PlayStation Vita Buyer's Guide

Five Essential Games

Lumines: Electronic Symphony

MSRP: $39.99 (US)

Why It’s Essential: Electronic Symphony reinvents Lumines for a new console. No, that doesn’t mean that Q? Entertainment throws the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, it’s a game that makes smart refinements that give the trademark puzzle/music combo new dynamics and challenges. It’s simultaneously the best and worst game you can play on public transportation.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss

MSRP: $49.99 (US)

Why It’s Essential: The Uncharted series has become the PlayStation’s flagship series. While Golden Abyss can’t capture Naughty Dog’s level of cinematic detail, Sony Bend does a more-than-capable job of translating the tense shooting action to a smaller platform. The team that reinvented Syphon Filter as a handheld action title have brought a fun and intense Nathan Drake adventure to the new system.

Super Stardust Delta

MSRP: $9.99, or $14.99 with bonus content (US PlayStation Store)

Why It’s Essential: Super Stardust Delta translates the gorgeous visuals of the PS3 game into a stellar handheld experience that truly takes advantage of the Vita’s hardware capabilities. You’ll need all of the system’s bells and whistles—from tilts for a better view of enemies around the corner to touchscreen missile onslaughts—to survive the waves of galactic nemeses coming at you. It’s arguably the best-tailored game for the portable experience in the Vita’s launch lineup.

Wipeout 2048

MSRP: $39.99 (US)

Why It’s Essential: Wipeout Pure was an amazing PSP launch title that effectively revived the series. Wipeout 2048 masterfully builds upon Pure and 2008's Pulse and delivers a handheld game that makes some sacrifices—the framerate runs at 30 frames per second as opposed to the fluid 60 frames seen in other Wipeouts—but makes up for it with excellent multiplayer.

Rayman Origins

MSRP: $39.99 (US)

Why It’s Essential: Rayman Origins is among the best titles you’ll find on any gaming platform, whether that’s PS3 or PS Vita. And the Vita version takes the best elements of the PS3 game and adapts them wonderfully to the new platform. From well-designed stages to a gorgeous art style that pops on the Vita’s display, it’s a game that scratches your itch for platforming fun in your palms.

Sales and deals

Buy Two, Get One Free deals seem to be ruling online retailers in the US during launch week.

GameStopTargetToys R UsBest Buy, and Amazon are all offering Buy Two, Get One Free deals on select Vita games. From perusing each deal, first-party titles such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Wipeout 2048 are included in the deal, then third party games depend on the retailer.

For example, you can find Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 included in the deal at Best Buy, but not at Target, GameStop, or Amazon. Amazon has included Lumines in the deal, but you won’t be able to include it in any other deals at other retailers.

Another deal we spotted: Target is selling a Wi-Fi system with Vita Starter Kit (carrying case, cleaning cloth, screen protector film, headphones, 4GB memory card) for $285, but exclusively online.

We hope our buyer’s guide will help you go into the store better informed and ready to shop. And be sure to stay tuned in the coming months as we reevaluate the best games, favorite accessories, and more for PlayStation Vita!


  • MottHoos - February 22, 2012 9:17 p.m.

    The thing I was most unclear on about the Vita launch was system memory. You will need a mem card to get any use out of the system whatsoever. None of the internal memory is available for storage. That means no netflix, twitter, or even saving your games without purchasing a separate card (if you buy the base, $250 wifi model).
  • garnsr - February 22, 2012 9:41 p.m.

    The thing I never see mentioned about the Vita is the ability to get trophies on a handheld. After all this time portable gaming won't have that feeling of being pointless that not getting trophies or achievements always gave me. I'm still not sure there's enough reason for me to get one yet, unfortunately.
  • rainn'sgaydar - February 23, 2012 4:48 a.m.

    I'm with you. I'm really looking forward to getting trophies on a handheld. In fact, I'll likely platinum a ton of my vita games (hopefully).
  • ItBurnsWhenIWii - February 22, 2012 11:15 p.m.

    You forgot tales from space. Also uncharted is meh on Vita.
  • rainn'sgaydar - February 23, 2012 6:16 a.m.

    I haven't played anything but the first chapter, but meh is my initial impression too, although that could be because I played Uncharted 3 in 3D last weekend and just got used to that. Still good from what I see, but certainly not Naughty Dog.
  • Cyberninja - February 23, 2012 3:37 a.m.

    so what's essential for Vita is 3 ps3 games, 1 psp game and one game i can buy on any recent thing with buttons except ds. i really wish people would stop praising the launch line up of the vita i got mine yesterday for when gravity rush comes out until then i am getting blazblue since that is the only launch game that interests me
  • MasterBhater - February 23, 2012 4:12 a.m.

    These were just Games Radar's preferred games, and only ONE OF THEM IS ON PS3! Just because it's in the same franchise does NOT MEAN IT'S A PORT. It's like saying Super Mario 3D Land is a port of Super Mario Galaxy. IT ISN'T. So quit complaining and listen to the facts.
  • BrunDeign - February 23, 2012 6:31 a.m.

    He's right you know. Golden Abyss is the "worst" (in comparison) of the Uncharted games, so saying that it's a PS3 game is kind of giving it too much credit. This is something that bugs me too. If Sony touted the Vita as capable of giving console-level experiences. Why aren't more people taking the piss out of Golden Abyss for not being of console Uncharted level quality?
  • Cyberninja - February 23, 2012 3:17 p.m.

    dude I never used the word port did I? no I didnt I said uncharted, SSD, and wipeout were ps3 games which is true, I said lumines was a psp game which is also true, and I said rayman origins is on every console and handheld except ds. which one of them are you refering to being on ps3 since it does have uncharacted, rayman, wipeout with cross play and SSD with cross play in the future? i may be complaining but i still listened to the facts, just because you read something as me saying it has ports doesnt mean that is what i said.
  • BrunDeign - February 23, 2012 6:35 a.m.

    Question: Why is Golden Abyss 50 freaking dollars and no one is batting an eye, but people were so angry when Capcom wanted RE:Revalaitons to be 50 dollars because they were putting more into it than other games? Hell Capcom actually lowered their price and they're a third party! This is a first party publisher saying "We're going to go above and beyond the average price of the games on OUR OWN CONSOLE. Surely we will sell more of this game that way."
  • Fuzunga - February 23, 2012 9:35 a.m.

    Because it's Uncharted.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - February 23, 2012 9:47 a.m.

    Because the game size is bigger, and they needed a bigger capacity flash stick for it.
  • NanoElite666 - February 23, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    Wipeout Pure was a PSP launch title, not Pulse.
  • smcgarvey - February 23, 2012 11:40 a.m.

    Noted, updated, corrected. :)
  • iHateFatPeople - February 23, 2012 1:39 p.m.

    Officially the worst marketing campaign for a new system launch ever. The messaging for this thing is as clear as a brick wall. Here's the real buyer's guide: 'Don't buy it'.
  • rainn'sgaydar - February 23, 2012 4:29 p.m.

    Anybody want to add me on PSN? I have about 1 dedicated gaming acquaintance and could use some company. fultz7 Figured I'd search here and maybe a few other future comment threads since the forums have perished.
  • spideralex90 - February 23, 2012 11:15 p.m.

    My problem is the essential games. I'm only interested in wipeout, and that's not enough to make me drop $300. I really want a vita, but I'm waiting for better games. (I don't care for Uncharted.)
  • FayKatriona - February 24, 2012 7:38 p.m.

    I'm up to Chapter 4 in Uncharted: Golden Abyss and I would say that the thing that irks me the most is the female character that they have along for the ride. Elena and Chloe could easily hold their own, but this new chick (I can't even remember her name right now) continuously needs to be saved. I hope she gets better as the game progresses. As for memory cards, I got the early edition and picked up a starter kit, so I have 2 4gb sticks right now. I will be sticking to retail game cards for the foreseeable future, due to the download games being roughly 1gb in size. If you're planning on buying your games via download, bite the bullet and buy the 32gb stick.

Showing 1-18 of 18 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000