Hey you. Yes, you. We know that you’ve been thinking about getting PlayStation Vita, otherwise why are you here? Yes, we’re aware that many of you who haven’t yet picked up Sony’s latest handheld think that it’s too expensive at this precise moment and that you may even be holding back waiting patiently for a price-drop, but that isn’t going to happen until 2013.
So, if you have the cash right now then we can give you five reasons why we believe Sony’s handheld is still good value for money and would make the perfect gift to yourself or for your gaming-obsessed family members or friends.
1. Software line-up is varied with some quality games
When PSU conducted a survey asking why people weren’t buying Vita one of the reasons cited was that there were only a handful of half decent games available in the first few months. However, there’s no excuse now because the roster of PS Vita games is now impressively varied with all genres catered for, from puzzle and strategy games to shooters and RPGs.
We're not as concerned as we initially were that Vita will play host to shoddy ports, casual games and titles that made a gimmick out of the touchscreen and augmented reality features because core games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Persona 4 Golden, Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward and Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation all prove that core titles can exist on the handheld and provide quality, in–depth gaming experiences – Black Ops Declassified not included.
Games such as LittleBigPlanet Vita, MotorStorm RC and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale also offer great social features, immense replay value and entertainment, with the latter supporting cross-platform play and providing Vita’s best multiplayer component so far. Some of the games also complement your console experience, such as Need For Speed: Most Wanted, which is identical to its PS3 counterpart and allows you to accumulate speed points across both devices.
There’s still much more to come from Vita in terms of its software but at this point in its life-cycle there are still plenty of quality games to keep you busy.
2. A pleasing blend of traditional and innovative controls
In an era where we’re so used to navigating our tablets and mobile phones via touchscreen, Vita fits in perfectly with today’s devices, and the touchscreen implementation goes a lot further than most with games that make innovative use of the technology and add something extra to traditional game experiences.
LittleBigPlanet Vita showcases brilliantly how these touchscreen controls can enhance the gameplay, which is why we didn’t hesitate to name it the “best LBP game of the series.” Vita also benefits from the two analog sticks which help give some of the games, such as shooters like Unit 13 and Resistance: Burning Skies, a console-like control scheme that PSP didn’t pull off. Vita makes the best out of both worlds, combining a traditional way of playing with games that feature intuitive touchscreen controls.
3. Social Connectivity. Stay in touch with PlayStation gamers, family and friends
PS Vita sports some of the features that many people currently use on their smartphones or tablets. There’s a multitude of apps that help you connect with others, including Skype, Facebook and FlickR, as well as its own chat functions to keep in touch. For the first time on a handheld, this means you can enjoy great games and keep connected.
Vita also makes it easy for you to find new PlayStation-loving friends via the NEAR feature, which allows you to connect with gamers nearby, pick-up and leave gifts. There’s the internet browser too and email applications so that you can keep in touch with everything that’s going on outside of your gaming.
4. Digital Downloads are convenient
Digital downloads are the most convenient way to buy videogames and Vita gives you convenient and immediate access to a vast array of games via the PlayStation Store. Games can be downloaded instantly over a Wi-Fi or 3G connection without having to step foot outside your door. Vita’s touchscreen-enabled store provides an intuitive way to browse through many titles and decide which games you want in your collection. It then makes it easy for you to buy instantly, download the games and enjoy them within a short space of time. Sony didn’t make it easy for us to store games on our handheld, thanks to the limitations of its proprietary memory cards, but Vita does let you transfer and store titles on your PC or PS3 so there’s no excuse not to download directly – you’re also likely to save a bit of cash too as the lack of packaging means a cheaper price.
5. Vita shows its strength for online gaming, co-op and multiplayer experiences
Vita is by far the best gaming handheld for online multiplayer experiences and it has its fair share of co-op games too. The Play, Share and Create motto of the LBP franchise is ever apparent in LittleBigPlanet Vita which provides infinite replay value through user’s ability to share their level creations with others, while Need For Speed: Most Wanted lets you connect and compete with those on your friends list seamlessly via the innovative Autolog function. In FIFA 13 you can connect seamlessly to an online multiplayer match and for those looking for first-person shooter thrills Resistance: Burning Skies has a basic yet enjoyable online offering and Black Ops Declassified has 4vs4 battles across five game modes.
WipEout has a great online community too and competition in Sony’s multiplayer-focused brawler, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, is fierce. Though it’s clear Vita still needs more solid multiplayer experiences there’s plenty to enjoy right now and some of the best experiences are with co-op play in the likes of Unit 13, LittleBigPlanet Vita and Ragnarok Odyssey.
For the sake of balancing the argument over whether PS Vita is worth investing in right at this moment, we’ll have another feature shortly that will look at areas where Vita could be improved and where it hasn’t done so well.