PS Vita Review: Borderlands 2

NOTE:  THIS REVIEW IS MY OPINION ONLY.  IT IS NOT A PAID REVIEW.  ALL PICTURES ARE TAKEN WITH MY PS VITA OR PLAYSTATION TV.

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BORDERLANDS 2 is a first person shooter with RPG elements developed by Gearbox Software, ported to the PS Vita by Iron Galaxy studios and published by 2K Games.  It is the second game in the Borderlands franchise.  The game is Cross-Save compatible with the PS3 Game of the Year edition.  This version is the only one of the series on the PS Vita, though playing the first game is not necessary to understand the story as the opening cinematic explains the story.

A short movie catches you up on what's happening on Pandora
A short movie catches you up on what’s happening on Pandora

Taking place five yeas after the first game, you play as one of six vault hunters (four in the main game plus two DLC characters)  Stories of another, larger ancient Vault has attracted Vault Hunters from all over to Pandora.  When the train ride in turned out to be a trap set by a man known as Handsome Jack, you find yourself on a glacier stuck with a (possibly insane) robot named CL4P TR4P (Clap Trap).  With his help and the help from a mysterious woman, called the Guardian Angel, you make your way through the Frozen Wasteland and get back Clap Trap’s boat.  From there the Guardian Angel tells you to make your way to the free city of Sanctuary and help the Crimson Raiders (and some of the Vault Hunters from the first game) and stop Handsome Jack by getting to the Vault first.

Meet the new Vault Hunters
Meet the new Vault Hunters
Your first meet Clap Trap after the train wreck
Your first meet Clap Trap after the train wreck

The character class are similar to the first game, with the Commando (Axion) standing in for the soldier, Gunzerker (Salvador), similar to the berserker, but can dual wield any weapon, the Siren (Maya) similar to Lilith in the first game but with telekinetic and telekinesis-stye powers, and the Assassin (Zero) instead of the Hunter class.  The game comes with two DLC vault hunters: Gaige, the Mechromancer, who can summon a robot called Death Trap to fight for her; and Kreig the Psycho, a playable version of the Psycho enemy in the game, who can regain health through melee kills.

Axton
Axton
Maya
Maya
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Salvador the Gunzerker
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Zero the Assassin

The Vita port also comes with some of the DLC mission packs from the console/PC version.  They include Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty, which you take missions for the infamous Captain Scarlett who is quite upfront about double-crossing you in the end; Mr Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage, were you enter a tournament to open a newly found vault; The Ultimate Vault Hunter Pack, which increases the level cap and add the Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode for a third play through; and the Collector’s Edition Pack with adds new skins and heads for the characters.  Sadly, the rest of the DLC like Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon’s Keep is not included or available.

Gaige the Mechromancer is one of the DLC characters
Gaige the Mechromancer is one of the DLC characters

The gameplay is pretty much like the PS3 version.  The dual thumb sticks of the Vita makes FPS bearable on a portable console.  With a few actions assigned to the touch pad (run and grenades) the controls are good (though I’m all fingers and launch grenades accidentally all the time.)  The best part is that the game is PS TV compatible with the most recent update.  The game even has control scheme similar to the PS3 version when you play it with the Dualshock  3 or 4 controller.  And the graphics looks great on the Vita and PS TV but there is one issue I have.

Enemies on Pandora are strange and varied
Enemies on Pandora are strange and varied

Borderlands 2 is a Hybrid FPS/RPG, so there is a lot of text in the game. My issue is that on the Vita, some of the text is really small and hard to read.  Now I admit it could be my sight going in my old age but it is very small.  Now it is an non-issue on the PlayStation TV as it holds up well on the big screen.

The mysterious Guardian Angel talks to you through visions.  She's a bit of a hottie, too.
The mysterious Guardian Angel talks to you through visions. She’s a bit of a hottie, too.

Overall, Borderlands 2 is a great game that is a welcome addition to the PS Vita.  Minor squabbling about text size aside it is good to see such an AA game ported to the Vita.  I wish more of the “Season 1 DLC ” such as the aforementioned Assault on Dragon’s Keep had made it to the port, but there is surely enough game to keep you occupied on your Vita.

Lilith from the first game, shows up
Lilith from the first game, shows up
Moxxie is an interesting citizen of Pandora.  She runs a place named after herself.  Tip well, and your get rewarded
Moxxi is an interesting citizen of Pandora. She runs a place named after herself. Tip well, and your get rewarded

Borderlands 2 is available in stores and digitally.  It also comes with the newer PS Vita in some packages.  Check stores for availability.

Moxxie sure gets around!
Moxxi sure gets around!
Man, her face is on everything!
Man, her face is on everything!
Sanctuary is full of friendly folks!
Sanctuary is full of friendly folks!

3.5/5

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Author: xcalibar25

One man on a never-ending quest against mediocrity.

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