I am a PlayStation fanboy, and, when I heard about the PlayStation Vita, Sony’s new handheld, I knew it would be the console for me. Now I have had a few weeks with one, I love it even more.
As soon as I got it, I was struck by just how big the Vita was. I had seen pictures and renders of it beforehand, but not until it is in your hand do you actually realise how big it is compared to the older PSP models. See these comparisons with the PSP-3000 for a taster.
On older PSP models, only one shoulder button was located on either side, instead of the two that you would find on a traditional PlayStation controller. However, the Vita compensates for this oversight, having a rear capacitive touch panel in place of another trigger. Many people will say that they would have preferred to see two triggers rather than the capacitive panel and I did not feel too enthusiastic about Sony’s choice. However, having actually used the device, it can add greatly to the gameplay experience, providing the developers use all their resources to optimise their games for the Vita. One fantastic implementation of the panel is on FIFA Football, where one has the ability to shoot with quick taps on the rear of the console. To shoot at the bottom right corner of the goal, tap the bottom right. It could not be simpler, especially for penalties. In Uncharted: Golden Abyss, a Vita-exclusive launch title, different gestures result in different actions, such as climbing walls and slicing through the jungle and, as developers learn to take full advantage of what the Vita has to offer, things can only get better.
Furthermore, the the addition of dual analogue sticks to the Vita is also great as it gives you a proper feel of being just like a PS3 controller too. The old PSP had one analogue ‘stick’, but I could hardly regard it as that, due to the fact that it was just a little nub that was uncomfortable to use even for five minutes. Admittedly the sticks do protrude a fair bit, but they are 100% worth the added bulk.
The remote play is a lot better for the Vita and a lot easier to access and a lot more reliable. There are also a load of options to connect your Vita to your actual PlayStation Network/Sony Entertainment Network account to see who is online and talk to friends on party chat, just like you would if you were on your PS3. There are also better online connections to play against other people and, with an 802.11n WiFi chip, internet connectivity is much improved over that of the PSP. Also, with certain games available on both the Vita and the PS3, if you save the game to the cloud on your PS3, one can carry on with a Vita from your previous save point. This means you can play at home or out and about, which is a well thought out new feature to enhance the experience for the hardcore gamer.
The software on the horizon for the Vita is mouthwatering. Not only will great PS3 games such as FIFA 13, the inevitable Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, F1 2012, Grand Theft Auto V and Resident Evil be ported across and optimised for the dual touch panels and analogue sticks by developers, but a number of Vita exclusives are on the way from Sony and third parties, such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Touch My Katamari. Also, the prospect of downloadable PlayStation classics like Crash Bandicoot and Final Fantasy will give another dynamic, not only for the younger ones who will probably never have played the games before to give them a good experience, but also to the older ones who would of grown up playing these games and would probably love to revisit the classics of PlayStation gaming.
The PlayStation Vita is a great device and is well worth its price tag if you can afford it. I feel Sony have taken great time and effort to make it the best portable console ever and it certainly exceeds even my high expectations. The introduction of a new dimension to gaming makes it a better experience for hardcore players, who, up to this point, have been left out in the cold when it comes to gaming on the go. However, as most of us don’t have that sort of money at the moment, I suggest that, when the inevitable price drop occurs, you grab it because it will be a bargain that you can’t miss. I am sure that, if the price was about £169, they would fly off shelves like hot cakes, providing a large boost to retailers. If you do buy it, you will not be disappointed. You can take my word for it.