[Feature] Ten Reminders of Why I Love Borderlands: The Handsome Collection

Written by Kevin Orme

Catch a RIIIIIIIIIDE on the Nostalgia Train

I remember clearly a Black Friday when my brother-in-law came back from the ensuing chaos happily holding a copy of Borderlands 2 for the XBox 360. We were both excited because it looked perfectly insane and a good time to play together. We were right on both accounts. Since then, seven years have passed and I still find myself excited to play the series again on the Switch. It’s hard to pick a favorite between the two: Borderlands 2 had significantly more content that was nearly perfect and the Presequel had vastly improved gameplay that made all the shootin’ ‘n’ lootin’ more satisfying. However, between the two games, there are some seriously incredible moments that always make me happy to be back in the ballistic frenzy that is Borderlands: The Handsome Collection .

⚠️ WARNING: SPOILERS AHOY ⚠️

10. LOOTSPLOSIOOOOOONS!!

There’s nothing like killing a big boss and watching as a glowing pile of loot streams all around you. More importantly the bigger the baddie, the bigger the score. There are few things more satisfying than sifting through an enormous spread on blues and purples to find those elusive orange legendaries that fill your entire being with joy. That and like, a ton of iridium.

9. The References

If you’ve played Borderlands for more than ten minutes then you know that there’s a generous amount of pop culture strewn around Pandora and beyond. A small sampling of series and references are as such:

  • NBA Jam
  • Professional Wrestling
  • D&D
  • Mario Bros
  • Animal Planet

And literally thousands more things. This writing in this game is great.

8. Insane weapon effects

As I was looking up amazing guns to hunt for your vault-hunting needs, I started to see some of the crazier weapons you could get in this game! I would have loved to have been a person brainstorming ideas for the legendary and Seraphic weapons. Like, who looks at a Rocket Launcher and says “What if it bounced around like a rabbit before it exploded when you reloaded it?” or “What if this pitstol had INFINITE BULLETS?” The really great weapons keep me coming back for more every time.

7. Mister Torgue

In Mister Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage, one of the four DLC campaigns included in Borderlands 2, you meet Mister Torgue. He’s a man I can only rightly describe as Randy “Macho Man” Savage combined with Hollywood Hulk Hogan with the addition of several tons of steroids and more screaming. Nearly everything that comes out of his mouth is solid gold. It’s all delivered extremely well. Seriously, You will love this man if you don’t already.

6. Unique (not Legendary) Weapons

Occasionally you will find blue rarity weapons that have some red text on the description information.These weapons are specifically called Unique weapons and each one is just like it says: Unique! This means that the weapon will have a unique firing pattern or a special attribute that makes it different from other guns like it. Some highlights include “The Sandhawk” – a sub-machine gun that shoots elementally charged bullets in the pattern of a bird flapping its wings to the “Swordsplosion” – A shotgun that shoots swords… that explode… into more swords… that also explode (courtesy of Mister Torgue).

5. The Expanded Story

As I said before, Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is a complete collection of both games as well as all of their DLC campaigns. This means you not only get two games with 25+ hour stories, but you also get FIVE more campaigns that are anywhere from 10 – 15 hours. Each story is unique and certainly varies in quality, but when these stories are good, they are GREAT. Unfortunately, The PreSequel was planned to have more expanded stories, but the studio making the game was prematurely shut down before more than one of them were finished. (Fun fact: The second DLC campaign was going to be a murder mystery on an intergalactic cruise!)

4. Cameos

When you finally get to the hub world of Sanctuary in Borderlands 2 you are greeted by a few familiar faces: Lilith, Roland, Mordecai and Brick – the four playable characters in Borderlands 1. Sprinkled further in the game are more references to bosses and NPCs from other moments in the previous game as well. But it’s The PreSequel where this really shines. See, in the Presequel you play as one of six characters that were either non-playable characters in Borderlands 1 or eventual bosses in Borderlands 2, so it’s REALLY neat to have interactions between them and Handsome Jack, the main antagonist of Borderlands 2.

3. Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep

Anybody who has played this knows that this could easily be an entire top ten list by itself. Tiny Tina’s DLC quest is hands-down the greatest part of any of the Borderlands games. The entire concept of this specific DLC is that the Borderlands 1 vault hunters are interrogating a bad guy while Tina and all of the other Vault Hunters are playing a game of “Bunkers & Badasses”. What transpires is both the silliest and most entertaining gameplay of the entire entry, but also a heart-wrenching story of grief and coming to terms with the loss of a loved one. This is required playing. This is literally the best part of this entire game.

2. Character and Campaign Intros

Every time an important character shows up in the game there’s a splash screen with that character’s name and a little tagline. It’s kind of like Smash Bros reveals and It’s always fun. They’re silly and very well shot. I would like to also include in this category, the intros for each story and the DLC character trailers. Kreig specifically. That’s some great entertainment.

1. Absolutely Destroying Bandits with Insane Firepower.

There is nothing more wonderful in these games than finding some planet-ending behemoth of a weapon and then using that massive cannon to liquefy an opponent. Thankfully, in Borderlands you have ragdoll physics for enemies that you kill. Combine that with Rocket Launchers, low gravity in the PreSequel and you have a recipe for greatness. It’s fabulous to annihilate your foes especially when every hit on an enemy has that gigantic number show up on screen. If you hit a person juuuuuuuust right, they EXPLODE. It’s a simple pleasure, really.

So those are the ten things that bring me back to Borderlands, but what are some things that YOU love about the series? I would love to hear about crazy exploits of loot-ery and Badassitude.

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