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Blogging about the Vita has been on my list of eventual topics to cover, and here I am roughly two weeks (I got the First Edition Bundle) after I have gotten mine to finally share my initial thoughts on it. In short, so far, I am really impressed and just hope that it gets much better software support than the PSP ever did.
For those of you unfamiliar with the 'First Edition' Bundle, it was the priciest of all the Vita purchase options at $349.99. However, it came with a lot of value to justify that price tag. Included in it were:
-The 3G/Wi-Fi Vita ($299.99)
-A Copy Of 'Little Deviants' ($29.99)
-A 4GB Memory Card ($19.99)
-A Carrying Case made of sturdy material ($19.99)
-A Vita Wall Charger ($19.99)
All of that adds up to roughly $390. Knowing that, I believe it was money well spent. Before I dive into a few first impressions of the games I bought for it and the overall system itself, I want to HIGHLY recommend you buy 2 additional things if you are looking to purchase a Vita or already have one, but haven't bought anything outside of what you got in the box.
-A Memory Card (I don't believe the normal Vita bundles come with one and the Vita has no internal memory, so you are going to need one no matter what. Even though I only have a 4GB, I don't think that will be a suitable size, especially for someone like me who is a pretty avid gamer, so I will definitely be upgrading and buying a bigger one when I can afford it.)
-A Screen Protector and/or Carrying Case (Yes, this is essentially two things, but they both serve a similar purpose: to protect the Vita. If you worry about the condition of yours I recommend you get at least one, if not both. Again, normal Vita bundles come with neither. I actually just bought the screen protectors not too long ago because they were cheap and while they are a little difficult to get on, it doesn't interfere with the sensitivity of the touch screen from what I have seen.)
Lastly, also know that the Vita is a fingerprint magnet like most reviews have been saying it is, so it may be wise to keep some sort of cleaning cloth handy if you can't stand the sight of it looking like a mess. Now onto the games.
Currently, I have 4 games for the Vita, and it is probably going to stay that way for the time being. Those are - Little Deviants (came with my system), Modnation Racers: Road Trip, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, & Uncharted: Golden Abyss.
I have only played a few of the mini games Little Deviants has to offer, but I was quickly impressed by the game. In fact, after messing around with the Vita tutorial, "Welcome Park" and being bored to death, I would actually say that Little Deviants serves as a better, more entertaining way to figure out what the Vita is capable of doing, since the mini games are designed around the Vita's features and capabilities. The only catch is unless you got the bundle I did, an entertaining tutorialis going to cost you $30.
There was only one mini game I have found frustrating so far, and it is the very first one, which is built around the use of the rear touch pad. Other than that, I have really enjoyed what I have played so far, the Deviants included. Let's just hope that they don't go the way of the Raving Rabbids.
ModNation Racers: Road Trip
ModNation Racers on Vita is essentially more of the same (moreso the PS3 version as opposed to the PSP version) only it wasn't as messy right out of the gate as its console sibling was. A lot is borrowed from the PS3 version, so really the best way for me to describe it is its as if you are playing a handheld version of a console game, if that makes any sense. (Hopefully, it will, because this isn't the last time I will say that about a Vita game). Speaking of PS3, it is really easy to port your PS3 creations to this game. Within about 5 minutes, I had all of my console mods and karts right in front of me.
From the few races I played to make sure my game worked okay, I didn't see any noticeable issues. In fact, I think this iteration of ModNation Racers is probably the best of all 3. For once, I can finally say that I am not frustrated with this game.
Lastly, I would like to mention I am already getting a huge kick out of the ModNation Racers Postcard feature built into the game where you take pictures with the Vita camera and insert a Mod and/or a Kart into them. I have a couple good ones I will conclude this blog with.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
This was a game that got lost in the holiday shuffle for me and by the time I got caught up, I figured 'Why not just wait for the Vita port so I have one more reason to get/play the Vita?' so I did just that. Again, I cite this as an example that is essentially a handheld version of a console game. While I don't have this version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 for PS3, I have the original, and I think this one here looks and plays just as well as it did on the console.
I got to play around with all of the new characters for this installment as well. I was really disappointed with Phoenix Wright and Nemesis in particular. I just couldn't really get the hang of them, I guess. I thought Strider Hiryu was okay. Overall, my picks for the standout new characters on the Capcom side were Firebrand, Frank West, & Vergil.
As for the new Marvel combatants, I felt Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, & Nova were all your standard run of the mill fighting characters. Hawkeye was the only disappointment in my opinion on the Marvel side. I really like Ghost Rider, and to my surprise, I felt Rocket Raccoon was a stand out character.
Basically, this game is pretty much the same as its console counterparts. Whether or not you want it all depends on if you want to be able to take your fighting games anywhere you may desire.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
This is the first 'must have' Vita title, and we got it at launch no less. I am very impressed so far by this game in particular, simply because it is a fine example of what the Vita is capable of displaying. While I have only played a few levels (this is the first Vita game I plan on playing straight through now that I have sampled all of mine) I can easily say this game is close to, if not on the same level as the very first PS3 Uncharted, Drake's Fortune.
I'm more of a traditional list, so I haven't really experimented with the Vita specific features for this game, and probably won't. I will say however, that if you can only get one Vita game (pending you want the system now or in the immediate future), make it this one. Uncharted very rarely disappoints, and I doubt it will start here.
You now know how I feel about some of the Vita's current offerings, now how about the system itself.
In short, I am very impressed with the Vita. Outside of the expected short battery life, I really don't have any other complaints. I like the new touch screen menu, as opposed to the generic Playstation XMB that used to be a Sony standard. In particular, I like how each game can get its own individual launch icon on the system, complete with direct links the the game's website, available updates, instruction booklet, and add-on content among other things.
I haven't really tried out the more social Wi-Fi features of the Vita, and more than likely won't, simply because there is nothing that can convince me to pay for an AT&T data plan for it on top of what I have currently spent. Aside from some similar PSP options, the only things that truly stood out to me were of course the Trophies, and the Google Maps App.
So to wrap this up, I'll answer two questions that will give you a better idea as to what I think about the Vita:
1) How would you rank the Vita compared to the PSP & PSP Go?
Easily it is the best of the bunch. I think this is what a Sony handheld should be like, and really can't find much of nothing wrong with it. It's just a shame it took quite a few years to make a definitive handheld system that is capable of bringing the same Playstaion experiences we all know and love from a console anywhere.
2) Nintendo 3DS or Playstation Vita?
This I can't and refuse to answer until I see some more Vita games. I think after a year on the market, the 3DS is finally starting to hit its full potential, where as this has a lot of potential still even with a decent initial start. If this question comes up a few months from now, I may be able to provide a more solid answer. Until then, I just can't weigh in on it completely.
All that is left to say is hopefully it will get the strong support that the PSP never really saw, and that will make the choice a little easier on me perhaps. I just hope history doesn't repeat itself, or else it really won't be much of a contest at all.
Now, I leave you with a few funny (and somewhat immature) ModNation Racers: Road Trip Post Cards I promised. Enjoy!