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Borderlands 2 review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: SCEA/2K Games
Developer: Gearbox/Iron Galaxy
Medium: Digital/Vita Card
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes
ESRB: M

Considering the near-universal acclaim that greeted Borderlands 2 on its initial release, the question facing the game on its release on the Vita isn't "is it any good?" That, after all, has been greeted with a pretty definitive "yes". Rather, the question it has to answer is, can such a huge, bold expansive game be shrunk down to fit on the PS Vita?

While some people may disagree, I think that the answer there can be answered in the affirmative just as emphatically. Because however you want to look at it, Borderlands 2 on the Vita is a pretty impressive accomplishment. It looks great, it plays great, it's just…great.

borderlands 2 vita 2

Graphically speaking, the game is helped by the fact the console versions aimed for "distinctive" rather than "state of the art". The cel-shaded look that worked so wonderful on consoles is just as gorgeous here, with Pandora's wastelands and ruined villages coming to life on the Vita's screen. Admittedly, it's not a perfect port — as witnessed by the opening cutscene — but on the whole, it looks great enough that those few weak moments are easy to overlook.

Happily, when it comes to the controls, there aren't even those minor compromises: Borderlands 2 works here so well that you might believe the game was designed for the Vita. Seriously. It works so well, it even manages to make using the rear touch pad seem worthwhile. There aren't many other games that can say that, so Iron Galaxy deserves all kinds of plaudits for pulling that off. (And, of course, if tapping the back of your Vita isn't your style, you can always map it to something else.)

borderlands 2 vita 6

I know I'm supposed to harp on some minor shortcomings here, but honestly, I can't think of any. If you're really a stickler for multiplayer, I guess it's a little annoying that the game only allows for 2 players in a game, rather than up to 4. Personally, I can't say I'm too annoyed by the change, since I only ever play the game in single-player mode, but I'm sure there are people to whom this matters a great deal.

Beyond that, though? I've got nothing. As I said, Iron Galaxy did an incredible job of cramming a huge game onto the Vita, and they did without having to make any major sacrifices. Borderlands 2 is instantly one of the best games the Vita has to offer, and a sign that maybe, just maybe, those initial promises of it being a portable console in your pocket weren't that far from reality.

Grade: A


Borderlands 2 (Video Game)

Manufacturer: Sony Computer Entertainment
ESRB Rating: Mature
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Genre: First Person Shooter

Borderlands 2 for PS Vita

Borderlands 2 Mechromancer
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Borderlands 2 scene
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Borderlands 2 Badass Rank
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Over-the-Top 'Shoot and Loot' Action Comes to the PS Vita System

The critically acclaimed and bestselling role-playing-shooter hybrid, Borderlands 2, is now available for the PS Vita system. Stuffed with 6 Add On Packs, Borderlands 2 on PS Vita system delivers hours upon hours of signature addictive Borderlands loot-shoot gameplay.

  • Borderlands 2 experience on the PS Vita system — The critically acclaimed and bestselling role-playing shooter hybrid now available on the go
  • 6 Playable Character Classes — Including Mechromancer and Psycho expansion classes
  • Includes 6 Add On Packs:
    - Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage Add On Campaign
    - Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty Add On Campaign
    - Psycho Character Class Add On
    - Mechromancer Character Class Add On
    - Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 1
    - Collector's Edition Pack
  • Cross Save with your PS3 system — Continue your fave file on your PS3 system and vice versa. PS3 version sold separately.
List Price:$39.99 USD
New From:$25.00 USD In Stock
Used from:$25.30 USD In Stock
Release date May 13, 2014.