OPINION: The Playstation Vita is Worth Your Time and Money

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

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A lot of people around the net these days are saying that the Playstation Vita is already a dead platform. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! I’ll back up what I’m about to say with a few facts:

Not only is the Vita very much alive and well, but it will grow into a very viable platform for the future.

People need to give the console some time to get to started; it’s not even a year into its life cycle. The Vita is just now really getting off the ground. Other handheld console launches of the past prove that these things take time. The 3DS did not jump out of the gate with a thunderous launch either. The DS was always the more popular hand held last gen, there is no question about that. Though the PSP did not ever become as popular as DS, no one can honestly say it had a bad library of games under its belt, can they?

The Features of the Vita

Some these include Twitter, Youtube, a web browser, and even email. I know most of us only think of handhelds as gaming devices first and foremost, but it is nice to have the features available for when you want to check something out on web or send a tweet on the go if you are ever in the middle of gameplay. The fact you can take screen shots directly from your Vita by pressing the home and start button together is a really nice bonus as well.

When you want to show your friends something you’re playing, you just press the buttons and bam, you have a fresh screen shot to share with everyone. One of the best things about this system, in my opinion, is the amazing screen. Everything on the screen looks crisp and clear, and it’s as bright as they come, which makes it easier on your eyes.

The Games of the Vita

I’ve heard a lot of talk about there not being any games on the Vita. And I’m here to tell everyone who thinks this…how wrong you are. Some bigger titles may have been console ports, but…I don’t think any handheld offered completely original games (read: games not inspired by or ported from consoles) like this starting off. And even if the Vita does have a bunch of ports, they are some of the best around.

Take Mortal Kombat for example; it is a wonderful port. It looks great, has all the features of the console version, and even has some additional features thrown in for good measure! Another great console port is the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. It looks and plays great on the Vita, for all your sneaking on the go.

 

By far the best known console port is Persona 4 Golden, which has upgraded graphics and many added features over the original release of Persona 4 on the PS2. While I’m mentioning ports and content from the past: the ability to play almost all PSP software and PlayStation Classic this adds a vast number of titles to your potential Vita library as well. Even if you still have your PSP… playing PSOne Classics and your old PSP games on Vita’s new and improved screen is great!

 

Discussing Vita’s Original Games:

There are more than people think, and they’re all high-quality. First off, let’s talk about Gravity Rush: This game got some points taken off for the story being lacking, and while that may be true, the game play is wonderful. It is by far some of the best use of the gyroscope in gaming so far. Next up we have Ragnarok OdysseyI love this game. Some people will call it a Monster Hunter clone but those folks would be wrong. With fast paced combat and great online play this maybe similar to Monster Hunter but it is a far cry from the “same thing”. And besides, why would a game similar to Monster Hunter be a bad thing?! Orgarhythm is a musical strategy game that uses rhythm to fight off the forces of evil. This game looks very unique and interesting. At this time I have not had the pleasure of playing this one yet but I am very much look forward to it.

There are some great titles on the horizon for the Vita as well. There’s Soul Sacrifice,  an action RPG  from one of the minds behind Mega Man, Ken Inafune. Also: Lets Fish! Hooked On, a moe fishing sim from the fine folks at Wired Productions. And last but not least, there’s Killzone: Mercenary. We have yet to see a solid shooter on the Vita and I think this could be the one the shooter fans have been waiting on. These are but a few of the upcoming titles coming to the system.

Vita

Being a huge fan of JRPG and niche games in general I cannot help but see a bright future for the Vita. With things like the afore mentioned Persona 4 Golden and Soul Sacrifice the system shines with JRPG goodness. I can only hope the Namco will look into localizing Tales of Innocence R and Tales of Hearts R as well. It would be the first time they were released here in the states. I think Namco and Sony may be pleasantly surprised by what these games could do for the console’s sales. Let’s face it, a lot of Sony’s fans are huge JRPG fans as well.

The Vita was Built with the PS3 in Mind

Playstation Plus:

PS+ is one of the greatest deals in gaming, in my opinion. There are already 6 great titles in the instant library that you can download for free on the console, if you’ve become a member of PS+. They include Uncharted : Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush, Jet Set Radio, and Final Fantasy Tactics. Sony says they will update this just like they do on the PS3 so there will be tons of free games available in the future as well.

Cross-Platform Play

Another great offer Sony is doing is the cross-buy promotion this is where you buy certain PS3 games and you get the Vita version of that game for free. These Include PlayStation All-Stars and Sly Cooper Thieves in Time. This means you could be playing at home, save your game to cloud or copy your save to your Vita and take your game on the go with you anywhere. The system is also being used as a controller in certain 1st party titles showing you information and other features on the Vita’s touch screen.

The Promise of Playstation Vita

There are some solid titles available now, and there will more in the coming months. Do I think Sony could do a better job on promoting and making the console more attractive? Yes, I do. They definitely need to drop the price on the memory cards. And they should also include more than a 4gb card in any bundle since all you have to do is download Uncharted…and the card is full. It Seems crazy to give all those great deals on Plus with such small amounts of space on the bundled cards. They need to also ensure the third party software is up to par with what the system can do.

And really, I can’t make any excuses for things like Black Ops: Declassified. This not only made the developer look bad, as this was their second attempt at Vita shooter that…didn’t work so well, but it made the console look bad as a result.

That being said, I still feel my Vita was a more than a worthy purchase. I play it almost everyday and I enjoy all the great gaming and apps it has to offer. I just hope I have convinced some who were on the fence that the Vita is more capable than you think.

Some of the staff at Oprainfall played a big part in helping this come together, so I want to thank them for their input. A lot of us big fans of the Vita. But…are you? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

About Steve Baltimore

Steve started with oprainfall not long after the campaign moved from the IGN forums to Facebook. Ever since, he has been fighting to give all non-mainstream RPGs a fair voice. As the site admin, he will continue to do this and even show there is value in what some would deem "pure ecchi." He loves niche games and anime more than anything... well, except maybe Neptune.




  • I agree that the Vita is a great piece of kit, but here’s my two cents:
    If you look at the 3DS, it’s basically a PS2. If you look at the Vita, it’s basically a PS3.
    In the PS2 era, you only needed to sell about 500,000 copies to break even. There are (I think, please tell me if I’m wrong) over 13 million 3DS units sold worldwide. There’s a pretty good chance for a publisher to make their money back, and then some.
    In the modern era of HD consoles, publishers need to sell 2 million copies to break even. As far as I’ve heard, going into the Holiday season, Sony had only sold 2 million Vitas worldwide, and only sold 160,000 more Black Friday. Publishers are NOT going to make exclusive games for the platform if they can’t even break even, to say noting of making a profit. Without exclusives, the Vita’s sales won’t improve. Why would you buy a Vita for games you can play on a system you already own? Cross-play MIGHT help, but I really think that people will buy the PS3 game, and never redeem the free Vita version. And if the Vita fails this holiday, publishers are just going to ignore it.
    I really would like to see the Vita suceed. In fact, I’d buy one for the right price. But the way it’s looking right now, it’ll be completely dead by next Holiday.
    Again, just my two cents.

    • This. All of this.

      You’re buying the Vita on the promise that it doesn’t get abandoned. The PSP had less development than the Wii for the US in its later life. Western publishers are going to ignore the thing if the userbase isn’t big enough to buy their games, and the gamers aren’t going to buy it at this point, because there aren’t enough solid games on it… I see three that I want, one of which I already played on the 3DS (Virtue’s Last Reward)

      As it is now, the Vita is a prayer for the US market, although it will be an importer’s dream if sales pick up in Japan. Still, at this point, it’s a 250 dollar risk plus memory, when the 3DS is a lower dollar risk, with a much more established user base.

      I think the Vita’s hardware is amazing. But if hardware was all that mattered, Sega’d be on top of the world still in hardware.

  • Lightthrower

    I absolutely love my Vita but I mostly play PSP games on it and guess what… it’s AWESOME! The Vita screen really makes the PSP games shine and with the PSN it’s easy to download and play what you like.

  • Noble

     I have to say I agree with the salespoint of view, but i got
    Playstation All-stars Battle Royale for my PS3 and redeemed the PSVita
    version, the game plays better on the Vita for 1 reason, the camera
    focuses on the characters while the PS3 version always shows the entire
    stage, i was one of those people who actually preordered and got my Vita on Midnight launch, but so far i only have 4 Vita Games, well 5 if you count All-Stars, Assassins Creed III: Liberation, which plays well but suffers from extremely poor framerate, Gravity Rush, which is Fucking Amazing, Persona 4 Golden SGPE, which is also fucking amazing, and Ragnarok Odyssey, which is what i end up laying most of the time, and then i checked the new games coming to the Vita in the coming months and what do i see……..(checking gamefaqs)……. an… overwhelming amount of……. 9 games….from here to March…… 5 retail 4 digital…… ill probablt get Earth defense force for the insane ammount of fun, and Soul Sacrifice….. but nothing else…… this is sad

  • I think the 3DS has all my portable needs covered, thanks.  The Vita is nice, and I wish the best for it, but I don’t really see the need for me to get one.

  • Does it play Birth by Sleep yet? No? Not worth it yet then.

    •  Not really sure on this some PSP  games work even if they are
      not in the Vita store if you transfer the via the ps3 I know
      Fate/Unlimited Codes works and it is not in the store or it wasn’t when I
      transferred it to mine anyways.

    • KH:BBS never went digital, and because of that cant be played on the vita, that is what this person meant.

  • Much like the PSP when it hits the right price point I feel the sales will pick up more. The 3DS has almost a year head start and Nintendo fan eat up the first party titles. Sony doesn’t have that kind of base for first party stuff so it takes them more time to get a started always.

  • Nintendo knows handhelds pretty well. 3ds has all my needs met so far. I’d like to see more horror and jrpgs on it…….But than again I say that about every console.

    •  Luckily, we get Fire Emblem and – in my case, Devil Survivor IN EUROPE! Though, I’d totally would like to see Bravely Default coming to Europe as well.

    • Yea we get fire emblem, shin megami tensei 4 and a remake of soul hackers. Plus who knows what else is coming out on the thing. The only thing I miss thats on vita is persona4 which I already have and journey.

    •  At least we have Tales of the Abyss in our pocket. Especially for Europeans, it’s a game we should be grateful for :3.

  • I’m thinking of buying a PS Vita. Persona 4 Golden is the game that simply convinces me to just do it, you know.
    However, I’ve heard things about how awful the Vita can be.
    Unable to play UMDs. So long Tales of Eternia or Super Robot Wars PSP games.
    Can only create one account, so I guess I should use the American account if I want to play Xenogears and what not on it. Can I really play all PS1 games on it?
    I’ve heard memory cards and such are EXPENSIVE.
    I wonder if I should buy the 3G version or the normal version ’cause the former is 50 Euros more expensive. Personally, I just use my iPhone to go on the internetz.
    Any thoughts.

    • The accounts are locked to the memory card so if you want more than one you need multiple cards to do so. The memory cards a bit costly with a 8 gig card running about $24 on amazon these fill up kinda fast. You can download the games and transfer the content to your PS3 or PC so you can move it back and forth without re downloading. Our 3g service in my area is junk so I have no idea how it really works on that sorry. You can play a lot of the PS1 games on there even if they are not in the Vita store you can transfer most of them from you PS3 and they will work just fine.

  • The Vita would be a nice accompaniment to the 3DS, but not as a main handheld for me and not at the current price for the console and the freaking memory cards.

  • John Ellis

    I would definitely say the Vita is the better of the two, the NDS was an amazing hand-held and the duel screens meant developers could do so much. With the 3DS they just stuck 3D graphics on and called it a day. Sure it has plenty of features but when your main selling point is that you can play games in 3D you’ve clearly got your priorities wrong.

  • With Nihon Falcom continuing to support it, the answer is a big YES! Now if they just localize those games for the West 😉

  • Kevin Tan

    The 3DS was never selling as badly as the Vita currently is right now even in its worst before the price drop.  Something’s going to give if your system is selling WORSE than the Dreamcast. 🙁  Too expensive, not enough third party support at the current moment to boost sales, and it seems like SCEA doesn’t care enough to make a big push on it.  Not even Black Friday sales (the time I got my white model Vita) could give the system a significant push, and that’s awful…

    • Sony looks like they’re abandoning it for all but cross-play. See Black Ops Declassified.

      Yes, it’s an Activision game, but the studio was supposedly chosen by Sony. They just aren’t making good decisions for long term gain on the thing.

  • I just wanna say, I utterly love my PSVita. Be it for PS1 games, PSP games, or Vita games, it’s been an excellent system so far for me. A beautiful screen, excellent controls, and there are definitely games on the way that appeal to me. Ragnarok Odyssey is a game I really hope to get for Christmas, especially, and I played Persona 4 Golden non-stop until I beat it since it came out (completely worth it for the new material).

    The one downfall is: Yes, the memory cards ARE expensive. Yes, you will need a second memory card if you want to do imports. And yes, they will fill up FAST. I’m of the personal opinion that Sony needs to make a 64GB card and drop the 4GB card. But there needs to be incentive towards Sony to lower the prices of everything all-around before they actually do it. I actually half-imagine the cards are as expensive as they are to recoup the losses Sony probably gets from the Vita’s sales (which, as always, are at a loss for each console sold).

    It’s a large investment, but it’s a beautiful investment– and it’s an investment people have to make good on if they want to see more and more interesting games for it. Remember: Demand equals results!

  • Bob

    From the sheer amount of hours I’ve poured into my Vita from Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden alone, I’d say that the Vita is pretty much worth it.

  • Bought my Vita in September. Wi-fi version, 16GB memory card, earphones + mic, starter kit, and a $50 PSN card totaled about $500. Pre-ordered Persona 4 Golden for $40. The only bit of this purchase I regret spending is the $20 I paid for the starter kit. Otherwise, I couldn’t be happier to be able to play Persona 4 (which is the ONLY reason I forked out for the Vita) on the go!

  • JCL

    I really wanna play persona 4 :

  • Can I ask – You can play PSP games on the Vita, yeah? Yet I’ve heard it doesn’t take the discs. So is the PSP library available for digital download or what?

    • Some games are. It’s a bit limited sadly… Great games like Birth By Sleep never made it into the store. So while you still get some classics like Phantasy Star Portable 2 and Valkyria Chronicles 2, the entire library isn’t available for purchase.

  • I feel a lot of the bad press Vita is getting is just he media yet again stirring up hatred for another well made Sony product. Its like the cool thing to do now a-days or something. Here is what I have to say about the Vita’s situation…

    -$250-300 is a total steal for a portable gaming device that is also slowly encroaching in on tablet territory. The Vita has Netflix, a very good Web Browser, Youtube, Email App, Skype, etc. When the 3DS was the same price point it was fairly obvious that they were price gouging the fans. 3DS’s components and tech was never worth that price, Vita most certainly is. To think people are buying $500+ tablets, a device that has the same capabilities as your smartphone but WEAKER, is baffling to me.

    -Vita has a lot of really great games, and as a person who hates Nintendo’s main series(Mario,Metroid, Zelda), the 3DS does nothing for me. If you look of the top rated games on 3DS, and really look at them, you will find they are not any better than what is available on Vita. Most of their games are ports/remakes, this is not exclusive to the Vita’s library. Resident Evil:Rev and Zelda OoT come to mind. Games like Uncharted Golden Abyss, Assassin’s Creed III:Liberations, ModNation Racers RT, Resistance BS,LBP Vita all get flack for being down ports from console when they are actually original titles that each adapt to portable gaming very well. Why is this never brought up with the main NIN IPs which pretty much ALL started on console, except Pokemon. Vita has its share of original stuff too:Gravity Rush is amazing, and the story is great. Many didn’t get the fact the game plays like a Manga, the game is basically “Book 1” of a massive Epic. Escape Plan is a great puzzle platformer, Mutant Blob, Smart As.. is actually a really good brain training game if not better than the series that spawned it, and Unit 13 is a phenomenal 3rd person shooter on portable. That game gets forgotten cuz it came out at launch but its actually really good, minus a lack of online modes. 

    Ragnorak, Dokuro, P4G, PSASBR,Wipeout, Super Stardust, VLS, AC:L, Sonic AllStars Transformed, Rayman, DJMax Technika, Sine Mora, Colors, When Vikings Attack,Frobisher Says, Orgarhythm, and the list goes on of great Vita titles spanning from Exclusives, to Cross Buys, to Multiplatforms, to Ports. This isn’t even including the awesome that is the PS1 and PSP Digital library.

    PS: Also if you are looking at reviews for any of the games for Vita, keep in mind that they mostly all seem to be gauging them against what is possible on PS3 rather than against the 3DS…which is really annoying. Nevertheless the Vita holds its own against the 3DS’s library with ease, and currently has the highest rated game of the Year (P4G).

    • Except it really doesn’t. You admitted your bias against Nintendo franchises, but even without that, the 3DS has an original Kingdom Hearts and Resident Evil, a nice beat-em up, if I understand Code of Princess correctly, Crashmo for some amazing puzzling, Professor Layton, Liberation Maiden (Which is highly underrated due to a short length),

      You factor in Super Mario 3D Land, Kid Icarus Uprising, Paper Mario, and everything that Nintendo put out, it’s not particularly close. Granted, Nintendo isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but if you’re buying a Nintendo console, you’re buying it because you want Nintendo.

      Plus, looking forward, you have things like Fire Emblem, likely Bravely Default, a new Zelda… Looking forward for the Vita, Gamefaqs shows all of 5 games for North American release. This is the time of the handheld’s life cycle where there should be games hyped up for it left and right, and yet the cupboard is bare, especially when the three most appealing are crossbuys. Heck, Sony botched the single most important game for the system by not making sure that Activision used a developer that had more than 6 months time to put together Black Ops Declassified. Hell, it’d have been better if they straight ported the original Blops or something, just to say that the reason the second stick is there (don’t kid yourself. 75% if that was them figuring they could lure the FPS crazy west) could lead to fully featured shooters on Vita.

      Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the Vita’s hardware. I’m a sucker for Amoled screens, the twin sticks are sexy, and the size is a nice cross between a tablet and a handheld. But there’s just not a guarantee going forward that the thing is going to keep support, so unless you’re okay with importing games (I assume the Vita will eventually start selling better than the PSP in Japan right? It has to eventually), you’re just not going to see many unique games here in the US. It’s like Sony just released an amazing piece of hardware and forgot to get the games deals it needed to survive going forward, assuming that this sexy piece of kit was all that was needed for viability, and it’s not.

    • I am buying a 3DS and I don’t like very many first party Nintendo titles Fire Emblem, Zelda, and Metroid are about it. There are more than 5 games coming for Vita next year as well. Using gamefaqs for a release date source not your best option I gotta say.

    • Clearly, more than 5 games are coming for Vita. I imagine we’ll see upwards of 30 at E3 alone, being extremely conservative. Yes, Gamefaqs is far from perfect on upcoming game releases. Still, it’s a bit of a telling sign though, isn’t it?

    • FYI, Resident Evil Revelations is NOT a port of anything. It’s a wholly original game (well, maybe a bad choice of words, given it’s RESIDENT EVIL, but you get my drift).
      Perhaps you are referring to RE: The Mercenaries 3D?

  • TrueWiiMaster

    The Vita’s not a bad piece of hardware, and it has a few decent games, but at it’s current price, my opinion would be to leave it alone.  Honestly, with it’s current library, I don’t think it would even be worth $170, but then, I’m not really interested in any of its games either.