Hands-on with Borderlands 2 on PS Vita

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Find out how Gearbox’s portable loot ‘em up plays

The PlayStation social team recently had a chance to play a build of Borderlands 2 on PS Vita, and as the group’s resident Borderlandophile, I immediately called dibs. What can I say about Borderlands 2 on Vita? It’s Borderlands 2 on the Vita!

Controlling Borderlands 2 on PS Vita is a customisable affair: just go into options and remap to your heart’s content. To change a control, tap the action or button (even the abilities assigned to the touch screen or rear touch pad) you want to change, then tap wherever you want the action to be. By default, tapping different areas of Vita’s rear touch pad yield a sprint or a melee attack, while a tap on the front screen tosses a grenade or activates your character-specific ability.


Shoulder buttons L and R still aim and shoot, though I did notice a useful new feature that takes advantage of PS Vita’s built-in gyroscope: when you’re aiming down the sight, moving PS Vita will adjust your aim – a feature the team behind Uncharted: Golden Abyss once dubbed “Intui-Aim” (expendable factoid).

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Environments and character models are surprisingly detailed, and the game overall runs at a solid clip, generally hovering in the vicinity of 30 frames per second. Slicing dudes up as my main cyborg-man-alien-mystery-assassin-thing Zer0 still makes me feel like a cyborg-man-alien-mystery-assassin-thing.

The gang’s all here, by the way, including DLC characters Gaige the Mechromancer and Krieg the Psycho. In addition to all six vault hunters, Borderlands 2 on Vita includes the campaign packs “Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty” and “Mr. Torgue’s Campaign of Carnage”; the Vault Hunter Upgrade pack, and the Collector’s Edition Pack!

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Borderlands 2 is a blast when you’re flying solo, but the PS Vita version also includes support for two-player online co-op play between two PS Vita owners. We checked in with the SCEA Third Party Production team, who confirmed that while they strived to include four-player co-op in the game, they made a decision late in their development cycle to focus on providing the best two-player-only co-op experience possible. As a result, the maximum co-operative player count for Borderlands 2 on PS Vita is capped at two.

Oh, and good news for anyone who’s played the PS3 version for dozens of hours: you’ll be able to bring your save data from the PS3 version (standard or GOTY editions) of the game to your PS Vita, and vice versa. Just upload your save to the cloud when you are done playing on one device and pull it down when you want to play again. Cross-save, baby!

I’ll admit to being slightly skeptical when I heard Borderlands 2 was coming to PS Vita. It’s a big game! I’m still a bit unsure that making this thing happen was possible by any earthly, mortal means. But hey, I’ll take black magic and alien technology if it means I get to play one of my favorite PS3 games on the go.

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  • Only 2 years late. I bought the GOTY Edition on PS3 for £12 just after christmas, this doesn’t match the GOTY for content, how much are people expected to pay?

    • I believe that its around £20 on Amazon, so in stores it will probably be around £25 – £30

  • When is this coming out in the UK?

  • Hi, i can’t find the Ghost Recon, Raven Strike DLC on the UK store, could you please let me know when it will be available

  • any idea when it’s released in europe

  • Cutting it down to 2-player Co-op is disappointing, but I imagine there were framerate issues with more players.

    Any idea on resolution, is it native? :)

    • It wouldn’t be a frame rate issue.

      It’s more network latency issue. 4 player implementation would take longer to code in, whilst trying to keep it running smoothly. Something like that would also require testing, which also takes time.

      And yes, the resolution it Vita native. 960544.

    • Capped at 2 players immediately dropped this out from my to-buy list, even though I am a big BL fan. BL2 has so many raid bosses, how are we supposed to kill them with just 2 players and all the good weapons crippled?

      Btw, are the DLCs included with the Vita version cross-buy with PS3 version?

  • Ramases_Niblick

    Already ordered :-)

  • Why you at SCEE decided to give us the PS3 version in PS+ a while back knowing it was due out on Vita is beyond me. Straight away you’ve sliced the amount of Vita versions sold. Why will people want to pay £30 for it if they have the better FULL version free on their PS3?

    Also, the fact only 2-3 enemies appear on screen at a time and then the way they explode when killed is a big reason I’m avoiding this as much as I want to support it and Vita.

    • Why should PS3 owners miss out on this on Plus just because it’s coming to Vita?

    • People would like it on Vita because of portability. I can’t very well play a PS3 on a train now can I?

      Stop moaning. People like the options available, and it’s not like anyone is forcing you to buy it.

    • While your second paragraph may have valid reasons to avoid this on Vita, the first really doesn’t. This is mostly thanks to cross save. BL2 is a HUGE game, so I like that I can get a head start on the PS3 before Vita comes out and also get a feel for the game. Vita also offers it on the go, which PS3 can’t do. Lastly, Im more likely to pay for a portable version if I got the console version for free rather than having to pay for both.

      That being said, I won’t be preordering as I am warry of the technical issues this port may face.

  • Game have it listed for 23 May.

  • I was intially pretty skeptical about the game, especially after the framerate problems reported som weeks ago. It seems to be fixed though, IGN reported a 28-33 fps range, so I’m gonna buy it day 1 if the reviews confirm a more or less stable 30-ish fps.
    I have Borderlands 2 on PS3 through PS+, but being a dad it’s so much easier to play something on the vita.

    • yeah… another daddy (of two!) here, many people complains about buying on vita after just getting the game on ps3 plus… Well, us, the daddies, known better than anyone how difficult is to play on a tv system… vita fill this gap perfectly!

      so I’ll go almost day 1 for this game, I’ve got the ps3 and 360 version as well, but I’m sure the vita won’t dissappoint me.

      Regarding to the controls, it seems a perfect scheme to me, the touch panels are always tricky for common uses, but of casual buttons are perfect.

      I’m very hyped about this game… keep working on ports sony, there are a lot of games from ps3 we will love to play on vita… even some from ps2 (ratchet trilogy anyone?)

  • I also hope they continue to refine this after release with patches.

    • I miss the 90’s when games couldn’t be updated and were thoroughly tested. Sure PS1 games had the occasional glitch, but it never detracted from the experience.

      Nowadays, updates are just a way to avoid rigorous testing and push DLC to sponge money from us on top of what we’ve already paid.

      Look at Battlefield 4. That was a shambles.

    • In the early 90’s most games were developed for a single format leading to easier debugging of code, patches are a way forward to balance the game fix glitches and add features. Now DLC is a pet hate, especially when you have to pay to unlock something that is already present ( 100kb download files from psn) if its in the game it should be available right from the start and not a pay to unlock feature.

  • Local e-tailer has it listed for 35 euros on may 7th

    I’ll probably pick it up somewhere next month if reviews are favorable (i.e. no gamebreaking issues and a decent framerate), mostly to add to the collection and support big name titles on vita.

  • I love Borderlands 2 but will the game only have online co-op or adhoc as well? I could barely play Little big planet with my girlfriend cause of online only co-op

  • And still not a release date. And how is cross-save going to work when the Vita version is missing half the DLC, especially when you have DLC items in your inventory? And does it have adhoc multiplayer?

  • Still no release date? I still need a date, don’t just say May. When in May!??

  • Wait for E3 i hope that SONY conference would bring us many more 3A Vita games.

  • IF only this came out sooner it would of been day1 , now i can’t decide if i should buy, just too many unplayed (started) vita and ps3 games to get to.. am probably going to get it, reviews willing, but what a difference this and the GoW upcoming port would of made some months ago.. hope they (Gearbox) pull it off and it is a good ‘portable’ XP, ahh, who am i kiddin?.. day1, must have etc…

  • BTW.. seeing two different release dates mentioned above, 7th and 23rd May, guessing it is later, but some clarity would be welcome, along with psn, it is getting psn release? price.. thinking about the cross save and am not sure if it is good idea, imagine it will start you at your current level from ps3 vers, and any dlc items in inventory will just be greyed out?, lastly IF it is cross save does that mean all kinds of trophies will ping for people that use them?.. or are they same trophie list thats already on server, ie no bonus ones to get.. usually hate the double trophy for same game, stopped me from taking them as seriously, but at same time i would want some extra incentive. hope theres a compromise that is fair.

  • so… when is the Slim Vita coming to EU?

    True story, i went to 4 different stores today looking for a Vita (any, pre-slim or slim) and you know what i found? Dozens of PSPs. ZERO Vitas. *facepalm*

  • If we cross save completed games over is this gonna ping all the Trophies straight away? I really hope not, looking forward to going through Pandora again and getting a second Borderlands 2 Platinum.

    • Doesn’t look like a new trophy set, Going through my trophies now and it’s been updated to “psvita ps3”. So I’m assuming shared trophies aswell

  • Vita version for when the TV is taken up and the PS3 version for when it’s not. Having already rinsed this on Xbox, I’ve recently started again on PS3 in order to prepare for the Vita release. Can’t wait, pre ordered at ShopTo for less than £22 :)

  • I’d pay hard cash money to play a PS4 version….

    • They announced that not even the new Borderlands (The Prequel) is coming to current generation. It will be a last-gen game.

  • 2 questions Release date?? And will we be able to get other dlc content? I’m guessing I won’t get reply cos you never do on here!

  • Can’t wait for the release. :D

  • To those worried about DLC gear it should be available on you Vita with cross save. On PS3 if you have gear from a DLC and join an MP game hosted by someone who doesn’t have that DLC you still have the gear and can still use it. This is because the patches ensure compatibility for this very reason, I’d assume the Vita to be no different.

  • I wonder why there’s still no release date announced for Europe. Might end up importing the US version.

    Btw, to all you PS Vita gamers out there. If you’re a fan of PS Vita like me then feel free to check out my channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PSVITAGAMINGUNITE

    Thanks :)

  • Does anybody know if this will have Ad-Hoc multiplayer? I sincerely hope so.

  • Will there be a problem with cross-save if you don’t have dlc on ps3 version?

  • Jesus Christ this game is REALLY UGLY. And two-player coop? No, jeez no, thanks. I’d wait until some reviews came. I love Killzone and I’m really eager to play proper Diablo-like on a go (no, Dungeon Hunter sucks, thanks), and BL2 is the match made in heaven, but I’m starting to realize why there isn’t many PR words and ads about features, not many videos and so on. Just compare it to other advertising campaigns. There isn’t much effort put into this port, but at least it’s port of a great game and not another CoD BO Declassified (which had similar non-existant PR campaign while being the game from the biggest franchise ever). I see…
    Yeap, thank god it wasn’t hard to re-sell CoD:BO D. Haha.

    And NFS Most Wanted was open world too. Had shiny high-poly cars, real-time shadows and no loading screens except 5 secs if you fast-travel and proper multiplayer. And them said NFS MW was so inferior to console versions… And this is 2 players only. Awesome. Why GBX hadn’t put real money on this and put real developer team (I mean Divekick was fun and stuff, but it’s not like devs have experience with massive UE3 engine). Yeah, I know… bla bla bla because PS vita player base is small and stuff (Sony’s fault), but again – it doesn’t look good. I see

    p.s.: And by the way – I do respect Iron Galaxy. They are awesome guys, but… Let’s face the truth – they are not that experienced to work with one of the most successful game of 2013. Expectations will be sky high so it’d be really easy to disappoint people.

  • This will be look awesome on PS Vita screen ;-) But what happens with shadows??

  • The lack of a gameplay video is… suspicious at best… and it doesn’t help to silence the rumors euggesting that it kinda sucks as a port…

    • There’s gameplay videos of Borderlands 2 running on the Vita on YouTube.

    • Yeah I know. I’ve seen them and I’m not all that impressed. If your game is good you show it, every chance you get. I’m just pointing out that they do not do that at all. Minimum exposure from development to release.

  • I am here to ask you one question, and one question only: EXPLOSIONS?!

  • Tell me please, why when i use invert look, my motion sensor is inverted to? It’s a joke? You think it is possible to play? Add another one invert setting special for motion senson and dont explode my brain! Look at Killzone mercenaries or Uncharted.They do controlls settings realy good. I want to play, but I can not play because someone just too lazy to think of head. Dsmiss the person responsible for setting the game

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