Borderlands is a stone-cold classic and it's now available on a Nintendo console for the very first time so get ready to loot and shoot.
Borderlands is great fun. When it first released, I didn't quite know what to think of it seeing as I thoroughly do not enjoy first-person shooters. After friends informed me that it's more of an RPG than an FPS, I became mildly intrigued and eventually decided to give it a go. Right away, I was blown away by its comic book style presentation and humour as well as its unconventional gameplay. Although plenty of similar games have released since, there wasn't anything quite like Borderlands back in 2009. For the unfamiliar, it's set in a super-violent world where mercenaries try and strike it rich yet there's a strange charm to its violence. It's reminiscent of films like Mad Max and features a visual aesthetic similar to A Scanner Darkly which makes it stand out as a surreal yet darkly humorous experience.
The gameplay of Borderlands involves carrying out quests across huge environments while collecting oodles of loot, levelling up, and optimising your loadout all while experimenting with different builds. This loop is highly entertaining and rewarding, especially when you become powerful enough to take down the next hulking boss. However, you don't have to go it alone as you can join fellow mercenaries online via a simple interface that also allows you to host your own games. There are no real limits put in place so you can join folks who are way more levelled up than you are even though you'll probably bite the dust more than a mite with a tapeworm if you do so.
I prefer playing Borderlands online as I find the gameplay to be much more enjoyable as you haphazardly muck about and help others fight through difficult situations. Plus, doing things like driving around in a vehicle where one player mans a cannon is a literal and figurative blast. In addition to all of this, the Game of the Year Edition includes 4 extra campaigns in the form of The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot, The Secret Armory of General Knoxx, and Claptrap's New Robot Revolution. Each one of these campaigns will take at least a few hours to work through and the main campaign is at least 20 hours long so you're looking at a ton of content.
One thing that impressed me a great deal about Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition is how well it runs on Switch. Previously, I've only played the PS3 release and that version had a ton of texture pop-in and other issues but I didn't really notice anything substantial here. It even plays well while undocked which made me raise my eyebrows. I may sound old by saying this but I never would have thought playing Borderlands portably could hold up so well. What a time to be a gamer! Excuse me while I pop another Werther's Original.
Finally, allow me to discuss some aspects of Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition that aren't ideal. For starters, its story is basically non-existent and merely acts as a premise then you just play around in its world. It doesn't really go anywhere memorable and there are no engaging plot points but blowing up people's heads is fun so who cares? Speaking of stupidity, the AI can be downright dumb as most enemies act in highly predictable ways so you can mow most foes down without thinking twice about it. Last but not least, I wish there were some Switch-exclusive features or extras but as far as I can see, it's the same game that's been kicking around for over a decade. I guess Mario would have had a hard time fitting into its crazy violent world. Perhaps he could have munched some bad mushrooms.
Over a decade later, Borderlands still offers righteous good times. The fact that you can now play it portably is just awesome so clear some space on your SD card and get ready to shoot some Midget Psychos in the head.
- + Fantastic gameplay that's oodles of fun, especially online
- + Loads of content to play through
- + Plays exceptionally well on Switch
- - No new content or Switch-exclusive features
- - Enemies are pretty dumb
- - Story is inconsequential