence, profanity, and chaos that you could imagine. This is the game's true essence. While you may think it's inappropriate, it's all for fun but you may want to see for yourself to determine whether the game would be a good fit for your child.



There are currently about 6 games within the series, but there are more coming so don't be surprised if it's more now! These games consist of the main storyline games as well as fun stand-alone games. All of these will generally keep you busy for a solid 30+ hours for the main storyline or a whopping 100+ hours if they want to complete all of the side quests.


Gameplay


Borderlands requires you to follow along with the story to help the resistance fight the villains and hordes of psycho bandits who try to stop you from completing your missions. The beauty of this game is that you can spend as little or as long as you like on the game as there is an auto-save feature to save your progress along the way. As a minimum, we would suggest allowing at least 20 minutes per run-through. There are a number of different characters to play in each game to suit everyone's play style or challenge themselves. Each character has a different special ability and different talents to progress as they level up throughout the game. This is great as you can play through the game with one character and then have a completely different experience when you pick up a different character the next time through!



Missions are completed by exploring or taking on new enemies and essentially shooting them down. This does mean that there are weapons and different ways to kill and be killed. Weapons are usually in the form of guns, cannons, and turrets, however, there are also axes and swords (not to mention the magical powers of the sirens!) While this game is more graphic than others, the game has a very fun cartoonish art style which is unlike anything seen before. The gameplay certainly prioritizes fun over everything else and that's why we love it.



While many parents might look over this game because of the high level of violence and adult themes, it's important to know that it's just a game for fun. The Borderlands series in fact one of the most popular games out there today and has won multiple gaming awards because of how amazing this game really is.



Education


While the Borderlands series may not have any direct educational benefits, at the end of the day, there is always some educational value to gaming. One aspect of Borderlands that can educate players is the opportunity to learn and develop their hand-eye coordination. As this game relies on real-time movement and fast reflexes, these movements can help develop accurate hand-eye coordination. Not only do you have enemies running towards you, but you have to shoot them down which is not as easy as it sounds!



These games also really test your ability to think quickly and strategize. Just imagine this, you have hordes of enemies running toward you, what do you do? Do you run to higher ground to get an advantage? Do you take out the smaller enemies first? You better think quickly before they reach you! This is why these games can be so good for children as it really teaches them to quickly analyze a stressful situation and make a decision while in a safe and non-judgmental environment.



Violence/ Adult Themes


Okay, okay … this is where the teen rating comes into play. Yes, the game is pretty violent and gruesome but also remember that it is a cartoonish style. Players must kill enemies throughout the game, and this happens a lot. The characters can use guns, bombs, axes, swords, laser beams, acid spit, fire, and even implode. Also, there is a lot of blood… you can explode characters and some enemies can explode themselves as they are called 's**cide psychos' who will run at you with a grenade and explode.



Because the game is set in a dystopian society, there is also a lot of blood used as scenery scattered around the place. There is one specific place known as Zed’s Workshop in Borderlands 2 which is the dystopian hospital covered roof to the floor in blood and body parts. Now there is a setting to censor the gore which removes the blood appearing from the combat, but this does not remove it as scenery.



You will also need to be aware that your character can die when their health is depleted. When your health bar is depleted, you will go into the 'fight for your life' mode. If you are able to get a kill during this limited time or a teammate revives you, you will be back in the game. One specific character known as Krieg is basically built around this feature and is strongest when he is in this mode causing you to run in and die as soon as possible on purpose. When a character dies for good, there is no gore or screams, they simply fall to the ground and your character becomes pixelated and you get reloaded as if you were being reloaded by a computer.



Throughout the game, there are locations that are like bars. So there are references to alcohol and smoking. There may also be drunk people around. Within some areas, there are slot machines where you can spend in-game money collected through gameplay to spin the machine and try your luck at winning items. If you're unlucky though, you will get a bomb thrown at you … So there are references to gambling including as well.



There are some characters who have revealing aspects to them. The most infamous is known as 'Moxxi' who is not shy about her busty figure or flirtatious suggestive nature. However, this is not a main focus of the game whatsoever and the playable characters are much more modest.



Finally… yes there is a lot of swearing and some pretty vulgar language and comments. The main enemy characters known as ‘psychos' are absolutely deranged maniacs who make all kinds of concerning comments. Some examples include; "I made finger pizza just for you, wear your face like a c*nd*m", or, "You're a feast of eyes and piss in all this bliss", or, "You're gonna be my new meat bicycle." Yes, it's bad, but as someone who has played this game a lot, I have never really focused on what the characters were saying or taken notice of it. Honestly, I was too busy focusing on other aspects of the game. This game focuses on the aspect of crazy fun and while it may seem immature or vulgar, sometimes people need that release to just let go and have fun and this is exactly what Borderlands is about. Every child will react to this differently and it really just depends on the maturity of your child as to whether they could handle these aspects of the game.


Monetization


The Borderlands series is a one-off purchase for each game. There are a lot of DLC's to purchase if you enjoyed the game and want to experience more though. It would be a good idea to wait to purchase any DLC's as some are required to play at a higher level so there is no point if you haven't even played the main game yet. The DLC's can add on an extra 30 minutes to even 7 hours of additional play time which makes it completely work if your child is enjoying the game.



You can also purchase additional playable characters and cosmetics if you want to change up your look or try some of the other characters. However, most customizations for skins and different headsets are also available through normal gameplay.


There is an in-game currency that can be earned through playing the game either by picking it up as you go along, defeating enemies, or completing missions, so there really is no need to spend any additional real life money unless you are really enjoying the game.



Safety


All Borderlands can be played solo or multiplayer with generally up to 4 people online (or 2 on the same console). There are text chat options available in the later games, but this can be disabled. There is also voice chat available in all Borderlands games. In some games, voice chat cannot be disabled, but you can turn the other player's volume all the way down if you don’t want voice chat to be available and have no microphone on your end.



Although the game can be played with no communication online, being able to communicate makes the game so much more fun, especially with friends (or parents!). It is much more fun to play with friends rather than random online. It was also very difficult to find a game online with randoms as we were waiting quite a while and never got a game. If you do end up finding an online game with a random thought and it turns bad, there is the ability to block players if need be.


Tips and Tricks


If your child wants to play Borderlands with a friend, save some money by purchasing only one copy on Playstation or Xbox and then playing couch co-op split screen together! You won’t be able to play online with each other, but this encourages kids to spend some time together in real life while experiencing a fun game (and saving some money!).






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