Review: Borderlands: The Handsome Collection (PS4)

FPS
7.4

Good

review-borderlands-the-handsome-collection

You might remember, so very long ago, that I reviewed Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (TPS). Oh wait, that wasn’t very long ago, now was it? Six months ago there was a lot of complaining about TPS not coming out on the latest gen of consoles. People were upset and a lot of spin was put on why they didn’t release for the latest gen, citing small install bases and increased development cost.

But the game came out for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC and I was pretty happy with the game, which I reviewed on PC, after feeling pretty let down by Borderlands 2.

[quote]Having Elpis as an Australian fit perfectly with the tone and humour, and the introduction of low gravity environments and the quest for oxygen adds a lot to the gameplay. Butt-slams are no joke, and will save your life more than a few times. The added verticality changes the format and scale of  platforming puzzles and the way you look for enemies or a safe spot to recharge shields. [/quote]

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Playing Borderlands 2 reminded me of all the things I hated about it. The practically mute characters silently being given piles upon piles of tasks to do. The pointless fetch quests. It also reminded me of what I loved in it: Handsome Jack, slag weapons and open maps that give you space to have a joyride in the vehicles. While I appreciated being able to actually read the signboards and posters throughout the world, the lack of PhysX or anything remotely resembling it was disappointing. It’s also really difficult to go back to Borderlands 2 after playing TPS, thanks to getting used to double jumping around and having the characters actually engage in conversations instead of being silent murderbots. Speaking of murder and bots you get to play as Gaige the Mechromancer who loves her friend Deathbot to bits or as Krieg, who seems to be an excuse to have Brick as a playable character again. If you haven’t, you really need to play Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep, which takes a lot of its references and humour from tabletop RPGs. Careful for those D20s, Tina is a crazy game master!

Playing the Pre-Sequel reminded me that I have the game and that I only just stopped playing it a few months ago due to a serious lack of end-game repeatable content. Also it’s pretty hard to comment on any visual upgrade as I played it on my PC (yeah I went there, sorry), which really chewed through the game without any pause. The extra DLC characters that you get are pretty fun, with the Doppelganger causing all sorts of mischief (while giving Jack even more screen-time) and Lady Hammerlock is a badass sniper that really shines if you are playing with a servant or friend. No wait, a servant. Sign this contract you peasant, I have money.

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Replaying the starting areas of the two games again showed just how formulaic everything was. The tutorials play out very similarly: getting your first shield, the first boss fight against someone with knuckle in their name, access to powers, powering up the system to allow you to digistruct vehicles. Entering a city and learning where all the facilities are: the bank, black market and stash. It makes sense that your character needs access to these things but it was rather interesting to note.

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Both games offer local multiplayer, which is a great way to keep victims pinned down next to you relax on the couch together and play games like this. In Borderlands 2, 2-player split-screen worked fantastically via a vertically setup, as all necessary elements are still visible without messing with your FoV too much. Borderlands TPS is a whole different ball game. Besides two players in the game using a really claustrophobic, zoomed in FoV, the stutter and slowdown is embarrassingly noticeable. My victim friend said how he liked Pre-Sequel, but that it was far too slow and difficult to aim in. I couldn’t think of a better way to put it in layman’s terms. I expect some slowdown in four player (which apparently plays at 30fps), but problems in two player games? Even in single player the texture pop-in is over-pronounced and slow to load, to the point that some in-game sequences are missing details. Some of this is skipped by little pre-rendered movie clips, but the drop in resolution is pretty noticeable.

If you skipped Borderlands: TPS because you were waiting for it to go to the next gen of consoles, now is your chance. You get two games and a whole large thwack of DLC. If you played it before, unless you have a serious itch for some Borderlands shooty looting, you might want to give this rushed port a skip. Also, what happened to Borderlands 1? Poor game has been left in the dust, making this collection feel like its missing a vital step. Still, there is something mind-numbing, almost cathartic about just killing things over and over and over again, looking for loot, even if its in an overpriced rebranded style of a GOTY edition.

Good

  • Lots of content | More shooty than Destiny, much more looty than Destiny

Bad

  • Rushed port | Too soon after release

Summary

The inevitable transition from previous to current generation occurs for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, but Scooter really should take a look at those sputtering engines.
7.4

Good

Gameplay - 7
Visuals - 7
Audio - 8
Gratification - 7
Value for money - 8
If it has the letters RPG in it, I am there. Still battling with balancing trying to play every single game that grabs my interest, getting 100% in a JRPG, and devoting time to my second home in Azeroth.
  • Strange enough, I am having some difficulty finding this game on Xbox One in Durban. Seems like only a few like in a FEW copies on PS4 made it down here.

    Would really like to play this on the Xbox One. But first, I need to work on my backlog a bit.

    • Wol

      If you have both consoles I think it would be wise to go for the PS4 version. The review already mentions performance issues on PS4, so it should be a foregone conclusion that the Xbox One version will struggle even worse (especially since it seems like there was little to no optimisation down for specific platforms).

  • Jivesh Hanoomaun

    Don’t see the point of this, maybe just the Pre-Sequel at R350. I mean did anyone who wanted to play Borderlands 2 miss out on it? R800 is far too much even if the 4 player co-op would be insanely fun.

    • Remastered games should hit a sweet spot of about R450, then I’d bite more and bitch less.

      • Jivesh Hanoomaun

        Yeah R450 is about right

  • I think it’s worth it.

    I paid under R600 for this addition to the world of remasters and I feel as far as remasters go, it takes the cake in terms of value, and I think it looks pretty darn neat, too.

    I mean, we’ve got all of Borderlands 2’s add-on content (which I didn’t get to finish on the 360) and the Pre-Sequel AND its content, too. Man, oh man…them be some mighty fine inclusions, I reckon!

    Also, I didn’t buy TPS when it launched, cos in my heart (location unknown), I (and probably er’body else) just knew it’d make its way to next/current-gen :D/ and the wait paid off.

    • Valshen

      See that’s a completely different ballgame then. You are buying a brand new game plus its DLC for the platform you want it on. PROFIT.

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