The Nintendo Switch has become somewhat of a haven for ports of older games. At first, that may seem like a negative, but it is in fact a great feature of the Switch’s lineup. Bringing back beloved classics with some improvements and, perhaps the biggest factor, the benefit of portability, they are more than welcome in my book. One of the latest ports to make its way to the Nintendo Switch is Borderlands. Infamous for its craziness and cel-shaded style, Borderlands has garnered a cult following through its games over the years.
On the Nintendo Switch, the Borderlands Legendary Collection packs Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel; three great Borderlands games. However, this isn’t the first time a Borderlands game has been on a portable console. In fact, Borderlands 2 was released on the PS VITA. Unfortunately, that port was rather dire and did not provide a very good playing experience. So, how does the Nintendo Switch versions of these games hold up?
Right off the bat, I have to bring attention to the most disappointing aspect of this port which is a drop to 30FPS. This is an understandable compromise in order to bring the game to the Switch but that doesn’t stop it feeling like a disappointment. On the bright side, the 30FPS is solidly maintained and if it ever noticeably drops below 30FPS, I couldn’t spot it.
In terms of graphical performance, this is the area I found myself most surprised. Visually, these ports are much more in-line with the PS4 and Xbox One ports than their last gen counterparts. Surprisingly, the game runs at a full 1080p when docked and admittedly looks great. Textures are sharp and the crazy cel-shaded colours really pop. When you’re out and about using the handheld mode, the resolution is dropped to 720p.
One of my fondest memories of the Borderlands series is the bat shit crazy stuff you can do playing in co-op. Thankfully, the Switch ports of these games feature support for split screen play as well as online co-op. Although, the split screen feature only supports two players, as opposed to the support for four on other systems. However, it’s an understandable concession given the limitations of the hardware.
I could praise the Borderlands Legendary Collection on Switch as being the best handheld versions of these games, but that wouldn’t be much praise considering how dire the PS VITA port was. Instead, the highest praise I can give this collection is how well it holds up against the PS4 and Xbox One versions. I never felt like I was playing a port as each game in the collection felt like it was made from the ground up for the Nintendo Switch.
For anyone that hasn’t played the Borderlands series before, you’re in for a treat. Borderlands begins with Four Vault Hunters (Brick, Lilith, Mordecai, and Roland) arriving in search of the Vault. (You’ll find out what those are in the game). The Vault Hunters begin to receive instructions from a mysterious woman known as their “Guardian Angel”. Soon after, you meet my personal favourite character, CL4P-TP or “Claptrap”. Eventually, you’re set on a path to find artefacts needed to open the Vault you’re hunting. A lot of shit goes down between you and the Vault so just enjoy the crazy ride.
Funnily enough, the sequel Borderlands 2 starts in an eerily similar way. It again begins with four Vault Hunters (Axton, Maya, Salvador, and Zer0). This time, our Vault Hunters are aboard a Hyperion train on Pandora. Handsome Jack suddenly sabotages the train and leaves the Vault Hunters for dead in a frozen wasteland. The Vault Hunters are found by the last remaining CL4P-TP “Claptrap” unit and again, receive instructions from the “Guardian Angel.” This time, you’re hunting an even bigger vault than the last one.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is set at a point between Borderlands and Borderlands 2. Once again, we start off with four aspiring Vault Hunters. This time, however, they’re fighting alongside Handsome Jack, witnessing his transformation into the ruthless tyrant we saw in Borderlands 2. Inadvertently, the Vault Hunters assist with Jack’s rise within the Hyperion Corporation. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel begins as Colonel Zarpedon and her Lost Legion assault and capture the Helios space station. Jack proceeds to send you to the surface of Pandora’s moon to retake the station. Get ready for some low-gravity badass fun.
Ultimately, if you’re reading this, you’re likely already familiar with the Borderlands games. With that in mind, I can assuredly say they play amazingly on the Nintendo Switch. This Legendary Collection comprises the first three games in the series, Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, as well as all of their respective DLC. This represents an insane amount of content with easily 100+ hours of Borderlands goodness to sink your teeth into.
*Disclosure: a Nintendo Switch review copy was kindly provided by the publisher.