It would be pointless of me to write a review of Borderlands. I mean, you need to have been living under a rock for the past 10 years not to know anything about the cultural impact and success of the original looter shooter. Released back in 2009, Borderlands pretty much introduced the gaming world to the gameplay mechanic of “shit load of guns”. Now, all the looter shooters have followed suit, with the like of the Destiny’s and the Divisions implementing these mechanics.
There have also been numerous iterations of Borderlands over the years. We have had Borderlands, Borderlands 2, Tales from the Borderlands and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. We also had Borderlands: The Handsome collection in 2015, which was a port of Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel for the current generation of systems.
And now we have Borderlands: The Game of the Year edition, which puts all of the content from the original game in one collection, with the developers pressing the nice big “Save as 4k” button as well. I have personally not played a Borderlands game since the original, and I approach the task of reviewing the GOTY edition without any rose-tinted glasses towards the original games.
There’s no denying that Borderlands has benefitted from this conversion into its 4K/HDR loveliness. Direct comparison with the original really shows the effort that has gone into it and the vast improvement as a result. It really proves the point that your brain tends to forget how things looked in the 360/PS3 era, as our imagination tends to remember this eras graphical prowess as a lot better than it actually was! I booted up the original game on Xbox One and it didn’t look too great. Obviously there has also been an improvement in frame rates, and although there have been some reports of issues, Borderlands GOTY ran perfectly on my Xbox One X.
There have also been some Quality Of Life improvements in the remaster, with a revised mini-map, a better inventory system, and an automatic collection of health and ammo, as per Borderlands 2. There is also the ability to play 4 player split screen co-op, however apparently all four players need their own Xbox live accounts, which may be restrictive for families looking for some couch co-op. There is the option to import your save from the cloud, so its possible to get back in touch with that old trusty character from 10 years ago!
I really am on the fence with this remaster. Borderlands still holds up after ten years, although it does feel inferior to the current generation of shooters. Hardcore fans of the franchise will love it, although I wonder whether there is enough here apart from the improved visuals to warrant those hardcore fans investing the money for just another playthrough of the same game. Newcomers to the franchise may compare this remaster against the other modern shooters and feel let down. A good friend of mine is a Borderlands fanatic, and he is really pleased with this version, especially having only recently gone through the original with the magic that is Backwards Compatibility. It does somewhat also feel like a great big advertisement for Borderlands 3, with the title screen containing a whacking big advertisement to pre-order.
But there is no denying that this remaster is the best way to experience the fantastic game that is Borderlands. The gunplay and humour still stand up as some of the best we have ever experienced in a game. And apart from the irritating early constant encounters with the Skags, there is still loads of fun to be had in killing enemies and seeing body parts flying through the air. So it’s hard to score it any lower than I have. But, don’t come into it expecting anything else than a great 10 year old game that has a new lick of paint.