Still Loving the Borderlands
Let me get this out of the way. I love Borderlands , and that love stems from the countless hours I have spent playing with friends and loved ones, picking up every damn thing we could in the game. The story was funny and engaging, and it made things that seemed rather mundane to me in other titles all the more enjoyable – looting. Looting has never truly been a my “thing” outside of certain genres, Borderlands, to me, made looting a household gaming requirement. With the Handsome Collection, gamers will be looting for hours upon hours, and then asking what happened to that half of the year they’ve lost. (Sentence 1 just needs to be fixed so it makes sense.
This collection centers on Handsome Jack, so unfortunately you won’t get the first installment of the series. Even missing Borderlands doesn’t hinder the collection, though. After all you do get Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 2 , plus you get all of the previously released DLC. The bigger DLC packs alone are often viewed as their own separate games. With all of the extra loot and gameplay hours thrown into the DLC there’s not a lot more you could ask for.
Whether the Pre-Sequel hooked you or not the narrative of this one was still a solid entry. In all honesty I, no doubt like some of you, skipped out on The Pre-Sequel due to the next generation of consoles hitting right around the corner. You can check out our review for The Pre-Sequel for last-gen consoles here . Suffice it to say it is a worthy addition to the franchise. If nothing else, you will enjoy playing as the loudmouth Claptrap for hours on end. To quote a friend of mine while we were playing, “Claptrap is the best because he doesn’t have to breathe.” Seems legit to me.
While I did enjoy The Pre-Sequel , it was Borderlands 2 I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. Everything from the opening song, to the villainous(?) Handsome Jack, the hours of fun gunplay, looting, the occasional diehard action sequences, all the way to the eclectic cast of characters just made a great gaming experience and I couldn’t wait to see how how it was improved in this collection. I was especially interested to see if there was a fix to one of my biggest issues with Borderlands : the frame rate and the occasional pop-in.
I’m happy to say that running at 60fps has really helped clean things up for the game. The pop-in doesn’t seem to happen nearly as often as it did before, and when it does happen, it’s with rather faraway objects. Outside of this, though, there really isn’t a lot to talk about with the graphical improvements. Things are sharper and crisp as you would expect, however this seems to have become very commonplace in nearly all newer next-gen ports. It does at least feel like Gearbox was serious about making the graphics look better all around, unlike some other remasters we’ve seen.
The biggest addition I was looking forward to was the four player split-screen capability. Borderlands always seems like the perfect couch co-op game, and with the Handsome Collection this point seem to have been driven home. Of course, the game still works well with online gameplay, but this new addition really sets the bar for upcoming games. Couch co-op is awesome! In fact, I would dare say the next entry into the Borderlands series needs to come with this as a standard option.
The overall game is really the same, though. Sure, if you’ve never played the series this is a great way to jump in and experience what you’ve been missing. However, if you played, got the season pass, and bought all of the DLC, there’s not a lot here you haven’t already done before. Having access to all of the DLC right from the get go is really nice, but if you are smart you won’t go venturing to those storylines until you’ve had the opportunity to level up some. After all, taking on a level 30 villain when you’re only level 10 will only increase your difficulty to frustrating degrees. Still, it is a nice option to have right at the outset of the game so you can jump in whenever you’re ready.
Just like the content is the same, the voice acting is still as fresh and engaging as it was before. This is one of the other main reasons Borderlands took a foothold on the industry and reliving some of those moments in this collection really helped remind me of the quality of the voice acting and narrative of the story. It’s a true treat for all newcomers to the franchise, and it’s no wonder the fine folks at TellTale are currently having great success with their Borderlands spin-off. They had a great foundation to work with.
That’s really the golden thing about Borderlands: The Handsome Collection . It’s just a great package. For newcomers to the franchise, as I said earlier, this is a great jumping on point. For the older fans of series this is not much beyond what you already know, but it is definitely worth a look simply because of the graphic upgrades and the new four player split-screen option. If this is not a reason to get a remastered version, I’m not sure what is. Just in case, though, remember you are getting two great games with an enormous amount of DLC. We’re all hungry for more Borderlands, but until a new game comes along, Handsome Jack is happy to provide this quality interlude.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.5 Graphics
The graphic update has really helped me spend hours with it. 4.5 Control
The controls are as smooth as you remember. 4.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The same greatness from their previous gen versions. 5.0 Play Value
There is so much to do, you will quit your job. 4.5 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|