A look at the Metacritic for the Vita version of Borderlands 2 paints a contrasting story from those that are paid to give a professional critique of a videogame and those that buy it. With 21 reviews from the industry listed at the time of writing, the consensus from them is that Borderlands 2 is a good title, but is beset with performance issues and results in a score of “mixed or average”. Many of these issues with the game have started to be addressed in the form of a day 1 fixes – which these reviewers did not have, an upcoming patch or changing the default controls and many gamers seem content to have finally got a new “AAA” title on the Vita.
There can be no disputing that getting a massive, expansive shooter like Borderlands 2 onto the Vita has clearly been some achievement. Handicapped initially by not only reduced input options and hardware performance, but also the fact that the storage medium is considerably smaller than the console counterparts, it was inevitable that there were going to have to be some cut backs. For all of the perceived negativity from the reviews – who, to be fair do praise the game too – the overwhelming response from gamers paints a very different picture of the game. Herein lies the question though; is it the gaming media here at fault for being far too brutal with the truth? Or is it, in fact, us as Vita gamers that are so grateful to have the game that we are prepared to overlook and issues with the game?
This is not the first Vita title to have had some sort of compromise, and you can bet that it wouldn’t be the last, but is this something that we as Vita gamers have come to expect, or even accept? Is the desire to have these big name titles on the platform worth sacrificing quality for? Are we blinded by devotion to the system, which may not have the real power to deliver what so many crave? The power aspect has been discussed by many studios before, most recently by Rob Clarke from Curve Studios, with regarding to getting The Swapper running.
One of the most annoying things for me with gaming in the 21st century is the lack of QA with games. Games are so frequently launched often with serious issues – with Starlight Inception being an obvious recent case. This is not really fair on consumers, but is all to commonplace. The gaming media have a responsibility to report this, and of course, the best way to stand up against this kind of thing is to vote with your wallet – but doing so in the Borderlands 2 instance means that the title could flop, and potentially jeopardise future AAA titles finding their way to the handheld. On the other side of this, studios do invariably patch and fix these issues, yet the review scores stay the same. To the unaware potential Vita owner, their perception of the quality of a game is based on something which is now inaccurate, and only serves to deter buyers from the system.
What is your view on this? Are you prepared to put up with audio/visual compromises (and sometimes game-breaking issues) with AAA titles if it means that we get to play it on the Vita? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.