“Borderlands: The Handsome Collection” Sends You Back to Pandora

The remastered collection is as excellent as ever—and still makes us want to slap Claptrap.

When “Borderlands” debuted in 2009, its cel-shaded graphics, over-the-top ultra-violence and enormous open-world gameplay made it one of the most unique gaming experiences around. It won “Borderlands” and its sequel “Game of the Year” awards and became beloved by console and PC gamers alike. The first-person shooter/RPG hybrid, which placed players in a comic book-inspired, chaotic post-apocalyptic landscape that’s part San Francisco gold rush and part Snake Plissken’s Escape from New York.

Called “The Handsome Collection,” the combo pack includes “Borderlands 2,” “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel” and hours of extra DLC episodes.

Originally on Xbox 360 and PS3, “Borderlands” tells the wild-west tale of vault hunters in a dusty, lawless world. Armed with an arsenal of collectible, customizable guns and a variety of beefed-up vehicles, you’re pitted against roaming hoards of mutated beasts and face-painted psychopaths. “The Handsome Collection” is a 1:1 remake of the original games that translates the mechanics perfectly and then mixes in some updates (keep an eye out for the Robin Williams shield). RPG touches include skill trees, abilities, and buffs that increase health, damage and other combat assets attach you to the character you choose and make the Borderlands games an easy resting place for hundreds of hours of your life.

And game creator GearBox treats former players right: Since so many people have gone ahead and dumped those hours into the two games of “The Handsome Collection” already, Gearbox has innovated a cloud-save system that lets you upgrade both games to your newer console without skipping a beat. So when you make the jump from 360 to Xbox One or PS3 to PS4, your level 60 Assassin and that rare shotgun will be there waiting for you. How you decide to use them in the next-gen is, as always, up to you, your god and, very likely, the Claptrap robot who holds your life in its creepy metal claws. It’s well worth a revisit.