During my time at the Eurogamer Expo 2011 I got to sit in a Sony Playstation Vita press conference, and watch somebody win a Vita plus the whole launch line up, pretty exciting stuff. I also got to play Wipeout 2048 for myself on the Vita, and though it’s been a while since I’ve played a Wipeout game, I quite liked it.
Now first let me give a brief assessment of the Vita itself, since it’s the first time I ever used one. Now the first time I placed my hands around the device I felt at home, it was like I never left. It has been a while since I used a PSP, but holding the Vita just felt natural, as if I was doing this just yesterday. The addition of the extra analog feels god sent when you first place your thumbs over the two of them respectively. It adds another level of interaction, and personally it would feel incredibly difficult to go back to the PSP after experiencing how two analogs feel (pause?).
When I first saw the visual power of the Vita’s screen my jaw almost dropped, it was as if somebody took the contents of the best looking HDTV screen and condensed it to fit in the palm of my hand. Wipeout is a very colorful (and beautiful looking) game as it is, so I think that provided a great representation of what the screen is capable of projecting. It’s so difficult for me to describe the level of screen quality without sounding like I’m over doing it a little, but I really was amazed at just how good it looked.
All the controls on the Vita were responsive, including the touch controls. I didn’t have too much opportunity to use them (just on the menus) but I was satisfied with what I did use them for. I played two whole laps with just the analog controls, and then on the third lap my Vita advisor encouraged me to try out the ’tilt’ controllers, I obliged. Now let me say that for this game specifically, the tilt controls took a lot of getting used to. For anyone who has played Wipeout, I’m sure you can imagine how difficult it must be to adapt to any kind of motion controls for such a fast and frantic game. I over-steered to the point I flew right off the track, this happened repeatedly until I decided to tone down my movements a little. I started to get the hang of it but then my time was up and I had to make way for the next Vita player. Now for me personally I think the tilt controls aren’t exactly my favorite Vita feature. I can see it working well for some games, but for games like this I would rather stick to analog. However if you like that sort of thing, you won’t be disappointed.
The two features I love about Wipeout 2048 the most is firstly the fact you can play against Playstation 3 users who are playing the same game. Secondly, the Vita camera which is located on the front of the device above the face buttons will capture your face and show it to any unlucky racer who falls victim to your attackers. You can of course turn this feature off, but it’s cool to know it’s there as it just adds to the fun of multiplayer.
My colleague Carl Daniel got to spend more time with the Vita than I did, so definitely look out for his previews this week. Based on my personal experience with Vita and Wipeout 2048 I am now sold on both. There is no doubt that I will own a Playstation Vita at some point, and Wipeout 2048 would make the perfect launch title to go along with Vita as it shows off what the technology is made of.