We take a look at one of the more common misconceptions.

It’s something that you hear quite frequently. The Vita has no games. From the launch of the system and up to the present the comment has been there in the shadows, pouncing out at every available opportunity. Especially in the mainstream gaming press, a Vita article often descends into chaotic scenes as the trolls emerge and pollute the article with as many “educated” views about the state of the software as they can. But what is the truth?

Funny joke is not funny. Or true.

The Vita launched with 25 titles covering many genres and there was a little something for everyone. Of course, not everything was good, but it was a healthy balance. Some of the launch titles still remain the best examples of the genre in the line up. Now for something that hasn’t even been out a year yet, the library has nearly all of the bases covered. as we enter the holiday season and by the end of 2012 there will be close to 100 games released both at retail and through the PlayStation Store. And that doesn’t include the many hundreds of minis, PSP and PSOne classics available. I’m not going to cover those, as my personal opinion is that those titles only add further support to the Vita on top of what is already out. But what I hope to show you here is a taster of what is the best of what is available in all the main genres.

So, whether you are looking to buy a Vita in the near future, or are an existing Vita owner looking for something specific to buy, or even think that the Vita has no games this guide could be of use to you.

Don’t look down. Although it does look pretty.

So what should I cover first? Action-Adventure? The stand out title in my opinion here is easily Uncharted: Golden Abyss. A launch title made by Bend Studios and certainly one of the best looking titles, there is a whole lot for you to do. The journey with Drake itself isn’t especially long, comprising of over 30 chapters of which some are over quite quickly but there is so much to do after you have finished the game it will give you many hours  of exploring. You can also take advantage of near to fill up your missing treasures from those on your friends list. It’s the best selling Vita title, and has been bought by almost one in four Vita owners.

If that doesn’t grab you, then perhaps Assasin’s Creed 3: Liberation might? Developed in house by Ubisoft and set in the latter part of the 18th century in New Orleans, and starring a new character in the series called Aveline de Grandpré, an assasin of African-French origin who sets about killing bad guys in a different approach in the Assasin’s series, the first to not use the Desmond Miles character. What about something completely different you say? Gravity Rush could be right up your street. Staring a female heroine called Kat, who with the aid of a magical black cat can influence gravity and use it to save the beautifully presented cel-shaded world around her. I am hoping we see a sequel, as the concept itself was original and enjoyable.

All it really needs is one of those £5 hand car washes at the supermarket.

If Racing is more your thing, then you are in for a treat. A wide variety of racers are here for you to choose. For a more realistic approach, maybe the open world nature of Need for Speed: Most Wanted will suit you? Whilst the overall aim is to find and shut down the ten “Most Wanted” racers in the city of Fairhaven, that’s not all it is about. In between driving in and out of the city, Criterion games (famed for the Burnout series) have brough you the best portable racer you can find anywhere with more than 40 different cars to race and enhance, with over 200 events to complete and one of the best multiplayer experiences the Vita can offer. It’s pretty much a portable Burnout Paradise.

The best looking racer is probably WipEout 2048, a pure adrenaline rush of sublime futuristic visuals, tricky courses and combatative action. Is Formula 1 more your thing? Codemasters have this covered for you. Or perhaps you are looking for a more arcade style cartoon racer, and SEGA have obliged to the tune of Sonic and All-stars Racing Transformed, the upcoming sequel to the 2010 hit of the same name and features 16 new tracks and over 20 playable characters. Out in early December, new to the series include the ability to shift into new airbourne or seaworthy vehicles. The original served as a great racer with many fun elements pulled from the SEGA universe.

Cows on a Bi-plane, one of the many crazy examples of creativity in Little Big Planet.

Is bouncing across a Platform more you? Then Little Big Planet PS Vita could be the one. Traversing through five worlds created by the depressed imagination of The Puppeteer might not take you very long, but the range of creative tools available and the talents of many creative individuals give this game nigh on unlimited lifespan. You should have a look on the Vita LBP site at some of the wacky creations that people have come up with, some surpassing the creative genius of the game itself. This game is all about creativity and community.

Also in contention here is Rayman Origins. I made the mistake of dismissing this as a “kids” game, yet there it sits atop the Metacritic rankings as the most well received Vita game to date. Rayman Origins on the PS Vita may be the salvation of the genre and outside of the lack of multiplayer this Vita game is a perfect port. Another outstanding platformer can be found in Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack. In this side-scroller you control a blob who can grow in size and you must complete many different puzzles and challenges to progress through the level, and is pretty cheap on the PS Store.

Psychedilic Tetris FTW.

Puzzle games are catered in the form of Lumines, which is a funky puzzle game using squares which you organise and match up to form either red or blue shapes of four blocks or more. Think a simplified version of Tetris, but backing a more happening music beat. it has been well received on Metacritic, personally I wasn’t taken in. But if you want something a little more colourful and cheeky, then you could take a look at the arcade puzzler Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz, which brings a blend of simian ball craziness to the Vita along with a zany selection of mini games which could also qualify for the Party genre of this piece. Also fitting into this category could be PlayStation’s take of the multi series button bashing brawler, All Stars Battle Royale.

This brawl looks familiar.

Set for release next week, the game is a button bashing mash up of many popular characters to have appeared on PlayStation systems over the years using a combination of attacks to defeat your opponents. Yes, it does seem rather similar to a game series on another gaming platform, but they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Unless it’s patented.

You could argue that All Stars Battle Royale belongs with the Fighters, but it won’t mind as this is another category that is well covered on the Vita. For starters you have Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, a 48 strong roster featuring epic face offs between legends from both Marvel and Capcom’s huge history of characters, and is really good. Also here is Blazblue: Continuum Shift Extend which whilst being a mouthful is also rather fun to play. If you want a more realistic take on fighting games, the another series crossover could be for you in StreetFighter X Tekken.

Challenging bosses are so much fun with four players.

Those that like to immerse themselves in a world with a little Role Playing may be a small bit disappointed as it is a genre which is a little light at the moment, but when it has a title as impressive as Ragnarok Odyssey then you will probably not care too much. Arguably one of the stand out titles on the Vita, this is worth buying a Vita for. Doused in many aspects of Norse Mythology and based on the massive Ragnarok Online series this boasts many hours of gameplay which can also be player with up to four other players. It isn’t out yet in Europe, but it is worth importing.

How smart is your brain? *cough*

Another game that is definately worth a look is New Little King’s Story, the sequel to the 2009 Wii title which has many role playing aspects. You have to save the kingdom all over again, but this time using many of the Vita’s features. But New Little Kings Story also fits in with its real time Strategy aspect, but the Vita is also well looked after here with Smart As, the brain provoking game with many different cranial challenges. Or you could always settle for a simple piece of Pure Chess.

Bang bang pew pew

For a generation which has been inundated with countless copycat Shooters, it’s a little surprising to say the least that the Vita doesn’t have many yet. But it does have some. Unit 13 is a third person shooter from SOCOM developers Zipper Interactive, and brings a balance of short, objective based missions using a different blend of soldiers, comprising of assault, stealth and many more and will give you many hours of fun. It has cooperative play for cmpleting the missions, but lacks online multilayer. What doesn’t lack online multiplayer is Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified, out this week. Whilst it may only feature 4v4 online warfare it’s easily the best handheld multiplayer shooter you can find on any system.

That kit is lethal, perhaps that’s their secret?

Sports is a genre that gets a little support, but admittedly could use a little more. You have two FIFA titles to choose which have very little between them, and do lack some of the functionality of its bigger console brothers but do bring you the best handheld football games to date. This is not a unique habit, Virtua Tennis 4 also brings a faithful recreation of the sport to your hands and will give you many hours of fun. Baseball is also catered for, as is American Football. Well, if you are from America, as EA saw fit to not release it in Europe.

Everybody’s Golf (or in the US, Hot Shots) is a long standing golfing series on the PlayStation and this version is certainly worth a look, especially at the cut down price that you can get if for on the PS Store.

So there you have it, a small window into some must have, or at the very least, some must play games that you simply should try and examples of the many genres available. That’s just from the games that we have had the chance to play, because even we haven’t played everything although you can count on us to bring you every title moving forward. But from what we have played, the Vita was supposed to give you a “Next Generation Portable”, a versatile go anywhere PlayStation experience in your hands, and it certainly delivers on that front.

But if you still want more, then we can give you a little taster. Looking into 2013 is quite difficult, we will be honest. Not a lot has been revealed for the next year, but we have a “lot” of unannounced titles coming. Plus how much time do you have? This lot will keep you busy!

Our crystal ball is a little cloudy, but shaking it around did give these few titles as a teaser.

Tearaway is an upcoming adventure game by the original creators of Little Big Planet, Media Molecule. Starring Iota, a paper postman in a beautiful origami inspired environment, we cannot wait to get hold of this.

If you are looking for some action role-playing, Soul Sacrifice might be for you. Boasting four player cooperative play, the player can sacrifice parts of himself, or items in your inventory to increase your power when facing off against more pdangerous  foes in exchange for a permanent reminder on your body, giving you a finite reserve of this magic.

If the shooters are leaving you a little underwhelmed, then perhaps Killzone Mercenary can fill the void. To date, Guerrilla Games have not revealed very much, but since the four Killzone games to date have been very well received, we can have high hopes that this will become a must have title.

Thanks to GAME in Basildon for the main image on the homepage! You can follow them on @gamebasildon.

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Paul founded The Vita Lounge and is the Executive Editor, but still likes to get involved with the odd piece of news or a review. 35 years young and gaming since 1990, he has a preference for Action/RPG games, Shooters, Racing Games (despite ironically not being able to drive!) and quite partial to a game of FIFA.
  • Good one, Paul. The title I’m currently looking forward to most is Persona 4: The Golden.

  • Buramu

    Excellent piece again. Not only does the Vita have plenty of games across a comprehensive breadth of genres, it also has a better holiday lineup than any other system this year. Life is good for Vita owners these months.

  • Galvatron

    A great article, and necessary in my opinion; the amount of nonsense spouted by the anti-Vita brigade can be easily pulled apart from the very nature of their argument.

    I totally agree on the titles highlighted, and having just read the Rayman Origins piece earlier, I’m picking it up online at £20. Should have picked it up when it was £15 🙂

    Gravity Rush has unique play dynamics and kinetics unique to the format. Metal Gear Solid 3 I played for the first time on the handheld and loved every second of it. Moreover, as a tennis fan I love the creation mode of Virtua Tennis 4 and on a personal basis, the near-simultaneous release of Most Wanted & AC: Liberation. These 2 titles I’m playing through in tandem on my system. The former’s drive mechanics to me feel a hybrid of GTA4 & Outrun. For those in the know, hitting a top speed nitro in Fairhaven whilst blasting Strange Talk’s Cast Away is euphoric in the same way as drifting in Outrun to Magical Sound Shower.

    Though I have to say that what struck out to me most throughout this well-structured article is the confident claim that Declassified is easily the best handheld FPS on any handheld.

    The review bodes well, then 🙂

    • I also played MGS3 for the first time on the Vita. I absolutely love it, it’s one of the best games ever.
      Haven’t played NFS yet, might pick it up once I work my way through some PSP/PSOne titles.

      Talking about those; I’ll be doing a feature article/reviews on my favourite backwards compatible titles 😀

  • Galvatron

    Absolutely, MGS3 is one of the finest titles ever made. Playing against ‘The End’ via headphones (as he himself wears to countenance noise from his own cans), I give serious thought to being the best boss battle in any game so far, including Shadow of The Colossus, also a legendary title. The stealth aspect of this battle pays off with numerous avenues to victory, matched subsequently only by Demon’s Souls or it’s
    sequel.

    I wholeheartedly recommend Most Wanted for the Vita, it’s not only a fabulous title with Fairhaven running impressively, it’s the best racer ever developed on a handheld. Criterion – and Ubisoft for Liberation, incidentally – deserve far higher scores for the ground-breaking experiences on a handheld.

    Incidentally, I would LOVE to see an HD update – on both Vita & PS3 – of Shadow of the Colossus. Those play mechanics are still fresh.

    Rockstar confirming a full-3D GTA wouldn’t go amiss
    either 🙂

  • ico

    First time commenting and only recently stumbled upon the site but you guys clearly doing some good work. Keep it up. @ galvatron – there is a ps3 version of shadow of the colossus and Ico collection but agree a vita version would be nice. Though you can remote play the ps3 collection version on your vita if you have both consoles.

    Think the key issue with Sony and the vita is the poor / lack of advertising. If they spent more money on getting the word out I’m sure it would reach a wider audience. Wile I think cod on the vita will likely be a sub standard game at best I have high hopes it will sell a load more vita so the install base widens.

    • Hi, thanks for finding us and commenting!

      Thankfully, for now Sony seem to be on a marketing offensive, especially in the UK but this needs to be maintained. The general lack of interest from the mainstream gaming press must also play a part.

      They need the big hitters that are here/coming to sell well and push the sales as this will inspire confidence going into 2013 and for the other developers that have nothing coming/announced.

  • Yanikun

    You’ve played Black Ops Declassified already?

  • MarcoM

    Don’t forget WRC3 for the Vita. Most Wanted is certainly very good. But if you want a more simcadelike experience, you might consider WRC3.

  • Galvatron

    Ico – I have your namesake / SOTC HD collection on PS3 (loved the original Ico 10 years back and still have the limited edition for PS2 with it’s successor – great ending and thoroughly foreboding throughout) and have tried remote play, but to truly own one of the finest titles ever on a memory card / game card a la MGS HD collection on the Vita would be a gaming highlight.

    Marketing has been a key flaw in Sony’s push for the Vita but I agree with Paul; the gaming press’ juvenile lack of interest and consistent lack of contextual reviews is to blame. I can see and easily forgive certain technical glitches a la AC: Liberation because the general graphical experience is set so high. Having Aveline walk to a corrupt magistrate and orchestrate a 3-man killing spree in fluid motion, with the official just hitting the ground as I depart to pickpocket a witness before disposing of him – is gloriously cool. Yet many reviewers are using story and direct comparisons to PS3 to consistently downgrade Vita titles.

    If you put these titles in these players hands again and instructed the fools to comment on aspects relating to specifically a handheld, their main gripes hold no ground.

    This is something the Vita Lounge acknowledges in it’s reviews, which are also eloquently and structurally well written. Sony seem to have learnt from initial lack of marketing support and given the strength of aforementioned titles I am very positive about future big hitters and the Vita in general. It’s an amazing product as long as Sony pushes it’s considerable first party development studios to support it – let alone the likes of Criterion and Ubisoft – and advertise it.

    IGN is currently a guilty party here – some of it’s scores are a result of too many games being reviewed by inadequate reviewers who would if quietly asked prefer to be reviewing works of fiction. These idiots review a game and are unable to distinguish that unlike a book or film, games are a medium which offer three dimensions and the ability to interact with the characters, to feel the exposition through gameplay as opposed to narrative.

    Edge, The Vita Lounge and only a small percentage of the gaming press understand that playing these titles on a handheld requires a more nuanced perspective. If some of these (apparently) Vita owning critics actually stopped and realised the machine is actually slightly more powerful than a PS2 but not quite a PS3 then you’d probably see more glowing reviews.

    There will also be a time when the Vita games-buying public vent and begin attacking the gaming press for such belligerence and abuse of power; the political landscape in gaming is skewed in review terms by the relationships between publishing houses and reviewers.

    FiFA is an interesting one on this last point; lauded by many yet the previews and reviews are year-upon-year inconsistent and at times, made up marketing drivel.

    And this is from the reviewers! ‘the wide men now make more intelligent runs into the box’ is one that makes me laugh as they continue to sprout this garbage, until in my opinion someone accuses them of journalistic betrayal. They have been bought by the publishers and actually use EA’s own hype word for word.

    However, FIFA 13 is an absolute reminder of the unhealthy relationship between said publishers and critics. Whilst FIFA Soccer – released on Vita in February – is a decent title in the absence of Pro Evo, the recent FIFA 13, released 6 months later and arguably the exact same game – is an insult to the buying public at £40. Yet the gaming press largely avoided this opportunity to demonstrate they are truly on the side of gamers rights by just not reviewing the title early on. Wouldn’t want to miss out on EA freebies, invites or future exclusives, would we?

    Rant over 🙂

  • I think the main reason that a lot of games don’t get reviews or are shown little interest is because most sits just can’t be bothered because the audience isn’t large enough.

    You can bet if the Vita’s sales was at 20 million IGN would get hold of EVERY vita game and possible be more lenient in their scores.

    ATM the can afford or just plain don’t care to give the reviews much attention. How many games have they not reviewed to date? I can think of quite a few off the top of my head, where is the Lego: LOTR review? that’s been out for a while in the US as just one example.

    What bothers me more than anything is the constant comparing to PS3 versions, SFxTK, NFS and others just consist of comparisons to the console version in the reviews while not telling us anything about the actual Vita experience.

    I’m by no means a professional and not very good when it comes to writing articles as this is NOT my field. This is just done on the side, a hobby so to speak but I do try my best as do others on this site. I personally judge a Vita game on how good it is for a Vita game not how good it stacks up against console versions. They may not be as professorial or well written but I hope they are of use to some Vita owners and that my enthusiasm for the game comes through.

    • And I think I need some new batteries in my wireless keyboard as letters keep getting missed LOL 🙂

  • Galvatron

    Matt, I think the reviews on the Vita Lounge are very strong when in direct comparison to so-called ‘professional’ critics. They are intelligent, well-worded, detailed and above all, an honest critique. THAT is the very definition of a professional critic in my eyes.

    Likewise, for me this is also a hobby. But as gaming grows and ditto it’s affiliations and related industries, it’s becoming my main bug bear. Reviewers are, in some cases, deserving of closer scrutiny themselves. Some of the ignorant critiques on Vita from the likes of Playstation Podcast or Mature Gamers Podcast (excluding Aidy) are ludicrous as they genuinely believe they are speaking on behalf of us. They call themselves true gamers citing their independence yet their ignorance in stating titles like MGS3 are ‘boring, stealthy BS’ or that Gravity Rush ‘isn’t westernised enough’ is just as damaging as any ‘developing’ rapport with EA counting for bias.

    Whilst I agree with you that the Vita market-share is small right now, that doesn’t explain the criminially low scores of Vita games when they ARE reviewed. Context is required and expected; games like Most Wanted, being in-house achievements, are incredibly experiences on a handheld and these reviews do not measure up in my opinion.

    The Vita Lounge, with it’s reassuring lack of exclamation marks, eloquence and breadth of Vita coverage, is an excellent source for Vita coverage and Galvatron nods in genuine appreciation 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind words. What always makes my laugh is why some people in the trade so to speak can’t wait for systems to fail and take every opportunity to bash them, don’t they realize that if these systems didn’t exist they wouldn’t have a job. I think a job would be far more interesting and rewarding if it consisted of more variety? in this case more consoles and handhelds on the market.

    • Thank you!

      We’re also making sure that we’re picking the appropriate people for the appropriate reviews; not letting someone review a game from a genre which they don’t like. Paul does not like Assassin’s Creed, and I am very cynical of the Call of Duty franchise and especially BOD, so we would never let Paul review Assassin’s Creed and me review CoDBOD. If you look at some ‘professional’ reviews, that’s also something that’s often wrong, or it’s reviewers letting their personal tastes cloud their views of judgement too much (IGN Ragnarok Odyssey review, IGN NFS Most Wanted review).

    • Echoing what the others have said, I/We really appreciate your feedback and it means a lot that others are getting something from the site, and certainly makes it all worthwhile.

      We are just fans like all of you and after being frustrated by the mainstream coverage, I felt that this had to begin. I looked at a few other independant Vita sites and felt that I could offer something different so have thrown myself into this.

      But one thing you can count on here is honesty, integrity and common sense. For example, are there issues with the visuals on Most Wanted? Yes, it’s a bit jagged, and pixelated and doesn’t run in the Vita’s native resolution. But does it still look good? Yes. Is it visually amazing considering the entire console game has been crammed into a take everwhere experience? Of course it is. It bodes well for the future.

      And of course we are always looking for others who want to get involved. 😉