Review: Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
After invading the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC for now over three years, Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel land on the new generation of consoles, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, in a compilation named The Handsome Collection. A successful port or a pointless one?
Borderlands in general are game you don’t need to explain. If you like FPS, co-op games, and humor, and you’ve never played a Borderlands, then you must be someone living in a cave on a distant planet. The franchise offers a tasty cocktail of action, a multitude of quests and items, plus a platora of fun heroes (with strategic choices to take in terms of our game style and our class).
Our preference is clearly on the side of Borderlands 2. Very fun, well paced, funny and long, this is simply the best in the series for me. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is a nice episode, but it clearly lacks ambition, despite some good ideas such as the gravity element, the oxygen management and the interest of some atypical hero (Jack and Claptrap). Ideas that we would have liked to see more developed.
On the topic of content, 2K didn’t go cheap, by offering us in Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, all of the two episode’s downloadable content (including those who had been excluded from Borderlands 2 Season Pass). In that case, despite the regrettable absence of the original episode, there is already plenty to do and you could go well over the three hundred hours, with content that is worth more than $100 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
But this is all good if you never played these games. What about us Borderlands veterans? Gearbox readied a “cross-save” option to allow us to upload our PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 save files, and continue the adventure on the new console generation… as long as we stay with the same manufacturer. You can only transfer your PlayStation 3 (or the PS Vita, for Borderlands 2) to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 360 to Xbox One.
Finally, a small clean exclusive feature has been to the compilation: the possibility of playing coop with up to 4 players on the same screen (in comparison to two previously). Although readability and the frame rate is reduced to 30 fp, this is a nice little bonus for a great game to be played between friends or family; Borderlands is not a full experience without allies. The Online Mode is obviously present if you prefer to be not sharing a screen and supports the same number of players.
From a strictly technical point of view, this compilation offers a much finer rendering level than on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A better definition (1080p in comparison to 720p) and a fluidity of textures. There’s an impeccable constancy on Borderlands 2 (60 fps), but I did notice some frame rate drops on The Pre-Sequel, which are not repulsive, but still a bit unpleasant (and were present on the old generation release anyway).
Moreover, compared to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, the gain in terms of visual comfort is real (as versions are clearly closer to the PC version in terms of rendering), and both titles retain a certain charm, with the iconic Cel-Shading textures. However, both games are clearly not high standards, and the same bugs that you experience on PC, are on the new generation consoles: over-aliasing certain shadows, slow load of textures, etc.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection was reviewed using an Xbox One review copy of the game provided by 2K Games. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 in both retail and online store releases. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Rich in content
• All DLC included
• 4 player splitscreen
• Imperfect framerate in The Pre-Sequel
• No main menu?
• It's missing the original game
• Not really any big additions for fans