This title was reviewed on Xbox One, but is also available on PS4 and PC.
Lovingly made by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games, Borderlands: Game Of The Year Edition is the remaster of the original 2009 piece of history that we as mere mortals were graciously blessed with. It’s a loot-shooter RPG that manages to blend the two genres seamlessly to make what I can only describe as a masterpiece.
Understandably as a game from 2008 Borderlands was in need of a new lick of paint that I can definitively say has been provided here. The remastered visuals are in short: stunning! The trademark comic book realism of the graphics is more than recognisably here and the extra coat of paint from the remaster has made the wild wastes of Pandora even more stunning than before. The 4K definition support is astonishingly clear and crisp and it honestly feels like the game hasn’t aged a day. The addition of a mini-map to the top corner of your screen is one of the most handy things to come from the remaster I must say as playing the original without one was a bit of a pain. Overall it’s an absolutely beautiful recreation of absolute awesomeness which can never be a bad thing. Better Shadows, better textures, better character models. This remaster has everything that you could want in the visuals department.
You all know the one, you’re one of four vault hunters; Roland, Lilith, Mordecai, and Brick. You’ve come to the end of the universe on a planet called Pandora. It’s basically a giant steaming pile of desert filled with all manner of things that want you dead. Great! Fantastic! You’re looking for a legendary vault filled with immeasurable wealth and indescribable treasures!, but every other two bit thief on Pandora is also looking for it. You land in Fyrestone and set out from there, helping locals and meeting lots of people who want to kill you and some who don’t.
You’re guided through your adventure and eventually to the vault by an AI called Angel, Guardian Angel to be specific. I won’t go further because if you’ve played Borderlands then you know how it goes and if you haven’t then I won’t spoil it. All I’ll say is that that story is also a masterpiece and keeps you guessing till the very end. The game comes preloaded with all four DLC’s; Moxxi’s Underdome, Claptraps Robot Revolution, Armoury Of General Knox, and The Zombie Island of Dr Ned. All absolutely hilarious and fantastic stories in their own right and an incredible ride to boot!
The third part of Borderlands that stands out is the gameplay. God how I loved the gameplay. In the remaster they’ve added weapons to the already massive list of guns, they’ve added character heads, and also made several small tweaks to general gameplay. Making everything a more fluid experience I believe. The looter shooter gunplay is as amazing as ever with the golden keys and golden chest from Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre Sequel has been added in allowing the use of Shift Codes distributed by the official Twitter account to unlock extremely powerful weapons with these single use keys. One thing I will say though is that the hitboxes for the snipers seem to be a bit off with headshots sometimes not registering but apart from that the gameplay is near perfect. Balanced weapons and balanced gunplay with enemies that scale pretty consistently with your level lead to an insane experience on par with how it was the first time I ever played, and that’s one of the best things about this experience, being able to play a game I loved as if it was the first time.
With an amazing song from Cage the Elephant on the intro, to the intense battle music, to the insane voice acting, the sound quality here is incredible. The voice acting is truly of a professional standard with lines delivered as if the character themselves was actually saying it. I believe the sound must have been remastered too because you really can tell, even the ambient soundtrack is of top quality. Wind changing direction when you face different ways, footsteps making different sounds on different surfaces. The audio is of top quality here from the gunshots to the witty lines they throw at you when you’ve left your character standing too long, “can we go now?”
There’s not much more I can say about this without going on a monologue but unequivocally Borderlands: Game Of The Year Edition is an absolute masterpiece. It plays well, it looks amazing, and it just stands on top of an already established pedigree from the original game. Well done Gearbox you made perfect better.