I’ve often joked that I’ve played Final Fantasy VIII on too many platforms, but now that I’m looking back at my personal library I’ve started to realise something: Square’s magnificent RPG has nothing on the hundreds of hours of thrown at Borderlands over the years. I was there on day one when it launched on the Xbox 360, I had a spare copy on PlayStation 3 for reasons and I was well invested in its DLC in an age where even a moderate 10GB download was something that I’d leave as an overnight job for my ADSL connection.
Fast forward a few years, and I’ve survived Handsome Jack’s train ambush more times than I can remember, scoured the surface of Elpis for rare loot and I’ve rediscovered my hatred for Skags on the rocky roads of Pandora. I’ve been everywhere man, from Xbox to PlayStation Vita and beyond with Borderlands always been a constant presence across multiple platforms for more than a decade.
And now, that trusty companion has popped up on the Nintendo Switch.
2K Games has pretty much thrown everything and the space-kitchen sink at the Switch with the Borderlands Legendary Collection, a compilation of the original game, its spectacular sequel and heavily underrated pre-sequel. Bundled within these three games is a massive amount of post-launch content as well, bringing the package in as an Eridium overdose on the Switch.
You’ve got Borderlands and its original quartet of expansions, Borderlands 2 follows the same path and features its extra downloadable vault hunters while the Pre-Sequel shifts the action to the moon of Elpis and all of its mad spae-Ozzies, continuing the story of that game with one of the best downloadable expansions of all time in the form of the Claptastic Voyage. Or in a more list-friendly format, all of this:
Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition
- The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned
- Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot
- The Secret Armory of General Knoxx
- Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution
- Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty
- Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage
- Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt
- Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep
- Mechromancer Pack (play as Gaige)
- Psycho Pack (play as Krieg)
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
- Claptastic Voyage
- The Holodome Onslaught
- Baroness Pack (play as Aurelia)
- Handsome Jack Doppelganger Pack (play as “Jack”)
Like I said, that’s a lot of Borderlands. The big question here though, is how does it all play? Can Borderlands, even in a scaled-back form, run decently on the Nintendo Switch when you’re out on the go? Hell yeah it can.
Now mind you, some concessions had to be made. In Docked Mode, Borderlands Legendary Collection will hit a resolution of 1920 x 1080, and docked mode will run at 1280 x 720. The cel-shaded visuals do the games a favour here, their cartoon graphics popping out beautifully in either mode and cementing Borderlands as being one of the more distinct franchises in gaming today.
Where the games had to cut some meat from the bones, are in texture and frame-rate departments. Unlike the Handsome Collection on current-gen consoles (which was released years ago and recently got a chunky 4K upgrade on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X), the Legendary Collection sticks to a 30 frames per second setup. While it does rob the game of some of its silky-smooth action (and features some ugly texture pop-in), the lean towards a more cinematic frame-rate is one that functions with stability in mind, never dropping a frame even during the most hectic firefights.
Focusing on Elpis in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (Which I always felt was more graphically demanding thanks to its beautiful environments), the overall presentation was functional: It looked great if you didn’t peer too much behind the curtain, it was mechanically faithful to the source material and even though Borderlands 3 has introduced a sweeping number of quality of life changes since it debuted in 2019, the core loot ‘n shoot formula works brilliantly across all three games. A testament to just how well designed Borderlands was over the years.
At this point, PS Vita owners are crying tears of joy after remembering just how dismal their port was back in the day.
The ultimate legacy package of Borderlands across the 2010s, wrapped up with a bow and given free reign no matter where you are in the world. A grinding sandbox of fun where enemies explode into multi-coloured tiers of loot when they’re introduced to high velocity lead injections, Gearbox’s premiere franchise still stands strong, and provided that you don’t find the experience too disconcerting after having dived deep into Borderlands 3 lately, there’s still so much to love about this quirky universe.
Last Updated: June 3, 2020