Borderlands GOTY

Borderlands Review
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Title: Borderlands: Game of the Year
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K
Website: https://borderlands.com
Genre: Action, FPS, Looter Shooter, RPG
Platform: PC
Audience: PEGI 18 – Online, Violence, Language
Release Date: 03/04/2019
Price: £24.99 Digitally – the game was purchased by the reviewer.

What the Developers say

Lock, Load, & Face the Madness

Get ready for the mind blowing insanity! Play as one of four trigger-happy mercenaries and take out everything that stands in your way!
With its addictive action, frantic first-person shooter combat, massive arsenal of weaponry, RPG elements and four-player co-op*, Borderlands is a breakthrough experience that challenges all the conventions of modern shooters. Borderlands places you in the role of a mercenary on the lawless and desolate planet of Pandora, hell-bent on finding a legendary stockpile of powerful alien technology known as The Vault.

Role Playing Shooter (RPS) – Combines frantic first-person shooting action with accessible role-playing character progression

Co-Op Frenzy – Fly solo in single player or drop in and out with up to 4 Player Co-Op online for a maniacal multiplayer experience

Bazillions of Guns – Gun lust fulfilled with rocket-launching shotguns, enemy-torching revolvers, SMGs that fire lightning rounds, and tons more

Radical Art Style – New visual style combines traditional rendering techniques with hand-drawn textures to create a unique and eye-catching spin on the First Person genre

Intense Vehicular Combat – Get behind the wheel and engage in intense vehicle-to-vehicle combat

https://store.steampowered.com/app/8980/Borderlands_Game_of_the_Year

Introduction

As I mentioned in my recent Anthem Review, the ‘looter shooter’ genre has always appealed to me, and historical Borderlands plays a big role in that. It’s lauded as the first successful ‘looter shooter’, and brought me hours of entertainment back on the Xbox 360.

Technically, I didn’t have to spend a penny on the Borderlands Game of the Year Enhanced edition. Those that owned the PC version of the original Borderlands on Steam were given a free upgrade.

Borderlands 2 is widely regarded as an improvement over the first entry, but it’s nice to see some love being shown to the original in this HD remaster. Almost 10 years since it’s original release, Borderlands has received an ‘enhanced’ version that bumps up the graphical fidelity and adds some much-needed quality of life upgrades. But is it worth playing in 2019?

Audio and Visual

Every entry in the Borderlands series has maintained the cel-shaded aesthetic of the original, which has a somewhat timeless look. It’s nice to have the upgraded textures on the enhanced remaster, but unless you’re playing on a 4K device, this will look the same as you’ve always remembered it. There’s only so much an HD upgrade can do when your textures are intentionally blocky with thick black edges.

Still, the visuals are undoubtedly unique, and they suit the wacky post-apocalyptic theme brilliantly. The audio is also solid, with a full cast of voice actors and punchy weapon sounds. Each of the 4 playable protagonists has their lines, too, though these sometimes get lost in the fray or cut awkwardly over other characters. The game doesn’t take itself seriously which makes it a wonderfully silly, high octane romp.

Gameplay and Replayability

The game’s age shows at the start of your journey. The first hour or so is a thinly veiled tutorial that includes a lot of backtracking and waiting for expositions to end. The game comes alive later into the story, though, if you persevere.

By level 10, you’ve gotten a taste for the new and exciting loot that bosses can drop. By level 30, it’s common to see a single grunt drop a gun, shield, and grenade modifier for you to collect. As you progress towards the level cap of 69 – yes, you read that correctly – the flood of guns and different pickups will be formidable at times. It’s a stark contrast from a game like Anthem, and some players may even find it a little overwhelming.

Fortunately, Borderlands does a good job of keeping things somewhat simple. There are no armour pieces, just a single shield with 2 stats. The guns, despite being able to roll a multitude of different modifiers and elemental effects, clearly display the important stats, too. A glance will tell you if the damage or rate of fire is an improvement over the weapon you’re currently using. You can also use up to 4 weapons at once and change these with the press of a button. Again, this level of customisation is almost unheard of in today’s modern shooters. Borderlands was also the first game I can remember that allows you to jump and sprint while reloading. Frankly, I don’t know why this didn’t catch on as it’s incredibly user-friendly.

The quality of life changes they’ve made goes a surprisingly long way to making the gameplay slicker, too. The minimap makes me wonder how I ever managed without it, and the automatic pickup of money, health, and ammo from the ground is an enormous time-saver. It’s a shame that it doesn’t automatically collect these things when you’re looting containers, too, but I think this was likely to prevent you from accidentally picking up weapons you didn’t want.

The Game of the Year edition also bundles in the 4 previously released DLC packs. Though these vary in quality, there are some real gems in there. The Secret Armory of General Knoxx is my standout, featuring a great story and tonnes of exciting weapons. Though there isn’t much reason to replay Borderlands once you’ve completed it, the main story and DLC will take 40+ hours, approaching 60 if you stop to complete all the side quests. Besides, if you finish a solo playthrough as one class and choose another when playing with friends, you can extend this even further.

Conclusion

Borderlands GOTY Enhanced is, in essence, a 10-year-old shooter with a lick of fresh paint. Given that, it holds up surprisingly well. Maybe the recent disappointment on Anthem weighs heavily on my mind, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed throwing myself back into this game. I raced through the early hours on sheer nostalgia, but it kicks it up a gear once you hit the 10-15 hour mark. I can’t stress enough how rewarding it is to have new guns and equipment rain down on you every few seconds.

In my opinion, the original Borderlands is a little light on story, but it’s still gratifying as a singleplayer experience. Not having to be continuously connected to the internet to play is a bonus, too! Anyone lucky enough to have Borderlands in their Steam library should hop back in to try the new quality of life improvements.

But what if you’re new to the franchise? Well, for £25, I think you’re paying a fair price for what’s on offer here. I think £15-20 would have been the sweet spot to entice new gamers into the world of Pandora, but they also gave the remaster away to millions of gamers for free, so we can’t complain. It’s a riot with friends, but solo players won’t regret the purchase, either.

Rapid Reviews UK Rating

You can purchase Borderlands GOTY on the Steam Store at the following link:https://store.steampowered.com/app/8980/Borderlands_Game_of_the_Year/

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