While it’s true that the Playstation Vita doesn’t have the amazing Holiday line-up that us owners were hoping for, I still stand by my initial assessment that Sony’s handheld is an incredible device. For the tail-end of 2012, Sony has left it up to third-party developers to convince us to purchase a system and that seems to have been a huge mistake. The recently released Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation failed to meet the high standards set by its console counterpart and early reports suggest that the upcoming Call Of Duty Black Ops II: Declassified is a disaster in the making.
So should you still purchase a Vita this fall? In my humble opinion you absolutely should! And here’s why…
Although the Vita is less than a year old; there are still a handful of incredible games that collectively justify the system’s rather intimidating price tag. LittleBigPlanet PS Vita is nothing short of incredible, as is Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, Lumines: Electronic Symphony, Rayman Origins, Mortal Kombat and MGS HD Collection. Yes the latter three titles have superior consoles versions, but the ability to take these amazing experiences with you when you leave the house more than makes up for any shortcomings. There are also several Vita exclusives worth checking out including the aforementioned ACIII Liberation, Gravity Rush, WipEout 2048, Little Deviants, Unit 13, New Little King’s Story and Resistance: Burning Skies which I actually enjoyed.
PSN exclusives tend to be a lot cheaper than boxed retail games but the Playstation Store proves that a reduced price point doesn’t necessarily mean reduced quality. Super Stardust Delta, Mutant Blobs Attack, Sound Shapes, Motorstorm RC, Escape Plan, Smart As and Plants vs. Zombies are some of the best games that the Vita has to offer and they are all download-only. You can also purchase a number of PS One Classics via the Store and with the recent launch of Playstation Mobile you can expect a lot more rich but affordable experiences to follow.
If you own both a Playstation 3 and a PS Vita, Cross-Buy will seem like the greatest thing to happen to gaming since Acclaim shut down LJN. For those not in the know, Cross-Buy allows you to purchase selected PS3 titles and download its Vita equivalent for absolutely free! This applies to a selection of both downloadable releases (When Vikings Attack, Sound Shapes, Motorstorm RC) and boxed retail titles (PS All-Stars Battle Royale, Sly 4 & Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault). Of course for Cross-Buy to become a true system seller third party publishers would have to get on board but right now they don’t have much incentive to. Sony can afford to give freebies away in hope that it will push a few more Vita’s off shelves but why should companies like EA or Activision spend money and resources developing a title that they can’t recuperate the costs on? That’s a question that Sony will have to figure out but in the meantime I’m just happy that I’ll soon be able to start a Sly Cooper level on my way home from work and finish it up on the big screen once I eventually reach indoors.
Despite its slow start, you can expect Sony to fully support the Playstation Vita for many years to come. There are some exciting titles around the corner (Tearaway, Killzone: Mercenary, Soul Sacrifice and Guacamelee, to name a few) and you can bet your bottom dollar that franchises such as inFamous, God Of War, Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo and Syphon Filter will eventually join the party.
Right now, portable gaming devices are a dying breed. With the ever-increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets it’s only a matter of time before all handheld games are developed with a casual audience in mind. If like me, you’d love to see more Uncharted: Golden Abyss’ and less Angry Birds spin-offs then you owe it to yourself to support the Playstation Vita. The Vita is a fantastic device that has a tremendous amount of potential but unfortunately that potential will only be realised if both hardware and software sales improve. No the Vita isn’t perfect and Sony has made several blunders over the past 12 months but if you’re passionate about gaming then you should at least consider picking up a Playstation Vita this holiday season.