Following the announcement of Borderlands 3, coming out later this year, Gearbox Software have re-released the first title with updated graphics and a few tweaks, plus all the game’s DLC. The other two games in the franchise have already been brought onto the current generation of consoles in the Handsome Collection, released back in 2015. Now they have decided to build up hype for the new game by releasing the first game onto the Xbox One and PS4. Borderlands is turning 10 years old this year, so how does Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition hold up to modern FPS standards?
As you already know, the main draw of Borderlands is that it is a loot-based shooter. Back in the day, this game was referenced as the shooter version of Diablo; however, in the decade since, we have seen the evolution of the shooter genre into a lot more sub-genres. The birth of games like Destiny and The Division have maybe put the original Borderlands in the dark ages when it comes to the mechanics. However, you can rest assured the original Borderlands holds up really well. The addictive nature that comes from this game is still present, and the grind to find better guns and better gun combinations is as good as it was back in 2009.
The cel-shaded art style has also held up to the test of time. This game still looks brilliant, but on the odd occasion textures take a while to load in, but the overall look of the game is still superb. The characters also look great, and they have even included different heads for your characters. This is mildly pointless, however, as you never actually see the character in the world, but it is still a nice touch.
There is still the fluid gunplay that has been perfect from day one, and seeing the numbers pop out of the enemies is still as satisfying as ever. The game’s classic humour is still there and is still pretty funny, but it is not as good as that in the sequels, especially in Borderlands 2 with the likes of Tiny Tina. Some people also might find Claptrap to be quite irritating, but I find him to be quite a funny little character that adds a lot to the story.
There is also a nice touch in the fact that they have added the mini-map to the HUD, which was not included in the original version of this game since it was first introduced in the sequels, so it was nice that they included it in this edition of Borderlands. The game has also expanded the original game’s two-player co-op to four players, which is great if you can band together with a group of players who take the roles of each of the playable characters.
When you look back and take the all the games in the Borderlands series into perspective, the original game’s story is by far and away the weakest of the three games, and that is truly understandable as the developers have found the winning formula in the latter games and were still finding their feet in this one. The other weaknesses in this game are similar to the ones that were apparent in the original version. The first of these comes in the form of the lack of enemy variety. This is also coupled with the fact that they are very dumb. I literally just crouched down and just killed all the enemies in one area with ease and barely took any damage whatsoever. Lastly, the bullet sponge of a final boss has been tweaked slightly to be somewhat less spongy than it was in the original version, but it is still quite the annoyance. It is not as bad as it was before, but it still takes way too many bullets to put it down.
When you look at this game in the grand scheme of things, no one was really calling out for this remaster. Whilst Borderlands is a great game, both of the sequels do everything this game does, only better. There is not one element of this original game that is outstanding, but all of the individual elements put together do make a solid enough game. In all honesty, Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition is only here for the die-hard Borderlands fans out there; otherwise, if you are looking to scratch that looter shooter itch until the third instalment releases in the Autumn, then I would say pick up the Handsome Collection, which is significantly cheaper and is available as part of the Xbox Game Pass.
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: Gearbox Software
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 3rd April 2019