The Game Jar Files: Could the PS Vita be Sony’s Secret Weapon?

Originally published on The Game Jar.com – 27/09/2013

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When it was time to replace my trusty PlayStation 2 with a next-gen console, the choice was pretty simple; Xbox 360. The PlayStation 3 hadn’t been released, and Microsoft had the market all to themselves. This November that won’t be the case. For the first time in a long time, two new consoles will be going head-to-head right before Christmas. Who comes out on top is irrelevant to me. Neither console is likely to fail, and I’ll end up buying both at some point, but I have been wondering whether Sony have a very clever strategy to gain the upper hand. The question I keep asking myself is; could the PS Vita be Sony’s secret weapon? OK, you can stop laughing now. I know it sounds crazy. The Vita has sold terribly, and the overwhelming perception is there’s only a handful of good games, but what if Sony changed all that?

As a pretty bitter launch day adopter, I’ve been critical of Sony’s support for the Vita. Justifiably so in my opinion. But they have managed to turn me round. After two years, and two decent Gamescom’s, the Vita’s future looks a lot brighter. There’s a slew of decent titles to play, with more are on the horizon, and the hardware and memory cards have had a reasonably decent price cut. It may have taken them some time, but Sony has finally made the Vita a tempting prospect. If the Vita is to go on and have any significant positive impact upon PlayStation 4’s success, Sony need to continue their efforts, and work out how to leverage it correctly. They need to convince gamers that the PS Vita is an essential part of the whole PlayStation experience, and early signs seem to indicate they’ve worked out how to do that.

Believe it or not, the prospect of a fully functional Remote Play is a big thing for many Vita owners. When Sony first pitched the Vita, the idea of switching over to the handheld when the wife and kids wanted to watch Doctor Who was a big enticement to me and many other gamers, and yet Sony never really delivered. Yes, there are games on PlayStation 3 compatible with Remote Play, but the number of games available is a mere drop in the ocean compared to those that are not. When Sony announced at Gamescom 2013 that “almost all” of PlayStation 4 games would be Remote Play compatible, they gave the first hint that they’d finally figured out how to leverage their handheld properly. Clearly, the Vita is capable of delivering a quality Remote Play experience, all that’s left is to make it a reality post launch.

The extension of PS Plus to Vita is another huge step in right direction. PlayStation 3 owners subscribing to the service already know that their existing subscription fee will cover both consoles, effectively doubling the amount of free games available, and the bond to the service only gets stronger when you add the Vita to the mix. When the PlayStation 4 hits the shelves, buyers will be able to take advantage of a service offering free games for three different consoles. That’s not to be dismissed lightly. The Vita’s role in this offer only gets stronger when you consider it’s less likely to replicate the duplication between the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4’s selection of free titles. As the PlayStation 3 moves in to being the last generation, the Vita will continue to be the “added value” of PS Plus.

I’m not for a moment suggesting that potential Xbox One buyers are going to change their choice in next-gen console because of a poorly selling handheld, but I do think it will make a significant difference to some. Sony have very cleverly created a PlayStation ecosystem that becomes increasingly harder to leave the more you buy into it.  The handheld may not attract Xbox gamers to its console, but by making the Vita an essential part of the ecosystem, they’ve not only made it impossible for current PlayStation owners to leave, they’ve also expanded their offer to the brand-agnostics out there. It’s my belief that PS Vita owners undecided about which next gen console to buy will find it very hard not to choose the PlayStation 4, and that’s why my question isn’t so crazy. A successful PS Vita will sell PlayStation 4’s, only time will tell if Sony can make it happen.

The Game Jar Files: Bye-bye 2012! Don’t forget to write!

Originally published on The Game Jar.com – 08/01/2013

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I have mixed feelings about 2012, half of me feels glad to see the back of it, half of me remembers it fondly. So before I get too settled into the shiny new year, I felt it only right to turn around and bid 2012 a bon voyage as it heads off in to the distance by recalling some of the good and bad of the year gone by.

E3 2012, I am dissapoint. At their respective press events, both Sony and Microsoft looked like they’d ran out of ideas. There were no new motion devices to reveal, no new hardware redesigns, no new blockbuster franchises from trusted studios. E3 2012 was almost a carbon copy of the year before – “look at all these wonderful Move/Kinect games that you’re not interested in. And look at all these sequels to games you’ve already played…” After watching the livestreams I looked down at my Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and for the first time in their lives I thought they looked old and tired. I was in fact, reminded of that oft-repeated Arnold J Rimmer quote from the Red Dwarf episode Queeg; “Look, Lister, no point feeling sorry about Holly. It’s a kindness. Like a blind old incontinent sheepdog, he’s had his day. Take him out to the barn with a double-barreled shot-gun and blow the mother away. And I’m only saying that because I’m so fond of him.” In my opinion it’s well and truly time that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 were taken out to the proverbial barn, purely to make way for the next generation of younger, fitter, cooler machines. Nobody wants the space under their telly smelling of old, incontinent console, so hopefully 2013 will be the year that Sony and Microsoft load up the old shotgun, and do the decent thing.

Talking of disappointing E3’s…

Despite some promising signs later on in the year at Gamescom, 2012 wasn’t very kind to us PS Vita owners. My overriding memory from last year will be the confirmation (were it needed) that Sony doesn’t know how to support a handheld gaming device. For those hoping for more than one “must play” game that year, E3 2012 offered no crumbs of comfort. Just five months after launch, the Vita was already in a gaming wasteland. Sony’s press event later in the year at Gamescom did go some way to lifting the gloom, right up until one of their big three holiday titles – Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified, turned out to be an absolute dog that is. As 2012 ended, I held out little hope for Sony’s brilliant machine in the forthcoming year. Media Molecule’s Tearaway was a most welcome surprise, but since it’s initial reveal at the German gaming convention, nothing really substantial has been forthcoming. Now I’m not saying that work has ground to a halt or anything, but the Vita needs some positive spin, and talking about Tearaway more often could have been it. Guerilla’s Killzone: Mercenary is unlikely to get non-Killzone fans interested in the flagging system, and as much I love the series, the game is unlikely to be a major hit for the Vita. Technically polished? Yes. Hardware seller? No. As 2012 came to an end, weekly sales figures revealed that the Vita was outsold in Japan by its predecessor the PSP in November, and at this point I really don’t think Sony have the first clue about how to turn the flagging console’s fortunes around. Will 2013 be the year that we all say goodbye to Sony’s excellent machine? I don’t know, but it does make me sad that I’m asking the question.

But 2012 wasn’t all doom and gloom, last year was also when I really fell in love with a PC game. Announced way back in 2007, Guild Wars 2 finally arrived at the end of August 2012, and when it did, it crushed every single other game I own beneath its MMO feet. Not even the years of game time I’d invested into other MMOs like Eve Online or Lord of the Rings: Online could stop it, all I wanted to play for the rest of the year was Guild Wars 2. Just over four months later and the initial shinyness is gone. I’m familiar enough with it now to know that it isn’t quite the genre game-changer ArenaNet were touting it to be pre-launch. I recognise its problems. I note the features still missing (Server guesting, ArenaNet, I can haz nao?). I understand all the criticisms the game gets from those that don’t like it, and I don’t care. I love this game still, and even though I might not play it every single day like I used too, it’s still the game I play most. Even now, whilst writing this, I’m thinking that I’m cutting into my Guild wars 2 time. I have this feeling, that ArenaNet have laid the foundations for one of the best games ever made, and that by the time its first anniversary comes around I’ll be playing that game. And to know that I’ve been on board since day one? Well, that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside, and puts a massive smile on my face. Thank you 2012, for giving me Guild Wars 2.

And finally, this year I’ve learned that writing about games isn’t quite the utopia of free stuff I imagined it to be. Well OK, I never really thought it was utopia, but the free games bit did sound pretty sweet, so it must be all good. Right? It wasn’t until I’d written my first review that I realised how hard being objective about video games really is. Simply stating “this game is shit, don’t buy it” isn’t good enough, you have to be precise with your criticism, and your praise come to think of it. I’m sure absolutely nobody based their purchasing decision on my Hitman: Absolution review, but it doesn’t make the whole process any easier, people were going to read my words! Oh and for the love of God don’t get anything factually wrong either, because the internet is an unforgiving place. I don’t want you to think I’m moaning though, because I’m not. Writing for the Game Jar this year has been an awesome experience, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I do have a new-found respect for those writers on here that can regularly turn out interesting articles on a regular basis, I simply don’t know how they do it.

The Game Jar Files: Are Mario and Nathan Drake the saviours of Handheld Gaming?

Originally published on The Game Jar – Oct. 24th 2012

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Oh dear, it’s the old mobile versus handheld debate again. Many, many opinion pieces have been written about this subject already, but what fascinates me is that it seems that nobody really knows for sure whether one side or the other can actually win. The common consensus seems to be that handhelds are nowhere near as dominant as they once were, and it’s unlikely in a post iPhone world that they’ll ever be top dog again, so what keeps them alive? It strikes me that the reason many commentators (including myself) can’t call a potential winner is that the handhelds have something in their corner that can’t be measured very easily; our emotional attachment to familiar titles.

With the possible exception of the PS Vita’s Skype app, I think it’s fairly safe to say that mobile devices do all the non-gaming things better than a gaming handheld. Whether it’s surfing the net, updating social media, or taking photos on the fly, I find that no gaming handheld does it as conveniently or as intuitively as a smart phone. Sure, the web browser on the Vita is OK, but when you also have an iPhone in your pocket, only being OK isn’t good enough. The 3DS one isn’t any better either, in fact if you’re not surfing a mobile enabled site I’d argue it’s quite a bit worse. This kind of social functionality on gaming handhelds always feels shoe-horned in to me. So handhelds lose the social media connectivity part of the fight then, but that’s not the only battle they have on their hands, as smart phones and mobile devices also do gaming very well too, all of which begs the question; why carry a gaming handheld at all? If Nintendo and Sony are to convince us to not only invest in a new system, but to carry it around in addition to our phones, they need to either do mobile gaming exceptionally well, or offer something that’s not possible to do on a touch screen phone.

To me it seems very simple, handhelds are kept alive by catering to many gamers attachment to specific marquee titles. The app store might have a large number of cheap games on offer, but unearthing the gems can be tricky. With a rating system that largely feels broken to me, picking out a quality game is done either via friend recommendations, or by trial and error and a willingness to potentially waste a pound on a crappy game. For every Plants vs Zombies or Infinity Blade I’ve found, there’s been five other terrible games that’ll never darken my touchscreen again. With this uncertainty over quality control in mind, I and many other gamers will often fall back on familiar titles like a some sort of gaming security blanket. If you’re looking for a side scrolling platformer to play for example, Super Mario is the safe option. Eating special mushrooms and jumping down big green pipes might be a little overly familiar these days, but in a weird sort of way it’s also quite comforting. Human beings are creatures of habit in the main, and gamers are no different. A recognisable name on the box seems to have a built-in guarantee of quality, Super Mario Kart was a great game therefore all future Mario Kart games will be great. But what if we stop caring about these franchises, what happens then?

Consider for a moment that your favourite Sony or Nintendo IP didn’t exist, would you purchase the hardware? If instead of Mario there was Dave the fat builder from Hackney, staring in New Super Dave Land 2, would you even give the 3DS a second look? As an avid fan of the Mario Kart series of games, I find it hard to think of a time when I would pass up the opportunity to play a new version of the game on a brand new system. Maybe I’m too easily parted with my money, but other people buy consoles on the strength of the games available too. In fact, the success of every console launch I can think of has hinged on launch titles. We all go through the same process don’t we? Am I going to buy the latest generation of console – what games does it have at launch? Years ago, when I bought my PlayStation 2 on launch day, I totally ignored the salesman’s advice to buy Timesplitters because I didn’t recognise the name. Tekken Tag Tournament and Ridge Racer were what I knew, so I bought them instead, much to my later regret. For as long as I’ve been a gamer, people have cared about the name on the game box, and I don’t see it changing any time soon.

It’s this attachment to our favourite titles that keeps handhelds viable in my opinion, mobile devices will only truly win out when they can offer you a proper Uncharted game starring the real Nathan Drake, and not just a mockbuster. With that in mind I’ve come to the conclusion that if mobile devices ever do kill off gaming handhelds, it’ll be because Sony and Nintendo let them. The value of having a great Uncharted game only on the Vita or a must have Mario title only on the 3DS cannot be overstated in my opinion, and as long as the big two remember that there’ll always be a place for their machines. I think everyone has at least one game that they love enough to buy based purely on the name, and Sony and Nintendo need to exploit that. It’s not going to be easy for them, sustaining a console with a comparatively small user base is going to be hard work, but I think it’s possible with a steady flow of high quality games. The only unknown variable here is you. Would your favourite game being available only on a handheld be enough to prompt you to buy one?

The Game Jar Files: Dead or Alive: Did Sony resuscitate the Vita at Gamescom?

Originally published on the Game Jar – Aug 28th 2012

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E3 2012 for Vita owners was a disaster, plain and simple. With this current generation of home consoles in their twilight years, and no imminent announcements about the next generation, Sony had a golden opportunity to really go to town on shouting about their brand new handheld. What they chose to do instead, in the interests of keeping their briefing brief apparently, was totally overlook the twenty-five Vita games on the show floor to fit in announcements about well-worn franchises on the outgoing PS3. For the first time in my Vita owning life, I was genuinely worried about my investment, Sony really did look like they were going to blow another handheld launch. Fast forward a few months and I and many other early adopters were hoping that Sony would pull something out for Gamescom. Maybe somebody high up at Sony took the criticism seriously, or maybe it was always planned this way, I don’t know, but in Germany they gave the kind of press conference many of us Vita owners had been waiting for. Maybe talk of the console being dead is a little over the top, but there’s no denying that it’s in a bad place right now. What would Sony bring to Gamescom to show they were still serious about the Vita?

After giving virtually no insight into future releases for the Vita at E3, there was only really one way to go at Gamescom, and that was all out. They kicked off their charm offensive with Little Big Planet Vita and Playstation Allstars, the latter being used to introduced Cross Buy, a new scheme that allows you own both PS3 and Vita versions of some cross-play titles, but only pay for one of them. Then came an “exclusive new look” at Assassins Creed: Liberation and another mention for Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified along with the announcement of a special edition Vita bundle. Rounding off the presentation of already known future releases were FIFA 13 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted. No game-play footage, but reassuring to know they’re still on the way. A quick pause to slip in the news that certain PS One classics would be playable this month, and then on to the new games. First to break cover, and the stand out game of the briefing in my opinion, was Media Molecule’s delightful looking Tearaway, at last a brand new AAA IP for Vita owners to get excited about. To wrap up the Vita section, Sony started with a teaser for Killzone Mercenary, and finished by revealing that PS Plus is coming, and showing some in-game footage of Call of Duty. The PS Vita love-in was over, and suddenly it all seemed so simple for Sony – show a little flesh and get gamers interested again.

So, did Sony save the Vita at Gamescom? On the whole, just about I think. I came away from the stream feeling much happier that some big games are actually on the way, and reassured that there was a real plan in place to turn the console around. My only gripe is that it’s all in the future. There’s no meat today. If you’re like me, and your Vita is currently little more than a mobile YouTube player, games launched for Christmas are not soon enough. If I was to guess, I would say that Sony’s plan was that new owners would tide themselves over by downloading PSP games until the real games hit. Not a bad idea, but I had a PSP, I’ve already bought and played the PSP games I’m interested in. I want new games, built from the ground up to harness the Vita’s horsepower. Post Gamescom the Vita is out of intensive care. It’s sitting up in bed, eating regular meals and receiving visitors. If Sony wants it to leave gaming hospital permanently it needs to start delivering on what it promised, and not by Christmas, right now. If we get to 2013 and more big titles are not on the horizon, if I still can’t remote play big games, if 3rd party apps aren’t turning up in numbers, the Vita really will be in serious trouble.

Five things developers should be banned from doing

Originally Published on The Game Jar – 20th July 2012

As much as I love gaming there are some things that really bug me. Mostly it’s because I’m old and I remember a time when video games were made by a small group of friends trying to do something cool, but it’s not always that. You see, I believe that some developers have started to become lazy, their creativity has been stifled by the publishers pressure for a profitable game. We need to free these people, brothers and sisters, from the tyranny and oppression of boring game mechanics. So when the revolution comes, and you have wisely made me your glorious leader, I shall ban all game developers in the land from doing these five things.

Oh and obviously I’m doing this for the good of gaming, it’s in no way a selfish attempt by me to eliminate the things I’m no good at or hate doing…

Collectables. Ever play the first Assassins Creed? Enjoy collecting all the flags did you? No? You know why? Because it was FUCKING TEDIOUS. Seriously, who enjoys running around, all over the game world, collecting stuff that has no bearing on your objective? I’m simply not interested is shooting every pigeon in Liberty City, I’m Nico Bellic for christ sake, I’m a criminal and I care about the money and the ho’s, I don’t give a damn about city sanitation. In Bioshock,  I just want to escape from Rapture whilst shooting people in the face with bees, I don’t want a potted history on how every thing went to shit. From now on, if your game hasn’t got Lego whatever written on the box, you are banned from putting any sort of collectable in your game.

On rails driving and shooting bits. I want to be specific on this, having full control of a vehicle is fine, driving a tank in Halo or Battlefield for example is perfectly OK with me, because I can control where the thing is going, I can try to avoid incoming fire, and I can get out if needs be. What I hate is the on rails vehicle sections, the bits where I’m stuck in the back of the truck with the heavy gun with no control over where we go. It’s always the same, I, the poor mug in the open and who’s woefully unprotected, have to be a crack shot with the slow moving, slow firing heavy machine gun (or whatever) while the AI behind the wheel has absolutely no idea about evasive manoeuvring. And he’s safe in there, tucked up nicely behind all that armour. No, from now on I’m behind the plexiglass and the damn AI can get shot at on the back.

Day one DLC. Also known as “stuff that should already be in the game but is being held back for no good reason other than making more money” Once upon a time, games were released with only one version, there were no retailer exclusive weapons or characters, no DLC codes in the box. Everyone went out out bought the same game, my copy of Killzone was exactly the same as your copy of Killzone, neither of us had a special gun because we bought it at a certain shop, and neither of us had extra mission or maps. We had the same game. I’m so sick of this segregation of gamers, and it’s got to stop. Everyone gets the same game, end of.

Using the words Elite, Special, and Forces. Seriously, If I read one more game box blurb that starts with the words ” You are part of an elite special forces team…” I’m going to vomit. Can we all just agree now, that like the World War II setting previously, the modern day special forces setting has been done to death, and it’s time to move on? And while were at it, can we also throw in that other FPS staple, killing off the character your playing? It was shocking and immersive when Call of Duty 4 did it, but not any more. Making a first person shooter? Just follow this handy guide to sure fire profits. Got evil terrorists in it? Check! Got some sort of desert/middle east level in it? Check! Kill off the character whilst the player is playing him? Check! Be honest, I could have described any one of the more recent shooters out there, couldn’t I?

Not including split screen. Split screen seems to be going the way of the dodo sadly, so from now on, any developer contemplating not putting it in will be made to sit down with three friends and play Mario Kart until they understand why leaving it out is a crime. Ask anyone who played Goldeneye 64 for their fondest memories and invariably they’ll talk about the hours spent playing four player co op. The thing is, for gamers my age, multi player meant going round a mates house and playing split screen, there was no Live to hide behind. You took your controller round to his place, you sat in the same room, and you had fun. Nobody who’s played Mario Kart, Goldeneye, or Micro Machines with a room full of friends will tell you split screen doesn’t matter, it’s that simple.

So that’s my vision, under this blueprint gaming will move forward to a glorious future! Granted I may have to build my own Rapture under the sea to become supreme overlord, and developers might not be too keen to come live down there and make games, but a boy can dream can’t he? Have I missed anything? What overused gaming mechanics would you like to see banned? Can you not get enough of playing a special forces soldier, and secretly wish that every game was Call of Duty. Let me know in the comments bellow.

The obligatory E3 post

I’m sorry, it’s in the local blogging by-laws. During E3 every blogger is legally obliged to give us “there take” on the big three’s briefings.

In general, all three briefings weren’t very good. Nintendo’s was marginally better than the other two, but both Sony and Microsoft were clearly treading water until their next console turns up. A quick trip around the various major gaming sites reveals pretty much the same thing, reheated franchises that are all too familiar, and a presser almost identical to last years. I’d like to propose a new rule for next year, Microsoft cannot mention Kinect and Sony cannot mention Move until I personally have seen proof that Kinect-playing Mrs Casual Gamer, and Move-playing Mr Casual Gamer are actually tuning in to watch the live stream. Core gamers don’t care about these devices, so just who do Sony and Microsoft think they’re talking to? Were the casual gamers really tuning in to the live streams?

And before you say “they must be”, you know a casual gamer or two, ever seen a gaming magazine on their coffee table? No, you haven’t, have you? 😛

But my real ire, my furious anger is saved for Sony. Three games. Actually scratch that, two games. Two games and a game logo. That’s the best showing you can muster for your brand new handheld gaming machine, Sony? Yes OK, they’re busy saying right now that they’ve got “25 games on the show floor..”, but they sent out a terrible message at their press briefing. After the failure to properly support the PSP, and no real content on show for the out going PS3, this was a golden opportunity to put the Vita front and centre in it’s launch year. Instead they dropped the ball badly, and many of my friends and fellow Vita owners are now left wondering whether we’ve bought another PSP, doomed to early abandonment.

 

 

Metal Gear Solid themed PS Vita wallpapers Pt.1

A pictorial post today, and more PS Vita wallpapers. These two Metal Gear Solid themed ones are part one of two, and hopefully I’ll find some inspiration for the next two soon. When I do they’ll be posted up here, enjoy.

Vita Wallpaper Attack!

Not much writing this week, instead I offer up these wallpapers I made for my PS Vita. I really enjoyed creating these, some came easier than others, and the West Ham Utd one was a bit of an obvious choice.

Enjoy!

 

PS Vita: A Week On.

Just over a week now, and I still love my Vita. I’ve finished Uncharted: Golden Abyss and thoroughly enjoyed it, started playing the single player campaign of the visually glorious Wipeout 2048, and gotten addicted to Motorstorm RC thanks mainly to my friends banging on about how good it is. So bearing in mind that in general I absolutely love my Vita, I thought I’d post up five thing that annoy me. Just for some balance… or something.
  • No HTML5/Flash support on the browser sucks. I have this lovely screen to watch things on, only I can’t visit Youtube or the BBC’s iPlayer. The ultimate irony came when I was using the Vita’s browser to view Official PlayStation Magazine’s site and couldn’t watch a video they’d posted.
  • When the low battery warning comes up, they really mean it. I was merrily playing U:GA  the other night, got the warning, and 10 minutes or so later… blip! It was done. Maybe Uncharted’s boss cut scenes are particularly battery intensive, I don’t know, just stop playing and put it on charge.
  • Not being able to turn off the rear touch pad (in a game’s options)  is annoying. I’m simply incapable of holding the Vita without touching the rear touch pad, and therefore incapable of not inadvertently messing with whatever’s controlled by the rear touch pad.
  • A 4GB memory card isn’t big enough. It really isn’t.
  • Near makes me feel stupid. Either I’m just plain dumb, or it’s operating on some kind of higher plane, or nobody gets what it’s supposed to do. Seriously, what is Near for? And should I worry about getting mugged for my Vita because I’ve got location data turned on? Easily the most baffling app on the system in my opinion.

 

Vita, Vita, Vita!

What else could this post be about, if not about the PS Vita I picked up on launch day? Typing something more interesting than “Squeeee!!! My new shiny!!” could prove tricky, so I’ll start with some technical bits and see where I go from there.

In a side by side comparison with the PSP the Vita is longer, wider, and slightly heavier than it’s predecessor. The OLED screen is bigger and much more vibrant, and the Vita’s increased graphical grunt does a good job of showing it off. As the Vita has a second stick on the right, the button layout has changed. The Home button moves to the left, and the Start and Select buttons are on the right. The Volume buttons have moved to the top edge, and to my mind they’re slightly out of the way. The front touch screen works exactly as it should, the rear touch pad is less convincing, I find it too sensitive, at least in the games I’ve got that make use of it.

At it’s heart it’s a gaming machine, and based on what I’ve played so far, it does that very well indeed. Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Wipeout 2048 both look absolutely gorgeous. Uncharted’s run and gun game play does a good job of highlighting the advantage of having the second stick, and Wipeout’s furious pace ably demonstrates that the Vita has no problem with throwing high quality visuals around at speed. It really does feel like you’ve got a current gen home console in portable form. Disappointingly I couldn’t try the remote play feature, streaming Killzone 3 to the Vita was one of the first things I tried, and even though it’s not working yet, I have no doubt it’ll work as well as this video suggests.

The Vita is not perfect however, there are some niggles with it. Apart from the short battery life, it’s missing some features that owners of Apple devices might take for granted. The web browser doesn’t support Flash or HTML5, so both Youtube and the BBC’s iPlayer aren’t compatible, and there’s no dedicated app for either of them available. The Netflix app that’s available on the US PSN store isn’t available here yet, and there’s no firm release date. Setting up the Vodaphone SIM card for the 3G part wasn’t easy either, although in fairness that was the fault of Vodaphone themselves rather than Sony or the hardware.

Overall though, the Vita is a very nice bit of kit. Like all newly released consoles you’re buying into the promised potential, the lack of apps and gimped web browser is something you have to put up with in the short term. There are some great launch titles available to keep us going, and I’m sure that Sony have learned their lesson from the PSP. As a Vita owner, I’m excited to see were it goes.

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