Reviews - Updated on April 10, 2022

I completed the first Borderlands at the time of release with all subsequent DLCs. Then I went through Borderlands 2 and returned to it with each new DLC (Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep is a masterpiece for all time!). Then there was Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, now the third part has been announced. And on the wave of nostalgia associated with the announcement, after all these years, I returned to the remaster of the original on PS4 to understand …

It’s amazing what the hell is this

I went through the game with an obsessive desire to hand it over for an autopsy in the “Debriefing” – I have not seen such a crooked, unfair and ridiculous gameplay for a long time.

Borderlands is a very comfortable console shooter with very convenient shooting… because the opponents here almost all the time stand still or move very, very slowly. Literally all the “mobs” in the game are complete idiots who helpfully go to the middle of the wasteland and stop, waiting for a headshot. Or dogs that literally run up close to you and just start to growl, opening up for a critical attack. Or bugs that constantly crash into walls and start spinning, substituting weaknesses.

At the same time, nothing at all depends on you as a player: if the opponents are of the same level as you, then it’s hard for you. And if they are a couple of levels higher, then you’re done. Just don’t even hope. You come into the arena and get beaten to death. You go back there after three completed quests and you can’t understand why it was difficult at all.

Do enemies deal different types of damage? You haven’t heard about this, absolutely any bandit with a gun can shoot at you from the other end of the location and not smear – and if he is also of a high level, then it’s generally a disaster. Even if you are behind cover! Protected by a turret!

We returned to Borderlands and realized eight things

I measured: he stood like that for three seconds before firing.

You make your way through the Borderlands either systematically clearing all the side quests in order to overtake everyone around in terms of experience points, or with the constant feeling that you are just “breaking” the passage. We couldn’t defeat the first “boss” purely physically, therefore, while one player stood outside the arena with a rocket launcher and a rifle, the second one pulled the “leader” to the area under fire and tried not to die longer.

And once in the field, we stumbled upon an ordinary bandit four levels above us. They died and went to him four times. All this time they just shot him in the face, because if you stick out a millimeter from behind the house behind him, he immediately turns around, and you’re done.

What is no good is cars. Who invented steering with the right stick/mouse? Because of this, it is generally impossible to shoot on the go! And the mission, where you need to destroy eight enemy cars, turned into a living hell for the two of us, where we smashed almost the same number of our cars. Here the level does not play any role at all.

And finally, there’s the absurd role-playing system: it rewards you for killing with a particular class of weapon. That is, in fact, it (unlike the second part) encourages monotony! Got a cool revolver? Throw it away, you still have +30% damage to any assault rifle.

Still very brown

Another revelation was that the cartoonish, colorful, and colorful Borderlands franchise began with a basically dull, gray, monotonous world. It is already known that the “board” was planned as a faceless space epic about some antiquities and that in the middle of development the team decided to turn everything upside down by adding Piece of Iron to the game. If you pass with this awareness, then all the forcedness of the local “madness” becomes very noticeable.

Stylish “Gairich” character screensavers are present at the beginning, but they are completely lost after the first location: they seem to have been hastily blinded to create a first impression. Creative story missions with funny premise are almost non-existent. The characters carry a pretentious blizzard, which is absolutely impossible to listen to. From the good – multi-colored Pieces of iron, which are funny hanging out, but even then they get bored very quickly, because they have only three or four songs.

But the main disappointment is the location. You may remember dozens of cool decorations from the first part, but in reality the game takes you from one brown dump to another brown dump. The weapons are also brown. The boxes are brown. Even if you look at the screenshots of Borderlands 2, you are amazed: why so many colors?! Why is this so beautiful all of a sudden?

We returned to Borderlands and realized eight things

Yes, yes, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.

Minus times minus scores 81 on Metacritic.

And with all this, damn it, Borderlands is still a drug that you don’t want to give up. Stupid enemies are very malleable and easy to shoot at, and the artificial difficulty associated with high-level enemies makes the process more interesting.

New types of enemies regularly appear here, you are constantly happy with new weapons, which are added at the same frequency. The leveling is very fast, and the gameplay remains generally neutral and absolutely comfortable.

And although you know that somewhere in this world there is Destiny, where the shooting mechanics are really powerful, where at least something depends on you, and opponents behave smarter, it’s still somehow convenient in Borderlands. And 10 years ago, it was definitely great: the first successful FPS-RPG, after all. It’s funny that in the reviews of those years, no one scolds the shooting – on the contrary, everyone is amazed that it is “like a shooter, but works like Diablo.”

We returned to Borderlands and realized eight things

It’s not visible in the screenshot, but here I’m happy with the new barrel with low recoil, comfortable aiming and high damage. And there are an uncharacteristically many flowers!

DLC is the best part of the game

The game really begins to unfold when the authors undertake to do something from scratch – DLC. Here in them absolutely everything immediately starts working as it should. It can be seen that the locations were developed initially with an understanding of the visual style. It is felt that the script was written immediately with a claim to outright banter (Army of Iron!). There is more plot, more meaning, against the background of the rest of the DLC game, you really want to pick it up to the end – if only for the sake of an absolutely cool final action.

Even the locations are somehow more cheerful, or something: the garlands on the zombie island of Dr. Ned are a completely different level of elaboration, which is not even implied in the original. The non-combat rooms were filled with the same cartoon-cartoon content that was clearly lacking in the base campaign. Well, the “bosses” have become much more amusing – like that dog in a macaroni hat.

The DLC for the first part is the true forerunner of the sequel. And you can get to them in a comfortable mode – approximately after the first meeting with the ancient aliens, at the 25th level of the hero’s development. We got nostalgic about the brown color and went to interesting things.

I did not notice that Rage is so secondary

And here you are sitting like this, shooting at skags, and at that time you are talking about life: the first “board” looks like a Vietnam veteran who miraculously survived, because he understood something for himself in time. Others didn’t understand.

I put forward the thesis that if someone had not made a categorically correct decision in time to change the visual style in the middle of the crossing, then the game would have drowned and really got into the “Debriefing” as plotless, brown, banal, crooked, but, okay, with normal role-playing system. After all, Rage is located exactly in the same place now.

And that, probably, Randy Pitchford was more surprised when he looked at the creation of id, which filled literally all those bumps that Gearbox was saved from. If we imagine that the design would not have changed, these would be twin projects in general: some kind of planet, post-apocalypse, some local epic and healthy creatures, some kind of indistinct color …

It’s amazing that after so many years, Rage 2 seems to have understood something, but wrongly and under the supervision of Avalanche loses all uniqueness, copying madness, but maintaining a pseudo-realistic visual style. Which obviously doesn’t work.

Splitscreen is amazing

Before that, I had never tried any split-screen shooter on consoles. It turned out that this is pure magic: with the proper size of the TV, the division into two screens does not interfere at all, and together, of course, everything is more fun.

Sometimes, however, Borderlands: Game of the Year sags heavily in texture quality even on PS4 Pro – for example, if you are in different parts of the level. And it can be difficult to separate two audio tracks: if somewhere near a neighbor a crazy pyromaniac yells terribly, then you yourself begin to involuntarily look around to see if you missed anyone.

We returned to Borderlands and realized eight things

Although sometimes the PS4 habit of taking a screenshot when receiving a trophy turns out to be useful.

Cel-shading does not age

Did the game need a remaster? No, all comparisons of the “old” and “new” graphics only reveal that nothing has changed much – some models were made clearer, while others, on the contrary, lost in detail (thus, the Piece of iron became a little cleaner, although in the original it was clearly beaten up by life).

Some things are significantly worse – for example, the lighting in the opening scene – but in the average hospital, you are unlikely to notice anything updated at all. Although it doesn’t matter, because Borderlands looks more than worthy: cartoon graphics are almost out of date, and there’s no shortage of polygons to speak of.

However, we must pay tribute: as many as three radical improvements were noticed in the remaster. Minimap. Automatic pickup of ammo (only dropped from enemies). Possibility to fix the selected trunk, so as not to accidentally sell it. A trifle, but … a trifle.

We returned to Borderlands and realized eight things

I almost forgot the most important thing – a couple of interesting hats per character. Powerful addition!

It turns out that all the good things came from the second part

The main revelation that overtook me is that I remembered the game in a completely different way. I started to go through it on the couch with my girlfriend and proudly told me – here is the “board”, she is very funny and crazy! There, each weapon manufacturer is unique, and you quickly begin to really distinguish between them! There are cool cut-scenes and crazy quests and characters! It turned out not.

There is nothing of this in the first part: everything beloved and seemingly so natural and familiar came precisely in the sequel. And in the original, the guns are boring, the cat wept for commercials, jokes and characters too. I was even a little ashamed of the unfulfilled promises … But a person who had never played any FPS at all in his life, was happy to shoot the open mouths of skugs and did not even understand what was wrong with this game, which means that Borderlands is a test of time still passes and deservedly received a personal cult. Whether there will be more – now I urgently need to replay the second part with all the DLC! Right after the Hidden Agenda review…

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