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It’s PlayStation Vita launch day in Japan. As we post this, our connection is picking up Vitas and memory cards for us. We’ve already got our shortlist of games secured and confirmed. And we’re coming in over the weekend to shoot some special videos for you. So, as we wait for our man to pass through customs with the goods, we’ve decided to poll the GamesRadar office for what they’re anticipating from this weekend’s launch. Here’s what we had to say:
Is it premature to say I’m anticipating falling in love with the Vita? Since my very first touch with this lovely piece of hardware when it was first unveiled in Japan many moons ago, I’ve been a believer. This is a gaming handheld that laughs in the face of portable trends: It’s not a mobile phone offering stripped down minigames. And despite the multiple touch interfaces, it’s not a gimmicky system. Instead, it offers console quality gaming perfect for an armchair or bedroom: that ultimate “locked-in” experience one can only get from a high-end handheld. As for the games, my personal killer app in the launch lineup is Sound Shapes, but I’m also looking forward to cross-play experiences with my PS3 as well as my next grand adventure with Nathan Drake in Uncharted: Golden Abyss. And with Trophy support, the Vita might finally get me to care about my Trophy ranking. I’m betting this’ll quickly become my latest addiction: obsessively hunting for Trophies on the go.
I’m actually not that interested in the graphics. Sure, having what amounts to a PlayStation 3’s worth of power in the palm of my hand is enticing, but the screen is still too small for me to care.
No, the thing that intrigues me is the multiple control mechanics, which could make for some of the most interesting gaming experiences yet. This thing has a gyroscope, a touch screen, two analog sticks, and a back touch screen? That’s crazy. I can’t wait for a game that uses all of them well. The best 3DS and Wii games were the ones that truly took full advantage of the control mechanisms, and I have a feeling we’ll be able to say the same in a few years looking back at the Vita. Developers have new tools at their disposal, and seeing how they use them has me ready to drop my money on day one.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t super excited for the PS Vita initially because I had been neglecting my PSP and didn’t want another portable device to carry around with me every day. It wasn’t until I got my hands on the system when I realized just how much I wanted one. The OLED screen looks fantastic and with the ability to use apps like Skype, I may even consider getting rid of my phone. Ultimately, it all boils down to the games and I was thrilled to hear that one of my favorite Final Fantasy games (FFX) was getting a remake.
I’ve already played a handful of games with console counterparts such as LittleBigPlanet, Dynasty Warriors, Modnation Racers and Hot Shots Golf and I was impressed with how these titles looked on the 5-inch screen. None of these were ports though, but built from the ground up specifically for the Vita.
But what I’m really looking forward to is seeing what kind of original IPs developers will come up with. Sound Shapes is one of my most anticipated games on the system and I’m hoping that there will be other creative minds in the industry lined up to take advantage of the Vita’s hardware.
Until 2008, the PSP was my Swiss Army gadget. It was my MP3 player, my gaming device, and thanks to the workarounds for video, I used it for watching TV shows when I was away from home. Years before smartphones became omnipresent, my PSP did the job for me. But in a post-iPhone and Android world, are the Vita’s visuals going to be impressive enough to keep it in my bag nearly as much as the PSP?
I sense that, based on what I played at E3, the quality of games isn’t much of an issue. So for me, the most intriguing element of the Vita is the operating system and how my PSN ID will interact with it. I loved my PSP, but I really wanted so much more out of it, and I thought that Sony wasn’t nearly as quick to jump onboard with the sorts of tweaks that the platform needed. With a new machine and a much more proactive stance, I’m excited for how Sony will really tap into its potential.
So, yeah, it’ll be nice to have my trophies for handheld games showing up on Facebook and all, but I really want to get in and toy with its capabilities and see the foundation for what the machine can be.
The tech power in the PS Vita is undeniably cool – not just the touchscreen and gyroscope we take for granted in smartphones – but also the sensor pad on the back of the system, face detection and head tracking through two separate cameras, augmented reality software and even GPS. Each of those magic tricks opens up a huge possibility for inventive game design, and combined? The imagination staggers.
But here’s the question I’m anticipating an answer to: Will developers take advantage? We’ve seen some very impressive, quirky stuff from Sony at various preview events (Sound Shapes and Escape Plan come immediately to mind), but if the Vita is to avoid the malaise that eventually overtook much of the Wii and DS libraries (or even the original PSP), third-party companies will have to join the first-party developers in constantly pushing the envelope and surprising us with bold new experiences. If they can, this will be an amazing system. I can’t wait to find out.
What are you hoping to see from the PlayStation Vita before it hits your shores? Also, don't forget to check back on Sunday (that's Pacific time) for updates as we start to jump in and get hands on with the new hardware!