PS Vita London Event Coverage

By on November 28, 2011

We take a look at some of the exciting launch titles for Sony’s upcoming handheld.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

When there are bouncers at the gate of an event, you know they mean serious business. The event is the PS Vita Preview event in London, and ‘they’ are referred as Sony. We were fortunate enough to get an exclusive invite to the preview event with everything PS Vita!

A brilliant setup in my regards, the event took place in Central London at the Old Burberry Building. It was a concise setup and I was booked for an early afternoon session for two briefings; The Create Workshop, and the Augmented Reality briefing. I will divulge more on that soon. After registering myself at the main desk, and giving in my coat to the hangars, it was straight up work from there. The show floor, circular in design with stairs in the middle to the basement and to the two workshops a floor above. There was a refreshments bar at the far left, with unlimited Red Bulls and fruit juices (just what I needed).

Now on to the heart of the matter, the PS Vita. Very close to launch in Japan; December 17, and a couple of months away; February 22 2012, this was the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with the system. It’s a beautiful device to look at feels like a solid product. The analogue sticks aren’t flimsy and the display is pure brilliance! I won’t get into the technical aspects of the device, but I will say that most of the devices were retail prototypes, and not one failed during the entire event. Some on the games on the show floor were; Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Little Deviants, Escape Plan, Wipeout, Motorstom RC, Reality Fighters, Little Big Planet, Modnation Racers: Road Trip and Unit 13. All of this game will be available for launch.

Of these titles, Unit 13 and Motorstorm RC were unveiled at the event. Motorstorm RC is the next game in the long running and Playstation exclusive title. It is not a fully fledged sequel like some of the entries before this, and will only be available on Playstation store. One of the main highlights was its Cross-play technology. As it will only be available on the PSN Store, players can buy it either on the Vita or PS3 and play it on both consoles. If at home, players can enjoy the game on their HD television with added support for 3D and split-view multiplayer. When on the go, the game saves the player information on a cloud, and the player can continue its races from the Vita. The developers want the player to have seamless interaction, no matter which console they play the game on.

Unit 13 is a military based shooter, which plays a lot like any third person shooter on the home console. It makes use of the two analogue sticks, the right for movement and the left for camera. From the demo I played, it was very generic. The game looked sharp as well as the controls. It takes getting used to, to the two analogue sticks on a handheld, especially if you are a fan of the PSP. Developed by Zipper Interactive, famous for the SOCOM series, Unit 13 will be available on the Vita at launch.

One of the two workshops available to attend was the Augmented Reality (AR) showcase. Not a new concept for Sony, as similar games on the PS3 already use this feature, like Eyepet, it has been upgraded for use on a handheld. Not one but SIX markers will be available to players, and it depends on the game as to how many need to be used.

Three AR games would be available at launch for free for players to experiment with the new and improved technology. Reality Fighters is a standalone game that would utilize the AR technology. The concept is pretty simple. It’s a wacky fighter, that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The camera on the Vita can point facial features and can replicate that on screen which would become the face of the fighter. Unfortunately that doesn’t work on animals, as of yet.

Place a marker on the ground and begin the fight. The game can be played via Ad-hoc or online. Another feature is the panoramic photography editor built into the game. Players are given the opportunity to take 360 degrees pictures of their favorite places, and fight with the in the background. The demo worked flawlessly and was enjoyed by the present crowd.

The second workshop was named the Create workshop. Little Big Planet fans are amongst the most loyal fans of Sony has, and this was specially for them. The half an hour demo just focused on the create feature of the game, one which many fans and gamers alike are looking forward to. All the content from Little Big Planet and Little Big Planet 2 and DLC’s will be available in the Vita version, which is saying a lot! Mentioned in the workshop, there are around 6 million user created levels!

For people familiar with Little Big Planet, playing on the Vita is a simple fare. Like always there are multiple ways to create items in the universe, and now with the addition of the camera, the possibilities are endless. The camera can capture real world items and morph it into in game items. With the addition of the back touchpad, items can now be placed behind a wall, for example, and can be interacted with when playing the level. It was a very small glimpse of what is possible within the game.

A whole day with the PS Vita seems to have done the job for me. It’s something I am personally looking forward too. The launch lineup is brilliant and caters to everyone. I am sure there will be a few more surprises before launch date. Hope to see you gamers at launch.

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