Borderlands Legendary Collection Review: Another knock-out port for 2K

When the Nintendo Mini Direct released earlier this year and showcased many of developer 2K’s game library was porting to the Nintendo Switch, I instantly pre-ordered each collection.

Behind me, my fiance glared at me. Instantly ordering over £100 worth of already released games when a wedding was in the works is not her idea of a good time.

Yet, this is the same predicament and joy many Switch owners face on a monthly basis. The alluring possibility of playing these incredible games that have originally been homed onto consoles, but this time portably.

For those unversed, the Borderlands series are what is known as ‘looter shooters’.

Players will shoot, smash and explore their way through various environments ripped straight from Mad Max in the hope of securing more sweet, sweet loot.

A gun could provide just a simple plus one damage, but the Joy-Con will still be thrust into the air in a victorious action, celebrating its discovery.

This collection includes Borderlands, Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel with no sign or plans for Borderlands 3 as of yet. It also bundles all the DLC from those games into one package.

Although, only the first game is on the cartridge, meaning an additional download for the other two games is required. Oh, and the first game has a day one update of just under 8GB

Each game is built around the core looter shooter concept and encourages playing with friends, either locally or via online co-op.

Character classes give a sense of personality to your playstyle with such abilities as dropping an auto-turret or sending out a bird to dish out some damage for you.

The combat in the Borderlands franchise is punchy, frantic and chaotic. Every bullet revels in bringing you a sea of stats to the screen.

Damage numbers will indicate how much devastation you’re causing along with a health bar to assist you. It’s a truly satisfying system and even after multiple iterations, it still hasn’t gotten old.

Each game builds upon the last in lovely ways. The first game is fairly barren, lacks story, but is still packed with personality and worth starting out with.

Moving onto the second – arguably the best – the story expands, the world feels more alive and the charm is dialled to eleven. The Pre-Sequel is also an interesting spin-off to venture into, with a heavy emphasis on low-gravity combat to mix things up.

Perhaps the biggest misstep in Borderlands transition to the Nintendo console is the frame rate. The re-released versions on PS4 and Xbox One boast an impressive 60 frames per second, causing for some silky smooth combat and lovely head pops of gore. The Switch is 30, both docked and undocked.

It’s definitely a lot more rough around the edges too. The world of Borderlands isn’t particularly known for being clean or even hygienic, but the muddy visuals further sully the screen and prevent the wonderful cel-shaded graphics from really popping like they should.

One welcome addition is the use of gyroscopes when firing. Now, when aiming down a sight, you’re able to gently move the controller to accurately line up shots. So when those pesky enemies are escaping your shots like an olympic athlete, you can pop their head with ease.

The Verdict – 4/5

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch

Who the Borderlands Legendary Collection is aimed for is a tricky deal. On the one hand, you have people like me who are suckered into every re-release at the allure of being able to play in bed while the kids are asleep. Others might find it a hard sell.

The game plays just as great as it did in its original iterations, but the collection feels more in touch with the original releases instead of the remasters that wonderfully upgraded the visuals.

If this is your first time diving into the franchise, then you won’t go too wrong with this collection. If you can look past graphical blemishes and a choppier frame rate, it's the same games you love and remember. Just realise you’ll need a large amount of system memory for all three games.

Newcomers will no doubt see past these graphical negatives and find a lengthy, fantastic adventure to jump into. Just be sure to grab some buddies, beers and snacks to enjoy the ride.

The Good

  • Great implementation of the Switch’s gimmicks

  • Consistent and stable performance

  • Three whole games for one price

  • Still as fun as when they originally released

The Bad

  • Lower frame rate than console counterparts

  • Less clearer visual quality

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