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Borderlands: The Handsome Collection Review

Replay Value:
Online Gameplay:
Overall Rating:
2K Games
Gearbox Software
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
March 24, 2014

Hypothetically, let’s say you’ve never played Borderlands 2 or Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel . Or, perhaps you played one but not the other. Either way, if you missed out on previous franchise fun, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is for you. Packed with extra content, upgraded technical elements, and colossal bang for your buck, this new package is perfect for those late to the party. If you’ve already played the games in question, it’s unlikely you’ll want to spring for this compilation. Aside from the DLC and updated visuals, these are – for the most part – the games you remember with affection.

Featuring splendiferous 1080p resolution, improved textures, and better lighting effects, both titles benefit from Gearbox’s polishing. Both shooter adventures run as smoothly as ever, too, and you’ll likely appreciate the meticulous attention to detail. This particular graphical presentation emphasizes the singular attraction of the cel-shaded approach, as the colorful, engaging environments are quite immersive. I still think some of the areas are a little too empty and bland, but certainly not to the level of the original Borderlands title. All in all, the graphics are exactly what you’d expect: Just a bit better than you’ve seen before.

The sound doesn’t seem to have improved too much but that’s okay, it was great to begin with. The comical voice performances, all of which are bound to make you grin a hundred times during the course of your play-through(s), are executed with gusto and verve. This matches the lively nature of the score, which complements the action at every turn. There’s very little to complain about, although I will say the soundtrack recedes into the background too often during intense firefights. There are some bosses that cause the music to kick up a notch or two, which I like, but I always find myself asking for even more soundtrack goodness.

First off, let’s make one thing plain: This package will deliver many hours of enjoyment. Like, hundreds of hours, if you get involved in the addictive multiplayer, which has never been better. The two games offer a dozen playable characters, each of which is highly distinctive and interesting in his or her own way. Taking to the battlefield with different characters offers wildly varying experiences, despite the fact that this remains a straightforward FPS. Gearbox has always done a great job presenting players with super cool and unique classes, which inspire multiple play-throughs and plenty of experimentation. Actually, if you stuck with only one class previously, this is a good excuse to sample other options.

And of course, the drive for better and better loot pushes you through both games. It’s like Diablo in first-person shooter form; it’s a smorgasbord of goodies, which fall from defeated enemies and can be found littered throughout Pandora’s sprawling landscape. The developers have always made a big deal about the sheer number of weapons that could feasibly be located, and they have every right to boast. While it’s certainly true that minor differences in a weapon don’t really mean much, overall firearm design is almost unparalleled in the world of shooters. They’re fun without being silly and wonderfully rewarding.