Borderlands: Legendary Collection – REVIEW

Borderlands Legendary Collection for Nintendo Switch includes the first two games and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, titles originally released between 2009 and 2014 but aged very well, both graphically and in terms of gameplay. The Collection includes all DLCs except Lilith and the battle for Sanctuary for the second chapter of the game; but don’t worry, despite this lack the Legendary Collection is able to give you more than 100 hours of gameplay. The price for all this fun is more than reasonable if it is the first time you buy the game, we are talking about € 50 plus an SD card, because if you take it digitally, the three games will occupy you about 50GB. It doesn’t do much better if you wanted to buy it in physical format, as the cartridge provided doesn’t contain all the games and some pretty substantial additional downloads are still required.

The series is an action RPG / first person shooter . There are no important choices to make that can affect the whole plot: the RPG part is limited to inventory management, equipment and the choice of skills that are unlocked as you level up, as well as of course experience earned by killing enemies.

The Adventures

The adventures that we will live are set between Pandora, a desert planet that is very reminiscent of the setting of Mad Max, and its moon, in a future in which the colonists have left to go to seek wealth on remote planets. Unfortunately, colonization does not go as hoped and the planet falls into chaos. The colonists then try to enrich themselves by looting alien ruins scattered around the planet and, by doing this, they bring to light a structure that no one can access. This place attracts the attention of many, including ours.

We will therefore find ourselves in the shoes of a Crypt Hunter, who arrived on the planet with the sole purpose of investigating the legend of the Crypt, led by a mysterious Guardian Angel who appears to us as a hologram during the game, giving us missions and important information. Obviously we are not the only ones interested in the mysteries of the Crypt, people and organizations will try to stop us, as if the hostile fauna present on the planet were not enough.

The timeline

The first game in order of release, Borderlands, featured here in its Game of the Year Edition is also the first in chronological order. It will tell us about the beginning of everything on Pandora and allow us to familiarize ourselves with the setting.

The second game in order of publication is Borderlands 2: set five years after the first, it tells how events have developed on Pandora.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel contains plot elements that sit both before and after the second chapter and is set on Elpis, the moon of Pandora.

Despite this temporal intersection, I suggest addressing the titles in order of release, starting from the first to get to the Pre-Sequel, to fully enjoy the plot and development of the various characters that make up the immense cast of the series.

Characterization of secondary characters and thematic DLCs

One of the things I like most about the series is the characterization of the various characters, from the doctor without a degree to the blind man who knows everything that happens, passing through the exaggeratedly evil Jack the Handsome and concluding with the Claptraps, the cute single-wheeled robots. trouble, always ready to try to help to the best of their (poor) ability. All the characters have something unique and that remains imprinted, be it the character, the way of doing or the physical appearance.

The main story is enriched by countless DLCs, all characterized by a different theme : they range from zombie island, which represents the Halloween episode of the situation to a D&D adventure, complete with a master / narrator who guides us in the our adventure, up to the Mad Moxxi arena and the inevitable pirates.

Bright colors and cartoonish graphics

Graphics and gameplay

I had already played this series in its version for PC and I was very pleased to resume it on the Switch even if, of course, the aiming system with mouse and keyboard is considerably more accurate than what can be achieved with the Joy-Con, despite aim assist. This is especially felt with those weapons and characters that have to hit accurately to do a lot of damage, such as those that require hitting the head of a target or using the sniper rifle. Excluding this particular, the gameplay is excellent and it doesn’t take long to get carried away with the controls.

The Nintendo Switch version, in addition to the classic single player and online / local network cooperative modes, resumes the split-screen mode (up to two players for the first chapter, up to four for the others) of the previous console versions. The split screen mode is well done but I found its activation very cumbersome, poorly documented and unintuitive.

Speaking of multiplayer, in general this game has a major flaw: despite being cooperative, level progress is not synchronized between players. If the characters are close to the moment of killing an enemy, the experience points are shared between them equally, but if they are distant (for example, one is a sniper and the other prefers the melee attack or is divided the areas of expertise in a dungeon) the experience points are totally independent. Playing in cooperative it happened to me several times to find myself in the unpleasant situation in which one of the two had to leave several kills to his partner to allow him to recover the difference created and not leave him behind, making the fight against higher level enemies very complicated. This is perhaps the biggest flaw of the whole game, considering how much the multiplayer experience is emphasized.

One of the elements that most distinguish the series, in addition to the nice single-wheeled bungling robots known as Claptrap, is undoubtedly the graphics that imitate that of comics and cartoons and do not feel the weight of the years as a photorealistic graphics would do: the first game despite having 10 years on his shoulders he is still perfectly playable, and the next two are even more pleasing to the eye , thanks to the greater details and a more “flamboyant” color choice. The black border of the figures makes them easily distinguishable and fits perfectly with the semi-serious atmosphere and light spirit of the series.

A fight in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

The classes

At the beginning of each game we will find ourselves choosing one of the various characters available, and consequently a class, which will determine the skill tree and therefore the affinity of a character with certain weapons. In the first chapter there are four possible classes, while in the second and in the Pre-Sequel, thanks to the DLC already available, six. Each class has a certain affinity for certain types of weapons and has a unique ability that recharges over time . Each of the games in the Collection has different characters to choose from, with unique abilities, even if they belong to the same class. An example are Lilith and Maya, the Sirens of the first and second games respectively, which although belonging to the same class have different abilities.

The classes are a mirror of the goliardic vein that permeates the entire saga: they range from more basic classes, such as the soldier, to characters with a decidedly more crazy and original fighting style like the Mecromancer, who evokes robots rather than the dead, or the Claptrap with identity crisis that personifies one of the other classes.

Skill tree

As the levels increase, you get points that you can spend to unlock various skills. Some will give bonuses when using elemental weapons, others with specific types of weapons, such as shotguns or sniper rifles. Alternatively, it will be possible to enhance the unique ability of the class, adding secondary effects or improving its effectiveness.

The weapons

Objects

The objects are randomly generated by a system similar to that of Diablo (here our review) capable of generating, for the first title of the series, over 17 million different weapons ( source ). This number increases with the DLC and subsequent titles in the series to exceed one billion in Borderlands 3 (not included in the Collection).

Weapons play a central role in the Borderlands saga. As in any self-respecting FPS we will meet enemies during our thousand adventures, enemies that we will obviously have to face, 90% of the time with weapons in hand! If your accuracy with firearms is comparable to that of Ray Charles don’t worry, there is always a class that faces the enemy with punches, relieving you of the age-old responsibility of aiming for the enemy’s head! The weapons are many and varied and are distinguished both by type and by secondary effects including slowdowns and elemental additions. Also, the weapons are editable , with magazine expansions and the like.

As in reality, also in the game there are various manufacturers of weapons, each of which differs from the others for the type of weapon, the graphic style or for the elemental effects infused into them.

The weapons are divided into:

  • Assault Rifles : large, powerful weapons capable of firing volleys of bullets in a short time, however the magazines are limited in the number of ammunition they contain and are not the best for close combat;
  • SMGs : they are smaller, slower and less powerful assault rifles, but are better in close combat thanks to significantly reduced reload times;
  • Sniper Rifles : the small magazines and the reduced rate of fire are compensated by an optical sight to hit from a distance and a very high damage per shot, as well as being often accompanied by significant bonuses in the case of critical hits (boom, headshot!)
  • Revolver : pistols characterized by a low rate of fire and slow at the time of reloading but precise and powerful, noteworthy is the fact that they can be equipped with bayonets to increase damage in close combat;
  • Semi-automatic pistols : These are probably the most popular weapons on Pandora, they are like revolvers but with larger magazines, better rate of fire and do less damage. In short, the classic modern pistol;
  • Shotguns : inaccurate, useless over long distances but powerful and lethal in close combat;
  • Grenade Launcher : You know normal grenades? A lot of damage in a large area but cast one at a time.

The porting

Nice, I like the game, but why should I get it for Switch when it’s cheaper for PC?
As I said: if you already have the PC game it is not worth buying again . But what if you don’t? Switch offers the advantage of portability: you can explore Pandora by bus, train or comfortably seated on your ceramic throne; if this is not enough you can also play it on the big screen of your television without any particular sacrifices from a graphic point of view.

The textures are the original ones, so the graphic experience is almost unchanged compared to the original version, while sacrifices have been made on the fps front which in the Nintendo Switch version drop from 60 to 30 ( source ). Fortunately, 30 fps is stable throughout the gaming experience. The real flaw, as I have already said but I want to repeat, is the aim with the Joy-Con. I admit I am used to playing with mouse and keyboard and being quite denied with any type of pad in FPS, but aim assist has not been of much help to me during the game, this has resulted in a lot of wasted ammo and not a little frustration , especially with those enemies that are only vulnerable in certain areas of the body.

Joy-Con on the other hand are not among the most accurate and quality analog controllers (to put it mildly) and maybe with a Pro Controller I would have been better off but I don’t have one. On a positive note speaking of controllers: if you have one that drifts you will not suffer too much from the problem. It will be because the inputs change constantly or for a matter of (non) sensitivity but a controller able to make Animal Crossing almost unplayable has not been as problematic in Borderlands.

New compared to the PC version, but not to those for other consoles, is the split-screen multiplayer (up to 2 players). It’s something I loved. I really like cooperative multiplayer games, and being able to play on the same screen is a huge advantage – you don’t need two computers to name one.

 

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