In my humble little opinion, handheld gaming has always been rather volatile. For every act of genius (I maintain that Six Golden Coins is one of the greatest games in history), there’s a stinking pile of mediocrity waiting in the wings (not naming any names…N-Gage). However, Sony’s newest baby claims to be the one that changes everything, and provides a truly console-like experience in a handheld unit. Does it?
Put simply: yes, yes it does. There are a couple of flaws, yes, but they are more in the integration of the technology rather than the technology itself.
Visual impact has a lot to do with the Vita’s power. Whilst not massively different from the preceding PSP, the addition of mini dual-shock sticks is certainly noticeable. The addition of the original sticks to the PSX controller was a masterstroke, and they’ve been introduced in pint-sized form here. Fortunately, they actually suit the design very well, and have nicely avoided becoming an eyesore (which was entirely possible). The rest of the design is as sleek and as attractive as you’d expect. Whatever other criticisms can be levelled at them, there’s no denying that Sony understand visuals.
The Vita also accommodates the people who’d prefer to pop the hood and see what’s going on underneath, with a more than reasonable amount of power fuelling the impressive graphics. The processor is actually the same to the one that fuels the iPad 2, so the fact that it looks the part isn’t really a shock. For the hardcore techies that means the 32-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore CPU, with the actual graphical power being supplied by the PowerVR Series5XT SGXMP+ chip. In normal speak, this means it’s got more graphical ability than the iPhone 4 or the iPad 2 – no mean feat.
All these statistics would obviously mean little if they didn’t amount to some top-drawer displays. Fortunately, that’s exactly what the Vita brings to the table. Put simply, the display looks absolutely gorgeous, certainly helped on its way by the 5 inch OLED screen. With a qHD resolution of 640×960, it is quite frankly so pretty that you could have Emma Watson next to you whilst playing and you’d barely give her a second glance.
One of the main talking points in the run-up to the Vita’s release was whether or not the interface would be as pleasing and instinctive as the one that navigates its big brother. Fortunately, it’s largely excellent, giving you the ability to simply duck out of the games and into your menus in order to change settings, and then immediately duck back in. Some sacrifice has to be made for this feature – larger games such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss take a while to initially load – but it’s more than worth it.
The other main point worth observing is the new touch pads. Created so that they can be instinctively used by the fingers that grip the unit, they seem primarily there in order to make the Vita more ‘revolutionary’ than it in fact is. They do, in fact, work superbly: fluid and instinctive. However, as with other similar ideas, the integration within the games varies. Using them to aim a shot in Fifa is definitely satisfying (if tricky to get to grips with), but trying to give your mates a bunk-up in Uncharted is fiddly. Once developers get more used to working with them, though, there’s definitely a lot of potential.
So: good graphics, instinctive gameplay, easy-to-use, looks the part and packs the power. Surely there must be a howler waiting somewhere?
Unfortunately, yes: there is a complete lack of internal storage. Sorry, but in this day and age this is practically criminal. There will be Sony’s own ‘Vita’ memory cards, but they aren’t the same size as a standard SD cards. This lack of consideration for the customer might be something you’d expect from Apple, but not from Sony. Bad Sony. That’s a bad, bad Sony.
This little naughty-step inducing feature aside, though, the Vita does indeed step things up for the handheld console world. It’s powerful, it looks the part, it’s graphically miles ahead of the pack, and its launch games are great. Not really much you can argue with, other than the damn internal storage….
Author Bio:- Charlotte Daniels is a big tech fan and freelance writer working in association with FactoryFast Online Shopping