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