Borderlands: Legendary Collection Review – Another Solid Switch Port

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Shlooter
 
Rating: MA15+
 
Release Date: 29/05/2020
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/5


 

Positives


- Runs incredibly well
- Heaps of content to keep you entertained
- Stories still have fantastic funny moments

Negatives


- Loot doesn't feel as special as it once did
- Environments often look bland and empty
- Narrative feels lacking


Posted June 19, 2020 by

 
Full Article
 
 

The Switch ports of May are finally coming to an end, with our final review of the 2K Switch trio of releases. We’ve already taken a look at XCOM 2 Collection and Bioshock: The Collection for Switch, but there was another 2K series that made its first appearance on a Nintendo platform in May: Borderlands. There’s no doubting the popularity and impact of Borderlands since the first game released way back in 2009. Since then we’ve seen a further three games in the series, each selling massive numbers of copies and maintaining a fervent cult-like following. Borderlands Legendary Collection is a brand-new series collection for Nintendo Switch, bringing together Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition, Borderlands 2: Game of the Year Edition and Borderland The Pre-Sequel: Ultimate Edition in a single pack. Similar to Bioshock: The Collection, Borderlands Legendary Collection is a fantastic Switch port that is chock full of content.

Borderlands: Game of the Year Editions Screenshots

Borderlands, as a series, follows a singular theme: You’re a Vault Hunter searching for treasure and you’re more than willing to gun down anything or anyone that gets in your way. There are some smatterings of larger themes throughout the series, such as railing against mega-corporations seeking to take control of the galaxy, but for the most part your Vault Hunter is pretty much along for the ride more than anything. You’re not going to get theological masterpieces here. Instead, what you’ll get is a story filled with humour—in a crass style that won’t be to everyone’s tastes—that really acts as a light treadmill to push you forwards in your quest for more loot and carnage. But it’s a treadmill that is somewhat enjoyable, if not particularly thought provoking or engaging.

Where the Borderlands series has always shone is in its style and loot, and this Switch collection is no different. Originally revealed with a gritty and dark art style that was met with crickets, Borderlands quickly evolved into a cartoonish shooter that was instantly eye catching. That style is much more commonplace today, but its exaggerated lines and deliberately simplistic style has made it stand the test of time much better than other shooters of that era. With that said, there’s a barren and bland quality to many of the collection’s environments and areas that are simply boring today. Environmental textures are often quite simple, and there’s not much going on in the environment to bring a bit of pizzazz to the world. While there may be some narrative hooks that provide a lore reason for this, that doesn’t make the environments anymore interesting to traverse, especially after you’ve spent a few hours staring at the same colour palette with little to no variation. This is one of the areas where Borderlands: Legendary Collection really shows its age compared to other Switch games today.

Borderlands 2: Game of the Year Edition Screenshots

Borderlands and loot are intrinsically connected. There’s a reason the term shlooter was coined to describe the shooter/looter combination that Gearbox made popular with the series. Millions of guns has been the tagline for years now, describing the myriad of elements that combine together to create the weapons you find on your journey. There was always this mythical quality to the number of guns in Borderlands games, and it was certainly impressive at the time, but some of that lustre has worn off today. The number of possible weapons is still impressive, but with so many other loot games having released since these games did, you start to see the truth to those numbers. In reality, while there are a stupid number of guns available, the vast majority of them are identical, with only small differences in their stats or bullet type. You’ll likely find a few very specific types of weapons that feel the best to you and stick with them for the entirety of your playthrough wherever possible. It’s still fun to see the colours pop up as you murder your enemies,

For the vast majority of your time with the game, you’re going to be spending your time wading through crowds of enemies that need to be dispatched. This is where Borderlands: Legendary Collection both excels and falls apart on Switch depending on the game you play. Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition is very much a product of its time, largely meaning that it doesn’t have any form of apparent aim assist. When playing in handheld mode, the collection’s auto-assist options are nearly required, as the joy-con sticks aren’t made to keep up with the precision needed to hit some of the game’s faster enemies. Gyro-controls are supported across the entire collection, but they’re an all or nothing approach that isn’t always great. There’s no way to independently control vertical and horizontal sensitivity, which is especially annoying given you’re much more likely to need quick horizontal movements as opposed to vertical movements. General gameplay also hasn’t quite stood the test of time, with a floatiness to the controls and movements that just don’t feel appealing compared to shooters today.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Ultimate Edition Screenshots

There’s one final thing to talk about regarding Borderlands: Legendary Collection on Switch. Something that needs to be talked about in just about every Switch port there is. How does it run? You’ll be glad to know that the game runs completely fine. Throughout my hours across all three games I never once had any noticeable issues with the framerate or resolution. Even in handheld mode the game held up visually and ran with fluidity. It probably helps that the newest of these games released in 2014, but it’s still impressive to see how well the game runs in a handheld.

Overall, Borderlands: Legendary Collection is a Switch port that is both easy to recommend but also to avoid. There’s nothing inherently bad about the package, in fact, you’re going to get hours of enjoyment out of it, but much of it shows its age in a way that will turn some off. The looting and shooting doesn’t feel as good today as it did ten years ago and there’s not quite enough to the story or style to completely push past those issues. If you’re interested in checking out the series for the first time or really want a new shlooter, it’s easy to recommend the collection.

Borderlands: Legendary Collection was reviewed on a regular Nintendo Switch, with a review copy provided by 2K.


Andrew Cathie

 
Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.