Borderlands 2 Vita: First Impressions

Borderlands 2

As I’m sure many of you are aware, Borderlands 2 released yesterday for the PlayStation Vita, packaged into the new Vita Slim bundle. Yesterday morning, I knew I wasn’t going to pick up the Slim, but was still undecided on Borderlands 2. Was it really worth re-purchasing a ported version of a game I’ve already played? After watching a few gameplay videos and realizing that people were ebaying voucher codes for cheaper than retail, I decided to snag one. Impulse buy.

But hey, impulse isn’t always bad. Although this it titled first impressions, I’d mostly like to address a few of the areas that I see receiving the most attention: framerate, graphics, and enemy count. Let’s take a look…

Borderlands 2 Vita Game Play Screenshot 2

Framerate: I haven’t noticed any major drops in framerate during fights, though with the limited amount of enemies in the early portions of the game it’s hard to say how the endgame will look. The single framerate problem that I’ve encountered is in the game’s various menus. There are significant pauses moving through menus and opening vending machines. It’s nothing major, but it’s there and I’m sure it will irritate some. Overall, I’ve experienced consistent framerates between 25 and 30, though I’d guess the average stays closer to 25. Not exactly what was promised, and again, I’m sure this will irritate some.

Graphics: Remember to think twice when you see a photo from a game system on the internet. It’s probably not representative of what you’ll see when you play the game yourself. This holds true for Borderlands 2 on the Vita. With that said, there’s a noticeable difference in quality between the console versions and the Vita version, as expected. The textures aren’t as sharp and smooth and there aren’t quite as many minute details. You’ll notice the biggest differences as you look into the distance in the open areas. Other than that, the color still pops and it’s a pretty good looking game overall.

Borderlands 2 Vita Game Play Screenshot 1

Enemy Count: Of these three topics, I’ve seen this issue raised the most. Comments have been made about a maximum of three enemies on screen at once. Fortunately, that’s not quite true. Though enemy counts do appear to be lower than in the console versions, it’s not game-breaking. Even in the starting area, I’ve been charged by five Bollymongs. It’s not the total cluster**** you’re probably used to if you’ve spent much time with the Borderlands franchise, but this is remedied by enemies spawning nearly instantly as others die. In clearing out some of the bandit areas in Southern Shelf, it does feel less populated and easier than the console versions.

So far, I’m happy with it. There are problems, though time will tell if they’re significant enough to limit enjoyment. As a disclaimer, I’ve spent tens of hours with the console versions of Borderlands 2. However, these first impressions are based on roughly one hour of play on the Vita version. Check back soon for a full review!