Is Migrating To New-Gen Borderlands Worth The Money?

by Joe Juba on Mar 26, 2015 at 01:25 PM

This week marks the release of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, which brings a ton of last-gen Borderlands content over to the PS4 and Xbox One. Gearbox’s loot-and-gunplay formula is as entertaining as ever – the question is whether this package has enough value to entice players to make the transition to new hardware.

Personally, I am not impressed by what The Handsome Collection offers. Does that mean it isn’t worthwhile for anyone? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t so clear-cut. Whether or not you should upgrade depends on several factors that are different from one gamer to another. Your personal experience with (and devotion to) Borderlands could make a big difference. Below you’ll find all of the important information, which you can weigh appropriately when making the call for yourself.

Lots Of Stuff
The Handsome Collection has no shortage of content; it contains Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, plus all of the associated DLC for both games. It’s dozens of hours of entertainment, with a price tag of $60.

…But Not Lots Of New Stuff
Some developers have used new-gen editions to tweak their games or add more features, like Ninja Theory’s Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition. That’s not the case here. If you’ve played Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel, plus the best DLC bits, you won’t find anything here to surprise you. Yes, it’s two games in one…but one of those games has already seen a Game of the Year Edition with many of the same perks.

Next-Gen Pre-Sequel
Despite the Xbox One and PS4 being available, the Pre-Sequel only came out on PS3, 360, and PC when it released last October. If you passed on it then for that reason, this is your chance to play it (even though it’s the weakest in the series).

Saves Carry Over
If you’ve already spent lots of time on Pandora, you don’t need to worry about starting over from scratch. You can transfer your progress from the old versions to the new ones. Though it’s a good way to hold the interest of longtime fans, be warned that the process isn’t exactly simple or without hassle. The transfer only works within the same console family; you can’t move from PS3 to Xbox One. Moving from Xbox 360 to Xbox One is a one-way street, but you can use cross-saving freely to switch between the PS4 and PS3 (and Vita for Borderlands 2) versions.

Technical Upgrade
Despite a resolution upgrade to 1080p, the distinct visual style of the Borderlands series doesn’t look radically different on the new hardware. However, the framerate is noticeably better, making for a smoother experience (especially when playing solo or with one other player).

Local Co-op
Your four-player shenanigans aren’t just limited to online play anymore; now a full party of four can play together locally on a single screen. The aforementioned technical upgrades get negated in the process; the framerate dives the more people you add via split-screen play, and can get pretty rough with four players in a heated battle. Another problem is that the menu sizes don’t scale appropriately when the screen is split into quadrants, so you can barely read any item descriptions or quest text unless you are very close to the screen.

Update Required
Expect to download a very large update when you first try to play the game while connected online (about 8 GB on PS4, and 16 GB on Xbox One). The update contains some fixes, but the main reason for the size is that it includes the Pre-Sequel’s Claptastic Voyage DLC, which isn’t included on the disc. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something to be aware of since the download could delay your plans for co-op mayhem.

The Series Is Still Fun
The Handsome Collection may not add much on its own, but that doesn’t change the fact that the core loop of the Borderlands series is a lot of fun. The writing is clever, and the action is intense. Shooting bad guys, getting ridiculous guns, and teaming up with your friends is great. If you haven’t played a Borderlands game before, this is the place to start. However, if you are already intimately familiar with the main entries and their associated DLC, you may be better off hanging on to your $60 and sticking to what you know.