GAME SYSTEM REVIEW: Viva la vita! (Live the life)

By D.J. ARIZMENDI

Life has a certain motion. Before we can walk, we must crawl. Sony’s new portable gaming system, the PS Vita, on the other hand, has not even reached infancy but already has a running start against its competition.

With one of the best launch lineups in video game history, a gorgeous OLED screen and dual analog sticks, the Vita has everything gamers want in their hands, minus the uber cute anime girl.

The menu interface moves fluidly and the touch screen is surprisingly responsive. If you have any experience using an Apple device, you should feel right at home.

Photo Illustration By MIKI JENNINGS

Does it feel a bit rip-offish? Admittedly it does. In Sony’s defense, it mocks the style well without seeming tacky.

As with any new sexy tech, it’s the inside that matters.

Vita’s opulent 5-inch OLED screen sports a 4-core processor and 512 megabytes of RAM. It has a resolution of 960×544. In other words, the Nintendo 3DS looks last-generation by comparison.

For those worried about the weight, it’s not as heavy as it looks. At 9.8 ounces, the Vita fits into its tight dressing with some lovely handles on the back to assist with grip.

Even though I had no issue with the weight, the width can be overwhelming. Stood on its side, the Vita is a tad over 7 inches. Many people might find it cumbersome to squeeze that much into their pockets, especially since skinny jeans are in style.

If you are feeling artsy, the Vita has two cameras, one rear and one front. The biggest downfall for this feature is the quality it produces. The pictures look as if I resurrected my first flip phone from T-Mobile.

The saving grace is that the video can capture images at a staggering 120 frames per second, but it will look like garbage.

Though the button layout is similar to the PSP, the addition of a right analog stick makes this truly a game changer in the world of handhelds.

“Uncharted: Golden Abyss” is probably the strongest argument for an additional analog stick. Having that sense of complete control really pushes it over the edge for having a console-like experience.

Information about the 3G service has been spotty at best, kind of like AT&T’s coverage — which incidentally is the Vita’s provider.

Setting up the system for the service was beyond a nightmare. I would not recommend getting the 3G model unless it is your only option.

But if you are a glutton for punishment and wish to take advantage of the 3G feature, you can send messages, synch trophy info, look in the Playstation store, use a subpar web browser and access certain apps such as Near.

Be warned, though: You cannot download anything larger than 20MB over 3G. That basically means you will not be able to download any games available through the Playstation store.

By now you may be thinking this review is not exactly glowing, but there is a twist in the third act — the games.

By the Feb. 22 launch date, there will be at least 26 games available.  Anyone who has been a part of a system launch knows that is quite impressive. Even more impressive: I already have six of those games and could easily recommend six more on top of that.

If having great games was not enough, Sony has pledged to have every Vita game come out in a digital format on the same day as its physical counterpart.

The incentive for buying games digitally is not only the obvious convenience but the fact it will be sold at a 10 percent discount.

Imagine this: In the near future, you will be able to play a fully featured “Call of Duty” game on the go. Need I say more, bro?

Just like life, the Vita is not perfect. However, it is too wonderful to miss out on. With time, it has serious potential to become the greatest gaming handheld of this generation.

Grade: A-

FYI

Notable games at launch:

 

  1. “Uncharted: Golden Abyss”
  2. “Lumines: Electronic Symphony”
  3. “Super Stardust Delta”(download only)
  4. “Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3”
  5. “Touch My Katamari”
  6. “FFIA Soccer”
  7. “BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extreme”
  8. “Escape Plan”(Download Only)
  9. “Rayman Origins”
  10. “Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack”(download only)
  11. “Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus”
  12. “Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational”

Filed Under: Arts/EntertainmentReviewsTech/Gamers

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