PlayStation Vita has been out nearly five months now in the west, and depending on who you ask, Sony’s high-tech pocket brick is either sinking without trace or only just getting warmed up. We’d like to think it’s certainly the latter, and while one can’t deny that must-have software has been lacking since launch, things are beginning to pick up. Sure, the likes of Monster Hunter, Call of Duty and Killzone have yet to rear their heads, but that doesn’t mean you should hold off on investing in PS Vita; far from it, in fact, as we believe this summer is the ideal time to make the jump.
Here’s five of what we believe are the best PS Vita games available for the platform since launch. If you're thinking of picking up Sony's new handheld, then these are a must-have.
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Uncharted: Golden Abyss
The poster boy for the PS Vita’s launch, Uncharted: Golden Abyss is both a technical showcase for Sony’s new portable games device and a cracking little adventure to boot. Sceptics have dismissed Nathan Drake’s handheld excursion as a straight-to-DVD effort compared to its console cousins, but we couldn’t disagree more. Sony Bend has crafted a gripping adventure that’s packed full of exotic locations and stunning set-pieces, not to mention a boatload of collectibles to keep you busy for weeks. The game lacks none of the charm and cheeky humour of its PS3 brothers, and in many ways surpasses them; the amount of treasures and mysterious on offer really adds a new dimension to gameplay, encouraging plenty of exploration and helping to flesh out the meaty narrative. There’s also some clever use of the touchscreen to boot. Plus, it’s over 30 chapters long, surely that’s gotta be a record?
Often cited as the second must-have PS Vita game after Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush is yet another exclusive title that offers some great use of the handheld’s unique functionality. Set in a sumptuous cel-shaded city, the game sees players controlling superhero Kat; a dexterous chick endowed with special powers from her feline friend, cat. As pointed out in our review however, this is a superhero game with a difference. Kat is graceful yet clumsy, and her character conveys a sense of realism that you don’t normally find in similar titles. Navigating using the PS Vita’s controls is highly intuitive and absolute joy as a result, with the gameplay complemented by the utterly gorgeous visuals, making Gravity Rush one of the most striking PS Vita games to date. Despite some dodgy ground combat, Kat’s adventure proves one of the most unique and enjoyable portable games to date, let alone on Sony’s new handheld.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
Yes, it’s a port of a bundle that repackages two PS2 titles, but come on, it’s Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 on the go – what more could you want? Not only have Hideo Kojima’s acclaimed stealth-action romps been remasterd in glorious HD and look positively scrumptious on PS Vita’s screen, but the controls translate perfectly, and it feels just like you are playing them on a console. Touchscreen controls work fine too – tapping the front screen to equip your desired weapon or item works great – and most of them can be ignored in favour of traditional input methods. But when it comes down to it, the games are just sublime, and stand the test of time despite some niggles that are inherent of aging Metal Gear Solid paradigm. What you have here is two of the greatest games of all time, let alone some of the finest slices of entertainment to come out of the last generation of consoles. And it’s all in the palm of your hand. Yes, the omission of Peace Walker is lamentable, but there’s more than enough content here to warrant a purchase. Plus, if you have it on PS3, you can transfer saves too.
Not all PS Vita games need to offer a comprehensive roster of touchscreen and gyroscope functions. Rayman Origins, the superb platformer from Ubisoft, is the perfect example of a game that has made the transition to PS Vita without the need to tweak the controls beyond its console counterpart. There’s little use of PS Vita’s unique functions to be had here, and it’s not really a bad thing at all. What you have is fundamentally one of the greatest platform titles of the current generation, offering a mesmerising blend of vibrant visuals, stunning level design and addictive gameplay. In fact, many commentators have said Origins is the best non-Mario platform game to date – a statement that speaks volumes considering the portly plumber’s pedigree. If you want a platform title that suits PS Vita’s pick-up-and-play philosophy down to the T, then Rayman Origins is an ideal purchase and a must-have for any PS Vita owner’s collection. Don’t miss it.
Warner’s highly successful bloody beat-‘em-up sold bucket loads on consoles, and now arrives on PS Vita with all-new controls and heaps of other fresh content to boot. This portable punch-up is almost as gorgeous looks wise as the PS3 release, offering a silky smooth fighting experience packed full of lush backgrounds and buckets of claret flying all over the shop. The best part is the fact the game comes packaged with all the DLC characters previously released on PS3 and 360, so you’ll be able to mix it up with the likes of Rain and Freddy Krueger from the get-go. Interestingly, you can now slice up your opponents with end-of-bout fatalities via the touchscreen, which offers a surprisingly intuitive and responsive conclusion to a heated battle. Throw in some exclusive PS Vita Challenge Tower, erm, challenges, and you’ve got the ultimate handheld brawler – at least until Street Fighter x Tekken shows up.
Resistance: Burning Skies, Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention, FIFA Soccer, WipEout 2048