Gamers are a divided bunch, whether we like to admit it or not, and each individual will have a differing opinion or contrasting view on this, that or the next thing. Deadlocks arise in all facets of gaming from the consoles that we use to the style of gameplay that we enjoy. One thing that we should be able to agree on though is that all games have a scale of realism. On one end of this spectrum we have the simulation freaks, the gamers who enjoy realism and life-like dynamics. On the other hand however, we have the mad-hatters who side with arcade gaming where realism is thrown out of the window and physics are non-existent. Personally, I normally err on the side of realism and although I do enjoy the odd mental title I generally crave a well thought out and balanced system. The prime example is that of racing games: Gran Turismo fans trying to edge that extra split out of every apex versus Burnout fans, attempting to go around all corners sideways whilst lighting those tyres on fire. Here though, we are dealing with first person shooters and I have been tasked with Borderlands – The Handsome Collection.

Having played the Borderlands series on last generation consoles I was keen to give the new Collection a run for its money on our new and improved tech. My first issue though was that I am not a big fan of re-releases. I would prefer a whole new title rather than a repackaged attempt at an old game. Nevertheless I endeavoured on and I must say – I enjoyed it. If you have never played a game in the series then it is important to know that Borderlands is a first person shooter unlike any other with a cartoon-like design. This is not a Call of Duty, nor is it a Medal of Honour or Battlefield. This is a shooting crazy, humour filled, gun festival with artistic inspiration coming off of a graffiti wall. From the frantic pace at which the game is played to the epic boss fights throughout, Borderlands is arcade to the tee. Shoot an enemy and numbers pop off of his/her body showing you how much damage is being received (obviously more damage is inflicted when head shots are achieved), spawn vehicles with cannons and lasers, hop around in space and float around to the closest oxygen supply (In Pre-Sequel only), collect guns and collect more guns. Players are thrust into outlandish worlds and made to fight all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures and enemies all with different mohawks and catch phrases.

Borderlands has never truly had a captivating storyline, nor will it ever, but I have never been bothered by Gearbox Software’s lacklustre attempts in that regard. I love the constant humour throughout and the cut-scenes are filled with a good chuckle if you are patient enough to sit through them.

As mentioned, gameplay is nothing more than shooting and jumping around or hiding behind objects. There is nothing complex to achieve and the most difficult part of many a battle comes when selecting what weapon would be best to crush your under-powered enemy with. You will have a selection of characters to choose from at the beginning of each game, each with their own special power. This special power recharges before re-use and can be upgraded by gaining XP. Upgrades are rife and aside from those upgrades that strengthen your power there are other possibilities such as increasing your reload speed (a personal favourite) or the damage inflicted by different weapons.

Gearbox Software must pride themselves on their weapon design with an array that could compete with any Lord of War. The game is essentially about trying to overpower your character by finding rare and unique weapons, each with different strengths and weaknesses. Obviously looting plays a large roll and valuable items will be found throughout the maps on bodies and in storage units alike. There are “vending machine” type shops for buying or selling items such as ammunition, medicinal kits and, of course, weapons. Compare weapons for hours and decide which best suits new opponents. Some weapons have attachments that will give a percentage chance of, among other things, burning or freezing enemies. I loved the fact that weapons with burning add-ons would only be effective in oxygenated zones and that frozen enemies could be smashed into tiny bits.

Despite all of these pros I must emphasize the monotony presented and playing “the Collection” became more of a way of killing time than killing enemies. The craving of exploring or tapping into other styles of play is stifled as there are no such options. This is not tactical, this is not stealthy, this does not take too much effort. The game is not a work of art and it is a monotonous waste of time. This all should thoroughly annoy me and result in me blaspheming and telling you off the game. I can’t though, because Borderlands has always been fun and it is truly an ideal way to procrastinate. The Handsome Collection is almost the same game twice but it is a bargain and something that arcade freaks should really enjoy.

Borderlands The Handsome Collection Rating: 7/10

Check out the Borderlands The Handsome Collection website: The Handsome Collection

Nicholas Holt – PS3 Games Writer | About me – Scared of Batman, Parktown Prawns and Vanilla Ice-cream. Dream Wingman: Mahatma Gandhi. Studying: Bcom Law at WITS.
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