The Handsome Collection comprises Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, both of which have been given a next-gen graphical overhaul.
Like the mighty Diablo, Borderlands is a game of loot gathering, every group of enemies slain yielding a tempting new set of guns to be pillaged. But unlike Diablo, which takes itself very seriously indeed, Borderlands has become self-aware and, especially in the Pre-Sequel, can’t help mocking first-person shooters and video games at large, from the absurdity of stealing everything in sight to a boss fight with a neon sign above the baddy’s head saying “kill this guy”. Its cel-shaded looks won’t be for everyone and neither will the prevalence of multiplayer co-op, but sifting through its thousands of guns proves as addictive as ever, while its offbeat sense of humour permeates everything from dialogue to the names of your expansive collection of weapons.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
BOX BOY! 3DS
The surprise of last week’s Nintendo Direct, the games giant’s regular internet address to fans, was BOXBOY!. Unlike most newly revealed games, this one was available for download straight away and, despite being a 3DS game, it isn’t in 3D or even in colour, presenting its four-cornered protagonist Qbby in glorious monochrome. Qbby can only make small hops, but he can also squeeze out lines of squares, which join together to make bridges, hooks or weights to trigger switches. New ideas are introduced gradually, letting you get comfortable with them as you collect each level’s bonus crowns on your way to the exit. There’s no penalty for failure, with retries starting you exactly where you were before you fell into the spiked pit or suffered self-immolation by simply drawn laser beam. However, there is an upper limit of available boxes for each level, beyond which you can still finish but without the coveted “perfect” score. Like all the best puzzle games, once you spot each solution it all seems childishly simple.
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee - New’n’Tasty, Xbox One, PS4 & PC
Although there are no human beings in Oddworld, it still has fat cat capitalists and lowly indentured labourers. Abe is a slave at RuptureFarms meat processing plant, which harvests alien lifeforms and grinds them up to make pies, cakes and other mystery meat treats. Their newest snack turns out to be made of Abe’s friends, a fact that turns him from humble employee into an extraterrestrial Che Guevara, rescuing his buddies and smashing the system. Its gorgeous-looking 2D puzzle-platforming action breaks out into swooping 3D shots of the factory in all its grizzly splendour, a process that looks even more beautiful thanks to nearly 20 years of technological advancement. First released in 1997, this retains all the original features, but is tempered for a post-millennial audience who expect their games to be less cruelly difficult. That’s not to say there won’t be moments of controller-smashing frustration as you try to time a series of jumps perfectly, only to be killed over and over again.
Oddworld Inhabitants, £14.99
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