Friday, 2 March 2012

PS Vita

Sony's last big game console launch was full of problems.  The PS3 shipped with a silly price tag and had a year's worth of catching up to do.  This time around things are slightly different.

Nintendo have had a grip on the handheld market but they must be looking at the Vita with envy.  The touch screen is as responsive as anything Apple have produced and the screen is simply the best I've seen on any device.  Colours are rich and vibrant and blacks, well they look black.  OLED is clearly the future.

The Vita, at first glance, looks an awful lot like its predecessor, but it's hugely more powerful under the hood and it shows.  The addition of an extra stick, touch screen, rear touch pad, cameras and a gyroscope make this a flexible bit of kit way beyond the PSP's ability.  It's beautifully weighted, heavy enough to feel classy, but light enough to hold for longer periods of handheld joy.

There's a decent launch line up too, Uncharted: Golden Abyss being the highlight.  The title attempts to cram in all the new tech and although sometimes you'll find yourself falling back on the sticks rather fiddling about with the touch screen there are times where the game changing nature of the Vita come to the fore.  If more developers approach the device with the same enthusiasm we're going to see a shed load of exciting titles.

Uncharted is the best looking handheld title ever seen.  If you think the screenshot above looks impressive you should see it moving.  Whilst not quite as detailed as it's big brother graphically, you'll get as lost as ever in Drake's sumptuous views.  Simply stunning.

The big question mark over the Vita will be Sony's ability to deliver an App Store experience and to make the machine capable of streaming games from a PS3.  Some smaller titles will work right now, but it's not a step up from the PSP's capabilities at the moment, although there are promises of more to come.  Having an App Store like environment with cheap, throwaway titles could really bring the console to life.  The augmented reality demos given away with the Vita do much to show where the machine could head and it won't be long, hopefully, before we see the first iteration of Angry Birds for Vita.  To really compete in the handheld environment it'll need that kind of support.

Price wise it's not cheap at £200.  Throw in a memory card and a game and you're looking at around £300 as an initial outlay but you can feel the promise in your hand.  It's up to Sony and the developers to deliver  on that promise.

Game changing?  We'll see.  Great start though.