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Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is free on the Epic Games Store

Grab Borderlands: The Handsome Collection from today through Thursday on the Epic Games Store.

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Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
Gearbox Software

Grab Borderlands: The Handsome Collection from today through Thursday on the Epic Games Store.

Handsome Jack. You love him or you hate him. He has a diamond unicorn called Butt Stallion. You think that’s funny or deeply stupid. He’s a smarmy prick, with a hidden tragic backstory. That either makes him sympathetic or just a smarmy prick with a hidden tragic backstory.

How you feel about Handsome Jack will likely determine how you feel about this week’s Epic giveaway. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection includes Gearbox’s Borderlands 2 and the 2K Australia-developed spin-off, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Both star the titular Hyperion President. In Borderlands 2, Jack is a villain and constant voice in your ear. Pre-Sequel, though — which, confusing title aside, is just a prequel — charts Jack’s fall from grace.

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Both games are worth checking out if you haven’t already. The original Borderlands defined the loot-shooter, fusing solid FPS mechanics with RPG progression and procedurally generated loot. Borderlands 2 refined everything the first game did, expanded it, and did a significantly better job of telling a story.

Pre-Sequel transplants the action to a moon of Pandora, the lawless desert planet that served as setting for the first two games. The new environment brings new mechanics with it. The moon’s lower gravity means that gunfights and traversal have a vertical component. And, the lack of oxygen will push you between conveniently placed domes of air.

I never finished Pre-Sequel but I enjoyed the bits that I played of it. It’s a shame that 2K Australia closed shortly after its release.

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The meme-y humour of Borderlands 2 and Pre-Sequel doesn’t hold up especially well (you can go ahead and use “Butt Stallion” as a litmus test for whether you’ll think it’s funny or not). But, they’re still a blast with a few friends at your side.

And, given that both are free right now, it should be pretty easy to round-up a co-op party. Here are Tom’s impressions of Borderlands 3 if you’d prefer something more current.

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Andrew King is a journalist, critic, poet, stand-up comedian and museum caretaker living in Illinois.

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