PlayStation Vita Review

By on January 29, 2012

A hand-held beauty you won’t put down.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

Games and Software
The biggest buzz around the PS Vita has been its capabilities and how it’s capable of rendering near-PS3 graphics. There is truth to this rumor, as the hardware powering the Vita is no laughing matter – combine this with a drool-worthy screen and you get a handheld gaming experience like no other. While I was mostly limited to the different game demos that were bundled on my Vita, they were enough to demonstrate the graphical range of this device – games such as Uncharted and Wipeout 2048 played beautifully and without any glitches at all. It’s remarkable at what the Vita can render, so once again seeing is believing.

Rather than inherit the XMB system of the PSP and PS3, Sony have opted for a new interface for the Vita, which sports an app-like interface across various vertical screens. You can rearrange icons or add as many screens as you like with a simple tap or swipe, and once you tap an icon it takes you to a mini-launcher segment where you can then choose to launch the app or visit a related website or check for an app update etc. The PS Vita comes bundled with native apps such as ‘near’ to allow gamers to connect with nearby players, as well as Group Messaging and Party apps for connecting with your friends through chat or voice. The Playstation Store allowed me to sign into my account, but because the feature isn’t live yet I wasn’t able to browse through anything. Still, my trophies and friends synced up to my PS Vita, and I was able to message people and post my trophy achievements to Facebook just like on my PS3.

While not necessarily billed as a true entertainment device, the PS Vita is capable of playing back videos, though with a few conditions. Firstly, it only seems to recognize a small selection of file formats, and transferring these onto the device means that you have to invoke the Content Manager application, which is a very basic app. After connecting your Vita to your PC, you will be prompted to download and install the software before you can start copying content from your PC to your Vita, or vice versa. Navigating through your content and choosing what to copy are all done on the Vita itself, which means that you can’t drag and drop files around. It’s also worth noting that the Content Manger software is currently only available to run on Windows. 

Final Thoughts
So at the end of the day with all the hoopla aside, is the PS Vita for you? If you’re looking for hardcore gaming on the move, then this is the device to queue up for. With a rather impressive lineup of games at launch day, the PS Vita might stand to be the handheld to beat. Having said that, the somewhat pricey nature of its memory cards will see just how many gamers will be quick to adopt the PS Vita at launch day. But if you can bite the bullet and snag one, then the Vita is one investment that is bound to get heads turning.

Good: Gorgeous display; dual analogue sticks; variety of games at launch
Bad: Pricey memory cards; glossy finish attracts dust and fingerprints

Rating: 9/10

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About

A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

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Comments
  • Anonymous

    Personally I don’t think you can go wrong with either console these days. If someone I knew went into a store and flipped a coin to choose which handheld they’d want, it’d be a great decision either way. The media seems to have a habit of crapping on handhelds these days once they launch but it’s all good.

    I do have a question though; I’ve been looking at those analog sticks and they look a bit stuck out (unlike the 3DS’s circle pads). My question is; how far off the system are they? Is there a possibility they’d break if I tried to slide the system into my pocket? Would the analog sticks snag on the edges and endure some damage?

    • http://twitter.com/theregos Nick R

      The analogue controllers are a good couple of millimeters from the body of the Vita, but they are still quite sturdy. I tried prying them a bit and they wouldn’t budge, so it would take a serious knock for them to be damaged or dislodged.

  • Jacky Beans

    Vita, 3D3 (although it has sold ~5M units) are doomed.

    The future is gaming on a device that is ALL-IN-WONDhas also a phone.
    After Apple’s ‘gaming revolution’, nobody nowadays is willing to hold more than one device/gadget in his/her pocket.

    Simple. Just look at the numbers, you will understand.

    I will get the Vita but it will still annoy me carrying it with me ON TOP of my phone, passport, ticket, bag etc.

    Regards

    • Anonymous

      I disagree. The DS sold almost 150 million units, which is more than Apple has sold with each iOS generation of iPods/iPhones/iPads (which is a new gaming unit in itself, since you can’t play newer-gen games with a last-gen iOS device). The PSP has sold 70 million; while not as impressive as the DS, it’s still an extra-ordinary amount of sales. Handhelds still sell a ton more than consoles (except the PS2), and contrary to popular belief handheld sales are GROWING with each generation, despite smartphones coming in.

      Look at it this way; that $650 iPhone is going to last you 1-2 years of gaming max, after which you need to buy a new one. The Vita/3DS will last you a minimum of 5 years (with 3rd party support up to 10 years), with guaranteed high-end games coming out every year.

      And finally, those things you listed don’t make any sense. The phone/Vita go INTO the bag, as well as those other things; and why the heck are you holding around your passport/ and some random ticket around with you? Are you going on aero-trips every other day?

  • Xekester

    Im willing to have more than 1 devices in my pocket

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  • Manoj Damani

    Have the xperia play and agree with Jacky

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