You've just started your big family road trip, it seems like you've been in the car for days, when in fact it has only been five minutes. "Are we there yet?", of course the answer is no. If only you had some games...but wait! You do! You reach in your pocket and pull out your smartphone. It's loaded with all the greatest games, like HearthStone, PUBGMobile, and Mario Run! But...you are driving through the desert and there is no cell phone service, so they don't work. You think to yourself, "That's ok, I'll play Jetpack Joyride!", but it's only fun for a few minutes. "Mom, why can't I have a Nintendo 3DS like my friends?" - "We are NOT a Nintendo household young man and thats THAT!". If only there was another way...
PS Vita Review
May 9, 2018
There is another way-- a pocket sized, powerful game system, with a great screen, AAA games, super graphics...The PS Vita! Despite the stupid name, the Vita is a cool system with some great games. Sony pretends like the Vita doesn't exist, but I can't understand why, the system is awesome.
The first thing that you'll notice on the Vita is its huge, 5-inch screen. Most of the system is taken up by the screen. It is a touchscreen also, and weirdly, the rear side of the Vita is a giant touchpad as well, kind of like the touchpad on the PS4 controller. Both are very high quality, not like a 90's touchscreen, it is smooth and perfect. "Whats so great about that, my smartphone screen is that big" you might think. But the key feature of the Vita, that makes it better than ANY smartphone are the buttons and joysticks. Once you play a game on the Vita, you will realize that gaming is a thousand times better with actual buttons. The Vita has front and back cameras, but they are pretty bad, not noteworthy.
"Fine, the Vita has buttons, big whoop, my smartphone still has way more games." But the Vita games are awesome. When it first released, a lot of high quality, triple-A titles came out for it. Sony was trying to make it seem like a full gaming console, with huge games that you would see on the PS3. Uncharted, Killzone, Assassins Creed, Little Big Planet and more came out. Lately, it has been mostly indie games and weird japanese RPGs coming out on the Vita, but it has a good lineup. Some of my favorites include:
- Tearaway - A 3D platformer in a world made of paper
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified
- Steins;Gate - A visual novel (like a book, just on the Vita, with pictures) about time travel
- VVVVV - Retro gravity-flipping platformer
- Uncharted: Golden Abyss - A full Uncharted game, specifically for Vita
The Vita also has some generic smartphone-ish games as well if thats what you like, my favorite is "Run Sackboy! Run!", an enless runner in the Little Big Planet world. Games either come on cartridges, or are downloadable. There is a huge amount of PS One games available for the Vita also, however: Crash Bandicoot and Spyro games are not available for North American Playstation accounts! This is by far the biggest drawback of the Vita. I was psyched to be able to play those classics on-the-go when I got mine, only to find them unavailable. You need to use a European or Japanese PSN account if you want to download those. If you get a Vita and are a Crash Bandicoot or Spyro fan, I recommend making a UK account so you can play those awesome classics.
Graphics and Battery
The graphics are incredible for a handheld. I've heard Sony was going for PS3-quality, but they aren't quite that good. They are somewhere between the original Wii's graphics and the PS3's. And they look amazing on the Vita's screen. Of course, graphics aren't everything, but it is really cool having such a powerful system in a small package. Even with all the graphics power, the battery life is good. I usually play mine on an airplane, and in airplane mode, the Vita's battery will last about a full week with heavy use.
I thought the Vita's rear touchscreen might be a gimmick, and for the most part games don't use it. However, Tearaway uses it, and that alone is worth it, it almost feels like the Vita was designed specifically for the game, they go together perfectly. Netflix on a small screen isn't that great, but it does look good on the Vita. One more interesting feature is "Remote Play", using the Vita as a screen to play your PS3 or PS4. So if someone wants to watch TV but you have to play your video game, the Vita is a good option, as long as the game doesn't require heavy use of the R2 and L2 buttons. The Vita doesn't have L2 and R2 buttons, so it uses the rear-touchpad as an awkward replacement for these. There are two versions of the Vita, the original has the better screen, but both are supposed to be very high-quality.
The Vita is an awesome handheld. I make sure to bring mine on any trip, it is so cool having such high-quality games on the go. It's like a modern-day Gameboy. It is really a shame that it never really took off, but it still has great games, and I highly recommend the system. If you think about it, it is similar to the Nintendo Switch, which also offers high quality gaming on the go, with a huge screen. I doubt I'll trust Sony again if they release another cool handheld, based on their lack of long-term support for the Vita, but I'm happy with the system. It is so much better than "gaming" on a smartphone.
- Convenient Size
- Abandoned by Sony
- No Crash Bandicoot or Spyro in America
- Expensive memory cards - I recommend at least 16 GB.