Borderlands 2 has finally come to the PlayStation Vita thanks to Iron Galaxy Studios. At first, it seemed impossible to bring such a large game like Borderlands 2 to a handheld system; especially a handheld that is not as powerful as an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or a PC. Now the game is here and it has exceeded any doubts or little expectations I have had about this difficult port.
Let's talk about the visuals. Since there is so much landscape and detail to the areas, the textures have been lowered to compensate the system's lack of power to show off these details. Features on every character are noticeably different; there are lower textures on the faces and bodies. The game is supposed to run at an almost consistent 30 frames per second. While the frame rate may dip a few times when there is a lot of action on the screen, it does not affect the experience too greatly. The game looks strong, even on a less vibrant LCD screen on the PS Vita slim. Iron Galaxy Studios may have been forced to tone textures and details down, but the game still runs and looks great on the PlayStation Vita.
The gameplay and story have not been changed. When an enemy dies, it is different from the console and PC versions. When you kill an enemy, they explode and instantly vanish as opposed to lying on the ground. Iron Galaxy Studios did this so the game would run smoother and less memory is taken up. This decision is beneficial because it allows the player to quickly get through areas. Enemies disappearing causes the game to flow smoothly and efficiently. The combat is still refreshing and intense. The story is still strong with hilarious writing.
The game comes with a plethora of content available right as the player starts playing. I was fortunate enough to pick up the limited edition PlayStation Vita slim bundle. The bundle includes the PlayStation Vita slim model, which is new to North America, a voucher for the game, and an 8GB memory stick which holds everything the voucher brings. The game or voucher includes both downloadable characters, the Mechromancer and the Psycho. Also included is a number of DLC packs, including the first two add-on campaigns, Captain Scarlet and her Pirate's Booty and Mr. Torque's Campaign of Carnage. The PlayStation Vita slim bundle has been released one week before the physical copy of Borderlands 2 on the Vita for $199.99. The PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3 versions also support cross-save, which is huge for anyone who may have put a lot of time into Borderlands 2 in the past.
Iron Galaxy Studios deserves to be applauded for their amazing work porting such a massive game to a handheld system. Borderlands 2 plays well, looks great, and is an awesome game in the PlayStation Vita's library. Playing one of my favorite games on the Xbox 360/PS3/PC on the go is a blessing. Any role-playing, shooter, or Borderlands fan should pick up Borderlands 2 on the PlayStation Vita if they want to continue playing when they are not home.