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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.