Borderlands 2 Vita Port: Borderlands 2 for the Vita Gets Demoed at GDC, Initial Impressions Show Concern for Performance and Controls [VIDEO]

By CJ Melendez , Updated Mar 20, 2014 11:33 AM EDT
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If there was one game that fans may be responsible for making happen, it would be Borderlands 2 on the Vita. I spent a lot of time on the /r/Vita subreddit when the Vita console first launched, and I recall a rather large initiative to get Gearbox to port their comedic RPG shooter to Sony's portable after Randy Pitchford stated that he'd like to see it happen. Last August Gearbox's Adam Fletcher announced the title officially and since then many have wondered how such a large game would fit on a portable.

Well, Borderlands 2 Vita is currently on the show floor at the 2014 Game Developer Conference and impressions and videos are all over the net now. Opinions range from impressed to slightly disappointed in the current build's quality. Ported by Iron Box Galaxy, the Vita version of Borderlands 2 is said to be “rough around the edges”.

IGN's Colin Moriarty spent some time with the Vita port and published a preview. In it, he states that the game was “sluggish” and had a lacking framerate. Looking at video, you can see that the game chugs on a few occasions and has framerate drops. Now, the current build on the show floor is not final, but with its release set for the spring, concerns are being made.

IGN's Greg Miller echoes Colin's statements, stating that the game is not as “smooth” as the PS3. The visual fidelity of the game has also been scaled back, eliminating real time lighting and reducing texture quality from a short distance.

Another issue brought up was with the game's use of the rear-touch panel as a substitute for the absent L2 and R2 buttons. The back panel will be used for dashing and melee strikes, while the front touch screen will access a character's skills and toss a grenade. Both Colin and Greg note that it's not the greatest control method and takes getting used to, especially if your hand placement on the Vita naturally grazes the panel.

The video I have embedded below should give you a good look at the game in action. It's off-screen, but the visual and performance differences are noticeable. Hopefully the game ships at a consistent performance without too many framerate drops. The fact that this game was put on a Vita is still pretty impressive, and I'm sure there would be a market for it – especially with cross-save functionality with the PS3 version.

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