Now before I begin to tell you all about my experiences while playing my way through Borderlands The Handsome Collection, I have to admit being behind the pack with this review. This is for the simple reason of the sheer amount of content that this collection presents to the gamer and in the interest of disclosure I have to admit that even having spent the last 2 weeks fighting my way through everything Borderlands had to throw at me, I still have not completed everything that is on offer. As you may or may not already know The Handsome Collection is made up of Borderlands The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 2 combined with every piece of DLC ever released for both games and the extra characters to play with. Considering how much DLC there actually is for Borderlands 2 alone, it is a massive collection that will certainly be one of this years best buys in terms of getting bang for your buck. The only thing that was a slight disappointment to me as I downloaded the collection was the fact that Borderlands 1 was left out of it, the game that started the whole franchise off, did not get a look in, for a fan that is something that would have made the deal even sweeter. Afterall, the Halo fans got their complete collection so I don’t see why it was left to gather dust.

If you have not played either of these games before, I have to ask where you have been living for the past few years? As I don’t think I know anyone that has not sampled the delights of Vault Hunting on Pandora. So my journey began in Borderlands 2, which I did play upon release on the Xbox 360. In Borderlands 2 you play as one of four Vault Hunters in search of, well a Vault, guided by The Guardian Angel that keeps appearing on your screen to let you know you are on the right track. The only problem is that Handsome Jack is also after the Vault and you have to fight your way through hordes of bandits, mad midget’s and psycho’s to reach your goal. My first impression of the revamped Borderlands 2 was definitely one of joy, as the experience definitely ran with a certain smoothness that was lacking in the original, not to mention the upgrade in framerate which helped to make each violent encounter even more exciting and enjoyable. Even after reaching the end of the story you will be far from over with Borderlands 2, in fact there seems to be an absolute never ending stream of content in this game. This is mainly due to the DLC that has been bundled in for Borderlands The Handsome Collection, DLC such as Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep and Mad Moxxi and the Wedding Day Massacre among others. I enjoyed playing my way through Borderlands 2 again mainly due to the new character that I did not get a chance to play on the previous release, the Psycho, up until now Zer0 has always been my character of choice in Pandora but, I definitely enjoyed opening a can of whoop ass playing as the unpredictable Psycho.

Then it was my chance to play Borderlands The Pre-Sequel that had escaped my grasp when it was first released and I was looking forward to this one very much. Set on Pandora’s moon and bringing in the new gameplay mechanics of low gravity fighting. Oh and you can play as either Handsome Jack or Claptrap among the offering of Vault Hunters, I mean how cool is that! Borderland’s The Pre-Sequel was definitely the one that I was most interested in playing, and it was the most disappointing if I am completely honest. This title from the collection did not run near as smooth as Borderlands 2 did, with framerate issues during cut scenes and playing it made for an unpleasant conclusion to my Borderlands journey. I found the story itself had you back tracking far too much and getting lost or confused on the maps was something of a regular occurrence. This was mainly because the developer was trying too hard to make use of the low gravity and in doing so gave us gamers very hard to navigate maps in some areas, that if you were to follow your point of interest on the minimap you would end up 5 levels below where you need to be. This soured the experience for me somewhat and I found myself struggling to find the heart to even finish the story campaign. I did enjoy the new mechanics that made use of the low gravity during fights, where you could jump and slam into the ground causing damage to all around you and I loved the new elemental weapons and shields, but I struggled with the grind the campaign turned out to be.

I remember when I was excited to enter the world of the Vault Hunters, but the Pre-Sequel has managed single handedly to change my outlook on the franchise. It really has very little under the hood, Borderlands is all about shooting at the critical points of an enemy, collecting guns and loot and continuing down the seemingly endless road that is the story and it’s tributaries. Yes I am a fan of the franchise, but I never really got to the point where I started to question what the hell I was actually doing here, and why I was continuing to torment myself by playing this repeatedly. That is how Borderlands The Pre-Sequel has made me feel, and it would not have been so bad if it was a DLC for Borderlands 2 as I could have avoided it entirely, in fact I wish I had. Borderlands The Handsome Collection would have been better served with both Borderlands 1&2 and their DLC, leaving out that Pre-Sequel all together. At the end of the day Borderlands The Handsome Collection contains more Borderlands than you could ever wish for and you could in fact still be playing this collection well past the release of Borderlands 3. Combining the online modes you get this is definitely not a collection you should pass up lightly, especially if you are a fan or have not previously had the experience of Vault Hunting on Pandora. This collection is something you could easily put a few hundred hours into and not reach the complete end, for some it is a dream come true, for me it has been a game of two halves, one half I enjoyed immensely and will continue to enjoy into the future, the other half has gone rotten and must be cut out before it soils the rest of the fruit.