After a couple of months of debating and weeks of waiting out until Christmas, I finally was able to open the box of the newest addition to my gaming platforms, the PS VITA. Using it for five
days a week already, it has been very hard to extinguish the enjoyment that the system provides (if only to be dwarfed by its battery life) and must say that it was well worth waiting for. Feeling that I have fully discovered and exhausted all the features that the system has to offer (even considering playstation plus, which I received 3 months of), I would like to share some my thoughts on it to anyone considering it and just in general.
Note: I am not using my PS3 account for the VITA. If you want to add me on that one, my ID is Moonlitasteria. Just be sure to let me know who you are.
First off, it would be rather difficult to mention the PS VITA without talking about the most striking component of it overall: The screen. With newer models being produced with a LCD screen to maximize battery life and lower cost, I have to say by leaps and bounds that I prefer the OLED model and thankful enough I received one. It does make the battery only last around 5-6 hours when it comes to play compared to 7-8 for the LCD, but with short charging cycles and the graphical majesty it presents; in and by comparison, you will mostly want to spring for a OLED model before getting the LCD. As expensive as OLED TV’s are, getting a handheld gaming system with one at the price point of around $179.99-$199.99 (depending on the package) it’s a not bad exchange. After all, the OLED screen is just the starting point.
I love my 3DS to death, but when it comes to taking photo function, I have to say that the VITA wins by a mile. I haven’t done photography per say with the VITA (nice that does rear and front cameras like the 3DS), but one thing that I can do with the system over its counterpart is take in-game screenshots at anytime. All you have to do is hold down the Start+Standby key and done. No lag, interruption, or anything that interferes with the game. The 3DS is the only system that I own where I have to search the web if I want screenshots(my old systems work fine with Elgato Game Capture to do that). I would also be remissed, if I did not mention the apps, since the VITA has a decent lineup and even carries one of my favorites, Tunein radio. User interface and options are limited compared to the smart phone equivalents, but fulfills my wants and keeps me away from using my laptop. The apps available in the lineup are very limited, but for those that care about Twitter, Facebook, Netflix Skype, etc – the VITA can provide them. Be nice if the 3DS had these apps, since it is capable, but getting Netflix is a nice start.
While I can opt to play ps1 and psp titles on the VITA, its own library is where most of the fun is to be had. Granted that the U.S side has been bare, especially when comes to JRPG’s, with titles like: Demon Gaze and Conception II making its away over in 2014, I am sure players of that genre persuasion will have much to rejoice in, if not complain. Of course, the existing library isn’t bad either. So far, I received Persona 4 Golden and Sorcery Saga as my first two titles and remarkably impressed by not only by how fun they are (can’t stop playing P4G), but also considering performance and graphics. I initially thought the two would present me with some technically issues, yet they run with little resistance and smoother than I imagined. Can’t wait until I actually start importing titles and they are a lot that I would like get without question (I.E: Sen no Kiseki, Neptune Re:Birth1, Ciel Nosurge, etc). Hopefully, more will be localized and I won’t have too…my wallet will appreciate that greatly. With that said, I also just discovered the mobile gaming section of the psn store a few days ago, so I will be looking into that more in-depth, too.
Despite the many things that I like about the Vita, it definitely has a few minor setbacks that hinders its ease of use compared to its predecessor. One in particular is game save data, some of which that saves directly to the game itself than memory card. While you can still backup save data to the PC or PS3, if the game doesn’t include an option to delete separate saves, you have format the entire cart (sometimes tricky do, especially for cross play titles) or in the case of digital games, delete the entire game and then download it again. This might not matter to many, but since this isn’t the case with psone or psp titles that use the content manager or displays its data to delete/copy/etc much like you can with the PS2 or PS3 , it is an asinine technical issue I can’t seem to wrap my mind around. With that being said, the whole console itself seems to hide a plethora of shortcuts and options not even present in the manual. I can appreciate the aspect of simplicity and such to focus on one thing at a time, but by the same token, I don’t like options squirreled away to the point where they seem nonexistence or have to search for hours to locate. Again, these are minor grievances, but ones that will most likely never to be addressed in future updates and should be expressed before make any purchases on titles.
In conclusion, if you ever been on the fence about purchasing a PS VITA, I would say it is well worth the $199.99 price tag (although, I didn’t pay for it and it was for $149.99). The library of U.S locale titles are slowly growing, but with the promise of this year, it seems that market will introduce more. If you can look past the slim battery life of the OLED model and rigid options when it comes to some of the less tangible aspects (I.E: save data, customization) it is a handheld console dream and perfectly compliments the PS3 and/or PS4 system if you happen to own one. More so if you happen to have a ps+ subscription ( includes discounts and select free titles). If you’re searching for a larger existing library of titles and something fairly cheaper, the 3DS is still the best alternative to match and beat or might want to save your cash a bit longer to see what comes next.
Pros: OLED model visuals are impressive, games run smoothly, can take in-game screenshots, easy to use, variety of applications, built-in gyroscope compliments some titles nice (I.E Gravity Rush).
Cons: touch screen sort of gimmicky and unneeded, slow growing gaming library, options for data are difficult to figure out.
- If you happen to own an existing game capture device like the Elgato HD, it sadly has no way of working with the VITA. However, there are alternatives if you plan to capture gameplay (I just can’t mention them).
- Memory Cards for the VITA are expensive. Since most stores around my area carry limited stock of VITA titles, PSN is the only alternative. However, PSN downloads are space eaters and best suited to an 8GB card that will usually run you around $25USD. Check Amazon or Newegg for cheaper prices and forget getting anything under 8GB, if you are not planning to download that many titles. The 3G+WIFI edition I received came with an 8gig card.
- Even though I haven’t encounter titles that use it, the PS VITA interestingly enough has rear touchpads. I seen a few examples of it in action, but still find the design amusing and neat for future titles.
- Again, while there is a LCD model around, do yourself a favor and get the OLED. Battery life might go quicker, but the visuals are amazing. Also, get yourself a microfiber cloth, too. The screen will get fingerprint smudged due to some areas requiring use of your fingers. If you’re looking for suggestions, I use a Quicke microfiber cloth – commonly used for my laptop and desktop computers. It’s cheap, durable, gentle, washable, and more importantly, gets the job done. I can’t recommend using anything other microfiber cloth – unless you want to try to risk damaging the screen. If the screen has a bit more residue, water will work, but only wet a small portion of a cloth and wring dry before use. Screen wipes are fine, too – but avoid ones with alcohol. That should go without saying, but trust me, some people still do it. Don’t let that be you!