Lying around mostly. Playing games. Playing way too much Persona 4 Golden. Though really there is never too much Persona 4. I know I did a review of it, where I gave it a glowing recommendation, but really after playing through it again, I can only say better things about it. It is the best RPG ever created, Japanese or Western. The great characters, story, music, battle system; it all comes together to create something truly special. It’s definitely a slow-burn going in, but totally worth it. So much so that when I decided I was finally done with the game, I immediately hopped on my PSN account and bought Persona 3: Portable for the PSP. Bought it digitally mind you, so I could play it on my Vita. While I love my PSP and have a ton of games for it, the Vita has such a lovely screen, and feels just the right size in my hands.
So all with all this Persona playing, I wanted to talk about the Playstation Vita. I have had this handheld for a few months now and really I can safely say it is the system I have done the majority of my game playing on. I was a guy who loved the PSP a lot more than most, and own a ton of games on it. As such, the Vita seemed like the thing that I really wanted, it really seemed like for the most part, the nest possible evolution. A portable with a second analog stick, responsive buttons, big screen and truly console quality graphics. Granted, the system is expensive, and it also suffers from a lack of games, at least compared to something like the DS, or even now the 3DS. But I find the games that are available on it are for the most part very good. However, a caveat there is that a lot of the games are in some way a remake, a port, or re-release. Persona 4 is a very enhanced remake, Jet Set Radio HD is a port, Disgaea 3 is a port. However, these are all games that translate well to a portable system, and often in these cases, the portable versions come with enhancements that make the game worth playing again.
On top of that, the library has been recently enhanced by adding the ability to play PSP and PS1 titles downloaded through PSN. This is allowing me to go through a library of games that I played a lot of, and either replay old favorites, as well as picking up the years old slack I had when it came to some great games. For instance, right now on my Vita, I have Persona 3: Portable for the PSP downloaded, as well as the PS1 game Wild Arms 2. I also have some other games on there that are great and require no cart. Plants vs Zombies, Retro City Rampage, and a lot more available to me thanks to being a member of PS Plus.
While I love the system, it is by no means perfect. As I mentioned, the thing is expensive. While the 3G model is a joke, the Wi-Fi model still comes in at a bit too much, especially after the 3DS dropped their prices. The Vita bundles usually clock in at $250. While yes you do get a game with it, none of the best games have a bundle it seems. I got the Assassin’s Creed Liberation bundle, which compared to the god-awful CoD and Madden bundles, is by far the best choice to make. Also, the system has one really big design issue I don’t get the need for. The Vita has a touch-screen on the front, which is fine. It also oddly has one on the back. This has led to several gimmicky things in games that I hate, as well as something that no doubt raised the price of the system as a whole. It is not needed, and usually in games I am scrambling for ways to turn it off as quickly as possible.
Really the only extreme knock I would apply to the PS Vita is the memory card situation. Sony continued in their normal bull-crap in making proprietary memory cards that don’t hold a lot of data for insane prices. I have stuck with the 4GB card my Assassin’s Creed bundle came with, and while I have not ran into a problem yet, I know I will get frustrated with the need to often delete and put games on the system. Sony could have so easily made the Vita run on dirt-cheap SD or SD micro cards and this would have been an amazing way of doing it. Instead I get locked into serving the Sony master in my data needs. If Sony ends up making a handheld after the Vita, they need to drop their status as memory card gatekeeper.
Really this system appeals to me in a big way because it seems like it is going to fill a niche I really liked to fill with the PSP, Japanese RPGs. Since Playing Persona 4 Golden, my interest in Japanese games has been majorly rekindled. While this system is more than capable of playing games that look great, and move like western games like Assassin’s Creed, I really feel like I am going to be using a ton of God-killing swords and talking to cute women with oddly-sized chests more often than not on the Vita. I think there is enough there for most, but the JRPG crowd is going to be served very well it seems.
I had other stuff I wanted to talk about, but I just looked down at my screen and noticed I wrote close to 1000 words about the PS Vita. That’s actually a good thing, as it has been a while since writing something came naturally to me. But expect some update soon about PAX East 2013, iOS fun…for once and indie games I have been playing.