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Hands On with PlayStation Vita

PlayStation Vita is the successor to the PlayStation Portable and PSP Go. Sony tested the market with PSP Go, it fumbled, it flopped so hard they had to discontinue it within 2 years of being on the market. With PlayStation Vita, Sony is doing better, and going hard. Sony is holding a soft launch on February 15th, followed by a worldwide launch on February 22th. It had been launched in Japan since December and has been met with joyous consumers.

I attended Capcom’s Fight Club event yesterday, and I tried out Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 for PlayStation Vita. Never mind that UMVC3 came out in november for Xbox 360, and PS3… We’re at this point because this is about PlayStation Vita!

Enter PlayStation Vita

Unlike the PSP, PlayStation Vita fits into your hands and thumbs like a glove, mostly because the backside has 2 u shaped textures to help you take a better grip of the hardware than PSP. They’re not deep, but they’re actually V shaped like a broken V. One of the first things I noticed about the hardware is the design: The whole thing looks like it fits together like a puzzle. The best part isn’t the face, it’s instead the buttons/analog sticks. Why? Because unlike PSP, your schema of the layout makes you think that the thumbs belong there. With PSP, I didn’t know where the buttons were. It’s like trying to get accustomed to iPhone on the first try. Like, the first time you use it. PSP failed because of the interface, not just because of the launch titles, or even the library, there isn’t really a “plus one” with PSP, it seemed like a typical obscure product. This has been fixed with Vita because of the design.

PSVita teaches and trains you to keep your fingers in a specific area, and that’s what the design of the circular pads do. I find myself pressing the directional pad, and the buttons as if it was a PS3 controller, and that’s where PSP and Vita differs; it encourages you to keep your fingers in one place, rather than slipping your fingers off.

With the screen, you can Vista the Vita

First thing off the bat! OLED on handhelds are awesome! Now I want to buy a OLED TV rather than LCD or any other technology HDTV’s offer. Why? Because with Vita, on it’s small, beautiful screen.. It’s #@^&ing gorgeous! The OLED screen makes MVC3 look a lot sharper than a movie on regular LCD HDTV. Let me put it in another way, if you put a game like Batman: Arkham City, or Call of Duty: MW3 on that beautiful screen, it’s killer. It’s more like the selling point of the hardware isn’t what’s under the hood, it’s the fact that the screen looks gorgeous!

I think this is the big selling point of Vita, and it’s evident through the enormous amount of developer support. Never mind the touch technology, the screen is the biggest selling point of PSVita, period. Once Sony starts the advertising for Vita, the 3DS is good as dead on arrival. In my small time hanging around the PlayStation Vita booth at Fight Club, I realized a few girls has been taking some interest in PSVita than the guys.

The best part is that, the OLED screen, and the PlayStation Vita hardware can handle 60 frames per second, that makes for a silky smooth fighting experience. See for yourself:

I must stress, that this video is half of what PlayStation Vita looks like in action. The screen is more powerful than advertised. That’s how good this hardware is. Keep in mind, this is a launch title. I shudder to think what PSVita is capable of!

The interface of Vita

While PSVita doesn’t really have an in-game XMB menu, as in the way that PS3 does it. A game can be stopped in the middle of a game, and not really interrupt gameplay. Once you press the PS button, the whole game pauses. It takes you to another screen, instead, so that would be your XMB screen, if you press the PS button again, it will take you straight to the Vita menu. And I must say it’s intuitive when you’re taken there. You can load your game right from the Vita menu. Which is a very nice addition. You can go back to the game at any time as the game is running in the background, however, it’s not recommended because your PSVita is still running and still is using battery life. This can be rectified by the invisible solar powered battery technology on the back of the Vita. You can’t see it, but it’s there. You can’t feel it, but it’s there.

Vita has a lot of developer support

And it will be evident in the year or years to come. It’s got UMVC3 at launch, it’s got Uncharted at launch, it’s got WipeOut at launch, and it’s got Twisted Metal at launch! It’s going to get Ninja Gaiden, it’s going to get Street Fighter x Tekken, it’s going to get Mortal Kombat. I mean, all the big companies are supporting Vita.

Here’s Mortal Kombat in action:

As you can see, there are some touch technology being used. And so…

How’s the touch technology, Carlos!?

Depends on how you look at it. When you’re using the PSVita menu, you can intuitively use it, but during a match, it’s a little… intrusive. However, it’s purfect for super moves, or as you can see, fatailities in Mortal Kombat. The touch technology works in some instances, but all in all, it’s not really perfect.

What’s your verdict?

Once again, depends on how you look at it. PlayStation Vita at it’s core is aimed at casuals. It’s aiming it’s crosshairs squarely at 3DS’ general audience. Sony says that the hardware isn’t competing against Nintendo 3DS current dominance, however, they want the same kind of market 3DS is currently attaining. And it shows.

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2 Responses to “Hands On with PlayStation Vita”

  1. John Says:

    I think it really is more aimed at the hardcore, and the hopes that the hardcore pick this up. I feel like the 3DS, it will be an uphill battle. Vita is overengineered to boot and compared to other devices that are $200 or less, that in many cases do far more it will be a tough sell. To me it is something you look at and go "Oh that's neat, to bad I got a dozen other things I would rather have though." and you move on.

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