Playstation Vita Preview
The future arrives this week. Since 1976, gaming and electronics companies have competed against each other by releasing various systems around the concept of being able to bring your gaming addiction with you on the road. Companies like Mattel and Coleco would create handheld devices that only played one game, and typically didn’t allow for game saves. After several revisions to this concept, Nintendo released what would become the most successful handheld-console franchise with the original Game Boy, and have since dominated this market, despite promising releases by Sony and Sega which ended up being more than disappointing.
Sony’s Playstation Portable, or PSP, continues to have strong support in some markets, but even at the time of its release in 2004, the PSP featured graphics and gameplay that was more of a step back to the Playstation One era, and had a single joystick-like nub that many to this day despise due to its lack of precision and general clumsiness. Nintendo’s DS console outshone the PSP, culminating most recently with the 3DS, which combined DS’ dual screen display with glasses-free 3D visual. Despite a poor slate of launch titles, the 3DS made most forget the PSP even existed. Sony had their work cut out for them, so instead of sitting back and making just another handheld, they took what they learned from the PSP, the Playstation 3, and even competition like the 3DS and iPhone, and combined them into one device. What we have out of this combination is the Playstation Vita.
The Vita features a 5” OLED touch-screen display, as well as a touch-panel on the back which is the same size as the front screen, dual analog sticks like most modern game console controllers, front and rear cameras, built-in microphone, and an interface similar to that of phones, which allows you to control which links appear on your LiveArea screen, and where they are placed. Other advancements made start with the inclusion of Trophy support for Vita games like you earn with the PS3, the incredible increase in processing power which will be comparable to the original Microsoft Xbox, which, combined with the graphics processor, will have twice the processing power of the Apple iPad 2 as the processors have 4 cores instead of the iPad’s dual-core system.
Also Read: Playstation Vita Specs Detailed
Developers wanted to create the future now, and the Vita is here to do it. On top of all the power listed above, as well as all the other specs this monster handheld console contains, the PS Vita will be big on social networking. Twitter, Facebook, Skype and foursquare will all be available for download at the time of release from the Playstation Store. Netflix will also be included for free, making the Vita a must-have for those on the go. Instead of a beefed-up PSP, we finally have a handheld console which promises to be much more comparable to that of the current generation of home consoles.
Learning from Nintendo 3DS’ mistakes, Sony has set up a blockbuster list of release titles, headlined by "Uncharted: Golden Abyss" which already has an aggregate score from Metacritic of 80 out of 100, based on 46 reviews. Scores have ranged from 95 to 70, with one score of 60 from a company known for posting low-review scores. Day 1 buyers of the Vita will also be able to choose between "ModNation Racers", "Rayman Origins", "Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3", "FIFA Soccer " and "Wipeout 2048" which allows players to play against people on the PS3 playing Wipeout HD Fury online. Also included to this barrage of a line-up is a slate of games previously available on the PSP, each upgraded visually to smooth out some of the graphics and made available for download for the Vita.
Playstation Vita Day One Line Up (With aggregate scores from Metacritic where available):
- Army Corps of Hell
- Asphalt Injection (59/100)
- Ben 10: Galactic Racing
- BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND (82/100)
- Dungeon Hunter Alliance (53/100)
- Dynasty Warriors Next
- Escape Plan (76/100)
- F1 2011 (68/100)
- FIFA Soccer (77/100)
- Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational (76/100)
- Hustle Kings
- Little Deviants (59/100)
- Lumines Electronic Symphony (86/100)
- Michael Jackson: The Experience (62/100)
- ModNation Racers: Road Trip (62/100)
- Ninja Gaiden Plus
- Plants vs Zombies
- Rayman Origins (89/100)
- Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen (60/100)
- Super StarDust Delta (83/100)
- Tales of Space: Mutant Blobs
- Touch My Katamari
- Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (79/100)
- Uncharted: Golden Abyss (80/100)
- Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition (76/100)
- Wipeout 2048 (79/100)
One of the major early issues with the Vita has been the lack of on-board memory for the console, much to the chagrin of many gamers. Instead, Sony has left it to the gamer to choose how much memory they want, and in the end, may leave your wallet hurting. Sizing and pricing are as follows: 4GB ($19.99), 8GB ($29.99), 16GB ($59.99) and 32GB ($99.99). If money is tight at the moment, it is highly recommended that you pick up the PS Vita Starter Kit, which includes a 4GB memory card, a Vita pocket pouch, protective film for the screen, cleaning cloth, card case, and headphones all for $39.99.
Something else to keep in mind is which version of the Vita you would like. In Canada, this decision is quite easy, as the 3G version ($299.99) will not be available on day one, since a partnership with a provider (likely to be Rogers) has yet to be figured out, so we will have to settle with the Wi-Fi version ($249.99) for now. Our neighbours to the south have access to the 3G version, which uses AT&T as a provider for hotspot-free internet access (access starts at $14.99 per month).
6 Things that you may not know about the PS Vita:
1) You can take screenshots by pressing the Start and PS buttons at the same time.
2) Game manuals are now installed on the Vita’s memory cards when you connect game cards, allowing you to read them directly on the Vita after selecting a game on screen. Also on this menu are items such as links to the game’s website, and when available, links to the PS Store for DLC purchases.
3) The built-in mic can be used to record voices and sounds, and using these sounds, you can make basic music tracks using the Vita.
4) Using Vita’s LiveArea, you can not only access more areas of the PS Network that increase your social networking like never before, but you can also directly access PS3 games and can play against your PS3-playing friends on the go (so far only Wipeout 2048 is supported in this way).
5) If, for some reason, you can’t connect your PS Vita with the included AC adapter to charge the battery, it can be connected to a PC or Mac using a USB cable to charge (this will not charge as quickly as the AC adapter).
6) PS Vita game cards hold up to 4GB, which is twice the storage space of the PSP’s UMD discs, so expect much broader creations. Game saves are also held on the game cards, so your precious (and expensive) memory cards are free for Angry Birds and other available apps.
So, one and all, happy Playstation Vita-eve. We are already seeing reviews from the major sites, where some are typically crummy from those with permanent frowns, and others are surprisingly positive from even the biggest Microsoft or Nintendo fans. While a lot of this may just be the opinions of others, what has been almost universally agreed upon is that this is the future of handheld gaming, and the first time where the differences between the handheld console, and the current at-home console are greatly bridged, and allow for incredible connectivity between the Vita and PS3.
Based on specs, anyone can agree that the Vita is a behemoth of a device, the likes of which have not been seen before now, and promises to be one of the greatest gaming devices to date. Stay tuned for our thoughts on the PS Vita post-release, as well as reviews of games like the highly anticipated Uncharted: Golden Abyss!