This review is an unedited version of the review written by Zombie Dredd and published in the Tech Magazine: Issue 71 July 2019.
With the recent announcement that Borderlands 3 is arriving later this year, developer Gearbox Software also dropped a number of upgrades for the three already released games in the franchise.
The original Borderlands arrived in 2009 and was an instant classic with its first-person shooter dynamic seamlessly combined with roleplaying elements. It brought along humour for good measure, entertaining characters and a ‘Gazillion’ guns. It can be argued that Borderlands ultimately set up the future for games like Destiny, but not before Gearbox added Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel to the mix.
On announcing the third game in the original trilogy, Gearbox released the first Borderlands for current gaming platforms as the Game of the Year Remastered edition. The 2019 update brings the game and all downloadable content, with upgraded graphics, making it a worthwhile starting point for new players to the franchise.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection features Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The two titles were originally released in 2012 and 2014 respectively, while the collection was released in 2015. For owners of the Handsome Collection, Gearbox released the Ultra HD pack – a free graphical upgrade to further enhance the experience.
ENTER THE BORDERLANDS
Borderlands sends players to a planet called Pandora to explore the world solo or as part of a (co-operative) team of ‘Vault Hunters’. Between you and the final, loot-laden vault stands a variety of hostile indigenous creatures, bandits and a private army.
As with most traditional open-world roleplaying games, you can complete a series of main missions and side quests to level up your chosen character. The character selection is restricted to one of four class types which have changed per title, with each variation being a unique (and colourful) addition to the Borderlands world. Classes see players wielding shields, turrets and healing capabilities, along with abilities such as phase-walking and more. All these are upgradeable and left to the player’s preferred style of play. Traversing the world is made possible via a number of vehicles and fast-travel options.
Borderlands is a game that never takes itself seriously, and this is carried across via its engaging storyline, varied characters, abundance of elemental weapons and the graphics themselves. The game utilised a cartoon-style, cel-shaded graphic render which is now sharper thanks to the update on the more powerful consoles.
However, the graphics are not the only updates for the Borderlands Game of the Year edition. A number of Borderlands 2’s features have been added to the first game. These include replacing the compass display with a mini-map, additional character customization and a tougher final boss. Co-operative split screen support has also been expanded from two-players to four-players on consoles.
EXPLORE THE WORLD
The Borderlands titles have consistently featured satisfying gunplay that easily out-shoots many of the newer first-person shooters on the market. The roleplaying mechanics are manageable for newcomers to the genre and the storylines are entertaining enough to warrant replaying of the games. Although I will admit to a little early game fatigue due to the tutorial nature of early missions. There is also a lot of reward in what appears to be a grind, and the game is really special when played co-operatively.
If you were to choose one of the games, Borderlands 2 would be the best starting point as it saw Gearbox really get everything right. Borderlands is still a must play but The Pre-Sequel could be the one you consider skipping. However, you have plenty of time to get through all three titles before Borderlands 3 arrives, so there is no excuse to skip any. Borderlands is – quite frankly – a must-play franchise.
Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
Distributed in SA by: Prima Interactive