Borderlands released quite a while ago… A decade ago to be precise and it has since become quite an iconic franchise. It spawned a sequel and a pre-sequel as well as multiple DLC packs that expanded upon the game’s world quite significantly. Now, 10 years later, we are finallly getting a remastered version of the first game in the series and it’s quite a welcome addition to the Borderlands family.
The remaster includes all the DLC for the first Borderlands game and is essentially the game of the year edition, spruced up and made to look and feel like a game from 2019. Unfortunately, there are still some slight problems with the game but that lies in the fact that it’s a decade old and these things can’t be ironed away quite easily. The game does however have 4k support now and looks up to standard. Gone are the bland environments that looked flat and instead, there’s a lot more detail to be seen. Characters look crisp, effects look great and the game is all the better for it.
Unfortunately, the game’s dated UI, even with some quality of life improvements is still quite weak and shows its age. Borderlands Remastered is ultimately the same old game, repackaged and revitalized to a certain extent and is probably more suited for newer players rather than returning veterans that have already played the original game to death back in the day. That said, it is well worth it’s asking price, even now, and comes highly recommended from us.
The Handsome Jack Collection (Remastered)
Reviewing Borderlands 2 is by far one of the most challenging reviews I’ve ever done. Not that there is anything wrong with the game. Far from it. The challenge is reviewing a game that was officially remastered for the PS4 four years ago, and has only recently received a face-lift by means of an UltraHD texture pack. It is therefore not a “remaster” in the classical sense. There is no performance increase and saying that the game looks gorgeous is like saying water is wet. At its core it is still the critically acclaimed looter shooter – the title that arguably popularized the genre. It is an excellent game, and if you haven’t given it a shot, there is no better time than the present. Especially considering that Borderlands 3 releases later this year. Even if you’ve played it before, this is an excellent opportunity to give those PS4 Pros and UHD TVs a proper workout. It is The Year of Borderlands after all.
That said, this is a review and I have to be critical. There is no getting around the fact that Borderlands 2 is 7 years old (from first release on the PS3), and it is starting to show some age. One thing that has always bothered me about Borderlands was the user interface. When I started I struggled to figure out exactly where to go and what to do between the different tabs. Granted, there is a slight improvement from its predecessor, but comparing weapon stats is a absolute chore.
Also, why is it that I can only focus and keep track of one quest at a time? When you need to cover large distances on the map, it would be handy to clear multiple quests before returning. The handling of the vehicles are quite terrible, and if I am brutally honest, there is no real depth in the story despite the myriad of unique and quirky characters. Most of the quests involve raiding a bandit camp to retrieve some part or component critical to the main story. Comparing the game to its predecessor, there is no escalation of the threat. Side-by-side, Borderlands 2 is like a slightly improved expansion of Borderlands 1.
All of the above is extreme nitpicking, and there is no denying that the game is extreme fun. Especially playing 4-player co-op with friends. There is no exception here and the game is absolutely designed to be played with friends. Nonetheless, you can have fun playing alone. I am still in love with the art style, which looks even better with the UltraHD texture pack, which also includes HDR. Even though the mechanic of ransacking every nook and cranny, opening every box, safe and locker individually, can become slightly repetitive, upgrading your gear to more effectively eliminate your foe is more fun than ever.
Then, there is value for money. The Handsome Collection includes every piece of DLC and expansion Borderlands 2 has to offer, including the Pre-Sequel. Speaking of, even though the game is essentially more Borderlands 2, it brings a couple of unique features to the table. Firstly, it takes place on the moon and you constantly need to keep track of your oxygen. Gravity is also less, which allow the player to jump higher and further than before. Story wise it focuses on the charismatic protagonist of Borderlands 2, Handsome Jack, and how he came to be a corrupt dictator. While this is predominantly an expansion of the previous game, thus more of the same, its unique mechanics provide enough variation to feel fresh.
Considering that Borderlands 1 is now also available on PS4, and the fact that the price of The Handsome Collection came down significantly,there is no better time to pick the game up and start prepping for the much anticipated release of Borderlands 3.