Playstation Vita Review
What we liked
What we didn't
Playstation Vita, Sony’s newest addition to the Handheld Market question is, is it any good!
Now before you say anything, yes I know that our review for Sony’s Playstation Vita is long over due. Hell it is nearly been two months since the system has been released on the market. All those other websites and magazines got there first to review the system and let the world know. However you wouldn’t be here reading this if you didn’t want to hear what I thought about the Playstation Vita. So now that we got that out of the way lets get down to the review which is for the Playstation Vita Wi-Fi version. There is also a 3G version and the provider is Vodefone in case you were wondering…
What can I say about the Playstation Vita? Well it does have to out match Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP) which despite its problems and flaws was still very powerful handheld. And since Sony have already got one powerful home system, it comes as no surprise that they want to have a powerful handheld device to go along with it. And so the Playstation Vita is just that. As you may have seen from numerous videos detailing the system spec, in-game graphics or even reading our Uncharted: Golden Abyss review you will easily be impressed by the shear amount of power which the system can produce. It plays everything from simple high quality 2D games like Rayman: Origins, to highly detailed titles which can at some points be put on par with many games being released on the Playstation 3 in terms of detail and quality. So if you think that the Vita is not all that, then you are highly mistaken Sir or Madame! If you want to know the specs internally the device features a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor and a quad-core GPU SGX543MP4+.
The system is an oval-shape similar to the design to the original PSP. It is also slightly larger than the original PSP, that is because the system is sporting an impressive 5-inch OLED capacitive touch screen in the centre of the device. The screen is one of the most impressive pieces of kit on the device. Yes I know many of you will say that it isn’t HD, but you know what with a screen quality like that you really don’t need the HD. The visuals displayed are bright and colourful. You could easily compare it to a HD screen. The touch screen is also highly responsive, making navigation incredibly easy to use to see all of your Apps or games, and to connect online to the Playstation Network and store. Although it is highly annoying that when you want to use the buttons or Analog sticks you cannot, the system menus appear to be completely touch screen only. Lastly despite being a larger device, it is in fact incredibly light! That could be because the system has done away with the UMD format and replaced it with SD Cards instead. If you are looking for light handheld device for gaming, seriously consider this, the system is unbelievably light.
As for the buttons its very similar to that of a PSP except they have improved on everything PSP failed upon. First was the dual analog sticks which is so much better than the PSP’s Analog Nub. With the two sticks on the system it makes for playing games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss so much easier to play since it utilizes the exact same controls as the Playstation 3 games where they use both of the analog sticks. To the left of the device is the standard D-Pad, to the right a set of stand Playstation face buttons (Triangle, Circle, “X” and Square), a Sony start and select buttons and two shoulder buttons (L and R) all of which is typical of any Sony gaming device.
Moving on, the system has added a series of features that you find in the Playstation 3 hardware. First is that the device uses the Sixaxis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer) which is used in some of the Playstation Vita games to add more gameplay options. On top of which the systems sports two cameras (front and rear). The two cameras feature the abilities of face detection, head detection, and head tracking as well as being used for Augmented Reality for which you get some demo cards in the system box, but you can also play games like Reality Fighters. The system then contains a three axis electronic compass and built GPS (as long as you got the 3G Version) and as well as Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR connectivity. Also the device has a 523 MB of system RAM and 128 MB of VRAM as well as a microphone that allows for cross-game party chat to be used on the system, and if you connect it to the Playstation 3 you can use it through that as well.
Finally something I want to cover all by its lonesome is that the Playstation Vita is sporting a Rear touch pad that works like the front touch screen yet I don’t really know why it is there! When playing Uncharted it added more to the gameplay and I can definitely see that, but at the same time, the front touch screen could of done all that the rear pad does, although it does make a difference in the way that your fingers won’t get in the way of the main screen whilst say being shot at in a game. Its a very interesting piece of kit that is quite unique in any device but I am still left with the question of why? I can’t really explain it, its not a negative thing its just a state of confusion that I can’t seem to comprehend.
Finally despite all the good things about the system there are still a few bad things about it as well. First is the fact that it has done away with UMD’s but it has made the system lighter, however what it has done is made all your PSP games on UMD useless as long as you don’t get rid of your PSP. However the system does have backwards compatibility on some of the PSP downloadable games and some of the PSP titles that are available to download through the Playstation Network store but again if you want to play that game you own on UMD you must buy it on Playstation Network store and then install it on your PSP at full-price of course. Then there is the battery life… The Playstation Vita only has a battery life of 3 to 5 hours depending on what you are doing. It has 3 – 5 hours of gameplay using no network, no sound and default brightness level. If you watching video you have about 5 hours of life, whilst if you are listening to music with the screen off you can expect to have at least 9 hours of life in the system. And lastly is the fact that you NEED to have a Memory Card for the system. The Playstation Vita needs to have one of its memory cards that come in sizes of 4Gb to 32Gb however in Europe the 32Gb has yet to be released, the largest you can get is 16Gb. For instance to even play Uncharted and several other games, they need to install some data on the system, since the system has no memory you need the memory card to do this, the problem is the memory cards are not cheap. The smallest card (4Gb) is £18 , the middle card (8Gb) is £30 and the largest card (16gb) is £45. So on top of the system and the game you have to spend a minimum of £17 just to play the game which I find highly annoying.
Overall I find the Playstation Vita to be one of the best handheld systems available on the market right now comparable to that of smart mobile phones and that of the Nintendo 3Ds. It depends on what you are after, the Playstation Vita (depending on your model) can allow you to play just about anywhere with 3G or you could sit in a Wi-Fi hot-spot and play and connect there. It has the power to impress many and is certainly shows that it can produce some top quality graphics and gameplay. Either way if you are thinking about picking up a system I highly recommend it.