Video Game Review: The Apocalypse never looked so good

The world of Borderlands, strewn with raiders, robots and rust, is begging to be explored and looted - this isn't your average game set in an ordinary end-of-the-world wasteland.

Borderlands is set in Pandora, a desert reminiscent of the Wild West and with a promise of a new post-apocalyptic world full of treasure to hunt.

There was significant speculation when Borderlands was announced to have cel-shaded graphics, a type of game animation that seems out of place among the next-generation systems of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. By using cel-shading, which is also referred to as toon shading, graphics appear hand-drawn like those in a comic book.

This style was expected to render HDMI cables (a cable that improves sound and picture quality), as well as high definition televisions obsolete. But, as cinematic - and later gameplay - trailers were released, this assumption shifted to exhilaration. The game transformed cel-shaded and HD graphics into a unique form of animation.

Along with its distinctive graphics, Borderlands also melds two videogame genres into one. As seen in its trailer, this self-proclaimed "role-playing shooter" claims to be the product of a first-person shooter and role-playing game. Although this style has been seen before, such as in Fallout 3, the gun customization adds a new element, delivering on the game trailer's promise of "bazillions" of guns.

The four treasure hunters to choose from are Mordecai the Hunter, Brick the Berserker, Roland the Soldier and Lilith the Siren, each of whom has particular abilities and specializations implied by their class name. These characters can be further customized, which allows the player to choose to place skill points in one of three skill trees as they level up.

Although there are bobbleheads, talk of vaults and the constant threat of raiders, Borderlands should not be shrugged off as another Fallout 3. The most noticeable difference between the two is cooperative game play. This feature allows gamers to play with a friend in split-screen co-op or with up to three friends over an online connection, though it doesn't allow for both at the same time.

Post-apocalyptic wastelands will never get old and they'll never be less fun to loot and explore - especially if games like Borderlands take a genre threatening to become overdone and renovate it into a completely original and visually stunning form of entertainment.

BorderlandsAvailable for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC