“Borderlands 2” on the PlayStation Vita review

It’s been almost two years since we all took up arms against Handsome Jack and returned to Pandora to search for the vault. “Borderlands 2” on the consoles and PC was a phenomenal experience that went on to win several game-of-the-year awards, but now it’s been ported to the PlayStation Vita. Does a huge game like “Borderlands 2” hold up on the handheld system?

The short answer is that it does and it doesn’t.

Before I go into the long answer, here’s a quick recap of what “Borderlands 2” is. The game is a first person shooter with role-playing elements at its core. Players pick one of six classes of vault hunters to shoot, loot and level up their skill tree to their personal play type. Since this is a FPS game, guns play a big role, and there is no shortage of guns to find since each weapon can have variations with different stats and styles. The story is set around the vault hunters traversing the planet of Pandora to find a legendary vault and stop the tyrannical ruler Handsome Jack from getting his way.

With the length of the story and all of the different enemies, guns and locales one would think that since it’s being ported to a smaller system there would be cuts right?

It’s great to say that nothing really has been cut in this port.

Every aspect of the story is here and the thousands of guns have been ported over leaving nothing behind except for a few enemies. What I mean by that is the number of enemies you fight in an encounter at once has been lowered. Say instead of fighting 14 enemies at once on the PlayStation 3, there will only be 12 on the Vita. Its not too big of a difference and is only really noticeable in the beginning levels where there really aren’t too many enemies to fight on the consoles anyway. You will still feel overwhelmed as the game goes on, so it’s not too big of a problem.

Graphics have taken a small dip in quality from console and PC versions.

The big problems with this port are the frame-rate drops and texture pop-ins. The frame-rate stays at around 28 for the most part but can drop to around 20 or so during really frantic fights.

It gets a bit hard to play when you have both enemies shooting you on the ground and then buzzard planes shooting you from above.

What makes it even worse is “Borderlands 2” is a game that can be played online with up to four people in one game, but in the Vita port it’s dropped down to only two players, and starting a co-op game will just drop the frame-rate even when you’re not in combat making you have to decide if it really even worth playing with your friend.There were at least three times during my play through that the game crashed just because i wanted to try online.

The Texture pop-ins aren’t as much as a negative hit on the game just because they don’t ruin the game as often as the frame-rate drops considering that even the consoles had the same problems, but several times I had to restart because the textures on the in-game skill menu wouldn’t pop up and I was left with a big blurry square with illegible text that stopped me from trying to do what I came to do. These are very troublesome things to have to deal with.

It’s being reported that a few people are having problems with the controls considering that four of your actions have to be mapped to the front and back touchscreen. For the most part, I didn’t have too big a problem with controls seeing as I mapped my skill action and melee to the front touchscreen. A small problem did come up with my grenade throwing mapped to the back of the touchpad and my finger accidentally setting it off, but it only ever happened when I adjusted my hand position. This isn’t too bad on on the new slimmer Vita model seeing as the back touchpad is a lot smaller on it

There are a few upsides to grabbing this version, though. For one, It comes with six downloadable content packs for free. Vita owners get the Mechromancer and Psycho charcter classes, the special-edition skins and heads, Ultimate Vault Hunter upgrade and the Captain Scarlett and Torgue campaign add-ons just for buying the game.

This version also has a cross-save ability that lets you take save data from the PS3 version and upload it to the Vita version and vice versa. Its really nice especially if you’ve played the game on other platforms and you don’t want to start all over again.

“Borderlands 2” on the Vita has big problems. Problems that can ruin a persons play experience. It is still the same gamewe’ve come to know and love, which is a good thing, but the bad can outweigh the good at times this one. Having to restart the game and dealing with the terrible frame-rate almost makes this not even worth a try, but if you can get used to the frame-rate there is some enjoyment to be found in it.


Score: 5/10


Pros:
-Its “Borderlands 2” on the go!
-Free DLC
-Same content as consoles

Cons:
-Terrible frame-rate drops
-Too many texture pop-ins
-Tough to play mulitiplayer