Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition review for PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Gearbox Software/Blind Squirrel Games
Medium: Blu-ray/Digital
Players: Multi
Online: Yes

With Gearbox?s recent official announcement that Borderlands 3 would be coming later this year, they also announced and then released a remaster of the original Borderlands for current consoles in the form of Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition. This package brings along all of the DLC that was released for the original Borderlands, along with the base game, with a new, shiny coat of paint on top. As far as remasters go, this one has some issues, but you can?t deny that it?s the best the original Borderlands has ever looked. The new textures really shine, and despite being nearly decade old, the stylistic visuals help make this overall package appear current.

The gameplay though, not so much. It?s not that Borderlands is a game that has aged poorly, at least not entirely. I?ve had some fun revisiting the game, and ran through the base game and some of the DLC before writing this review. The constant stream of loot and upgrades is as good as I remember it, the skill tree diversity holds up fairly well, and the humor isn?t quite as grating as say, The Pre-Sequel. What doesn?t work as well is the map, quest layout, and how the game can?t actively track more than one quest at a time. This is especially problematic when you load up on side quests, which will give you an idea of what map area you need to be in, but won?t put indicators on the map for all available quests in the area. Cycling between side quests via the somewhat clunky menu interface isn?t ideal, and makes for an annoying experience after a few hours.

Also, while the visuals are upgraded, performance is still pretty spotting. I?d run into plenty of instances of slowdown and the occasional screen tear on PS4. Textures would occasionally pop in late as well. And online connectivity has been pretty poor overall. On the initial release, connecting with other players was virtually broken, and has since been patched. But even then the majority of the games I?ve joined have been a laggy mess, making the experience nearly unplayable when attempting to co-op online. And considering that co-op is, in my mind, a major Borderlands feature, it?s a real bummer that it barely works here.

As far as changes go, there’s a few more positive highlights than just the updated visuals. Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition adopts the mini-map from Borderlands 2, which certainly helps alleviate some of the navigation issues players had with the first game. Also, new legendary weapons are available from the bosses you’ll encounter, SHiFT keys are a thing, and the final boss has been tweaked a bit (but I still found that fight to be a little dull). You’ll also  have some limited customization options with your vault hunter, mostly coming down to color scheme.

So yeah, I?d say this version of Borderlands is a mixed bag. It?s fun to revisit one of the first ?looter shooters? for consoles again, and the mix of run, gun, and loot still holds up well despite its age. But this is hardly a perfect port/remaster of that game, and because of that, it?s difficult to really suggest picking it up. The Handsome Jack Collection, which gives you the superior Borderlands 2, is certainly cheaper and in my mind a better option if you?re wanting to get a Borderlands fix until Borderlands 3 comes out. So maybe check Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition out on a price drop, otherwise, I?d just wait until November for the sequel to the sequel.

Grade: C+