Opinion: You Should Buy a PS Vita
By Daniel Hickey
Hello, gamer. I see you there with your fancy new-gen console. Or your awesome old-gen console (my game of the year choice so far, Dark Souls 2, is only on old-gen right now). Life is good for you, isn't it? How's your portable gaming experience? Do you game on a phone or tablet? They have some good choices, yes, but it doesn't quite feel right. This is because these devices weren't made to game with. Let me tell you a story of a portable device that *was* built for the express purpose of gaming and how well it does at providing you with hours of awesome fun on the go.
Let's start with aesthetics. Yeah, the hardware looks good, but I'm talking about the on-screen aesthetics. It's no stretch to say that this has the best graphical fidelity of any handheld ever made. But it's how it plays those pretty games that sets it apart. It's basically a Playstation 2.5 (better that PS2, but not quite a PS3) in terms of what it can run and how it can display the game, and you can take it ANYWHERE! The hardware itself is excellent, too. It has a touchscreen in the front and back, the latter of which is a bit awkward at times, but still functional and cool. The original (or "fat") Vita fits in my large hands very well for a handheld, and though I haven't gotten my hands on a Vita Slim, I have read reviews that say it fits much better in the hands. The buttons are laid out much like a Dualshock controller, and are crisp and responsive. I particularly like the feel of the thumbsticks. The material sticks to the thumbs and allows for precise controls that are unmatched in the handheld market.
The game experiences themselves are unique as well. Games like Persona 4 Golden and Tearaway have some unique elements that make their Vita iterations special. If you want to go with the tried-and-true Playstation franchises, well, you're in luck. All the big names are on there in one form or another, and many of them are exclusively Vita experiences, but they are all great games: Uncharted, God of War, Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, Little Big Planet, Sly Cooper, and Killzone all have Vita iterations of the franchise. I've had my hands on Killzone: Mercenary and Uncharted: Golden Abyss, both of which are Vita exclusive, and I thought both games were fantastic. Still not sold? I'm a Playstation Plus member. I already subscribe to the service with my PS4. I have four games this month as part of my Plus subscription that are playable on the Vita. And I didn't have to pay one extra dime for any of them. You may not need to buy a game for this ever. If you're like me and tight for cash, get the hardware and let the games come to you.
Remote Play pairs well with the PS4. If you have a lesser router, the latency may cause issues, but it is otherwise very smooth. You should be able to play it on a different wireless network than your own, but I have had some issues with it and have not been able to test it properly. Otherwise, remote play is a great way to play games away from your TV even in your own house. Really, any of the native Vita games are good to play away from your TV at home. To top it all off, the price is relatively reasonable. A recent Vita bundle with Borderlands 2 released for $199 USD. If you know how to navigate eBay or Amazon, you could even get a used one for cheaper.
Hopefully, by now, I've convinced you the Vita is a great item to get. Frankly, if you have a PS4, in my opinion this is a must-buy. But the numbers suggest most of you don't have this awesome piece of gaming machinery. Only about 8 million Vitas have been sold worldwide. For perspective, the Nintendo 3DS has sold roughly 44 million, and the Vita's predecessor, the PSP, sold 80 million. So what are you waiting for, people? Get your hands on one of these. Try it out. If you like it like I think you will, you will rush to get one. Maybe if more of us can show support for the Vita, maybe Sony will show it more love in the big press conferences. The best part of that scenario? Gamers win.
You can follow Daniel and his hijinks on Twitter @danjapan7