Top critical review
on 31 March 2013
I got this as a gift to myself with the idea being that I'd no longer have to sit through the mindless reality tv that my wife regularly subjects me to (Big Brother etc) and to start with that's exactly what happened.
The first thing that struck me with the Vita was that, aesthetically, it is very impressive. It's beautifully designed and the buttons are intuitively set out on the front so that it fits well in the hands. The screen is actually deceptively big and the widescreen ratio gives games like Uncharted a 'big time' feel. The screen itself is of a really high quality and video playback looks exceptional.
It doubles as a small tablet in that its touch screen with a web browser and media player and all of these elements work well, while never feeling quite as comfortable as an iPad.
I downloaded a number of games from the Playstation Network (like Escape Plan and Motorstorm RC, both of which are very good) so I bit the bullet and bought a 16GB memory card, though unless you're likely to buy full games from the PSN (or store a vast amount of music) this is probably unnecessary.
The touch pad on the back is an interesting idea but one that, particularly with Fifa, is often a cause of frustration. The ergonomics of the front is in stark contract to the back, where my untrained fingers were regularly tapping the touch pad resulting in inadvertent shots and stray passes. This became such an issue that I had to turn the touch pad off in the settings for Fifa. In fact, the gimmickry of the touch pad and (admittedly very responsive touch screen) intertwined into the gameplay of many games often at the detriment of the playing experience. It's like these additional features have been added in just because they can be, without any thought to the playing experience.
I've taken much more enjoyment from the sub five pound download games than the 40 plus pound full games, and for me that makes this an extravagance that I cannot really justify. It spends most of the time in the drawer and certainly hasn't justified its price tag in my mind. It gets played more when young relatives come over, and it probably is a teenagers device (rather than for me as a 30 something). This will be the last game only console that I buy. For me, I can get what I need from the iPad mini.