Great voice work rubs shoulders with sparse music. Borderlands sounds good.
Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel's bold comic book style truly pops give a high-resolution makeover. However, The Pre-Sequel suffers from a few performance issues here and there, and that pesky slow texture loading still persists.
Still an utter riot with friends in co-op, Borderlands suck in single-player. But then it's not designed as a solo experience, so rope in some buddies and go shoot 'n' loot.
A pair of huge games, all of the additional DLC including The Pre-Sequel's new Claptastic Voyage expansion and all the characters in one package, makes for staggering value. Not being able to switch seamlessly between games is a bit of a pain though.
Two brilliant achievement lists, but they're the same ones from the original old-gen versions. Some will unlock automatically should you move your characters over, but most will have to be earned from scratch all over again.
March 30, 2015
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is another in a long line of remasters. A pair of spruced up games, crammed onto a disc, shoved into a box and sent out into the world. But don't dismiss it out of hand, because The Handsome Collection bundles two huge games in Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, all of the DLC for both, complete with what is actually a rather lovely visual upgrade. So far, so predictable, perhaps, but The Handsome Collection offers incredible value for money.
The game of a bazillion guns and unending loot, the Borderlands titles included in this package promise tens of hours of comic-book style shooting, with a hefty steaming dollop of riotous energy and delirious tongue-in-cheek humour. Borderlands is almost always immense fun, except when you're grinding to level up alone. As ever, these are games best played with friends.
New to The Handsome Collection is the ability to play 4-player couch co-op via local split-screen, with Borderlands 2 running at a smooth 1080p and 60fps, while The Pre-Sequel only manages 30fps. It's not a huge deal, but it is indicative of the kind of remaster job each game has been given. Farmed out to two different developers, both games suffer from the same old slow texture loading that's plagued the series from day one, but The Pre-Sequel is also prone to screen-tearing and frame-rate drops. These are issues we didn't experience nearly as often with Borderlands 2.
Coinciding with the launch of this package is the new Claptastic Voyage expansion, which we'll take this opportunity to review too, as it's included as standard (albeit as a separate update not on the disc). The first story add-on for The Pre-Sequel, this content sees your Vault Hunter being shrunk down and digitised, in order to be sent into Claptrap's warped mind to obtain a powerful item for Handsome Jack known as the 'H-Source'.
What ensues is a madcap journey into the psyche of one of Borderlands' most insane characters, finding out more about his insecurities and quirks, while battling glitches, viruses and other irritating enemies. Most annoying of all, however, is the final boss; a ludicrous, constantly escalating battle that succeeds in being a wearying war of attrition and utterly joyless. It's rubbish and ruins what is otherwise a solid chunk of DLC.
Discount that, and Claptastic Voyage is for the most part pretty decent. Almost as sizeable as Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep DLC, it includes almost everything you could ask for from a Borderlands add-on, although there are more than a few quibbles we have with it beyond the horrid final boss. There's a lot of backtracking, and some of the signposting is poor or simply non-existent. And as always, fetch quests are in abundance.
I also quit the final boss battle to go elsewhere and level up in order to return later on, only to find that I'd seemingly been locked out. It was only upon scouring forums that I found the way back in, as the fast travel option had been removed from the game for no apparent reason. This kind of thing really shouldn't be happening. It's shoddy game design, pure and simple.
Thankfully, Claptastic Voyage and the Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 are included in The Handsome Collection for free, so we can't really complain. Factor in a total of 12 playable Vault Hunters across both games (Salvador, Zer0, Maya, Axton, Krieg, Gaige, Athena, Claptrap, Nisha, Wilhelm, Baroness Aurelia, Doppelganger Jack), two huge action RPGs with more guns and things to shoot than you can shake a stick at, as well as a stack of additional content, and The Handsome Collection truly offers incredible bang for your buck.
And if you want to pick up from where you left off, you can always move an existing character and their progress across to The Handsome Collection by uploading them in the old-gen game first. It's a bit of a fiddly process that means you can't quite part with the old games just yet. Until you've completed the character transfer at least.
Still fairly miserable as a solo experience, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection comes alive with friends and by far represents the best value for money you'll find from a remastered collection. If you already own both, there's little incentive to invest for a second time, but if you don't, then there really is no reason not to pick this up.
You can get our original verdict on Borderlands 2 here and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel here.