Whilst it’s fair to say that the Vita’s library lacks a large number of big name titles, to say that it struggled for games over 2014 is simply not true. There was a lot of third party support from quite a few studios who’s support has not wavered as well as the large multitude of indie games that flock to the system. We thought it would be a good idea to recount the year and evaluate the games released, as well as jog your memory to any games that you might have missed as well as covering some of the bigger news from the year!
Sony kicked off 2014 with the announcement that the streaming service formerly known as Gaikai was going to be called PlayStation Now. Andrew House took to the stage at CES 2014 to announce all the details around this, with an open Beta scheduled for release later in the year. Allowing for gamers to access and play a whole host of PlayStation games from the PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 library, the PlayStation Now announcement was one that certainly grabbed the attention of many gamers and is something that we will be keeping an eye on during 2015.
The development tool Unity came to the PlayStation Vita in January, with Stick it to the Man the first game to release on the Vita that was created using the development engine.
On the games front, there was an announcement at the Taipei Games Show that Freedom Wars was set to release in Asia in the Summer, while 2K International tweeted (and quickly deleted) a release date for the PlayStation Vita version of Borderlands 2 – which we later discovered was incorrect.
January wasn’t the busiest of months for new releases, Charlie played and reviewed King Oddball – an Angry Birds style physics game whilst Kyle played Roll7’s brilliant arcade skateboarder OlliOlli – describing it as ‘a must-buy for anyone who’s a fan of skateboarding or just likes a challenge to live up to‘.
Ending the month was an early-morning conference that took place in the UK to announce the launch of the PlayStation Vita Slim (or the PCH-2000) in Europe to replace the original OLED PlayStation Vita. Featuring a LCD screen, improved battery life and 1GB of internal storage – the Vita Slim is 20% lighter and 15% thinner than the model it is phasing out.
February saw another busy month for the PlayStation Vita. The first week of the month brought us news of the imminent release of a new map pack for the superb FPS Killzone Mercenary. This update would release on the PlayStation Vita later on in the month on February 19th and contained modern revisions of two classic maps from Killzone 2 – Tharsis Depot and Blood Gracht.
On the 10th of February, the US PlayStation Blog inundated us with PlayStation Vita goodness. Not only did they confirm the release of the PlayStation Vita Slim in North America but they also confirmed that the Vita Slim would be releasing as part of a bundle with Borderlands 2 and an 8GB Memory Card.
If that wasn’t enough, the PlayStation Blog went on to announce the release date for the upcoming God of War Collection and revealed that Sanzaru Games would be bringing the Sly Cooper Collection to the PlayStation Vita later on in the year!
On the review front we saw arcade games TxK, Surge Deluxe and Gunslugs release and achieve good reviews from Brian, Jasper and Brad respectively. Charlie played and enjoyed Toukiden: The Age of Demons but the game of the month (and possibly an early contender for Game of The Year) was Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc.
Kyle reviewed this game for the site, saying that Danganronpa ‘is the game you’ll struggle to put down to eat, play every spare minute in the lunch room at work and lose at least a day of your life to in total. Danganronpa is an addictive look into one of everyone’s nightmares – being trapped in their school with murderers – and it does so with the finesse of a magician. You may think you know what you’re seeing or what’s going on – but you’re wrong… and that’s part of what makes this game amazing’.
And just in case you weren’t all Danganronpa‘d out we also learnt that the sequel to Trigger Happy Havoc, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, would be releasing on the PlayStation Vita later on in the year!
In March we learnt that the President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, Jack Tretton, was going to be stepping down from his post at the end of the month and passing the baton to Shawn Layden – who was the Executive Vice President and COO of Sony Network Entertainment International.
Jack Tretton was a founder member of SCEA since its inception in 1995, playing a major part in all console launches from the original PlayStation up to the PS4 and the PlayStation Vita.
Sucker Punch’s Nate Fox teased Vita owners when he was quoted as saying “I would love it if there was a Vita [inFamous] game. We don’t have anything to say about it just right now.” At the time of writing, we haven’t heard anything from the Studio in regards to a Vita game, but I think that all Vita fans would welcome an inFamous title on the handheld.
One game that was coming to the Vita that had players excited was Freedom Wars. Due to release in Japan in the Summer and in the West later in the year, we got a first look at some key release details for the title this month. This included information around what would be included in the initial release, what was to follow in title updates and details around the game’s pricing and DLC.
At the end of the month Laughing Jackal revealed that they were working on a PlayStation Vita exclusive called Flame Over. In the game you guide your heroic fire fighter, Blaze Carruthers, up through the floors of the Infernal Industries building in London, extinguishing all fires and rescuing all the stranded workers and – naturally – their pet cats as you go. Flame Over was originally due to release at the end of 2014, but was later delayed and is now due to release at the start of 2015.
March’s reviews were a mixed bag. Charlie played Deception IV: Blood Ties and it is safe to say that he did not enjoy it as much as he had hoped for. Jon played Vlambeer’s Luftrausers and had great fun with it. Brad reviewed Steamworld Dig, describing it as ‘a really good adventure platformer set in a beautifully crafted world. It looks great, it sounds great, and it plays great. Despite the few issues I have with the game, it is a lot fun to play and definitely worth checking out.‘
However, the highest score was handed to Fez, which Brad reviewed and gave full marks to. Reserving strong praise for Phil Fish’s platformer, Brad said ‘FEZ is a magical game. It is a smart game that has fun platforming, challenging puzzles, and an interesting core game mechanic that unites all these elements into something special. Everything works together to create an experience that is unique and breathtaking. FEZ is a modern day classic which creates a world full of wonder and mystery that is right at home on the Vita.
It is, without a doubt, one of the greatest games I have ever played. If you have not already discovered the world of FEZ, I highly recommend you do’.
Q1 Rating: B
The first quarter of the year started us off rather quietly on the game front, with only 20-30 titles released in each region. Moving to the second quarter of the year, things begin to heat up in the release department.
As 2014 rolled into its second quarter, the action for the Vita was just getting started. April was a month filled with speculation and anticipation. There was a lot of excitement for Freedom Wars, which would be coming out in Japan in just a few months. It seemed as though new screenshots and information was being leaked on a daily basis.
There was also a lot of speculation about which games might possibly be coming to the Vita in the near future. The number one game that was always being rumored was the Ratchet and Clank Trilogy, which we knew was coming but it hadn’t been confirmed. Also in the speculation category was Soul Sacrifice Delta, which had come out in Japan already and there were now rumors swirling that it would soon be coming to the West.
Drinkbox Studios announced their next game would be called Severed and was heading to the PS Vita. Sony Santa Monica meanwhile was still showing the love for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and they released a balancing patch which was so massive it had its own launch trailer.
But perhaps the biggest news that came out of the month was a glitch that happened with the PSN store during a weekend Flash Sale. Suddenly, for a few glorious days, any and all PSOne and PSP games that had been purchased could now be downloaded to the Vita and played. North Americans finally discovered what it was like to play Crash Bandicoot on the Vita. Unfortunately the error was quickly corrected and the games that were blocked before were blocked once again.
April was also a big month for new game releases. It started off with MLB 14: The Show and Ragnarok Odyssey Ace. This was followed up with LEGO: The Hobbit and Football Manager Classic 14 (which also available in a bundle in the EU) as well as the much anticipated Dead Nation which had been announced and then quickly forgotten. Sly Cooper would once again make his return to the Vita in the Sly Cooper Collection which released first in Europe and would come out the following month in North America. Meanwhile Japan was able to revel in Sword Art Online.
The big news that everyone was talking about was the new PS Vita 2000 would finally be coming to North America on May 6 and could be purchased as part of the Borderlands 2 bundle for $199. The Vita Slim had already been available in Japan since October 2013 and was made available in Europe in February. With its introduction to North America, the transition from the original OLED model to the new slimmer version was complete. Players would debate the difference in quality between the two screens, but Sony was firmly committed to carry on with its new design.
Borderlands 2 wasn’t the only big game to get its release in May. The month started off with The God of War Collection which would be followed up the next week with the general availability of Borderlands 2. Also coming out on the same day as Borderlands was Soul Sacrifice Delta which gave the Vita three huge games all released in the span of one week.
The month was also filled with news on upcoming indie games. During a barrage of indie game announcements we learned that Axiom Verge and Drifter would be coming to the Vita as well as the PS4. Futurlab also shared details about their upcoming game, Velocity 2X, which would eventually go on to be one of the Vita’s highest rated games. And for the first time, we finally got some screenshots of what Minecraft will look like on a proper handheld.
Sony also put to bed the speculation about the Ratchet and Clank Trilogy and confirmed that it would be coming to the Vita later in the Summer.
When June came around, all thoughts turned to E3. We made our predictions of what we’d see at the annual trade show and in the end, we were mostly wrong. The Vita was largely ignored during Sony’s press conference with only a few scraps tossed our way. This led to a lot of negativity among the Vita community which was only made worse from an incorrect announcement that Final Fantasy Type-0 HD was coming our way. People were shouting loud and often that Sony was abandoning the Vita and leaving Vita owners out in the cold. We argued that it was clear they were definitely re-positioning what the Vita is, but it was by no means being abandoned.
What we did get out of E3 was confirmation that the Vita TV would be coming to the West and it would be re-branded as the PlayStation TV. With its release, it would also be bringing access to Sony’s PS Now service to the Vita which would allow PS3 games to be streamed to a PS Vita.
Disney Infinity 2.0 was also revealed to be coming to the Vita, and unlike the 3DS version that was previously released, this one would be on par with the full console versions. Also announced during the month were Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit as well as Don’t Starve: Giant Edition. A number of games, such as Hohokum, Gravity Crash Ultra, and Murasaki Bay also got release dates.
A number of new games were released throughout the month such as PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate, PlayStation Vita Pets, and XBlaze Code: Embryo. But the big game that everyone had been waiting for was finally released in Japan on June 26: Freedom Wars. People had been pining for a big, triple-A exclusive that could be found nowhere else, and they finally got it. Or at least Japan got it. People in the West would have to wait a few more months before they could get their hands on this title and fight for their panopticons.
…and Borderlands 2 continued to receive updates to improve its performance.
Overall, the second quarter of 2014 was an B for the Vita. It saw the release of some big games, but unfortunately a number of them suffered from performance issues at launch. Still, with the release of the Vita Slim, God of War, Sly Cooper, and Borderlands 2 (among others), the Vita received a ton of love and support… unlike at E3.
Jumping into the third quarter with July, we’ve just passed the halfway point of the year and over fifty-five games have released in each region.
It’s in July however, that we first get Western release details for the highly anticipated Senran Kagura cooking/rhythm spin-off Bon Appetit, news of the Killzone Mercenary v1.10 patch, Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment’s release date announcement, and the November debut of Tales of Hearts R.
We get a look at Muramasa Rebirth’s third DLC with a trailer, the announcement of Crimsonland’s journey to Vita, One Piece: Unimited World Red’s North American release details, some more Soul Sacrifice Delta DLC, and the localization announcement for htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary. Criminal Girls gets a Western release announcement for Spring, Demon Gaze 2 is announced to be in development, that third Muramasa DLC gets a date, and we hear of Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds and Tokyo Twilight Ghosthunters coming to North America – but that’s only up to the end of the first week!
Next up, we get word that a Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment sequel was in the works (Lost Song), details on a Freedom Wars patch for Japan, a date for Rogue Legacy, a release window for Hand of Fate and news that Duke 3D was still on its way. Continuing on, Starlight Inception got an update to fix its launch issues (or at least some of them), World End Economica reached its funding goal, Skullgirls Encore was announced for Vita and we learned what would be censored in the Western release of Criminal Girls (hint; nothing of consequence).
Moving towards mid-month, we saw the delay of Mike Bithell’s Volume into 2015, Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed got announced for Europe, we learned that Vita would integrate with Project Morpheus somehow, and we got the full scoop on the infographic-heavy Metrico.
Just past the halfway point we learned that Munch’s Odyssee HD was still on its way, Upside Down Dimensions was announced, we got our first look at Inner City Kids running on the platform and we learned that Oreshika would be digital only in Europe. Europe also saw the announcement of Baboon!’s release and Freedom Wars getting a physical release, with the announcement of Table Top Racing and CounterSpy for the entire West following close behind.
The last week of the month saw XSEED confirming an August release for Akiba’s Trip in North America, Tiny Troopers getting a “Summer” release window, The Walking Dead: Season Three announced, and another Minecraft delay at its beginning – moving towards the announcement of a limited physical edition for htoL#NiQ and the delay of Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds for North America on the last day of July.
Moving on to releases, North America in July saw the release of well-received indie Child of Light, the retro throwback Another World, unique puzzler MouseCraft and the anime-inspired One Piece: Unlimited World Red. The second half of the month brought the trippy Entwined, episode four of The Walking Dead: Season Two, the first LEGO Ninjago title to hit the Vita – Nindroids, the Ratchet & Clank Collection, well lauded roguelike RPG Rogue Legacy, the free to play gem Treasures of Montezuma: Arena, and the late-but-loved rally racer WRC4.
As for Europe, they saw the appearance of Child of Light and the Ratchet & Clank Trilogy early in the month, with MotoGP 14 following closely behind. This was augmented by the Europe-only releases of Jazz: Trump’s Journey and Skeleton Rider, as well as the drop of cat vs mouse puzzler MouseCraft. Moving on to the second half of the month we see the regional releases of Day D Tower Rush and Mahjong Gold, with Entwined and The Walking Dead: Season Two – Episode Four following. The end of the month saw the brawler Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds hit the store, the roguelike wonder Rogue Legacy tight in tow.
Looking across to Japan, they saw the drop of a bunch of anime-related releases – but also the first appearances of the later-localized Corpse Party: Blood Drive and Tokyo New World Order: Operation Abyss.
August was a big month, and started off with the announcement of Run Like Hell and Alien Shooter ports, as well as a release date for Natural Doctrine (September). We were then told of a new XBlaze game coming to Japan, Velocity 2X’s release window (September), Chaos Rings III’s journey to the platform, and the fact that PlayStation Mobile would now focus on Vita.
Firmware 3.18 dropped with stability updates at the end of the first week, followed by the announcement that Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! was coming to Europe and that The Muppets Movie Adventures was coming exclusively to Vita. That wasn’t all the announcements and new bits however, as the Senran Kagura titles were announced for Europe (including Australia), Unmechanical: Extended Edition was announced (only to be delayed indefinitely), and Soul Sacrifice Delta received its v1.30 update – containing the usual archfiend addition and other goodies.
Some bad news followed, as we received word that Road Not Taken might not come to Vita and MLB 13: The Show would lose online support this past November – but once again the good news started flowing right after with Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! getting a North American release date, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd getting a Western release date, Inner City Kids getting windowed (Spring 2015), and The Hungry Horde announced for the platform.
Mid-month saw the announcement of PlayStation TV release dates for the West, and the confirmation that Hollow Fragment would get the “big update” from the Japanese version in September. Paul wrote an article telling us how “A lack of focus does not mean a lack of games”, In Space We Brawl was announced, we got a better look at Minecraft, and Nom Nom Galaxy was announced as the month continued.
Next we saw PIX the CAT make the jump from PSMobile to a native Vita title, Echoes: Deep-sea Exploration announced, Papers, Please! confirmed for a Vita release, Flem announced and 99 Bricks Wizard Academy announced not too far behind it. Disney Infinity 2.0 was given a Spring 2015 release window a little further into the month, some Hotline Miami 2 footage was leaked early, Oreshika was patched in Japan (to fix user complaints), and we finally learned of Freedom Wars’ release date.
Nearing the end of the month we found out about a new Mega Pack bundle for Europe – the Adventure Pack, got a date for Muramasa Rebirth’s final DLC, Exorcism was announced, Ragarok Odyssey ACE got an expansion and Gundam Breakers 2 was announced for Japan. Don’t Starve: Giant Edition was announced as the final week of the month began, Minecraft was delayed again and some sweet Freedom Wars DLC hit Soul Sacrifice Delta.
Closing out August we got news that Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 was announced for localization, Alone With You was announced, Nidhogg was announced, and Desert Ashes was announced. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 announced for Japan, Metal Slug 3 was said to be coming to Vita this Winter, Tyler went to PAX Prime, and we heard that visual novel VA-11 HALL-A was coming.
As for releases, North America started the month strong with Metrico hitting, MotoGP 13 finally making it to the region, The Swapper slipping in and Table Top Racing drifting onto the scene. Mid month the region received controversial strip-battling title Akiba’s Trip, Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited, Gravity Crash Ultra, Hohokum and Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds – with the My Singing Monsters title in tow and exclusive to the region. The next PSN update brought CounterSpy, Crimsonland, Gravity Badgers and the highly anticipated Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment – followed by the late release of Day D Tower Rush, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 hitting, and the very final episode of The Walking Dead: Season Two shuffling onto the store.
Europe started the month with Metrico, The Swapper and some Table Top Racing; following that up with Hohokum and Gravity Crash Ultra mid month. The last half of the month brought CounterSpy, Crimsonland, Gravity Badgers and Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment… the end of the month bringing the singular release of Disgaea 4.
In Japan, we see the release of Lost Dimension, Shin Hayarigami, and Clannad in the first half of the month. The latter half of the month however was full of releases, with Bullet Girls, Chaos;Head Dual, Judas Code, Kiss Bell, Layrinth: Cross Blood Infinity, Love Live! School Idol Paradise, Renai o Kilometre V, Rewrite, Toukiden Kiwami and Ultra Dimension Action Neptunia U releasing (those last two getting localization announcements for the West later).
Moving on to the final month of the third quarter – September – we see the month begin with the end of Tyler’s PAX Prime impressions, followed by the announcement of a light pink/white PSVita slim for Japan and firmware 3.30 – which promised themes. Next up, God Eater 2: Rage Burst, a new Ys title, Senran Kagura: Estival Versus, Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer, Luminous Arc: Infinity, Ukiyo no Roushi, Wilderness and Deemo – The Last Recital were announced at the Tokyo Game Show’s pre-event.
The first few days of the month continued to be fruitful with regards to news, with Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 getting a Japanese release date, Natural Doctrine getting delayed a week in the West, Table Top Racing getting a large bugfix patch, and three titles – Ray’s the Dead, Run Sackboy! Run!, and Run Like Hell – getting announced. The week rounded out with the release date for Frozen Synapse Prime, Murasaki Baby and announcement of Rock Boshers DX – the Japanese release of IA/VT Colourful getting pushed into 2015.
Week two began with the announcement of a physical edition of Dekamori Senran Kagura for Japan, a Captain Earth: Mind Labyrinth announcement, an Aqua Kitty DX announcement and word of The Wolf Among us finally hitting in November. Also coming to us for November is the next announced title – LittleBigPlanet: Marvel Edition, though we received word that roguelike Asura was on its way at an unknown time soon after.
Mid month saw the announcement of Gyossait for our portable, followed by announcements of Jungle Rumble, Steamworld Heist, Bombing Bastards, and Dungeon Travelers 2-2… though that last one is Japan only for now. Moving on, we get word that Duke Nukem 3D was having certification issues in Sony’s quality assurance testing, and that Pier Solar could be coming to us in the future. Next up was the announcement of Final fantasy Agito+ for Japan, Unity Pro going free for licensed Sony developers, a Sword Art Online project getting teased (Lost Song) and Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus getting dated for October.
The last third of the month began by taking us to the disco with Persona 4: Dancing All Night getting a 2015 release window, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3 getting announced for Japan, Gundam Breaker 2 dated for them, and Curve Studios busting out an announcement for sci-fi/adventure title Nova-111 in the West. A tweet shows up not long after – hinting at a Futuridium EP Deluxe release date, we get word that Poltergeist would be coming to Vita, Sony drops a “full list” of compatible PlayStation TV games, and Hollow Fragment’s big update begins rolling out in the West.
Moving into the home-stretch week we see Invizimals: The Alliance dated for just a week later, the announcement of a Toukiden Kiwami localization for 2015, Minecraft hitting the final stage of quality assurance, and announcements for The Sun and Moon, Shu and Adventure Time. Futuridium Ep Deluxe’s release date hint turns into a release date announcement (for the following week), OlliOlli 2 is announced at the Eurogamer Expo, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3 got a Japanese date and Moon Hunters was announced for release. In the land of Kickstarters, Ponch gets a Vita stretch goal – and across in the Land of the Rising Sun we get a proper announcement for Ukiyo no Roushi.
The last day of the quarter welcomed Paul’s look at the Eurogamer Expo with regards to the Vita, and the announcements of Zodiac and the Clock Tower spiritual successor Project Scissors.
Taking a look at releases, North America’s month starts with an utter goldmine – giving us Danganronpa 2, Deathmatch Village, Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Joe Danger, Mahjong Gold, Velocity 2X and Warriors Orochi 3: Ultimate in just the first week alone. Mid month, the region gets the unique indie platform/puzzler Murasaki Baby and endless runner Run Like Hell… and the month ends with Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!!, FIFA 15: Legacy Edition, Frozen Synapse Prime, Futuridium EP Deluxe, Natural Doctrine and the very late Invizimals: The Alliance.
Europe starts the month the same as North America – giving us Danganronpa 2, Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Joe Danger, Velocity 2X and Warriors Orochi 3: Ultimate in just the first week alone. Mid month the region picks up some Murasaki Baby and Run Like Hell, and the end of the month sees FIFA 15: Legacy Edition and Frozen Synapse Prime.
Looking across to the Land of the Rising Sun, we see the release of BinaryStar, HighSchool DxD: New Fight and The Walking Dead: Season One in the first week of the month, with Chain Chronicle V landing mid-month. The end of the month was a treasure trove – bringing with it Bakumatsu Rock: Ultra Soul, Danganronpa: Another Episode, Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library and Mamono’s Seal, Eiyuu Densetsu: Sen no Kiseki II, Farming Simulator 14 Pocket Nouen 2, Kamisama to Koi Gokoro, Hanasaku Manimani, Monobeno Pure Smile and Nekketsu Inou Bukatsu Tan Trigger Kiss on a single day. Damn Japan, you crazy!
Taking all this into account, the third quarter of 2014 is going to get a A- for the Vita. It saw the release of a ton of great games (both indie and otherwise), the PlayStation TV – which is a great semi Vita device or Vita acccessory, and two of our highest rated review titles. It also brought us the Tokyo Game Show – which though not Western-centric, brought us quite a few games which either were announced to be localized and/or popular via import.
The last quarter of the year delivered us a lot of anticipated games and titles, adding the second most titles to each region comparatively. With over ninety games released in each region, we move into the busiest release quarter of the year.
October started with the news that a firmware update (v3.30) was incoming for the PlayStation Vita. This new update would allow for Vita owners to customise their consoles with themes, whilst also adding Trophy rarity when viewing trophy lists – similar to that seen on the PlayStation 4.
Paul played Mike Bithell’s Volume at EGX and also had a chat with the developer himself and wrote up his time with the game for the site. The stealthy, near-future take on the tale of Robin Hood is set to release for the Vita later in 2015.
During the first week of October our site, The Vita Lounge, hit somewhat of a milestone as our 3000th post went live. Paul, the founder of The Vita Lounge, posted a message thanking our wonderful audience and celebrating how far the site has come in its two and a bit years. Not too shabby for a ‘system with no games’ eh? 😉
A few days later came the even bigger news that Minecraft would be releasing on the PlayStation Vita later on in the month. After waiting for what seemed like forever for the game about breaking and placing blocks it was finally upon us! Marcus reviewed the game for the site and said that ‘the Vita edition manages to fit all the core gameplay, charm, and creativity of its big screen counterparts into the palm of your hand, anywhere you go and has almost endless lasting appeal’.
There was good news for Kyle and all the other Sword Art Online fans when Sword Art Online: Lost Song was announced as coming to the PlayStation Vita following on from the great success that was Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment. The title has not been confirmed as of yet for the West, but it does look promising!
The PlayStation Now app came to the PlayStation Vita in its Beta phase during October. Brad tested the service out and wrote all about his experience, which seemed to be very positive overall!
The most viewed (and the most controversial) of October’s posts was The Vita Lounge staff’s Top 25 PlayStation Vita games. As always, there were some games that didn’t make the cut or were placed in a position that some didn’t agree with but you can’t please everyone! One thing that was for sure was that it did get people talking and it will be interesting to see how much the list changes (or doesn’t) when we revisit it later on in 2015.
On the review front we saw over fourteen reviews go live throughout the month. Amongst these Paul reviewed FIFA 15 and was disappointed, saying that ‘EA would have created less anger by not releasing this at all’. Brad got his hands on the PlayStation TV and gave a brilliant, in-depth write-up on the newest addition to the PlayStation eco-system, Charlie enjoyed October’s PS Plus game Pix the Cat and James reserved high praise for Klei’s survival game Don’t Starve – ‘saying that it works exceptionally well and really feels at home on the Vita – it’s much more difficult to find reasons not to recommend Don’t Starve than the many reasons to recommend it’.
Finishing off the jam-packed month that was October was the news that the critically acclaimed PS4 launch-title Resogun would be making its way to the PlayStation Vita and the launch of the highly anticipated Freedom Wars!
Compared to the busy month that was October, November was a little quiet and slow to get started. The first major news was the rumour that htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary’s Western release had been pushed back. This rumour came about when a trailer that featured a February 2015 release date for the game was added to the PlayStation Store. This delay was confirmed later on in the month when NIS America revealed that the game would indeed be releasing in February 2015.
The first week of November saw two more games receive delays, with Final Fantasy Agito+’s January release pushed back by Square Enix. Shortly after this delay came the news that Atlus’ RPG Citizens of Earth would no longer release in November but would now release in January instead!
One game that was on track for release in November was Tales of Hearts R. Bandai Namco’s RPG released in North America on November 11th and in Europe on November 14th alongside the PlayStation TV. Prior to the game’s release an English-subtitled trailer was released for the game giving us a brief taste of what was to come when it launched in the middle of the month.
Charlie posted a feature on intriguing platformer The Sun and Moon, after he had an extensive play test with the game at Manchester’s Play Expo. The game is set to release on the PlayStation Vita in 2015, with Charlie saying that ‘The Sun and Moon is a game that grabs you with simplicity but gets you hooked trying to beat each of the levels and better your score‘.
With 2015 a little way off still, there was news of a game that would be releasing a little sooner. Ripstone got in touch with us to tell us that Flyhunter Origins, the upcoming super-fly platformer from Steel Wool Games, will be hitting the Vita on the 9th December in NA and the following day in Europe.
Moving on to the review front, November saw reviews for some big titles go live on the site such as Nidhogg, The Unfinished Swan and The Muppets Movie Adventures. However, the two reviews that gained the most attention during November were Kyle’s Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment and Tyler’s Freedom Wars reviews. Tyler said that ‘Freedom Wars may be another hunting game on the Vita, but it’s by far one of the best. With great gameplay a unique story, and a solid multiplayer aspect, it’s a must have on the system – the few small flaws it bares quickly covered up by just how much fun you’ll have playing it’ – high praise indeed!
Kyle didn’t reserve as much praise for Sword Art Online, but he did say that ‘despite the fact that the game isn’t perfect it’s still one I’d whole-heartedly recommend’.
It seems that these two games would make worthy additions to any Vita owners’ collection!
People often say that you should save the best till last. It appears that with the PlayStation Vita, Sony did exactly that!
As we entered the final month of 2014, we were expecting the year to end rather quietly on the news front. The first major reveal of the month was the news that Resogun would be appearing on the PlayStation Vita in time for Christmas. Housemarque revealed that the highly-praised PS4 game (being ported to Vita by Climax Studios) would be releasing in Europe on December 17th and in North America on December 23rd.
This news was somewhat overshadowed the following day. On December 6th 2014, Sony hosted their inaugural PlayStation Experience. Taking place in Las Vegas, the PlayStation Experience was an event for fans to come and see what was in-store for the PlayStation brand in 2015.
After the Vita’s poor showing at both E3 and Gamescom, it was safe to say that the hopes of a strong Vita presence at the event were not very high. It was during the keynote at the PlayStation Experience where the unthinkable happened. A barrage of announcements for the PlayStation Vita was made that caught us all unaware. It was revealed that Supergiant’s Bastion, Drinkbox’s Severed, Capy Games’ Super Time Force Ultra (including a playable Shuhei Yoshida), Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight, Young Horses’ Octodad, Matt Makes Games’ Towerfall: Ascension, Stoic Games’ The Banner Saga and Activision’s Geometry Wars would all be heading to our favourite handheld during 2015.
This was not all though! Double Fine were present to reveal the release date for the highly anticipated Grim Fandango Remastered and while they were at it, they also announced that Day of the Tentacle and Broken Age were also Vita bound.
Also announced during the PlayStation Experience was the news that the Vita version of Disney Infinty 2.0 would feature an exclusive Black Suit Spider-Man figure – which will surely make the PlayStation Vita version a must-buy for collectors of the figurines.
To top it all off, Resident Evil Revelations 2 was also confirmed to be arriving on the PlayStation Vita in 2015, marking the first appearance of a Resident Evil title on any of Sony’s handhelds!
As well as reporting the new announcements for 2015 (with Kyle and Tyler producing a fantastic ‘What’s Coming 2015’ video), we ended 2014 with a wealth of reviews hitting the site in December. Retro City Rampage DX, December PlayStation Plus title Final Horizon, Fantasy Hero – Unsigned Legacy, Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit and Just Add Water’s long-delayed Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee HD were just some of the titles that we played through and reviewed over the festive season.
Aside from the above titles, Paul reviewed Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us – ‘a game with great story, great characters and more variety than The Walking Dead’ whilst Liam tackled Resogun and sang its praises, saying that ‘Resogun doesn’t only play amazingly on Vita, it feels at home on Vita’.
For ending the year on a high and for having a great Vita presence at the PlayStation Experience show we feel that quarter 4 for the Vita was worthy of an A-.
What does that mean for the whole of 2014 though? Collectively we felt that it was a strong year overall. Whilst lacking in true exclusives and bigger names, we did receive a crazy amount of quality games onto the system which for many of us we are still trying to plough through. An extensive backlog caused by the 2014 releases can only mean that it was a great year and after much reflection we feel that 2014 deserves a B+ grade for the system.
We already know many fantastic games for 2015 are coming, can it be a better year? What were your highlights for 2014?
This piece was written by Kyle, Charlie and Brad.