Get ready for an action packed, fun filled loot fest with the release of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. Combining both Gearbox’s Borderlands 2 and 2K Australia’s Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel as well as all additional DLC, this collection offers countless hours of quality content to enjoy.
This collection focuses around the story of Handsome Jack, a sadistic madman, with his rise in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and as lead villain in Borderlands 2. Despite Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel acting as a prequel, it is definitely a game you should only play after completing Borderlands 2 due to the number of spoilers given throughout the game.
Most aspects of both the games look and feel very similar, so much so that it would be easy to believe that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel was just DLC for Borderlands 2. Despite numerous similarities in large portions of the game, there was a large difference in quality in the way they were put together.
One area which this is evident is in the humour.
In Borderlands 2 this is very solidly implemented through quests and characters and helps bring a more light hearted tone to the game. In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel however, attempts were made to do the same thing, with a focus on Australian humour, however it often misses its mark. Characters aren’t as amusing and quests generally aren’t as funny, although I still did get the occasional chuckle.
As an Australian who has seen The Castle more times than I care to admit, I consider myself very much in the Australian humour demographic.
Despite that, I felt that many of the Australian jokes and references in The Pre-Sequel seem forced, unnecessary and generally not very funny. To an outsider, I can imagine many of the jokes not making sense in the slightest.
While it may seem that I am trying to say that The Pre-Sequel isn’t a good game, that isn’t the case at all.
Overall I thought The Pre-Sequel is a decent game and definitely worth playing, it just doesn’t come anywhere near the very high standard set by Borderlands 2 in some respects.
In both games, you play as one of a selection of vault hunters, each with their own distinct look and abilities. These abilities vary dramatically from summoning a cool turret or robotic killing machine to potentially turning into a pirate ship or rubber duck.
As you level up each character, you can purchase new skills on the skill tree which is split up into three different main paths. These skills actually make a huge difference to your character and really ensures that your character is tailor made to the way you want them to be.
Throughout the game I was always excited and motivated to level up so I can spend a new skill point, a tell-tale sign that a game has got the skill system right.
Despite being in a very over-saturated first-person shooter genre, the Borderlands games have a very distinct flavour.
Guns are given random stats and abilities which drastically changes the weapon. A shotgun for instance may have a quick-ish fire rate and cause the ammo to deal explosive damage. Similarly, a sniper rifle may deal burst shot damage, firing multiple times automatically, and also set enemies on fire.
These unique properties made each gun feel different and made loot a predominate focus. As there were so many different abilities and stats to consider, choosing a weapon wasn’t a simple task of looking at which gun does the most damage.
To make things even more difficult, I enjoyed using all the different types of guns, something which I have never really encountered before.
By far the biggest weak point of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection for me was the questing, specifically the side quests.
On the surface it seemed to tick all the right boxes: humour is well implemented, they generally felt meaningful and add story to the world, ample reward is given and they help mix things up a bit.
Despite this, I felt that the more I did, the less motivation I had for continuing to play the game. Completing them made me feel like I was going in circles rather than progressing forward. This was largely due to the large number of them and the fact they generally involve me trudging back through the same areas killing enemies that I have already killed. It also made me feel more detached from what is otherwise a very lengthy but intriguing story.
The world in both games is open however they are split up into different areas, separated by loading.
Each area is large and well designed, both in physical characteristics as well as visually. I did feel that this is definitely one area of the game that Borderlands 2 does better than Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.
Moving through the world isn’t too much of a task thanks to the vehicles that are very entertaining to drive and the fast travel system. One addition that is added in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, thanks to it taking place on a moon, is lower gravity and Oxygen which makes moving about the world generally much more fun.
If you opt to choose someone other than Claptrap, (something I would recommend as Claptrap is just really amusing to play as), then you must manage your Oxygen level. Oxygen can be recovered by killing enemies or entering an area filled with Oxygen meaning there is ample opportunity to fill up your supply.
I found that ensuring I didn’t run out of Oxygen wasn’t too big an issue however it did add something extra to consider while running around which I felt added to the game.
This Oxygen supply mechanic also plays a part in combat. In order to breath outside, enemies wear Oxygen masks which you can destroy leading to their gradual but gratifying demise. This creates an extra level of strategy to combat.
The lower gravity enables you jump extraordinarily far with the possibility of adding a mid-air boost at the expense of some of your oxygen. This just makes it exceptionally fun to constantly jump around the place.
It also gives the world a degree of verticality to it and makes things feel more open.
The visual style in Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is somewhat unique, using cel-shaded graphics which provides for an appealing and distinct look. This provides both people and environments with more character and generally makes thing looks interesting.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is one of the best collections on new generation of console.
The excellent blend of humour, action and loot gives these games a very unique and enjoyable flavour. If you missed these games last generation or have an urge do dive back into them, this collection is definitely worthy of your attention.