The last generation of consoles may still be rolling along nicely for some, but for many, new gen is where it’s at. However, that doesn’t stop us from harking back to days gone by, reminiscing about some of our favourite games over the last few years. Many of those who have already made the jump to the new more powerful consoles will look back to Borderlands and its sequel as being standout titles of the old generation. With that in mind, the arrival of Borderlands 2 and its slightly less hyped cousin, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on Xbox One and PS4 is pretty exciting.
But is the combination of the two, in one big Handsome Collection package, worthy of our cash all over again?
Well, it depends how you look at things really. If you’re a fan of everything that Gearbox Software and 2K throw out, then chances are you’re going to be one of those who jump in with both feet on the revamped, content packed package. If however you’re not one of those who feels the need to plough hours on end into the whole Borderlands universe once again then a bit of convincing may be needed.
Although being completely honest, you really shouldn’t need to be coerced into buying Borderlands: The Handsome Collection because it’s bloody good…and extremely large in size!
As you can probably tell by the name of the package, The Handsome Collection offers the complete story of one of the most iconic villains of recent time, Handsome Jack, from his humble beginnings as a standard Hyperion worker, right up to his rise to power as self-styled iron fist dictator.
Both versions of the games that have been included in The Handsome Collection see a group of new Vault Hunters given the opportunity to explore huge worlds as they take on various missions given to them by some of the most delightful NPC’s you’re ever likely to find in a videogame. Whether you sit and spend five minutes listening to the inane ramblings of ClapTrap or those of the delightfully crazy Tiny Tina in Borderlands 2 or just go about helping Jack out in The Pre-Sequel, the missions that you’ll find thrust in front of you are all well scripted, death filled crazy affairs. The Borderlands humour is something that I’ll never forget and it’s been great to meet up with some of my favourite characters from the last few years once again.
Now in full HD with the power of next gen fully behind it, Borderlands 2 is instantly recognisable (that’s what happens when you throw tens of hours into a game the first time round) but The Pre-Sequel was a little trickier to get to grips with. This was especially true when taking in the new missions directly after B2 as thanks to the low gravity mechanic and multiple tiered world (much more so than in the other), travelling around could sometimes get confusing. Once you get used to the new way of travel however, The Pre-Sequel brings just as many smiles as anything found in either of the original games.
Things aren’t completely perfect though. Whilst the visual upgrades are more than welcome, a few issues occur when going in and out of menus, especially when playing alongside a friend in local co-op. Borderlands 2 sees some major stuttering when opening menus, so much so that at times I was nervous about checking out my latest weapons, shields and gear. The Pre-Sequel meanwhile doesn’t seem to have been afflicted with the same issue, but local co-op causes issues in which the menus can’t be read fully, at least not without having to manually move the camera around to fit all the text in. It’s a little shoddy really and the experience in Borderlands 2 especially is affected to too much of a degree.
But don’t let those couple of things put you off completely as in terms of an all round package, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection excels in the vast majority of areas. Unless you were a hardcore Pandorian the first time round, chances are you’ve yet to check out some of the now included content (in fact, if you can think of some Borderlands content then you’ll find it included for free in The Handsome Collection) and whilst it’s still great fun to play through alone, if you ever get the chance to grab a friend or three, either online or offline, then both Borderlands tales play brilliantly, with the numerous insane enemies being beefed up to compensate for the extra Vault Hunters that are going into battle.
The more Hunters that get involved the better really, although things can quite quickly descend into a manic shooting frenzy and quickly followed by a dash and grab in order to get the best weapons before your friends. Thankfully, the option to trade weapons and shields with fellow Vaulties is a welcome one and can help those who struggle for kills no end. You’ll need to be leveling up fairly quickly in order to survive and the opportunity to grab some hardcore gear from a friend is great. That is if they ever give it to you and perhaps a quick duel between friends is the best way to sort things out!
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is a superb duo of games…but whether you’ll want to pump hours of your time into the two stories once more is all down to personal preference. I’m struggling to see what The Handsome Collection brings to those who have played through both games and the ton of downloadable content previously, especially if they are struggling to convince friends to jump in to help them out.
Personally though, I’ll take in as much of the Borderlands universe as possible…and the opportunity to bring previous generation saves right into The Handsome Collection certainly helps!