Back in February of 2012, Sony released its 2nd generation of handheld gaming devices. While originally codenamed Next Gen Portable (NGP), at release it received its final name -PlayStation Vita.
Unfortunately since it's release it has not received the sales figures one would expect. Equally as bad, is the large amount of negative responses the device has received. While in some cases it is warranted, in many cases it is misinformation. Sadly Sony has done little to promote this console and its many strong features.
The PS Vita has many elements that set it apart and stop it from being just another handheld gaming device. That's where this article comes in. It's been designed to debunk some myths of the Vita console, as well as highlight the many reasons why this console should not be so easily dismissed.
Powerful Hardware, Powerful Platform
First thing you notice upon getting your hands on a Vita is the gorgeous 5 inch OLED screen. The colors are vibrant and crisp. To produce the visuals that utilize this massive screen is a set of great hardware that produces nearly home console quality graphics that push the boundaries even further.
The power not only produces great visuals, but creates a snappy interface that can launch, suspend, and change between apps instantly. Sony also made the move to Cartridges and Flash Memory to cut down load times and increase storage possibilities.
Coupled with the basics, it also has a slew of extra features such as front and back multi-touch surfaces, six axis for motion, front and back cameras, and dual analog sticks. While not every game will take advantage of these many features, and some may overuse them, there's no denying that many developers are finding innovative methods to them.
Uncharted and Gravity Rush utilize the motion sensing for precision accuracy. Little Deviants, Escape Plan, and Tearaway use the rear touch for some interesting gameplay mechanics. Then of course there's the dual analog sticks that finally bring a real FPS and Action-Adventure experience to the handheld market. Granted, few have really got to grips with these technologies, but there is a significant amount of potential.
Every Expanding Game Library
Of course, no amount of hardware specs can be anything without the software to go with it. Contrary to what many may say or feel, the Vita has already amassed a significant assortment of great games from many genres.
This may be considering something of a kop out, but you have to remember that the PS Vita isn't just limited to Vita titles. It can also can play PSP, PSMinis, and PS1 Classics from the PlayStation Store. This opens it up to anything from Uncharted: Golden Abyss, to Persona 3 Portable, to Final Fantasy 7, to God of War: Ghost of Sparta, and even Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. Enough to fit any taste.
When looking at the Vita specifically, it's only taken a year for the console to have a library of over 90 games in the US. It doesn't stop there, as over 80 more games are currently announced as in development. This is partly due to incentives and ease of development that Sony has created. For example, Indie Developers are on board with the system and find it rather profitable compared to other platforms.
The scope in genres cover anything from Third Person Shooters, First Person Shooters, Puzzles, Platformers, Sports, Action RPGs, Tactical RPGS, JRPGs, Dungeon Crawlers, Fighters, Racers, and more. As well as a range of ratings from young to mature.
It means you've got franchises such as Uncharted, Disgaea, Rayman, Marvel Vs Capcom, Mortal Kombat, Ninja Gaiden, Hotshots, Resistance, Call of Duty, Metal Gear, Little Big Planet, Persona, and many more. Franchises such as Killzone and Final Fantasy are still to come.
Even if you're not a fan of rehashed IPs, there are many new IPs making their debut on the Vita. Gravity Rush, Sound Shapes, Ragnarok Odyssey, Escape Plan, Soul Sacrifice, Tearaway, Guacamelee, Retro City Rampage, and many others are fresh new faces being seen first (or alongside PS3) on the Vita.
Social Networking Included
What good is a great experience without being able to share it with your friends? Or perhaps, what is a great score without being able to show it off? In comes the PS Vita's solid networking functions. Support for multiplayer online and adhoc gameplay. Fully supported trophies that you can gloat about to your friends. Leaderboards and Score Syncing to compete with friends. Near app to meet local gamers in your area and to see what they play. Then you have communication capability like group chat, messaging, and voice chat no matter what game you or your friends are playing.
Post screenshots on the fly to Twitter. Change your Facebook status to "Married to my Vita." Launch the web browser for easy access to FAQs and Walkthroughs. Hop onto the YouTube app to check out gameplay footage to find that last collectible. Skype, Flickr, niconico, foursquare, and so much more. The connectivity is there, and plentiful.
The content for the PS Vita doesn't just end at gaming and social. You can listen to all your favorite music by either loading them onto your memory, streaming from Music Unlimited, or purchasing them. You can even play your music in the background while you're play your favorite games.
For video content, you can stream movies, television shows, and other content via its store or apps. The video section of the PlayStation Store carries anything from action, comedies, dramas, thrillers, animes, documentaries, and more. If you can't find what you want, there's always the Netflix app, the nico nico app, or even YouTube if the "Charlie Bit Me" saga is your thing.
More Fun Facts About Vita
We're going to use this section to tackle a few things that are quite interesting to know about the PS Vita. This includes functionality, but also how to use some applications.
If you swipe down from a game's welcome window, you can see an activity bulletin to see what achievements your friends have accomplished.
PS Vita features a fast standby mode that allows you to suspend your Vita and return to play instantly without using up too much battery life.
Auto Update feature in messaging will allow you to never miss a message from your friends.
Many apps and games can run side by side, allowing quick referencing and communication.
Loading your own music on the Vita will allow you to play music in the background while playing your favorite games.
Joining together with friends into a Party Chat will allow you to easily join multiplayer games together.
Vita's voice chat allows for cross-game and cross-app communication.
Simply put, the PS Vita is far more than a standard handheld console iteration. It's a gaming platform that also provides great multimedia, communication, and social media content. It's a gaming platform for gamers, as well as a social source for friends. Its price tag may scare some, but the value per dollar is substantial and it's going to grow as the platform expands.
Still difficult to let go of the greens? Keep an eye out for many of Sony's bundle deals. Often these bundles sell for the same cost as the console itself, but throw in games and memory cards for free. Most of them break down to the Vita only costing $170-190 for itself. A deal so great that it makes me jealous for my early adoption ways, however the enjoyment I've had so far is worth it.
Have a question about the Vita? Please leave a comment below. Or if you have a Vita, please share your experience.