Borderlands 2 Review (Vita)

(This is a review of the Playstation Vita edition of the game only. It will highlight the differences between the most recent port and the game’s original platforms,  but will not be an in-depth review of the game itself.)

Borderlands 2 for the Playstation Vita has been through cancellation rumors, fluctuating levels of hype and widespread skepticism. The port of the popular FPS/RPG hybrid to the Vita was originally meant to bring some recognizable and acclaimed triple A power to the handheld to boost systems sales. But that’s all in theory; in practicality, the PS Vita version of Borderlands 2 is a complete technical mess, the likes of which makes me question how anyone thought this port would result in an enjoyable gameplay experience.

First off, the Vita edition of Borderlands 2 doesn’t cut out any of its content, but instead actually includes most of the DLC add-ons that have been released over the past two years. The game presented is an exact copy and paste of the original game, right down to the enemy encounters and environments. Despite some awkward control schemes and hard-to-read text, the game plays relatively well in terms of control when compared to the console version. Content isn’t an issue with the Vita version though, it’s the actual execution.

The stills look great...

The stills look great…

The technical aspects of the Vita edition are what make the game virtually unplayable. Right off the bat, it becomes apparent that the high spec requirements of the original Borderlands 2 have been poorly adapted to the Vita’s hardware. For instance, changing the color scheme and head of your character in the character creation menu takes a good 15-30 seconds to load, and sometimes the preview doesn’t even change until you select an option. Load times are horrendous, framerate drops are severe and common, and there is at times a significant delay between the firing of your gun and hit detection. It’s a mess, a poorly done port that comes off as a rushed, desperate attempt to translate a triple A title on to a handheld that clearly can’t handle the game’s running requirements.

Wait, am I actually hitting anything?

Wait, am I actually hitting anything?

In terms of graphics, Borderlands 2 for Vita has been severely downgraded to meet the handheld’s hardware requirements. The low resolution and lack of sharp details are comparable to the PS2’s graphics, which is where I would place the Vita overall in terms of graphical power and potential. The graphics aren’t bad in a sense, but the fact that the Vita can barely keep up with the already lowered graphics turns the game into a visual headache.

Final Summary

Borderlands 2 for Vita is a sloppy, embarrassing port that is teeming with technical problems. I would not recommend anyone buy this version of Borderlands 2, unless it was literally the only way in your life you’d ever have a chance to play the game, and even then I’d still discourage buying this version. It’s a failed attempt to promote the Vita in the worst way possible.

Final Score: 4.5 / 10

Written and Edited by Tim Atwood
Chief Editor at The Pixel Pen Review

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