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Borderlands

Gearbox swaps World War Two for deep space... and arse-faced aliens...

Absolutely absurdly ambitious. Probably the three words that best describe the next project from Brothers in Arms coders Gearbox. Trading the muddy fields of war-torn Holland for the depths of space, Borderlands is a genre hybrid that defies categorisation. With fully implemented vehicular action, open world exploration, super-slick first-person shooting, an online co-op, a smattering of role-playing and even - shock horror! - some decent acting, its kitchen sink approach promises to deliver big-style. Oh, and so do its 500,000 weapons.

Yep, you'll need every one of those half million procedurally (ie randomly) generated weapons as you roam Pandora (a desert shathole languishing in the deepest recesses of the galaxy) playing a bounty hunter contending with bandits and a vicious alien scourge.

Human vs human combat looks fairly generic at this stage, it has to be said, but pretty much everything else we saw threatens to be stand-out. Especially neat was whopping extraterrestrial horror in the shape of epic, multi-layered boss fights to rival God of War, and fantastic driving segments, which see you haring across salt lakes at insane-o-speeds, with a compadre riding shotgun and bandits giving chase. The best bit? Unlike, say, Tomb Raider: Legend this feels fully fledged, with amazing suspension effects and an aesthetic not unlike MotorStorm.

The way in which Borderlands effortlessly flits between a single and multiplayer experience completely dazzles, meaning you can either mill around in your own unique world or - if the mood takes you - invite up to three bounty hunting buddies to help kick some Skag butt. It's all about choices in our early tip for one of the games of 2008.

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