I’ve taken a look at a lot of Nintendo Switch ports and I’ve seen a variety in their quality. I’ve seen some fantastic ones, and I’ve seen some that make me question if it was worth having the game on the go at all. With that in mind, I can say with confidence that the Borderlands Legendary Collection is one of the best Switch ports I’ve played and a fantastic way to play some awesome games.
This port takes the first three Borderlands games, bundles them with all of their downloadable content and packages them in a 30 frames-per-second experience that now features gyroscope aiming. For those wondering, the only game on the cartridge is Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition, whilst the sequel and Pre-Sequel come as download codes in the box. Either way, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck, especially if you’ve never played a Borderlands game before.
Personally, I’ve played quite a lot of the series. I’ve seen a lot of the second game, a good amount of the first, not a lot of the Pre-Sequel and had pretty much had my fill by the time Borderlands 3 came around. I like the series just fine, but the humour is a bit dated and childish now and the gameplay gets a little bit repetitive to me. Even now, Borderlands 2 remains my favourite in the series and seeing it run on a handheld and not choke to death (sorry PlayStation Vita) is kind of awesome.
My experience between the three games was roughly the same – a mostly stable 30 frames-per-second and a general sense of awe as to how they got them all running so well. Yes, they all appeared in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 era and the original is more than 10 years old at this point, but seeing blockbuster titles running on the Switch, and more importantly running well, is always great to see.
In previous reviews for the site, I tended to turn off gyro aiming when given the option as I’ve never really enjoyed using it. This time around, I left it on to try and see why people appreciate the option so much and I can honestly say I get it now. Gyro aiming in handheld mode is absolutely a great way of playing, and it makes the somewhat dated shooting in the first game a lot more manageable.
Speaking of the first game, Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition is perhaps the least interesting title in this package. That’s subjective and depends on where you stand with the series, but for my money, I think the sequel does everything so much better that the first is only really nostalgic for me. For first-time players, I would argue it has the least interesting characters, world and gameplay simply because the next two games refined it so much. It’s definitely still worth the visit and I still have fond memories of playing as Mordecai in Pandora, but it wasn’t the game I put the most time into.
I’m no expert on the series, but the closest I’d come is with Borderlands 2, which I’ve definitely played my fair share of. I’d actually almost forgotten how much of a fantastic introduction Handsome Jack is to the proceedings, and it was definitely the game I found had the best balance of stupid humour and genuine laughs. I was stoked to see how well it ran on the Switch, with frame-drops only really occurring when a lot was happening on-screen. For my money, Borderlands 2 is worth the entry price alone. Oh, and if you’re not playing as Zer0, you’re missing out.
By the time Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel came out, I was happy to see more of the series but I’d also had my fill. Revisiting The Pre-Sequel in this Switch collection showed me that it’s more of the same great gameplay, with just a few more frills like the smash ability. It may sound like I don’t have much to say on The Pre-Sequel and that’s true because it’s really just more of the same great Borderlands gameplay but with some space gimmicks I could take or leave.
Including the original release, the Handsome Collection and this Borderlands Legendary Collection, this is the third time I’ve played these games, and it’s definitely starting to show. It’s exposed a few little flaws in the design that make it a little difficult to want to go through again, like the incredibly slow starts and a lack of movement options that were thankfully fixed in the third numbered game. For newcomers to the series, this is a strong way of playing the games but for casual fans like myself, I’m not sure a third go-around is necessary, handheld or otherwise.
For hardcore fans, you’ve almost definitely already gone ahead and bought Borderlands Legendary Collection and I say more power to you. I may not have the connection to the series that other players do, but I can confidently say that this is one of the strongest Nintendo Switch ports I’ve played and a fantastic compilation of games.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Take-Two Interactive