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Borderlands: The Handsome Collection Hands-On - No School Like the Old-School Except Newer-School that Goes Old-School
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 04:32pm 09/03/15 | Comments
We take Borderlands: The Handsome Collection for a quick four-player couch co-op spin and come out smiling. Read on for our thoughts...

Compilations are relatively straightforward to talk about: it has all of the to-date released expanded content packaged in. It’s been given a makeover. It’s budget-priced. It can cut this can seven different ways. But wait, it has more…

Usually these things tend to promise the world, and often don’t fully deliver, but in the case of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection 2K and Gearbox Software look set to follow through on their promises, and appear handsome as they do so.

Here’s what you get: Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! with all of that to-date released content I quipped about earlier. You also get to carry across your save data from your platform of choice prior to this release with either PS3/Vita or Xbox 360 to their respectively younger brothers and you also get “enhanced local multiplayer”.

Now that last one sounds fancy, but it’s actually as retro and straightforward as they come. This “Enhanced” business is just couch co-op for up to four people and, when we took this for a test-drive late last week on PS4, it held up better than any local co-op of the split-screen variety I’ve seen in some time. There was no screen-tearing and no slowdown, even when things were getting hectic (in part because with four players it drops to 30fps, but it’s still manageable and hey, couch co-op). It’s also double the fun because the previous entries only allowed two-players to couch co-op, so there’s that. We were also playing the visually-intensive Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep DLC and it ran as smooth as silk at its 1080p updated visual outlay. In fact about the only drawback I could see coming from the couch co-op stuff is if you have a TV that’s too small to really see what’s going on.

Beyond that though, we also took a very quick glimpse at how the game will look when it’s just you basking in updated next current-gen visuals, though the PC players out there can probably yawn at this anyway because the game has always looked spectacular on the desktop platform.

While it is something of a twitch shooter, with the only PvP being in the form of duels, the drop in framerate from 60fps to 30fps when in four-player split-screen doesn’t alter the gameplay experience any, and you’re likely going to be too busy shouting at your mates or partners to care too much anyway. All of the above said though, we did only play a very small portion of the game and this is two games repurposed into one, with one of those games coming in greater percentage from a different developer, so we’ll have to wait and see if the frame-rate and sleekness of what we played holds up across the whole package.

Enthusiasm and concern aside, there’s a lot of content coming with this package, and with the ability to carry across save data, you could do worse than the Handsome Collection as your pick-up point for, say, the Pre-Sequel!, if you haven’t dabbled yet or, even more importantly, if you’ve never played Borderlands’ sequels (or the original game itself). There is new DLC set to drop for the Pre-Sequel! on the same days as The Handsome Collection launches for Xbox 360 that won’t be locked to the disc, but 2K is offering this up for owners of the Collection for free. So yeah, a lot of content.

We’ll have a full review of the whole package soon though, but for now it might be worth working out who you want on your side, by your side, where four-player split-screen couch co-op is concerned, because it’s finally here.

Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is out for both PS4 and Xbox One this March 24.
Read more about Borderlands: The Handsome Collection on the game page - we've got the latest news, screenshots, videos, and more!

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