Borderlands: The Legendary Collection – Review
Follow Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Gearbox
Publisher: 2K
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Borderlands: The Legendary Collection – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: 200+ hours worth of content
Bad: Missing some DLC
User Score
7.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Borderlands: The Legendary Collection marks the first time Gearbox’ beloved FPS series appears on a Nintendo console. Bundling Borderlands Game of the Year Edition, Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and (almost) all DLC for these titles, the Legendary Collection comes to the Switch as an “exclusive” package deal, although all of the content on offer can be found separately on other platforms. The Legendary Collection does come with the added feature of portability but is it worth the higher price tag?

Story

Set on the wasteland planet of Pandora, each of the three games offers a story-driven FPS experience focusing on the adventures of a set of Vault Hunters. Each game introduces a new selection of player characters and a different major story. The first Borderlands tells the story of the Vault Hunters as they are driven to find Pandora’s fabled Vault, led by the psychic instructions of the Guardian Angel. Borderlands 2 sees the Vault Hunters join forces with the Crimson Raiders in order to take down Handsome Jack. Finally, the Pre-Sequel is set between the two other games as it details Handsome Jack’s rise to power. Through recurring characters and DLC stories that expand on the larger events from the three games, a cohesive narrative is crafted, which in turn results in impressive worldbuilding. 

Graphics

One thing we can say about Borderlands’ striking visual style is that it holds up really well. This is in part due to its comic book-like aesthetics which resemble cel-shading, as well as its exaggerated character designs. It’s this same visual style that defines the Borderlands world, not just in the Legendary Collection but in the spin-off games as well. It’s nice to see just how well everything translates to Switch, especially in handheld mode, as the games look gorgeous. The Switch lacks support for 4K resolution -something the PS4 and Xbox One versions of these games do have- but the graphic style is very forgiving. Things will look much crisper on the two other platforms, but Borderlands: The Legendary Collection is still gorgeous on the Switch. 

Sound

An impressive selection of both licensed and original music accompanies players as they loot and shoot their way around Pandora. Not only are the licensed music tracks carefully selected to match the on-screen happenings, but they’re also just good, to the point that many people have created Borderlands-themed playlists on various streaming platforms. The original music stands out as well, instantly delivering the right mood and atmosphere. It’s one of those rare instances where a game gets its music selection so perfect that there is nothing bad we can say about it.

The voice actors deliver fantastic work as well. This is partially due to the excellent writing, with even the generic NPC thugs getting good lines, but it’s the delivery of these lines that really sells them. There isn’t a single voice cast member that phones in their performance, and you can actually tell that they’re all having fun with their characters. Some performances are deliberately over-the-top, befitting the games’ exaggerated comic book style. 

Gameplay

All three games offer a mission-driven FPS experience with a heavy focus on looting gear. There are literally thousands of weapons scattered around the world of Pandora, each offering slight tweaks and adjustments. The key to success is in getting better gear, which you’ll obtain as you play through the missions. Getting better gear allows you to take on more dangerous foes, which in turn rewards you with even better gear. Rinse and repeat. The world is expansive and the missions are well-balanced but things do get a bit repetitive after a while, even with the occasional boss fight to spice things up. Given that the entire collection offers 200-ish hours worth of content, we recommend pacing yourself and not rushing through all three games (and the included DLC) back to back. 

We highly recommend (re)playing the original game first. It’s a masterfully crafted experience, and the GOTY edition adds a lot of polish, some of which has been retrofitted from the sequels. Still, even with the new bells and whistles, it pales in comparison to Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel. It’s not that the first Borderlands game doesn’t hold up, but the later entries in the series cram in so many extra features that the first one ends up feeling a bit lackluster. Using e-tech weapons or slag in order to increase your damage output quickly becomes second nature, so their absence in the first game is sorely missed.

One thing that really stood out here is a feature that many players will overlook, even though it can have a huge impact on your experience with these games. The Borderlands collection allows you to customize its controls to fit your preferred playstyle. Not only can you switch between gyro aiming or stick aiming, but you can even adjust the stick sensitivity. 

The main draw of Borderlands on the Switch is of course that you can play these games as handheld titles. Playing Borderlands on the go is an appealing prospect, and we’re happy to confirm that Borderlands translates really well to the handheld format. The Legendary Collection isn’t Borderlands’ first outing as a handheld game, as Borderlands 2 was available on the PS Vita, but that port had to cut a few corners that the Switch version doesn’t. Performance is great, albeit with the occasional frame drop. Running the game can be a bit demanding of the console’s battery in handheld mode so keep that in mind, but overall we were very happy with the game’s portability.

We have to ask the question of whether it’s worth it to pay the “Switch tax” to be able to play these games on the go compared to the offerings on other platforms. In all honesty, it’s really hard to justify paying €50 for this collection for a number of reasons. The main argument here is of course that the games are available for a fraction of the price elsewhere. Additionally, the Legendary Collection offers an incomplete package, as it contains all DLC for the three games included… except for the Commander Lilith and the Fight for Sanctuary campaign. In a way this makes sense, as this campaign is a bridge between Borderlands 2 and Borderlands 3, and there is no indication that Borderlands 3 is headed to the Switch. There’s still a mountain of content crammed into this collection so we can’t say it’s bad value for money by itself, but the smart choice would still be to either wait for a price drop or to get stuck in on another platform.

Conclusion

We’re a bit conflicted when it comes to recommending Borderlands: The Legendary Collection. It’s a very attractive package on its own, with three fantastic games and dozens of hours worth of DLC, but we just cannot get over the €50 price point (which becomes an eye-watering €70 if you decide to buy the games separately on the eShop). If you have the option to play these games on any other platform, then do so. If the Switch is your only option, just wait for the price to drop.

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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Borderlands: The Legendary Collection - Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


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