It’s been time enough for a real review.
I own a PSP. I’ve owned one for many years. Sometimes I felt like I was the only one in the world who owned one. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. It has a huge crack down the screen and the toggle is kind of sticky and always wants to drag your character up, but I still love it. I started playing N+ on it a few years ago and Patapon and wore sore spots into my thumbs to the likes I hadn’t seen since original Nintendo and Contra. My nephew and I had hours long battles with the PSP exclusive Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron and my children were first introduced to gaming on it (GTA, they didn’t know how to do the bad stuff). So when the PSVita was about to launch this household was definitely on the edge of its seat.
I pre-ordered at GAMESTOP which came with an 8gig memory card and a free month of AT&T Wireless for the device. They ran a special on games and I grabbed four on opening day. It was like freaking Christmas.
It took me a few hours to install updates and navigate my way through the free wireless setup. Not to mention the attendant at GS didn’t know where my memory card was and was positive that you had to go to AT&T to get it (you didn’t. It was all in the box and I’m pretty sure she was handing them out to anyone who bought a PSVita that day whether they pre-ordered or not). Several hours later I was knee deep in Little Deviants.
First off, I want to say I am always on the search for that addictive game that hooks me as an adult like all games did as a child. Little Deviants is one of those games. It utilizes the Vita’s front and rear touch screens like no bodies business and makes it not only seem necessary and seamless but makes the whole process fun and inventive. I love the way both story and mini games are more or less the same; several levels of mini games lay out the story. You are knocking robots off platforms like whack-a-mole only played from both sides (either push them off from the back using the rear touch screen or knock them off from the front using the front touch screen). On one level you pinch both front and back screen at once and pull your character like a slingshot and shoot him at invading zombies and robots. It is genius on so many levels.
I also bought Dynasty Warrior for the wife, Mod Racer, and Uncharted. Uncharted is great. The whole series is honestly and this one also utilizes all the nifty new features brilliantly. PS was amazing in how much they allowed gaming companies to explore and take full advantage of new software. They’ve always been good at this though. Insomniac has been breaking ground with its’ PS3 releases from the gitgo. Dynasty Warrior, though repetitive, is very much the same in its inventive methods of incorporating gameplay with the new gameplay method; i.e. front screen-touch, back screen-touch, microphone, six-axis, all in one game and flowing smoothly and naturally.
Cons however: The battery life feels short. I cannot play for a few days and leave it laying around powered off, pick it up and it’s dead. The PSP could lie off for a week and have near the same battery life when I powered it back on. Maybe my PSP was magic, but either way I’m spoiled and I don’t like this new battery. And that’s despite its OLED screen that doesn’t require back lighting so you’d think longer battery life. The OLED is amazing though, making blacks so crisp and black with no back lighting.
There is no “button lock” like there was with the PSP. This is a major, major setback for me. The Vita has Netflix instant watch capabilities and that is amazing. But with a touch screen on both front and back you have to start your instant watch and sit across the room for fear of accidentally pausing/rewinding/exiting your program. They’ll probably fix this later but it’s not later, it’s now.
The wireless isn’t worth it from my POV. It can’t do much more than my phone and I am not gonna put down one for the other and pay two bills to do it. If they release a handful of games I can’t live without maybe. Right now having the ability to play baseball on my PS3 and pick up the game when I leave the house or Marvel Capcom isn’t enough. I drive 90% of the time I leave the house. If I’m not busy the second I stop driving I most likely still have access to free Wi-Fi. I’ve considered downgrading my phone service because Wi-Fi is so available for free everywhere now. So good for some but not for all.
What it all boils down to is games. I’ve played it on and off for two months now and I thought by now I’d know where it fell in my life. It doesn’t have much of a place right now. I still love it like I did my PSP. I love the interface it has with my PS3 and I love that I can switch from gaming to internet (and good internet unlike the PSP) seamlessly. I don’t find myself holding it often though. When they come out with a few games that blow my mind in two I am sure I’ll spend hours a day with it. I don’t see it replacing the 3DS (even though I think that’s a gimmicky B of a game machine) anytime soon. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5 for how awesome it is, especially for its price, but that one missing star is the one you need to replace other gaming units. Until the gaming library becomes more expansive or they put a button lock on it I’d wait for that fifth star.