Review by Swickman81
"Well worth the price of admission"
First of all I want to state my gaming background. I have owned all Nintendo consoles since they came out. I have also had a PS1, PS2 and bought an original Backwards compatible PS3. On the portable front, I have 3 GBA systems (original, SP and NES Classic SP), 4 Nintendo DS systems (Original, Lite in White and Black and DSi) and 2 PSP (Original and 3000 in White). And a 3DS. I am definitely a portable gamer. I was on the fence on purchasing this system but I walked in and decided to take the plunge and I was glad I did. There are pros and cons to every system and I am going to go through each factor step by step.
It is a very good looking system and very similar style to the PSP. It has tried to keep the face as bare as possible while maximizing comfort. And the system succeeds. The grips are slightly awkward but necessary for games that use the rear touch pad. I would sooner of had extra or more comfortable shoulder buttons but I understand why Sony went this route. As for the face, compared to the PSP, the volume buttons are on top and the power is changed from a slider to a button. Select and start are off to the side with the buttons and a bit awkward but still accessible, with a PS button on the left in the same location. Card slot for games is on top and the memory card portion is on the bottom. Either Analog or digital pad feel comfortable to use and hold the system with which is not something easily said with the 3DS. I never think I would drop it regardless what function of the system I was using (even the rear track pad). In addition, the cameras are very low quality and even worse than the 3DS.
First addition was two analog sticks. They are extremely intuitive. High quality sticks with very good response. There is a slight lack of depth to them. They field is a little short. Then again, so was the PSP's. Vita definitely is a more solid analog input though. Movement in its games became second nature with minimal adjustment time to the reduced field. The Control Pad is the best one on any portable ever! I have never been a fan of Sony's cross but this one is practically attached in the center and is feels great. Even better than the PS3 control pad. However, it is slightly smaller as well. Buttons on the right are smaller than the PSP's buttons as well. They are a bit more stiff than springy on the system and that makes for a more solid feel. The buttons seem a lot less likely to break. The shoulder buttons are the same as the PSP not great but the best we will get on a portable. The rear track pad and front touch screen work extremely well; accurate and large in space but multi-touch brings them into the current generation and allows the system to take ports of iPad games.
It is the equivalent of a portable PS3, no exaggeration. Despite only being a 4 core cell processor, this shows how much power the PS3 loses to other applications. While no doubt the PS3 is still more powerful, these games show what the system can do. The HD screen is massive and crystal clear to show what the system can do. Watching the system play will drop your jaw in awe.
I actually prefer the PSP's cross media bar to the multiple screen bubbles. Some people complain about going to a prep screen before delving into the game that does not bother me so much as it does others. I find it different to have pages of stuff when the previous OS had everything neatly organized. Going to page 3 to load my Uncharted card which should be one of the first things seems funny to me. After all it is a game system first and foremost.
This is the strongest launch line up in for any system. It has all bases covered including triple A titles like Lumines (puzzle) and Uncharted (action). Even the download only titles are strong. Every game for the system will be available via PSN and a lot of them will still be available at retail for people who like hard copies. Digital downloads save about 10% on most titles but again, you do not have the physical version of the game. As for the future it looks very bright. One downfall is the lack of PSOne downloadable titles. This confuses me since the PSP can play them. Also not all PSP download titles are available on Vita. I understand it is due to licensing issues, but I was really hoping to play some Burnout on the system. That is one game sorely lacking on the Vita and it would seem tailored to the system.
I am not big into other apps, I would rather use my computer for internet, I don't tweet and facebook is something that does not require 100% of my attention. They seem slightly lacking, give me facebook app on iPhone over the Vita any day. It seemed rushed and refreshes after every post or comment you make on a status. I am sure the other apps are the same way. Netflix on the go is an amazing idea and to watch in HD is quite an achievement in itself. Though there is not 100% care place in every app. Lastly, the web browser does not have all the capabilities it should (like adobe reader).
The Vita has very good outter design hampered by cost cuts to keep the price down. To get the system out there has not been as much care put into some things as there should have been. Such as apps like Facebook are not the best quality, The cameras are really low resolution, not as much available (downloadable backwards compatibility on all PSP download games), and separate mandatory proprietary memory cards that are expensive. This prevent the Vita from being a perfect system. But it has a lot going for it, and I seriously suggest that hard core gamers check out this system. Portable gamers should invest in this too just for being a completely amazing technical wonder.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/28/12
Game Release: PlayStation Vita (US, 02/22/12)
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