The Playstation Vita: Great Expectations?

VitaExpectations

There seems to have been a slight shift in opinion on the Playstation Vita recently, with lots of people moving away from the longheld negative perception of the device.

Nevertheless, everyone still has a different sticking point – it doesn’t have any games, it costs too much, I won’t have time to play it etc. I will dispute the lack of games comment below but the rest are valid arguments, depending on your situation.

I think the biggest problem the Vita had was one of perception – shown off as a ‘PS3 in your hands’ it meant the device was always going to struggle to meet expectations if the software line up wasn’t stellar.

VitaExpectationsUncharted

I personally didn’t have an issue with the launch line up but the gap between big titles was just too long. It certainly isn’t as bad now and Sony’s play for the indie market also means you’re getting some top quality, smaller games in between those triple AAA PS3 style experiences.

As for those who say PS3 style games don’t suit a handheld device, I have to disagree. I had no problem playing things like Uncharted, Assassin’s Creed or even Metal Gear Solid in smaller snatches of time. Especially as the Vita has a suspend button that means you can switch off temporarily instead of having to power the console down.

So let’s quickly bust the myth that the Vita has no games. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I believe what these people mean is the Vita has no games *they want to play*. That isn’t the same thing as actually having no games.

GravityRush 2

Here is a list of Vita games I would recommend. This isn’t a list of every game available but consists of titles I feel are worth your money. I’ve noted in brackets where a title is only on Vita:

  • Unit 13 (Vita Only)
  • Motorstorm RC
  • Everybody’s Golf
  • Lumines
  • Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita Only)
  • Super Stardust (Vita Only)
  • Resistance Burning Skies (Vita Only)
  • Gravity Rush (Vita Only)
  • Metal Gear HD Collection
  • LittleBigPlanet Vita (Vita Only)
  • Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation (Vita Only)
  • When Vikings Attack
  • Need For Speed: Most Wanted
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Rayman Origins
  • Retro City Rampage
  • Persona 4 Golden (Vita Only)
  • Guacamelee
  • Soul Sacrifice (Vita Only)
  • Sine Mora
  • Thomas Was Alone

Most of these titles on their own may not sell you on the system but I do feel there is enough of a library building up to make that initial outlay worth it. Especially when you factor in something like Playstation Plus, which gives you free Vita games every few months.

I can see the argument that a lot of those aren’t Vita exclusives but for me titles like Guacamelee and Thomas Was Alone were not games I’d sit at home and play on my PS3. So I probably wouldn’t have played them (certainly not at this stage) if I didn’t have a Vita.

2013-03-30-121243

Looking forward to E3 next month, it’s clear the Vita will have a bigger role than ever. With the upcoming PS4 aiming to have every title also playable on your handheld I imagine there will be an uplift in Vita sales towards the end of the year.

The Vita was always going to struggle in a market that has seen smartphones/tablets eat away at some of the more casual gamers in the space. When initial expectations weren’t met, more and more gamers were reluctant to take the plunge on a Vita.

The next few months will be a perfect time to get involved though. With a possible price cut at E3 and with more great games in the pipeline (I cannot wait for Hotline Miami and Killzone: Mercenary) the future is looking brighter for Vita after a rocky start.

VitaExpectationsKillzone

What do you guys think? Any other Vita owners out there – what are your thoughts on the Vita and the ‘lack of games’ for it? If you haven’t got one what would entice you?

.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Need For Speed: Most Wanted – Review (Vita)

NeedForSpeedMain

When I first saw screenshots and shot-off-screen footage of Need For Speed: Most Wanted I was quietly hopeful that maybe Criterion Games might be able to squeeze the Vita for all it’s worth.

And having got my hands on the game I can confirm that they most certainly did.

For the most part this is pretty much the exact same game as it’s console counterpart – having played a bit of the PS3 version the only differences I could see were changing weather, less traffic on the roads and the crashes were a bit less spectacular (cars in the Vita version don’t smash up as much).

To have managed to get the game onto the Vita with just minor changes is a feat unto itself – that the game also plays really well is the icing on the cake.

NeedForSpeed1

Criterion have somehow got the entire PS3 map on here and graphically the game is gorgeous, although occasionally the action was so fast on the small screen I simply wasn’t quick enough to avoid the oncoming traffic. To be fair though that might also just be my ‘old-man’ reactions, perhaps younger readers will have no issues.

There are a plethora of cars and events to take part in and with the inclusion of Autolog you’re never far from trying to beat a friend’s time. The menu selection, using the D-Pad in game to select races, is a nice touch and means you don’t have to break from the action to set up races etc.

The online play, for up to 8 players, is reliable and solid – I haven’t experienced much in the way of disconnects etc. There is a full levelling system and separate mods to unlock for cars just on the multiplayer side and you can create your own events for people to take part in.

NeedForSpeed2

Need For Speed: Most Wanted probably isn’t going to convert you into a driving fan if you don’t enjoy the genre but if you have even the slightest interest in racing games then this is the best thing out there for the Vita. Aside from the racing this is a stunning example of what can be achieved if the Vita version of a PS3 game isn’t simply handed to a third party to port over. It gives me hope for the future of the handheld!

Rating: 9/10

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita – Review (Vita)

LittleBigPlanetVita Main

LittleBigPlanet is such a staple of the Playstation brand that it was inevitable that Sackboy and friends would make an appearance on Sony’s latest handheld.

While development duties have been handed to Tarsier Studios they have done such a great job you wouldn’t know this wasn’t made by Media Molecule.

The story mode is great fun, as usual filled with plenty of wacky adventures and is the best way to collect items that you can then use to build your own levels.

LittleBigPlanetVita 2

The focus on creating and sharing remains from previous versions and actually with the use of the touchscreen might be an easier process for some. Level creation is still a bit daunting though, especially compared to something like Sound Shapes – which feels a lot simpler to get up and running.

Another positive is the inclusion of near-based and friend challenges, which plays nicely into the asynchronous nature of score-chasing often found on the Vita. It’s a nice way to dip back into levels once you’ve finished the story and adds a little competitiveness to the game.

Graphically the game looks great and LittleBigPlanet uses the Vita to it’s full potential, whether that is front/rear touch, tilting or even just rotating the device and playing on the screen lengthways.

LittleBigPlanetVita 1

Obviously once you’ve finished the single player stuff there is a massive amount of user generated content to enjoy. Levels can be downloaded as well so you don’t have to be connected online to play them – very handy.

There’s not really a lot more I can say to be honest, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita isn’t breaking any new ground aside from the use of touch controls but the series has been refined to perfection so I would say this is the definitive version of the game.

If you like LittleBigPlanet you’ll love this but I’d recommend it to anyone – the sheer volume of user created levels available means you’ll never be short of something to play here.

Rating: 8/10

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Gravity Rush – Review (PS Vita)

I wasn’t entirely convinced that Gravity Rush would be for me. It looked a bit too much like an RPG – running round town talking to people to get missions etc – and those games aren’t usually my cup of tea.

But I decided to give it a shot following some positive reviews out of Japan (where the game launched first) and I wasn’t disappointed.

Telling the story of a girl called Kat who wakes up having lost her memory (yes it’s a cliched plot device but stay with me) you discover you have the ability to shift gravity so that you can float, fly and essentially walk on any surface in the world.

Soon enough Kat finds herself helping the citizens of Heksville and trying to unlock her past. Graphically the game looks gorgeous, it’s cell-shaded design showing off some wonderful art work. Kat herself moves fluidly and despite a few issues with the camera when in tight spots I had a great time exploring Heksville and checking out some beautiful skylines.

The mechanic for manipulating gravity is well handled: a tap of R makes Kat float on the spot and you simply aim the right stick where you want to go and press R again to fly there. You can combine this with the attack button to do some real damage to the Nevi.

Nevi monsters are the main bad guys in the game, a series of weird looking alien-type creatures that Kat has to defeat. There are big boss battles but you will spend a lot of your time fighting the Nevi. Only on the odd occasion did I feel that these were used simply to stretch out a gameplay sequence. For the most part when a bunch of them were thrown at me it felt like an appropriate force of resistance.

I enjoyed the story and felt like the game was challenging without being overly punishing. The gravity mechanic lends the game a really different feel to most games out there.

If you have a Vita I strongly recommend checking this one out. There’s no multiplayer component so bear in mind that this is a single player game. It’s not perfect and occasionally camera problems hamper the experience but fantastic visuals and a distinct play style means Gravity Rush is worthy of your time.

Rating 8/10

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine