PS VITA ROUND UP

Well it’s been a few months since the release of the Playstation Vita handheld console and while there is a break in game releases (Resistance Burning Skies hits later this month, while Mortal Kombat will be out by the time you read this) I thought it would be worth going over my thoughts on the device and doing a round up of ‘mini’ game reviews.

Firstly the device itself – ‘Wow’ is probably the most apt description. You genuinely have to play one to see just how amazing the screen is. Screenshots just don’t do the thing justice.

The analogue sticks work a treat – not as responsive as the PS3 ones but bearing in mind they are on a handheld they do what’s required of them.

You have a whole host of non-game stuff as well, Twitter/Facebook/Skype are all supported. Netflix is rumoured to be on the way, along with plenty of other social stuff I’m sure. Near is the one I use the most as it tells you (less interestingly) who is playing what nearby and (more interestingly) is a way to pick up in-game goods or challenges from your friends.

I went for the Wi-Fi model and have had no problems with it. I’m always somewhere with Wi-Fi when gaming online and in a worst case scenario I can tether to my HTC and use that as a Wi-Fi hotspot. I personally don’t see the benefit of 3G at the moment.

And so onto the games!

.

MOTORSTORM RC (Download Only)

When I heard about this game and realised it was a cross between Micro Machines and Super Off Road I was stoked. I had no idea just how addictive it would become. The fact you’re constantly reminded of your friend’s times and compared to them means there is great incentive for ‘just one more lap’. The fact you get the PS3 and Vita version for the princely sum of £4.79 just adds to the value of the title.

Rating: 9/10

.

UNIT 13

It makes me sad that Sony shuttered the company behind this game but I can understand why – their last few games have been competent but not polished. Unit 13 is no different. A third person shooter focusing on score based, bite-sized missions is a wise move on Vita and this is a great game. Unfortunately it’s hampered by a fairly serious issue – every now and again the game will ‘brick’ your Vita, requiring a hard reset. Very annoying. However the fact that despite that I persisted with Unit 13, aced every mission, earned myself a platinum trophy and loved playing it hopefully gives an indication of how highly I rate it.

Rating: 9/10

.

UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS

The poster child for the Vita. Great graphics and great gameplay. The proper voice acting and motion capture, just like the PS3 games. Bend Studios have previous – the Syphon Filter and Resistance games on PSP they did were some of the highlights of the handheld’s output – and they have done a fantastic job on this. The only issue I had was with the pacing in the first half. It was far too ‘stop start’ for my liking, with minimal interaction before triggering another cut scene. That improves greatly in the back end of the game and the second half was a blast.

Rating: 9/10

.

FIFA SOCCER

FIFA on the go? Yes please! Whilst this is based more on PS3’s FIFA 11 than FIFA 12 this is still the best football game on a handheld by miles. Essentially the full game in the palm of your hand, this boasts the career mode and plenty more beside. The gameplay is just as good (though based on FIFA 11 remember) and the graphics are pretty good, despite some dodgy stuttering in the opening cut scenes. Looking forward to the refined FIFA that will no doubt appear when FIFA 13 turns up. Cross platform play/saves? Don’t rule it out.

Rating: 8/10

.

RAYMAN ORIGINS

I’m not generally a big fan of platforming games but Rayman Origins is a wonderful title. Visually stunning and with some inventive game mechanics this is a must have for people that enjoy this genre. I’d certainly recommend non-platform fans to at least give it a try as well.

Rating: 8/10

.

VIRTUA TENNIS 4

Probably one of the best looking games on the Vita at launch, Virtua Tennis 4 is everything you’d expect from it’s console big brother. Smooth controls, wacky training mini-games and an indepth career mode mean you’ll be playing this one for a long time.

Rating 7/10

.

SUPER STARDUST DELTA (Download Only)

I hadn’t played any of the previous Stardust games on PS3, despite their great reputation. But at just under £7 this seemed like a steal. You control a small ship and must avoid enemies while destroying rock/ice formations as they land on your planet. It’s a twin stick shooter with some great graphics and a competitive leaderboard 😉

Rating: 7/10

.

MODNATION RACERS: ROAD TRIP

As much as I enjoyed the PS3 version of Modnation Racers I feel United Front Games have dropped the ball somewhat with the Vita version. The game looks fine and actually controls a little better than the PS3 one but the fact that you can’t set times offline and have them uploaded when you’re next online (like Motorstorm RC, Super Stardust Delta et al) is a real shame. For someone like me who is mainly offline that really makes me less inclined to play it.

Rating: 6/10

.

F1 2011

Formula 1 for the Vita is a bit of a mixed bag – when in full flow on a wide open track the game is great. However when you’re at lower speeds or there are a lot of other cars around the graphics take a big hit. It’s a shame as this seems like it might just be a port of the PSP title upscaled, rather than being linked more to the PS3 version. There is a robust career mode which should keep you entertained but I can’t help feeling you might be better off waiting for the next F1 Vita game, which hopefully may make more of the console’s abilities.

Rating: 6/10

.

LUMINES

As part of the recurring theme for a lot of these games, Lumines is a game I wouldn’t normally play at home but, like Super Stardust Delta, really seems to suit portable gaming. It’s a music-based puzzle game that requires a great deal of thought if you’re to do well. As someone who isn’t into puzzle games I found this challenging – challenging but fun.

Rating: 7/10

.

HUSTLE KINGS (Download Only)

A port of the PS3 version of the game (buying either version gets you both, which is cool) Hustle Kings is a nice pool game with lots of different modes and some interesting features. I hadn’t played the PS3 version but after trying the Vita demo I grabbed this as a title that is great to play when I only have 10 mins spare.

Rating: 7/10

.

EVERYBODY’S GOLF

I thoroughly enjoyed Everybody’s Golf on my PSP a few years back but once all the courses were done there wasn’t much in the way of replayability. Thankfully as well as a great set of single player events the Vita version takes advantage of the devices online capabilities to give you daily online tournaments to take part in. Getting involved in these will see you rise (and fall) in the World rankings – addictive!

Rating: 9/10

.

WIPEOUT 2048

Wipeout 2048 is one of those games that you can use to show off how gorgeous the screen is on your Vita. The sense of speed is impressive and this is Wipeout as you know it, although as it’s set in the early days of the Wipeout universe it might be the first time you’ve seen these ships race on grass 😆 You can connect and race against people that playing the Vita or PS3 version and I can confirm there are no issues on that front – it works as described. The killer here unfortunately are the load times. Apparently these are being patched but it just takes too long to get into a race. It’s a big issue, especially for a handheld game where your time might be limited.

Rating: 8/10

.

So anyone else out there with a Vita? What do you think of these games so far? What else is on your radar for the device?

.

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

Advertisements

Trophyitis or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the PS3 Trophy System

PS3 Trophy Card

I’d been aware of XBox ‘Achievements’, a set of unlockable awards that you got by completing certain tasks in games, for some time when Sony announced their own version which were to be termed ‘Trophies.’

Myself and my friends greeted the news with a shrug in an Alan Partridge ‘revamped current news and affairs’ style:

“Why would that be of interest to me?”

“Surely that’s for kids.”

“I won’t be bothering with them.”

Only we changed.

Somewhere between the announcement and now, something clicked. Was it a general surge of opinion in favour of Trophies? Perhaps it was the ‘twing’ noise of a pop up confirming a trophy?

Regardless of how it happened it seems people have been infected with a very different T-Virus to the one that features in Resident Evil – ‘Trophyitis.’

I have a fairly low level case – I enjoy getting the trophies, the satisfaction at looking back afterwards: “oh yes, I’d forgotten I got 50 headshots” or “what a tough one it was to beat that last boss in under 20 minutes on Killzone 2” 😀 I’ll maybe check what trophies an upcoming game has but usually won’t go out of my way to try and get them all.

At the other end of the spectrum are the Indiana Jones’ and Nathan Drake’s of the trophy world, the guys who live and breathe for that rare beast – the *platinum* trophy.

A word to the folks who don’t know, the trophy structure is thus:

Bronze: awarded for menial tasks ‘oh you’ve opened a door’, ‘you shot 500 enemies’, ‘you found a secret room’ etc.

Silver: a bit tougher here. More likely to be ‘you killed 1000 enemies’, ‘you collected every weapon in the game’ and for a lot of games ‘you finished the game (on anything under hard difficulty)’.

Gold: Ah the gold trophy – awarded for beating great games on ‘hard’ or for completing bad games who just want you to stick with them til the end. Also awarded for generally near impossible/heroic/mental feats such as ‘you found all 250 pieces of intel’, ‘you completed the game just using the pistol’ etc

Platinum: the crème de le crème. Platinum trophies are awarded for getting every other trophy for that game. It’s like the trophy icing on the cake.

But surely it’s just an artificial demonstration of how much you play games? Is there really any pride to be had in having racked up hundreds of trophies?

I don’t think so.

I guess it depends on your point of view but personally I think it’s like any numbers based social activity. Take Facebook or Twitter for example – how many people are solely interested in how many friends/followers they have? It’s exactly the same with trophies.

The real pride comes not in number but the actual trophies you have. I would rather have a difficult trophy (say being an expert in one field) that not a lot of people have than 20 bronze ones that everyone has.

One of my friends is the next step up from me – having gone from not really being fussed to playing Call Of Duty: World At War on Veteran so he could get two Gold trophies. He ended up taking more than twice as long to finish the game as normal simply to secure that extra gold trophy.

I’m sure the sense of achievement was immense having struggled through the levels but for me personally I don’t have the time or energy to do that. I simply wouldn’t finish the game as my tolerance level peaks around the hour mark in levels.

I can understand the trophy buzz in some instances – my favourite ever trophy was the one that popped up on LittleBigPlanet because over 50 people had played my created level. I was pretty proud of that. (EDIT: The level is called Kitchen Kaper! by GregHorrorShow for those LittleBigPlanet players out there 🙂 )

I’ll keep playing through games and picking up trophies here and there but I think I’ll leave the trophy hunting to others!

This certainly isn’t a piece bashing peeps that collect trophies and I’ll be interested to see what comments you guys have and if you chase the platinum or are happy to pick them up as you go along.