A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players pretty much kill anything and everything in their sights (with the exception of mission-providing humans, who cannot be hurt) without much consequence. Also, players can loot the money and possessions of others, even when the character is standing right in front of them, with no consequences.
Positive Role Models
Players assume the role of mercenaries on a search for a legendary vault while amassing as many guns and as much cash as they can get their hands on.
Ease of Play
The game begins with a quick tutorial that helps players learn the shooting controls. As you discover new items, the game will explain what they are and how each is used. The game is good at offering instruction throughout the adventure.
Violence & Scariness
Players will use a large array of weapons to kill both human and non-human enemies, including assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, sniper rifles and rocket launchers. Some weapons have elemental effects that deal more damage. For example, the bullets of some guns will set enemies on fire or electrocute them. Enemies scream after dying, with final attacks resulting in spewing blood, loss of limbs or decapitation. Prepare for lots of gore.
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The worst words used are "f--k", "s--t", and "p---y".
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Products & Purchases
The game has fictional gun manufacturers that create the weapons players will use. However, you'll only notice this when you acquire a new weapon.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Borderlands is a very gruesome first-person shooter meant for adults only. Besides using strong language and mature humor, the game is quite violent. Players amass a large collection of weapons which they use to kill humans and creatures native to the planet they're visiting. When enemies are killed, blood often shoots in the air. In some cases, limbs fly off bodies and heads can be decapitated. Prepare for plenty of blood and gore. The game is also playable online, a feature Common Sense Media does not recommend for children under the age of 12.
Is It Any Good?
Borderlands' big draw is its huge arsenal, which consists of thousands of guns randomly generated throughout its environments. The weapons feel quite different compared to other shooters and are really fun to use. Ammo contains elemental properties that can add acid, fire or electric damage. The urge to test out newly discovered firearms is often enough incentive to march through the lengthy campaign.
Complementing the unique arsenal is a vibrant world that employs a cel-shaded animation reminiscent of a comic book. The game features a wide variety of enemies, both big and small. They're not always very smart, however. While you would expect animals to run toward you without a thought, it's hard to watch human enemies present themselves as such easy targets. The game also includes an impressive, seamless online experience where up to three players can join your game at any time. Alternatively, you can join anyone else's game. Groups of players can also enter arenas for four-player competitive multiplayer, making it very easy to get lost in the world of Borderlands.
Online interaction: Players can join others games at any time in cooperative and competitive play, and the game includes open chat with others. That means the range of language and ideas (good or bad) that could be encountered online is unknowable.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.