The Time Is Right To Pick Up A PlayStation Vita
There’s an unhealthy perception in the gaming industry that the PlayStation Vita is struggling, and that it lacks a solid library games. In actual fact, there has never been a greater time to pick up a Vita; here I’m going to run down why now is the time to strike to pick up Sony’s handheld beast and counter some of the lingering questions surrounding the portable console.
Vita’s game catalogue
This perception refuses to budge despite being incorrect. The Vita’s library of games at present is huge, offering a selection of titles and genres from AAA ports like Borderlands 2 to the latest indie games such as Olli Olli or Thomas Was Alone. A quick look at the online SEN Store (Europe) shows that, at the time of posting, there are 629 Vita-compatible titles ready to play.
The selection of titles is not only numerous but diverse; Like first-person shooters? Try out Borderlands 2, Call of Duty: Declassified or Resistance: Burning Skies. How about third-person action-adventures? Give Uncharted: Golden Abyss, God of War and Assassin’s Creed: Liberation a go. Prefer your JRPGs retro? Every Final Fantasy title is available to play, right up until Final Fantasy X and X-2. Not so keen on the AAA end of the market? Indie skateboard gem Olli Olli, survival crafter Terraria and critically praised cubic platformer Fez will keep you going.
The variety and depth of Vita’s game catalogue is genuinely impressive, with a horde of hidden gems.
Vita’s future game catalogue
It’s not only the current selection of games that make the Vita a must-buy purchase, there’s a whole range of new games confirmed to be coming to the console in the future. There’s a beautiful thread highlighting more than 150 future titles coming to the Vita on NeoGAF. Again, the range in the wealth of titles is impressive, covering a whole range of genres.
In comparison to the ‘home consoles’, the Vita offers some truly unique experiences such as the forthcoming detective-come-survival-horror-interactive-novel Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. Other genres just work more efficiently on the Vita, making use of the exceptional screen and input abilities; Broken Sword and other point and click games are a great example of games that the Vita does much better than other consoles.
There are loads of forthcoming gems on the Vita; Murasaki Baby looks set to be a great, one-of-a-kind experience. Futuristic title Freedom Wars is already huge in Japan, and will undoubtedly pick up a following in Western regions when it sees release. Ports of The Wolf Among Us, The Walking Dead Series 2 and forthcoming Tales From The Borderlands, all developed by Telltale Games will undoubtedly also find new fans when they arrive on Vita later this year.
Yes, the focus has changed from Sony’s original AAA-on-the-go vision, but the Vita remains a fine example of exceptional portable gaming.
Cross Buy and Cross Save
Game developers are becoming increasingly conscious of gamers’ search for the best value for money from their games, and with this in mind there are a selection of games that allow you to Cross Buy; meaning that if you buy the PS4 version of a title, you’ll get the Vita version too. Cross buy is becoming increasingly common on PlayStation platforms, it allows you to squeeze every last ounce of value from a purchase as you possibly can.
Conversely, there’s another feature – Cross Saving, which has become increasingly popular. Cross Saving, or transfarring if you’re Hideo Kojima, allows you to continue your game save on the go when you switch from console to Vita, and vice versa when you get back home. There are relatively few games currently supporting this feature, but it’s something developers are increasingly looking to utilise and include in their titles.
The price is right
Right now, picking up a Vita isn’t necessarily an extremely expensive proposition. The hardware itself has dropped dramatically in price over the past few months; the Vita Slim has been released in a variety of fresh colours and the older first model has the gorgeous OLED screen. You can pick up either of them for less than a Wii U, or a couple of new release PS4 or Xbox One titles.
PlayStation Plus also carries over to the Vita if you already have it for your PS3 and/or PS4, meaning you’ll be able to pick up at least two games per month as part of the Instant Game Collection. Sometimes there’s a PS Plus game with the cross buy feature, meaning the title may be listed as a PS3 game, but by “purchasing” it, you get the Vita version too. Even if you don’t have PS Plus already, for around $40 per year you can pick up well over 30 Vita games to play as long as you’re happy to wait past the launch windows.
Additionally, Sony has created some truly clever memory card and game pack bundles. For a cut price, not only do you get a Vita memory card which is an absolutely essential purchase, but you’ll also get a selection of games bundled on the card or to download. The packs come in various flavours, for example there’s a Sports & Racing Mega Pack and an Indie Games Mega Pack. They’re a great way to grab a memory card and give yourself a selection of games to enjoy.
Don’t forget the Vita’s other uses
The Vita isn’t strictly for playing games either. Just like the PSP, the Vita can be used as a camera while you’re on the go, or a portable mus
ic player. If you pick up a 3G model and pop a sim card into the Vita, you’ll also be able to browse the web on the go. The Wi-Fi model will allow you access to the same features at home or in a hotspot too.
There are a range of online services you can make the most of using the Vita too. Videos also run on the Vita; perfect for watching a film or catching up on your favourite TV shows if someone else is using the living room TV or you’re in a different room, or again on the go. Are you also a keen social networker? Vita has you covered with Facebook and Twitter apps, as well as a dedicated youTube app for those moments when you need to watch a video tutorial.
One of the biggest features being pushed by Sony at the moment is using the Vita as a second screen for the PS4, in a not too dissimilar way in which the Wii U gamepad works. Being able to play the latest games anywhere in your house, or while someone else is hogging the TV, is a major feature allowing you to get even more playtime in.
Convinced? Here are some of the best Vita games to pick up
As if the reasons covered already weren’t a convincing enough reason to splash that hard-earned cash on the Vita, here’s a selection of the cream of Vita gaming.
An absolute masterpiece in JRPG gaming. Persona 4 Golden isn’t quite so highly regarded in the West as in Japan, where it’s considered to be an absolutely phenomenal series. Spawning animes, a fighting game spin off, a dancing game spin off and an absolute truckload of merchandise in Japan, Persona 4 Golden is not a game to be overlooked and plays so well on the Vita.
Borderlands 2 is one of the best showcases for what the Vita can really do. OK, so it may not be quite as technically complete as the PS3/X360 game, but the fact that a last-gen console title can run on Sony’s handheld hardware is quite the feat. Borderlands 2 will give you a huge amount of entertainment hours.
One of the Vita’s best indie titles; Olli Olli is an addictive, clever and frustrating pixel-art skateboarding sim. Olli Olli will roll back the years for fans of the old Tony Hawk series of games and reminds everyone what they’re missing out on now that the Hawk games aren’t seeing a regular release. Small levels with a variety of challenges perfectly suit on-the-go play.
One of the few first-party AAA exclusives to see a release on the Vita, Uncharted: Golden Abyss is another great technical feat. Some of the gameplay components feel a little forced into the Vita version, but without a doubt the ability to take an Uncharted adventure on the go is great fun.
Kidnapped, you awaken in a school cut off from the outside world with 11 fellow students. Psychotic bear Monokuma has you captured with just one exit route; to perform a murder without your fellow students figuring out who did the crime. Danganronpa is a brilliantly exciting interactive novel with great investigation moments, colourful characters and plenty of twists and turns.
Hyper violent with a clever narrative, fiendish challenges and extremely addictive gameplay add up to Hotline Miami; one of the most critically acclaimed games in recent times. There’s a reason Hotline Miami has such a strong following and playing on the Vita is the perfect opportunity to get involved – you won’t regret it.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker all in one, high definition package for the Vita. Need I say more? Enjoy the very best of the Metal Gear universe on the go with the ability to transfer saves across to the PS3 games to further progress. Snake Eater on the go just feels right at home on the Vita.
Sony’s futuristic racing sim is still one of the best PlayStation franchises and the Vita version is no different. Great fun, addictive gameplay and perfect track lengths for playing on public transport or waiting in the kitchen for the microwave to finish off your lunch make Wipeout 2048 another perfect game to live on your Vita’s memory card.
Not only Final Fantasy VII, but the full series up to and including Final Fantasy X are available on the Vita. If you’ve never witnessed some of the seminal titles, now’s the time to do it and the Vita is the perfect platform to do so. The graphics suit the beautiful Vita screen perfectly, rather than the stretched look you get on your HDTV. It’s not only the Final Fantasy series either, there’s an absolute stack of PS One classics including Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid and Driver.