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Over time the vita has been reduced to an expensive PSP emulator/PS4 Accessory
on 8 November 2014
Firstly let me just say this is a long review so if you've got time to kill make yourself a brew and get comfortable. Secondly, im a big Sony fan as i own a Sony Bluray player, PS2, PS3, MDR-1R headphones, Cybershot camera etc. As usual with Sony devices the Vita hardware is fantastic.
However, Its not the hardware that bothers me though, its the money grabbing approach of Sony (PS TV) and the deliberate removal of features which were available on the PSP several years ago. For example, the Vita's predecessor the PSP GO was launced in 2009 and touted proper DUALSHOCK 3 support. Sonys own Xperia Z phones and tablets support DUALSHOCK 3 natively. SURELY, my dedicated Sony gaming device that EVEN has bluetooth will support my Sony bluetooth Dualshock 3?
A minor oversight one might say, but it doesnt end there. Another iteration of the PSP, the PSP-3000 (2008 release) featured a TV out. Heck, my relatively worthless 2011 released Samsung S2 supports TV out via MHL. Surely, the Vita will support TV-out/HDMI so i can play games on my TV?
Why? Well if you want features that were standard on the previous versions of the console you now have to pay an extra 85 pounds for the Playstation TV. The PS TV of course supports dualshock 3 and has HDMI. Genius idea. Maybe i should just stop moaning and buy the PS TV you say? Well, i cant. You see, the PS Vita has one of the best sound chips used in electronics, A Wolfsson DAC (google it). This makes it an excellent companion for my 140 pound SONY MDR-1R headphones for a truly immersive gaming experience.
Well the PS TV hardware is the same as the PS Vita, right?
There is NO 3.5mm headphone output on the PS TV microconsole, forcing me to listen to games via the crummy crisp packet amplified sound from my tv. Maybe theres an optical output like on the PS2/PS3 so i can use my turtle beach x41 headset?
Yet again i am forced to relentlessly bang my head against a wall and start to think the Vita engineers hate gamers.
Lets talk about the games.
At launch it was supposed to be a ps3 in your pocket which is what i (and maybe everyone else) wanted. Fast forward to now and Sony are basically saying there will only be indie titles and japanese RPG games being released. Even the ps2 ports have comepletely dried up. Im sorry but didnt pay all that money to play indie games i could play on my phone. For the record the games that i think are great on the Vita are Assassins creed, Borderlands 2, Ninja Gaiden, Need for speed, Dragons Crown & Killzone and Wipeout 2048. I own and have enjoyed these games.
I also own Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy and persona 4 which arent my style but will eventually play. My problem is that once those games have been played i have nothing but PSP games to look forward to.
My problem with the games library is this. OK so Sony have said they arent going to make new blockbuster titles for the Vita. Fair enough, but what about a few greats from the THOUSANDS of PS2 games as a comiseration prize? Such as...
Hitman series, Max Payne, GTA San Andreas, GTA Vice City, Gran Turismo, The Getaway, Mafia?
No. No. No. No. No. No....
Its a bit of sad story to say that the vita's only saving grace is that i can play psp games on it. Ive tried a few PSP games but remember that in a lot of games the second analogue stick does nothing. Its kinda like gaming with one hand. Face palm indeed.
Sonys comiseration prize for a failed game library is the "PS NOW" game streaming service. However, as a portable device i think this is just dumb to expect i have an internet connection while out and about or travelling.
My portable gaming system i can only play in my house. Thanks Sony.
***PS4 Remote play***
This review is long enough but for me PS4 remote play is the nail in the coffin of the Vita being a standalone gaming platform. Its official. The Vita is now just a PS4 accessory.
Ive spent a lot of money on the vita so if i sell it i will only lose yet more money. However, if i was buying today its quite simple.
If you consider yourself to be a younger individual (or are buying for someone that fits that description) then get a Nintendo DS due to its game library.
If you consider yourself to be an adult then get an nvidia shield which has micro hdmi, proper controller support and a larger screen. The games library is still in its infancy but long term i can see it growing exponentially due to it being based on android.
You can also play gta 3 san andreas and max payne games on the andoid which for me makes it worth it for those games alone.
As a side project i decided to plug my dualshock 3 controller into my ageing Samsung galaxy S2 and download the GTA3, GTA vice city, and GTA san andreas. Each game cost me 1.99 in a sale. I mounted the phone to the controller using a "dualshock 3 smart clip" (google it), and the gaming experience is a wonderful one. A cobbled together solution on a samsung phone with a google operating system and software from rockstar beats the vita.
I also have an Asus MeMo Pad ME176CX tablet. Its what i would call a cheapo-but-good tablet but it supports dualshock 3 out the box and within minutes i was playing Dungeon Hunter 4 on a glorious 8" IPS screen. I dont recommend the memopad as gaming tablet becuase of its Intel chipset which developers dont generally code for. GTA san andreas didnt work at which point i shed a litte tear.
In conclusion, if you found that this review was helpful please click the relevent button. If you found my review was not helpful at least leave me a comment on how the review could be improved or write one that you feel is better.
Thanks and happy gaming.