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Letters from the Front

10 years ago, Borderlands released to the world on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

In that time since the original Borderlands release, the franchise has grown to new heights encompassing a large fanbase and is home to one of the greatest sequels of all time. What didn’t change from the inital release was the core concept of Borderlands which is now very iconic, it was a mix between Diablo and Mad Max where it mashed up the intense and fast-paced action of the FPS genre and tying that to the endless loot and progression of the RPG genre. Borderlands was literally the first looter shooter which is a reminder that the “Looter Shooter” genre we see now with games like The Division, Anthem, and more didn’t really exist in 2009.

In the very distant future on the planet of Pandora, three mercenaries pursue their own motives on the planet of Pandora when a mysterious vault is found on the side of a mountain. This massive vault is thought to be of alien technology from the same alien race whose technology was found in other areas around the galaxy, this alien tech has not only pushed science and technology forward but made those that discovered it extremely rich. The vault is thought to contain all of the alien’s secrets and filled with alien technology, drawing those in that seek fame, fortune, and technological advancement to better the human race on Pandora. However, there is a downside, all that discovered it was killed by a protective barrier that protects the vault. Now, all that remains is a scattered transmission detailing the Vault’s majestic loot but it doesn’t give away its location. While our mercenaries don’t care about the vault and the loot that it contains, I’m pretty certain that our tale will lead us to the vault.

Although today in the present, we know what Borderlands is capable of and we know what Borderlands is, that wasn’t always the case in 2009. With its very now distinctive cartoon art style, the original Borderlands is an odd candidate to be chosen for a remaster since its graphics is hard to improve upon since it doesn’t sport the same graphics style as the rest of the genre. The original Borderlands looked great in the HD era but it looks even better now in the UHD era sporting a few new nuts and bolts. That’s good when it comes to the consoles but it is somewhat disappointing as you have little to come back too if you played the game the first time around back in 2009.

On the consoles, especially on the Xbox One X, Borderlands is a stunner with HDR support and running at a solid 4K resolution. Thanks to the bump in resolution, that adds vibrancy to the environments and makes things like weapons, characters, environments all pop and come to life but in reality, the graphics didn’t need a bump in the first place since cartoon-like graphics isn’t like photorealistic graphics.

As with all remasters and remakes, the Borderlands GOTY remaster has many major improvements that have been to bring the original game into the modern era like a mini-map from Borderlands 2 which is very helpful and inventory management is reminiscent of Borderlands 2 as you can now mark weapons as junk and sell them in bulks at a vending machine, at the same time, you can lock the weapons which help you avoid dropping them or selling them if you wanted to keep them. Not only does the remaster bring many major improvements but there are other small perks like the addition of the SHiFT code support.

The Borderlands GOTY remaster contains all the iconic DLC from the original 2009 game including the Zombie Island of Dr. Ned and the Secret Armory of General Knoxx, it adds 4 player co-op on consoles at the cost of reduced framerate which is a shame. The campaign is still very good and one of the best campaigns I’ve ever played, thanks to variety, engaging and humorous baddies that make Borderlands stand out from the rest of the crowd, and Claptrap. I’m really enjoying my time with the remaster, mainly because of nostalgia and how 2009 was really a great year for videogames.

In the end, Borderlands: Game of the Year remaster is pretty solid and is worth your time if you want to go back to this cult classic. Borderlands: Game of the Year remaster polishes up a game that never really needed it, so the upgrade to 4K isn’t drastic nor very dramatic, you probably won’t spot the difference. A nice set of improvements make gameplay more easier and makes gameplay more fluid which is nice. Borderlands is back and there’s nothing wrong with more Borderlands. Stay tuned for my review.

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