Friday, April 17, 2015

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Handsome Collection Review

This is the latest review ever. In fact, it's so late that it is not only the latest review ever, but also a sort of late review of a new game, too. :/

I bought Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel as soon as it was available for pre-order, and we picked it up the day it came out. We started playing, but didn't make much progress and then forgot for a while. Both my husband and I tend to play games in stretches and this is one we play together so it just seemed like neither of us was in the mood to play at the same time. Hence the delay. It also starts slow, but having played through three games now, it's obvious that you can't really tell how a Borderlands game is until around level 20, when it begins to pick up and feel less repetitive.

I loved the first Borderlands game. We played three times all the way through, including all the DLC, and there would be random nights even after that we would start over with new characters just to play for a bit. Borderlands 2 was better in many ways, although not as fun in others. The story in the sequel was far superior (was there a story in the first one, really?) and the Tiny Tina DLC was the best ever. Plus there was more from Torgue, Handsome Jack, and Tiny Tina. The final few missions were better overall, but we got a little sick of the endless raid bosses. They lose their impact and fun when every mission has one. Crawmerax is still a bigger achievement than any of the ones from the second game.

But I digress. So I've had this forever, but really only started playing in earnest about a month ago. Then I just was slow at writing this and the Handsome Collection came out for Xbox One. My husband wasn't sure it was worth buying, since really, we have Borderlands 2 and TPS and hadn't even FINISHED TPS yet. But one of my favorite things about Borderlands is its multiplayer, so when our friends got an Xbox One, we jumped on board and got the HC (already had the One).

Borderlands is a unique franchise and reviewing it is tough, because the flaws of TPS are still miles above many other games for quality. Recently, Crafty asked what other games she could play since I introduced her to this and we got into a discussion about coop gaming. With next gen systems and the amazing graphics, coop is mainly relegated to online play. It's just cost-prohibitive, I guess, for developers to include couch coop - and you can basically forget couch plus online with only a few exceptions. 

I don't really go for shooters much, beyond Bioshock, just because it gets repetitive after a while. I like story and shooters, even good ones, tend to place the story in between a lot of shooting. Which makes sense and I am not opposed to playing a FPS, but I don't find the same replayability in most that I do with Borderlands

As a franchise, I feel like Borderlands is easily a contender for one of the best. They just do so many things right. Coop is seamless and so much fun. The vast amount of weapons and options and playable character types makes it something you can play over and over. The RPG elements and story are fantastic, at least once you move past the first game. The Badass rank system is great, because it just adds more RPG aspects to an already good game. Oh, and it's so ridiculously funny. Nothing is sacred in the Borderlands universe. Is it offensive? Yes, of course it is, but it doesn't take itself or anything seriously and that's refreshing. 

TPS has some flaws, mainly a really slow start, the oxygen system, and a fairly lean campaign overall in comparison to the first two games, but its biggest flaw is really that it's just like other Borderlands games. For fans, that's not a problem, but you won't win over new players with this game. However, it's certainly keeping us entertained while we wait for the third installment. Also, you can play Claptrap, which is hilarious and the joke somehow never gets old. 

Now, since we have The Handsome Collection, one question is would it be worth it if you have already played. Yes and no. It's nothing new, so unless you are still playing a lot or you are excited to go back and try a new character to play or earn more achievements, there's really no reason to get it. BUT if you are like us and you tend to go back to it a lot, because nothing quite compares for coop play, and your friends have moved to the next gen, it's certainly good to have. Plus there are loyalty rewards, like guns and golden keys, so that makes it definitely worthwhile if you still get a lot of enjoyment from the series. All the available DLC and unlockable characters are also included, which makes it a good deal as well if you have only played one. Personally, I am looking forward to going back to Borderlands 2 eventually, minus the raid bosses. I do wish they had released Borderlands as well with the collection. Now, if only they would give us some news on Borderlands 3!

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