Borderlands: The Handsome Collection Review

Nicholas Tan
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection Info

genre

  • FPS

players

  • 1 - 4

Publisher

  • 2K Games

Developer

  • Gearbox Software

Release Date

  • 03/24/2015
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PS4
  • Xbox One

rating

A handsome son-of-a-gun.

The Borderlands series is hardly an amateur when it comes to collections. Both the original Borderlands and Borderlands 2 have Game of the Year editions, you can find bundles that include one or the other with BioShock, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and Dishonored, and Steam frequently features special promotions with Borderlands 2 (at the time of this writing, there are actually three!). So the fact that we're facing yet another compilation in the shape of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, which remasters both Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, isn't terribly surprising.

Slapping a score to a review for a collection like this can be rather nebulous since it's all about whether it has bang-for-buck value for you. It's tough plucking down another sixty smackaroos for a game you might already own and have already completed multiple times, though The Handsome Collection does come with all of the DLC for both games at this point including add-on campaigns, level cap increases, combat areans, head/skin packs, and playable characters. The limited Claptrap-in-a-Box Edition comes with a remote-controlled Claptrap (featured in the video below), so that's worth it for diehard fans. Bundling Borderlands 2 is essentially an extra bonus here, but it's a nice touch given that the events in the Pre-Sequel come before Borderlands 2; in fact, you might want to play the Pre-Sequel first just for sake of chronology.

As for its target audience, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is meant for console owners, specifically those who have a PS4 or an Xbox One. I'll give the PC master race the right to disregard this collection with a swish of their collective hands, as the graphical upgrade by virtue of the next-gen consoles is pretty much the equivalent of matching what high-end PCs can deliver with both games already. Specifically, this means an extended draw distance, sharper textures, a smoother 60fps framerate, and better overall technical performance.

Now, if that was all The Handsome Collection did, I wouldn't have bothered to review this in the first place; luckily, there's more here than the typical remastering. If you already have a save for Borderlands 2 or Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on PS3, Xbox 360, or even the Vita, you can transfer your existing saves over to this collection (so long as it's within the same console family) and continue where you left off. For this to work, you must download the cross-save-enabling patches for the respective games on the last-gen consoles (more details here). Pretty much everything except for your Golden Key balance and items in Claptrap's Secret Stash, which you can just store in your bank instead, will roll over. To make up for this, you'll receive 75 Golden Keys, lots of Badass Rank, and bonus character customizations for each game once you sign into SHIFT for the first time in The Handsome Collection.



Better than that, the special console-exclusive feature for The Handsome Collection is the inclusion of four-player co-operative local play via split-screen multiplayer. Couch co-op is a rare bird these days, especially for multiplayer shooters, so while the framerate does dip to 30fps when a third/fourth player drops in locally, it's nice to see that Gearbox is taking advantage of the new-gen consoles to offer this multiplayer option. Just make sure you have a large enough screen at home, because sorting through the equipment menu might make your eyes hurt.

If you've already finished everything that Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel have to offer, or if you have a high-end PC which can take advantage of Steam's frequent sales and promotions, then you can safely pass on The Handsome Collection. However, to new-gen console owner out there, consider purchasing this remastered compilation if you didn't quite finish either game on last-gen consoles and don't want to spend too much time downloading all of the packs and add-ons to catch up. Given that I awarded Borderlands 2 4.5 stars and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel 3.5 stars, the score below shouldn't be a surprise, but both games are worth playing through once more in The Handsome Collection, especially if you have three friends (and the extra controllers) to experience four-player couch co-op.

 

Copy provided by publisher. Review based on PS4 version. Also available on Xbox One version.

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

4
Rating
Good graphical remastering
Includes all DLC for both games
Save transfers
Four-player couch co-op
Doesn't fix issues with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
$60 is a bit pricey