Borderlands: The Handsome Review
Following the trend of every other major successful AAA title released in the past couple of years, 2K and Gearbox have also upgraded two of their Borderlands games for new generation consoles in The Handsome Collection. Who knew you needed to see the unique yet simplistic cel-shaded art style of Borderlands in even higher definition?
The bundle collects Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (confusingly, in that order) with an impressive slew of DLC and additional content that’s already been previously released for PS3 and Xbox 360. Fans of the franchise should be well acquainted with what to expect already and thusly have very little reason to even be reading a review of these previously released games. However, for newcomers to the mad world of Borderlands, The Handsome Collection is an excellent starting point that impressively bundles everything you’ve missed on one disc. “But what about the first Borderland game?” you’re probably wondering.
Aptly named The Handsome Collection, the bundle follows the story of Handsome Jack, the brilliantly-written antagonist of Borderlands 2. While the first Borderlands laid the foundations of a new world, the savage planet of Pandora and all its primal inhabitants, its main story lacked a Big Bad; in a setting where everything is trying to kill you anyway, Borderlands bordered on boring. They fixed this in Borderlands 2 with the introduction of Handsome Jack.
This cocky son of a bitch was the type to fuck shit up for you simply because it amused him. He was vile. And probably the kind of guy who’d be cruel to baby animals. He had a living pony made of diamonds called “Butt Stallion”. I didn’t like him, but I did appreciate his development as a character and apparently, other fans did too. So much so that they dedicated Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel as his origin story. And now he has his own bundle.
And Handsome Jack is just one character. The other characters in Borderlands are pretty cool too, I suppose. The extreme absurdities of the personalities and their stories in Borderlands downplays a rich experience with the perfect balance of wit and satire, and appropriately placed pop culture references. I mean, it can be pretty deep, bruh.
Even though Handsome Jack has redefined the Borderlands games, the mechanics of the shoot-and-loot remains unchanged since the beginning of the franchise. The distinctive hybrid FPS RPG blend fits well together with the option to choose character classes that compliments different player styles with a special ability. Beyond classes are loot items that tailors the character specifically for each player. Choose from shields that regenerate health or explode when depleted, class mods that help emphasise your character as a bullet-sponge tank or conservative healer, and grenade mods that creates a singularity or wreck havoc by exploding with additional grenades. And of course, guns. Like, a gbjzillion guns. Even talking guns and guns that shoot swords that explodes into smaller swords.
But what good is character customisations if you can’t run around with friends in the game who have equally ridiculous equipment combinations? And y’know what we are desperately missing these days that is actually featured in Borderlands? Couch co-op. Because Gearbox has faith that we, collectively as gamers, haven’t entirely devolved into basement-dwelling neckbeards.
I know it’s probably a bit of a niche market for a game to be a great co-op FPS with…a story (a damn fun story at that), but The Handsome Edition is probably one of the more worthwhile remasters for current generation consoles, with two whole games and a shittonne of additional content.
If you only like playing Destiny’s PvE, you’d probably prefer Borderlands: The Handsome Collection.