Graphics and Games
Talking about the specifications and features of this system is great and all, but what is it capable of? As far as gaming goes, it can easily compete with full-fledged consoles, and can completely dominate any other handheld console with its power.
As mentioned previously, the screen is very bright and vibrant, and produces the deepest blacks and the whitest whites. This OLED screen is easily the best looking display in my house, and that’s even compared to our 55” plasma display. Movies and games look phenomenal on this screen.
The killer application that shows off all of the Vita’s capabilities is easily Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Not only are the graphics on par with the PS3, but you use analog sticks, motion controls, touchscreen, back touchpad, and even the cameras. Using motion controls to narrow in on an enemy with a sniper rifle is amazingly intuitive and works very well. The motion controls work to keep Drake’s balance on narrow beams and avoid obstacles in a waterfall, and a few puzzles are solved by using the touchscreen. You even “hold parchment up to the light” to reveal hidden messages. The only thing that’s rather gimmicky is when using the touchscreen to fistfight or slash through obstacles with your machete.
Another way the PS Vita shows off is with Wipeout 2048, which is easily the most graphically complex game on any handheld.
One of the reasons the original PSP had lackluster acceptance was because of the lack of quality games, and the few good ones were practically ruined by the lack of a second analog stick. Nearly all of the games launched with the Vita are quality games, and are spread across several different genres, so no matter what type of gaming you prefer there is a good game to buy.
If you like platformers then Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, Escape Plan and Rayman Origins are right up your alley. Sports fans will dig FIFA Soccer, Virtua Tennis, Hustle Kings and Hot Shots Golf. Casual and arcade gamers will love Super Stardust Delta, Lumines: Electronic Symphony, and Touch My Katamari. Action gamers absolutely have to have Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Unit 13, and Resistance is coming out in May.
The buttons have a satisfying feel to them, and the system has a good amount of weight but is still light enough to not cause fatigue.
We do have a few gripes about the system, however.
While the rear touchpad is easy to use, it is easy to accidentally rub while playing games that use it. Also, the glossy plastic that covers the top and back pick up fingerprints like you wouldn’t believe, which require very frequent cleaning.
Nearly everything about the Vita is proprietary, which means the realistic initial cost of ownership is a bit higher than the sticker price. While the USB port is proprietary, it is easy to insert the cable the wrong way, which prevents charging, and can potentially damage the system.
Next we analyze the battery…