Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition – Review

Name: Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition
Developer: Gearbox Software
Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Reviewed on: PC
Release Date: 03.04.2019
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided from a publisher for review purpose

Oh, Borderlands you delightful series of a video game played by many, known by even more. I’m one of those, by that I mean one of those that have heard about it, but never played it. It has felt as controversial as those that haven’t watched Game of Thrones. Often I have been tempted to buy the Handsome Collection on my PS4, but skipped out since Borderlands 1 isn’t part of that collection and I felt it would be wrong to start on the sequel in a franchise I never have played. But suddenly I felt the urge to get to know this franchise, so I caved and bought every single game on Steam for a good bargain. This was three weeks ago, so far I had only played Borderlands 1 for a couple of hours. Borderlands 3 got announced and I was excited to finally take part in this franchise and might be ready when it launches. Then a request ticked inn from our CEO, Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition review code available early access. Then I got really excited…

Here is what GOTY brings to the table

  • Visually Remastered: Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, players can enjoy 4K Ultra HD and HDR, though the improved lighting, textures, and character models shine on every platform. Applies to the base game, as well as all add-on content.
  • Quality of Life Improvements: Significant updates to the game’s supporting systems allow for a smoother overall experience. For example:
  • A Borderlands 2-style mini-map, which you can toggle on and off, has been added to complement the original compass
  • Substantial improvements to the inventory system—such as allowing you to “lock” weapons or mark them as “junk”—simplify item management
  • Items like ammo, money, and health now auto-pickup from the ground
  • Rewards Ready: With the addition of the SHiFT player rewards program, you can now use Golden Keys to unlock special in-game items and rewards. Returning SHiFT users who’ve played Borderlands 2 or The Pre-Sequel on PS4, Xbox One, or PC will receive 75 free Golden Keys, as well as two randomly selected all-new weapons, for their first newly-created Vault Hunter.
  • Added Firepower: A new set of six named, custom-skinned Legendary weapons make the base game’s arsenal even deeper. Beat bosses or gather Golden Keys for a chance to collect ‘em all.
  • Badder Boss Battle: In direct response to fan feedback, the campaign’s final boss encounter has been adjusted to be more engaging, challenging, and rewarding.
  • Cosmetic Customization: For the first time, you will be able to customize your Vault Hunter beyond simply selecting a color scheme. Each of the four available characters has five brand new cosmetic heads unlocked and equippable right from the start of the game.
  • Now Available on Modern Consoles: Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition makes the original Borderlands readily available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for the first time, in addition to providing a newly enhanced and visually remastered version for PC players.
  • Free to Existing Owners on PC: If you already own the original Borderlands on Steam, you’ll be able to upgrade to Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition absolutely free.

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The Good

What does all this mean for me? Well, I got to play Borderlands 1 for the first time in the most definitive way possible. I got to experience everything with fresh eyes and could enjoy it straight away bringing back some of the charms everyone got when it got released for the first time. Unfortunately for you guys reading this is that I don’t have much to compare it with(Sorry…) Except that I can say that the rocks I saw in my first hours playing the OG version looks a bit better now.

But, in all seriousness Borderlands is now better optimized for modern PC and its hardware, with improved textures and loading times. Visual settings are more comprehensive, and with the new features, it can make it more tempting to maybe play through once more before the launch of Borderlands 3. PlayStation owners get the chance to play the entire franchise because of this, not having the same problem as I did when I wanted to play it on PlayStation. This also applies to Xbox owners, although they have had the possibility with the backward compatibility with Xbox 360 games for some time now. But can also now jump back to Pandora or for the first time on Xbox One. PC players will as mentioned if owning the original get GOTY edition for free with all the previous DLC included. Which is nice, not making anyone have to buy the game once more. Your characters can be carried over from PS3 to 4, 360 to One and OG PC to GOTY.

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When it comes to these improvements in textures as mentioned I have not much to say or to compare it to as of right now. Borderlands boast an art-style that ages well and fits even to this gen of games. But when it comes to texture quality and how they look I actually quickly noticed changes, it looks crisper and renders much faster. All the new content and features that have been added, I got jack shit to say anything about (again sorry), first-time noob as mentioned, I could brag that it changes the entire game and makes it so much better to play through. But It is rather a part of the gameplay I get to know and I really enjoy it.

The Bad

Since this is a review of the GOTY edition from a game that came out 10 years ago, played for the first time. It will be hard to flesh out the stuff that didn’t work then and doesn’t work now. So the easiest way to say it is this.

If you have played it before, and there is stuff that annoyed you then and it hasn’t been mentioned it has been fixed. Then, most likely the same problem is still present today, and will still annoy you. But if the new features remove annoyance or rather improve the overall experience, then congratulations it’s even better to play now. One thing I found difficult was the iron sights and accuracy on some of the weapon, and when first starting to play the game the first hours felt a bit overwhelming trying to understand what is going on and what am I supposed to do. But that is what I personally felt, and might be different for you.

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Overall
8.5/10
8.5/10
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Verdict

So to summarize, Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition isn’t a completely new experience for old timers. Bur rather an improved way to play it again. For us newcomers, it is the definitive way to experience this game and franchise for the first time. It still contains all the stuff that made it great, but with some improvements that breaths some new life into the game. But if there were parts of the game that didn’t speak to you before it will mostly not do it now either. But It gives us the chance to play the entire franchise on the same console or in an improved way on our PC.

Pros

  • Better graphics
  • New features/improvements
  • Same great gameplay
  • Availability
  • Still the great game it was when released

Cons

  • Still the same game if you didn’t like it when it first came out

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