Borderlands 3: Ultimate Edition review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: Xbox, PlayStation, PC
Publisher: Take-Two Interactive
Developer: Gearbox
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes

On some level you have to feel sorry for Borderlands 3: Ultimate Edition. We’re at the point in the Switch’s lifespan where not a lot of third-party AAA games are coming anymore due to the hardware’s technical limitations, so it’s always nice – and kind of impressive – to see modern (or at least modern-ish, seeing as Borderlands 3 first came out four years ago) get the port treatment.

Unfortunately for Borderlands 3: Ultimate Edition, it’s arriving on the Switch just a few months after Red Dead Redemption showed that it’s entirely possible for massive open-world games to run on the Switch’s older hardware and look absolutely incredible while doing so. True, you need to account for the fact that one game is from the last generation and the other is from two generations ago, but still: RDR looks amazing, while Borderlands 3 simply runs fairly well.

Of course, in Borderlands 3’s defence, “running fairly well” is nothing to sneeze at, seeing as the last time a Borderlands game tried running on an underpowered handheld, there were definitely some compromises made (even if I still think the end result worked out surprisingly well). Borderlands 3: Ultimate Edition may not be the greatest-looking game on the Switch, but you don’t really have to make too many allowances for the hardware, which is pretty impressive, all things considered.

And what’s the end result of all that? Well…as Dustin noted way back in 2019, more or less what you’d expect from a Borderlands game at this point. The series has been around for nearly fifteen years at this point, and you know what you’re going to get going in: lots of shooting, lots of weapons, lots of blood, and so, so much quipping.

Mind you, Borderlands 3 is definitely a mark in favour of iterative changes. It may not stray from your standard Borderlands formula, but it has a few improvements here and there that make the game more enjoyable than previous outings. Characters move a little more smoothly than they do in previous games, for example, and you can use more items from the world around you as weapons. You can also toggle between your different quests just by clicking left and right on the d-pad. Obviously, none of these are massive game-changers or anything, but if you’re generally a fan of the series, it’s always good to see improvements being made.

(Also, I have a purely personal reason for enjoying Borderlands 3: there’s not an overwhelming amount of game. When I reviewed the Legendary Collection a few years ago, I soon found myself bored of playing what amounted to the same game multiple times. Even if Borderlands 3 features a campaign with a decent length to it – and the Ultimate Edition features all the previous DLC, giving it even more content – it’s much more tolerable when it’s not surrounded by a couple of other 20+ hour games.)

All things considered, Borderlands 3: Ultimate Edition is a pretty neat achievement that’s only slightly undermined by the fact that we had an even better port of an even more well-received open-world game from a previous generation just a few months ago. Even so, this is a fun game in its own right, and if you’re after a big, open-world shooter with lots of guns and gore on the Switch, this is definitely one of your better options.

Take-Two Interactive provided us with a Borderlands 3: Ultimate Edition Nintendo Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B+