Late To The Game: Exploring The PlayStation Vita - Part 1
I have always been a sucker for handheld gaming. Ever since receiving my first Game Boy “brick” back in 1990, gaming on the go has always been enjoyable for me both playing and collecting. My brother Sean has been a strong PlayStation supporter since I remember, so it is no surprise that he purchased a PlayStation Vita very early on (possibly launch?) in the system’s lifecycle. Today, the system is just about dead, with Sony no longer producing both units and blank cartridges. The only physical cart releases coming out are 3rd party releases that Sony has already approved of manufacturing by specialty boutiques like Limited Run Games, Play-Asia, and Strictly Limited Games.
Let’s talk a little about the system itself. The console comes in two distinct models, one with a super bright OLED screen (also known as the “Fat”) and one with a dimmer LCD screen, often dubbed the “Slim”. The OLED model looks absolutely beautiful, and you can tell this was removed not from anything wrong with the technology, but that the LCD screens are just cheaper to produce, extending Sony’s profit margin on the slimmer console. However, both versions suffer from the same problem, that in my opinion killed the system, the use of proprietary memory cards. Vita memory is only produced by Sony themselves, and is insanely expensive. Sony trying to find another angle to turn a profit on the Vita, was stubborn and didn’t realize that the total cost of ownership of the system steered many gamers (including myself) away from the system initially. In fact, there is absolutely no reason at all that Sony could have just utilized a MicroSD slot, exactly like Nintendo did for the ultra popular Nintendo Switch system. But I digress. The Vita itself is a little powerhouse of a machine, and feels hefty when held. The system screams high-quality, and the output shows this. The PlayStation Vita basically the equivalent of having a portable PlayStation 3 system in the palm of your hands at all times. In fact to show off it’s true potential, many of the indie games are a cross-buy between the portable version and the console version.
So far I have picked up several including “Mod Nation Racers: Road Trip”, “LittleBigPlanet Vita”, “Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention”, and “Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified”. All of which compare directly to their PlayStation 3 big brother titles, and pack a punch into the palm of your hands. The graphics for a portable are simply amazing and truly blow the Nintendo 3DS out of the water. Sony knew that if they were to compete in the handheld market, having state-of-the-art graphics was a necessity to make up for the incredible first-party library that Nintendo utilizes every generation. The gameplay is great, the controls respond well and never feel awkward or mushy. Having the system sync up to the PlayStation Network for both purchases and trophies is great too, utilizing Sony PSN’s “always on” feel that the consoles produce so well.
Overall, the machine is well worth the purchase today. Coming up in the next part of our series, we will talk about where to get your own PS Vita system, what to look for in a system since the majority are all used on the 3rd party market, and what you can do to truly unlock the power of the PlayStation Vita using modifications and apps.