Borderlands Legendary Collection Is The Handheld Port I Always Wanted

Borderlands Legendary Collection Is The Handheld Port I Always Wanted
Screenshot: Gearbox

I love Borderlands. I bought a PlayStation Vita in 2014 just because it came bundled with Borderlands 2. Unfortunately, that version was terrible. But now that the first three games are available on the Switch via the Borderlands Legendary Collection, I finally have a chance to loot and shoot on the go that won’t leave me stuck with a lame handheld.

Borderlands Legendary Collection, released late last week, is composed of Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, all of which include each game’s assorted post-launch downloadable content expansions. Even without diving into the specifics, that’s an enormous amount of gaming, and seeing all three downloading side-by-side on my Switch was enough to make my head spin. Was I really going to play through these games again?

The answer is yes. Unlike Borderlands 2 on the Vita, the Switch has enough buttons to handle modern first-person shooter mechanics. No assigning two key actions to rear touchpads here; you can play Borderlands on Switch like you would any other home console. Additionally, the introduction of optional gyro controls makes fine-tuning your aim a cinch when combined with the usual analogue stick controls.

I focused most of my time with Borderlands Legendary Collection on handheld play. The games look great on the portable Switch screen, and I didn’t notice any drastic framerate dips. The only major problem I had was with the Joy-Cons themselves. Their cramped button layout made lengthy handheld sessions a literal pain, and I feel like I’m going to snap off the control sticks every time I break into a sprint or melee an enemy. Borderlands feels better with a Pro Controller in your hands, no doubt.

As is the case with the constant stream of Skyrim re-releases, about a million ways to play Borderlands on a television already exist. But if you haven’t yet played these games, Legendary Collection might be a good way to jump in, especially since you can take it wherever you want if we ever get this pandemic under control. That said, there isn’t really anything here that a dedicated Borderlands fan hasn’t seen before.

Borderlands Legendary Collection is a great port of the first three games, made even more accessible thanks to the Switch’s portability. That said, this means that the series’ flaws have also made the transition. The writing ranges from mildly humorous to excruciating. Once you reach max level and finish all the campaigns, there’s little to do other than grind for loot or start up a new character. And Gearbox is, well, Gearbox. But if you, like me, still manage to love the series in spite of its flaws and found yourself frustrated with previous attempts at making Borderlands portable, Legendary Collection should be right up your alley.


  • What? You’re saying a handheld released in 2017 is able to run a game better than a handheld released in 2011?? Wow..

    Firstly, I have big issues with you calling the vita a ‘Lame’ handheld. That handheld was amazing for 2011 (obviously less so today) and really suffered due to Sony (and some third parties) abandoning it (and also the stupid memory card which to this day is annoying).

    You then complain that the joycons aren’t great so the solution is to pair a Pro Controller with the game.. Well, this doesn’t make it really a portable solution anymore, you’re now playing on a screen with a controller (which you could do with Vita BTW).

    I concede the Vita was the worst place to play Borderlands 2 (but it was at least the current borderlands when it got it unlike the poor Switch which is once again getting old ports), I just get so defensive of that old handheld!!

    • Vita means life! It will still be loved, long after the Switch has been consigned to the dustbin of history.

  • Does the Switch have any cross save support? None of my friends would pick up Borderlands on the switch to play coop with, but it’d be nice to be able to whip it out and play some singleplayer, and when home on PC play coop.

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