I’ve just finished downloading Guacamelee from the Playstation Network and just realised I’ve had my Vita for a little over a year now and thought I’d give my take on Sony’s upgrade from the PSP.
It’s fair to say the Vita hasn’t exactly been the hit Sony thought it would be. Althought to be fair, I dont recall the PSP doing great to start off either. I never owned a PSP as the inital software line up didnt really entice me. As time went on, there were some titles that came out that I did want such as Patapon, Final Fantasy Dissidia, Patchwork Heros and Half Minute Hero. However none of these seemed enough to actually get the system. After a while it came time for the PSP’s successor (sorry, i have never been able to spell that word properly) codenamed the Next Generation Portable or NGP for short. It was eventually named properly as the Vita and for anyone unfimilar with the system this video sums up its features.
Yep, it has lots of random guff in it just like its big brother the PS3. But then they started talking games and my interest suddenly peaked. This was mainly due to Gravity Rush, a cell shaded anime styled action game where you could mess with gravity. There were other games like a port of Disgea 3 which would no doubt take up more than a few lunch breaks, new entries in the Uncharted, Everybodys Golf and Wipeout franchies, and a new game Sound Shapes by the creator of Everyday Shooter. Plus it had PSP support, so all those above mentioned titles could be played. Still I decided to wait and see how the machine performed. Well that was the plan.
Around a month or two before the UK launch of the Vita, Sony opened up a display room on Oxford Street in London. And while shopping for Scott’s (this blogs other author) birthday present, I happened to find myself in said show room. After playing demo’s of Wipeout, Uncharted and Gravity Rush I changed my tune and decided to get one. The set up of the demo room was loads of Vita’s in fixed cradles all playing specific games. However if you messed around with the buttons, you could get into the main menu and even play demo’s that werent being advertised (this is how I got to Gravity Rush). I didnt have the money to get one on the day of launch as these things arent cheap and it launched a few days ahead of payday (what a hardship – i know!) but I got a unit within the first week thanks to a rather nifty Amazon deal.
Now some good points first, it has a nice solid build, the screen is rather nice and the analogue sticks work rather well. Bad points, it has no on board memory so it you want to actually save your game you have to buy a memory card. And Sony being a bit mad on occasion didnt add in a SD card slot so you have to buy their silly expensive own format memory card. Also the battery could be a bit better but I have that thought about every chargable device.
So thats how it went for the early days of me having a Vita. Since then I’ve played quite a few games on it and used it a lot as a media/you tube player while cooking. For these purposes its great. While the game libary may not be massive it has some solid titles. I’d happily recommend all the above Vita titles as well as Lumines (dont play on transport – you will miss your stop!), Persona 4 The Golden (I can have Chie with me wherever I go!), Knytt Underground (2D platformy adventure game) and currently being played by me Virtues Last Reward (a Japanese visual novel).
It helps being a PS Plus subscriber as so far they have offered most of these games for free (well free if you are a subscriber and download them while they are on offer and stay a member of PS+). So when it comes down to it, I’m really happy with my purchase. It might not have a new amazing game every month but there there is some really good stuff for it. I decided to do a little comparison for fun. I have 7 card games for the Vita. I have 13 bought games for my Wii, which I got at launch in Dec 2006. I’ve had a 3DS for a while and only have 2 cart games for that. Maybe my gaming taste is just a bit skewed.
And for the game I mentioned at the start of this, Guacamelee, is a 2D Metroidvainia game with a Luchador for a main character and a Day Of The Dead setting and has a button mapped as Chicken Magic. And if you buy the PS3 version you get the Vita version for free. I love this idea. The newest Ratchet game, Sound Shapes and Knytt Underground* all have this option as well. *need to check this out as might might have been a PS+ thing. And you save file can be transferred from one system to another. So while i’m not running up to strangers in the street and yelling the praises of the Vita, I think its a great handheld and look forward to what comes to it in the future. Vita + PS4 could be awesome.