11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A truly great handheld
, March 14, 2012
This review is from: PlayStation Vita - Wifi (Video Game)
When the original PSP was released, I immediately put it on my Christmas list and eagerly waited its arrival. The display was quite impressive and the hardware was unmatched by any handheld at the time, but the game library was lacking. Early on, the only game I felt was worthwhile was Wipeout: Pure, but I did not really feel inclined to purchase beyond (BEYOND!) that. A few years down the road, I bought a few more choice titles for it but I still could not shake the feeling that the PSP was some what abandoned. Titles such as GoW, Daxter, Lumines, and Persona were impressive, but outside that, the PSP library did not impress me (I'm sure many of you will disagree and I am more than willing to hear your opinions!). All in all, I felt burned by the original PSP.
Then we hear of the NGP, which would later be known as the PS Vita. It had a beautiful screen, dual analog sticks, and a processor that could wipe the floor with any iDevice at the time. My hopes for redemption were elevated, but I remained wry. Would Sony flirt with my hopes for a truly great handheld once again? Only to leave me burned at the end? I wanted my GB SP to finally be topped, but I kept my hopes in check.
Having bought a PS Vita this past Monday, I cannot say how this device will hold up in the long run, but I can say without a doubt that this is one heck of a machine. The OLED display is stunning. Letting colors and animations pop off the screen with grace. And the opening library is stronger than any one could have predicted (before last year's E3 that is), with titles such as Rayman: Origins, Super Stardust Delta, Lumines and Uncharted.
What they have done with the PS Vita's main menu is quite interesting. Instead of going with the XMB, Sony has elected to use an iOS style bubble system, clearly laying the Vita's tools before you. To open an application, one must simply touch a bubble (the menu uses touch only navigation), and a "page" is opened for it. I found this addition slightly unnecessary, but it makes multitasking on the device quite easy. You can have a page open for a game, your friends list, Near, and trophies all at the same. Making it easy to simply switch from a game to your friends list and back again, picking up exactly where you left off.
Like most systems made by Sony, the PS Vita is made with the hardcore gamer in mind. Its trophy support, dual analog sticks, and game library prove this very fact. Sony knows that the less gaming gamer will be very content with the games found in the app store, which give much more of a pick up and play casual experience. The Vita, on the other hand, is designed for the trophy hunters amongst us, who play games for the long haul and expect a strong (albeit free) internet suite. Apps such as near are designed with this concept in mind. You can find players in your neighborhood who play the same games as you. And even see which games their recommend to their comrades.
One of the downfalls for the Vita, however, is Sony itself. The proprietary memory card system is atrocious. A 32 GB memory card for 100 dollars is simply appalling considering the standards for memory pricing today. Having spoken to many about this, I know that the memory card schtick is alienating many, keeping the Vita from being the crazy success it deserves to be. Considering how rampant piracy was on the PSP, it makes sense for Sony to go the proprietary route, but it was by no means necessary for them to make them cost this much.
The next feature of the Vita I will discuss is its backwards compatibility. Keep in mind, Sony has ditched the UMD formate, which is a massive relief. That system just added moving parts, making more opportunities for unit failure and shorter battery life (which is a whopping 5 hours now). The way backwards compatibility is handled through what is available on the PSN Store. Now, Sony released a list of PSP games (about 200 or so) that can be directly downloaded to your Vita, but this is not an absolute list. There are ways to get more games onto your PSP, using your PS3 as an intermediate. If you want to know more details, look up the video on ign.com or on youtube (search "how to get PSP games on my VITA IGN, and it should bring you right to it!). I cannot attest to how well this works, as I haven't tested it yet, but feel free to comment about it below!
Next, the battery life. The batteries on your Vita should last anywhere between 3 to 5 hours. This number may seem minuscule, but when you consider the hardware it is running, it is quite impressive. Personally, I would have preferred they ditched the touch panels and added in maybe 2 hours of life to the Vita, but what are you gonna do? Rumor has it that Sony will release an extended battery pack to add a few extra hours, but I have not heard anything as of yet about that. (Sound off below if you have heard otherwise!)
The Playstation Vita is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Its revolutionary power, dual sticks, and game library certainly make it a contender for one of the best hardcore portable platforms out there. Its price, as well as the memory card situation hold it back from true greatness, making me take away 1 star from my overall review. If I could, I would have given it 3 and a half stars, but alas, technology has not gone that far (catch up Amazon ;)). If you are looking for a powerful up and coming machine that you can carry with you, than look no further than the PS Vita. That is if you do not mind making a large investment. I hope this system continues to receive the support from Sony it has today, and solidifies the dominance it so rightly deserves.
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