Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best handheld on the market. Full stop., 18 July 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sony PlayStation Vita (Wi-Fi only) (Console)
I feel forced to write a review on the Playstation Vita (PSV) because it seems to be getting a bad press, and the attacks it is suffering left, right and centre are totally wrong and unjustified. Sure, you could pay slightly less for a 3DS but it just doesn't compare. I've heard many tales of people selling off the 3DS after sampling what PSV has to offer, and rightfully so. For one thing, it is far more powerful so you are able to play games that are PS3 equivalent, give or take a few percentages. Secondly, you get two sticks. Two sticks. Yes. So you can pull off headshots, explore the environments and much, much more. No more awkward alternative controls like PSP suffered (and 3DS now), and no need to purchase an optional circle pad to add on the right anaologue stick. Also, the games available on PSV are so much better when you compare like with like. Metal Gear Solid 3 is a fantastic example. On 3DS it is a one-stick monstrosity with dodgy framerates galore. On PSV, it is exactly as you find it on PS3 but with a slightly lower resolution (though the UI is razor sharp).

As for smartphones, all I will say is this: yes, the price of an individual game may be far cheaper (or even free) but the fact of the matter is that the devices are totally different. Smartphone games are designed to kill some time, whereas Vita games are more hardcore and 'proper' games like you'd expect to find on a PS3. And what about buttons and sticks? Vita has them, a smartphone doesn't.

Can I just further clarify what I've wrote about here, just to make sure everyone on the fence about a Vita understands the point clearly enough. An iPhone game can cost you 99p. Super cheap, isn't it? How about playing an Uncharted on your iPhone? Never going to happen, and even if it did it would be an unplayable monstrosity! Basically, Vita is for playing games and it fulfills this function to the letter whereas an iPhone is casual and just functional enough to keep you playing for a certain amount of time. The two cannot be compared at all.

Let me just lay out what I think the Vita does very, very well and what it doesn't:

===Strengths===

1) Power. Compared to a 3DS, the Vita laughs at it. The likes of Uncharted, Unit 13, Metal Gear Solid and more exclusive titles on Vita really do demonstrate the PSV difference. PS3 equivalent gaming. On the move. That is the PSV difference.

2) Two sticks. A subtle one, but an important one in practice because without them you've imprecise controls on FPS games and third person shooters. And it is available like this out the box. You don't need to buy an attachment.

3) Games. Very, very strong range indeed. I've already quite a lot considering I've only had one for three months now. If this is a 'bad time' for Vita, then I can't wait for the good ones because at this rate it will beat the PS3 by a mile!

4) Touch and tilt controls. On DS these are quite gimmicky, but on Vita they are incredibly helpful. On Uncharted, my aiming was made even more precise as a result.

5) PSP game upscaling. They really do look better on Vita's screen, especially those retro Final Fantasy games.

===Weaknesses===

1) Memory card. Pricey... but neccessary so you will complain but you'll then thank yourself for getting one in the knowledge that without one you wouldn't be able to play most of the games.

2) Battery life. Yeah, maybe slightly on the shortish side but this comes after a lot of use. Whilst using PSP games the battery life is quite formidable, however.

I'll also review each of the aspects of the Vita while I'm at it, just to dispell any doubts that some potential buyers may have.

*Front Touch Screen* - 5/5

The days of the Nintendo DS and now the 3DS are a stunning example of touch controls gone all gimmicky. Vita uses its touch controls with aplomb, making intuitive use of finger strokes and prompts to immerse you even more in the game. Uncharted uses this feature quite a lot for cutting things, etc whereas games like WipEout (at least on default controls) don't use them as much.

*Rear Touch Pad* - 4/5

I give it a 4 because I've only just figured out how to properly use this thing, and in doing so I've learned how precise it is. Takes a bit of getting used to, but this aspect of the PSV really does add to the experience.

*Six-axis tilt function* - 5/5

On PS3 this was a promising yet alright feature (let's be honest: we all use the 'normal' stick controls, don't we?), but on Vita with the screen between your hands the controls are far more accurate and intuitive. On Uncharted, for instance, aiming is arguably even better than the normal stick method because this method allows you to fine tune your aim by tilting the Vita up, down, left and right subtly so you can put down a heavily armed commando with one head shot. More games should use this feature like Uncharted did.

*Games* - 5/5.

Play the future Today! I've read, re-read (and re-re-read, etc, etc, etc) all these baseless criticisms about Vita not having that many games out now and out in the future. I look at my physical and digital PSV game collection and beg to differ. On the physical front you can grab many a bargain on several AAA games that would not be out of place on a PS3 - Uncharted and WipEout are stunning examples here. I'd also give a shout-out to Metal Gear Solid, Unit 13 and Lumines as particularly strong games. On the digital front, PSV is a super-strong gaming behemoth due to the sheer amount of content you can pick up off the PlayStation Store. Factor in frequent sales and you can readily amass a treasure trove of gaming goodness, in one instance I managed to grab Everybody's Golf for the bargain price of £7.99 compared to the original £11.99 (and the retail £20+ at the time, now £15). Also consider PSP titles (Final Fantasy deserves a shout-out here) and you have a lot of games. And as for the future... AC3 and COD deserve to be mentioned again and again to rubbish these criticisms which are totally baseless. And how about PS1 compatibility? Even more games on this magical device.

*Sticks and buttons* - 5/5

I have a confession to make: when I first played a Vita in my (relatively) local GAME branch I was not very happy with the buttons. Smaller than a PSP and even PS3 buttons, I was a bit put off. After a few hours of play, however, and I was blown away by the comfortable controls and the designers at Sony deserve a medal for this subtle change to the size of the traditional PS buttons that you'd find on a Dualshock. And sticks. Yes, sticks. Very, very similar to a Dualshock and super precise as a result. So how about those First Person Shooters? Super playable. Third person shooters? Even more playable. How much does a second stick cost? Zero. I cannot fault this aspect of the Vita because it is fantastic.

*Welcome Park* - 5/5

As a means of getting you into the groove of the Vita's features, Welcome Park is a fantastic and well-designed addition to the Vita because it really does get you used to how each aspect of the Vita operates. Touch screen? Mastered. Microphone? Mastered. Tilt? Mastered. Rear touch pad? Mastered (to an extent in my case!). Brilliant freebie and also comes with trophies for your effort.

In conclusion, I'd heartily recommend getting yourself a PS Vita. There is absolutely nothing to hold you back apart from a slightly pricey memory card. Games are strong, hardware is stunning and the future is very, very bright. Just quit it with the misleading 3DS/Smartphone comparisons and Vita will fly off the shelves come Christmas when games like Assassins Creed 3: Liberation and Call of Duty land on the platform.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Jul 2012 18:02:08 BDT
Paul Swift 3 says:
An awesome review mate. I have had my Vita since launch and it baffles me how its getting such a bad press. It is a 100% bonafied, undeniably superb piece of kit. For playing REAL console type games on the go AND while sitting at home there really is no equal.

The points you make are all well thought and and very thorough. I was going to write up a review but it seems this amazing console is targetted by so many trolls its unbelieveable and I just didnt want to waste my time. The only point i think you missed out on when comparing to smartphones ipads etc......

You cant play Uncharted, Gravity Rush, Resistance etc etc on an ipad/iphone. So what if the games on a smartphone are free. Theyre free for a reason, they are targetted to casual gamers whereas if your a serious gamer, which i am, then the Vita is the standard bearer for handheld gaming.

The main reason i think its not sold too well up to now? Bad marketing and advertising. When i pull out my Vita to show my friends/family, nobody knows what it is or have ever heard of it! But they are soon blown away as soon as i fire it up.
It really is the crime of the century if you ask me.
But, you know what Sony always says, 10 year cycles and all that. Just look at the PS3. It took that a good 4 years before it came good and now it blows the 360 out of the water. Exclusive games wise, which is how a console is rated when alls said and done, its games.

"In other news.....The Tortoise has beaten the Hare." LOL

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jul 2012 20:56:28 BDT
Steven says:
Thank you very much, kind sir. I'll amend the review to place great emphasis on what you said.

Ach, I really hope Vita does as well as PS3 has done. PS3 did very, very, very badly back in 2007. I put a brave face on it, and I'm relieved my faith was rewarded in the end.

Good point on the exclusive games. I really hope the likes of AC3: Liberation (I've got to get that along with the PS3 game, it is the only way!) help to make PS Vita a success. I think Sony did a better job of the marketing than PS3. At least there were no crappy slogans and babies and someone doing the toilet. I remember the bus stop ads where you'd have a Vita with Uncharted playing on it and a journalist saying something like "I'll never play a game on iphone again". If they expand this tenfold and shove it on primetime television slots it'll be a big hit this christmas for sure.

PSP game compatibility is also a winner, I've lots of Final Fantasy games now and that is before even the PS1 feature is added in.

Thanks again, means a lot!
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