Tag Archives: Vita

E3 2014 Press Conference Impressions

Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo all held press conferences in LA…well ok Nintendo held a digital event, but whatever.  The point is that tons of new games were revealed, and we now have a much better idea what to expect from the next 12 months for each of the big three console manufacturers.  Here are my reactions to the press events.

Microsoft Press Conference:

Sony Press Conference:

Nintendo Digital Event:

What are your thoughts on the big three?

TearAway Review

TearAwayTearAway (Available exclusively on PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Action Platformer
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Media Molecule
Release Date: November 22nd, 2013

Parent Talk: TearAway is rated E for everyone and is the perfect game to give your children because there’s virtually nothing damaging in here at all.  There is some extremely minor violence when you’re forced to take out paper enemies, but that’s it.  I’d call it comic mischief myself.  Some young kids may have a hard time holding the Vita and making full use of the rear track pad and front touch screen though, so that’s a call you’ll have to make.  The Vita is also an expensive piece of hardware to let little kids use, but this is certainly a game they’d enjoy.

Plays Like: At its core TearAway is a 3D action platformer.  It features many interactive areas where players use the Vita’s various features in order to blur the lines between the real world and the digital one.  In total the game can be completed relatively quickly, in only a few hours, but there are plenty of collectables to keep you coming back afterwards.

Review Basis: Finished the game in around four and a half hours.

Every once and a while a game comes along that defines a platform.  Sometimes it’s because the game was so good it defied expectations, other times it changed the future of a particular genre forever, and then there are those games that define a platform because they highlight all the best features of the console they’re released on.  The latter is the case with TearAway, it defines the Vita because it makes perfect use of all the unique features the Vita has to offer without ever coming off as gimmicky or forced.  It’s the Vita’s first true killer app, and is easy the best game on the system.

TearAway1The Great:

Conceptually TearAway is brilliant.  Players take on the role of either a male envelope named Iota, or a female one called Atoi.  Both characters have the same goal, make it to the sun.  What’s unique is that you, as in the real you, are located in the sun.  This is thanks to the front facing camera frequently showing video of your face as you play the game.  Iota is on a mission to tell an exciting story about how he managed to reach you.  He’s not in this alone though, being an outsider partaking in his journey you have the ability to constantly alter Iota’s world by using the back track pad to pop your fingers through the paper and help him make his way through various obstacles.  It’s a genius way of seamlessly brining the real world and the game world together.  There will be times where you have to record snippets of your voice, other times where you’ll have to take pictures of your surroundings and so much more.  Each time you do this, the lines between the two “worlds” blur just a little bit more.  It’s incredibly good fun that justifies each and every feature on the Vita.

TearAway3The Good:

+ The link between the real world and the digital one is further enhanced by the stunning graphics.  Instead of going for the ultra-realistic, Media Molecule went for something that could actually take part in the real world.  This is because the digital world is entirely made up of paper.  With a stick of glue, some crayons and a good imagination, you could actually build TearAway’s entire universe out in the real world.  As you move Iota from one location to the next, levels peel back, or tear open to reveal something new and exciting.  It’s often breathtaking because of how charming the visuals look, and also how much detail was put into them.

+ If that weren’t enough, virtually everything in the game can be customized.  If you don’t like the way Iota looks at any given time, just touch him for a second or two and you can enter a customization menu that allows you to draw on his face, add objects to his body, and more.  Often you can even add different elements to the stages and other characters you meet.  There’s even a paper crafting mechanic built right into the game, whereby you can select from a wide variety of color paper, and draw whatever you want, cut it out, add unique items to it, and bring it to life within the game.  It’s pretty amazing.

+ Another area that is sensational is the interactivity of the game.  Most Vita games force touch screen inputs or the rear track pad in often bizarre ways that a button press could easily have emulated.  In this case though, each and every use of the Vita’s unique functions couldn’t be replicated with a button press.  From extending paper paths using the touch screen, to the already mentioned popping your fingers through the screen using the rear track pad, each feature proves useful, fun and highly creative.  This is how you make a Vita game!

+ The platforming is also top notch.  While all of these other features are great, they wouldn’t really do much if the core gameplay was lacking, but it isn’t.  Each of these interactive areas only enhance what was already there to begin with, a rock solid action platformer.  The first half of the game blends simple platforming and action, but later on the difficulty ramps up and your jumps have to be extremely precise.

+ One area that a lot of Vita games suffer from is their lack of portability.  Most games on the Vita are simply watered down console games, and it shows.  Their levels or missions are far too long to be of any use while gaming on the go.  That can’t be said for TearAway.  Here levels take maybe 15 to 20 minutes, however the game auto-saves every 15 to 20 seconds or so, meaning you can close the game at a moment’s notice.  Load times aren’t very long at all either, in essence there’s one load time upon boot up and that’s the only one you’re ever going to notice.  The entire game can be completed in only a few hours, but if you want to locate all the enemies, all the gift boxes, and all the confetti, it’ll take at least a dozen hours or so.

+ Finally, the lines between the digital world and real world come full circle with the inclusion of printable origami templates you can find in-game.  As you traverse the 3D world Iota will locate white-shaped objects that when he takes a picture of will come to life.  Doing this rewards Iota with an origami template of whatever it was he just snapped a photo of.  It’s the perfect way to wrap up the link between both worlds.

TearAway2The Lowdown:

TearAway is hands down the very best game on the PlayStation Vita right now.  I absolutely adored it.  The way it blends the lines between real world and digital world was spectacular.  I also loved all the different ways the Vita’s features were put to good use.  It never felt like a gimmick, and almost always brought a smile to my face.  The printable origami templates is another great touch.  Media Molecule is quickly becoming one of my favorite exclusive developers in Sony’s arsenal.  I love how they’re willing to think outside the box and take chances.  While this is a super easy recommend for anyone with a Vita, it’s hard to say whether players should race out and pick the system up for just this game.  While it’s fantastic, it is only a few hours long and I’d recommend players check out the rest of the system library to see if there are a few other games that tickle your fancy before taking the plunge.  That said, this is certainly a game everyone should at least experience.

Final Score: 9.5/10

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate Review

Batman BlackgateBatman: Arkham Origins Blackgate (Available on Nintendo 3DS, and PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: T
Number of Players: 1
Platformer: Action
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Armature Studio
Release Date: October 25th, 2013

Review Basis: We received a copy of the 3DS version from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.  I finished the game in around ten hours or so, and tried a little of the New Game+ mode.

Blackgate was a surprise announcement last year. There hasn’t been a non-LEGO Batman game on a portable in a very long while. The fact that it was going to be a Metroidvania-style adventure automatically got my attention. The first screens looked fantastic, and it’s one of those genres that was perfectly suited to the duel screen setup of the DS. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow was the first game to utilize the second screen, and I actually imported it when it came out because I couldn’t wait to see how well it played. If you’re interested, you can check out my old import play test in the archives. Not to get off topic here, but I really wanted to emphasize that I really enjoy these types of games. Just to show how platform neutral I am, the PlayStation Vita got an incredible Metroidvania-style game in Guacamelee, which is actually one of the very best videogames released this year. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate will not end up winning any awards, but it still warrants a play-through for fans of the genre.

The Great:

The tried and true gameplay of Metroidvania games still makes for one heck of a good time. Exploring every nook and cranny to find all the collectibles and power-ups is as addicting as ever. Batman’s detective mode lets you see objects that can be interacted with, which helps, but you’ll still have to come back to certain areas after collecting various upgrades. The satisfaction of finally solving puzzles you’ve been trying too since the beginning just feels awesome.

Batman Blackgate1The Good:

+ Sublime art style. Cutscenes take the form of slightly animated digital graphic novels. They look extremely similar to digital comic you might read on your PC or tablet. They certainly stay true to Batman’s roots.

+ Challenging gameplay. The boss battles in particular will really make you scratch your head. Black Mask is rather simple once you know what to do, but it took me dozens and dozens of Game Over screens before I was able to best him. The same can be said of the Penguin too.

+ Most puzzles won’t take you long to figure out, but they’re fun none-the-less. There are some larger puzzles towards the end of the game that are very satisfying to solve.

+ Classic power-ups from the Arkham series. Expect to find the grapple hook, the Bat-a-rang and a few more weapons we’ve all grown accustomed to with the console versions. The game could have used one or two more however, just to spice things up a little bit.

+ Perfect Length. Blackgate took me a little over ten hours to complete. That’s the right amount of time for a portable adventure like this one.

+ Makes great use of each portables’ strengths. Touch screen commands don’t get in the way and feel natural. On the 3DS, the 3D effects are well handled and help bring you into the journey. Vita owners also get to go trophy hunting.

+ Feels fresh to play a 2.5D Batman game. It’s always fun to experience something new and the more Batman the better.

+ New Game + changes the order of the bosses and adds new cutscenes. What’s not to love about that?

Batman Blackgate2The So-So:

-/+ Lackluster storyline. It’s supposed to compliment the Arkham Origins, but it really doesn’t tell much of a tale. If you play your videogames to be entertained by a blockbuster plot, you’ll be disappointed.

The Bad:

– Some battles are nothing more than glorified quick-time-events.

– Extremely confusing map system. The game takes place in a 3D environment, however your character can only move left or right. Sometimes, moving left on the screen will make you go right on the map, talk about confusing. For the most part, you have to rely on trial and error when backtracking to previous areas as the maps are often a nuisance.

– There’s no platforming whatsoever, not even a jump button. You don’t even aim your projectiles. Everything is done for you. It feels like the game plays itself, with you only moving the character around. It feels like a PC point and click game. It’s 99% exploration, and then a few fights here and there. It’s also kind of weird playing a Metroidvania-style game without a double jump.

The Ugly:

Blackgate introduces a painful fetch-quest right before the final boss that sends you all over previously explored areas to rescue five hostages. This is clearly a shameful attempt to add an extra hour of game time to your play-through. It’s completely unnecessary.

Batman Blackgate3The Lowdown:

While not as memorable as recent games like Guacamelee!, Shadow Complex or even Cave Story 3D, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate is still well worth your while. It’s a fun little adventure game that will fit your Nintendo 3DS or PlayStation Vita like a glove. However, I’d recommend this only to the biggest Metroidvania fans out there or those that simply cannot pass a Batman game by. It’s definitely a solid title, just one that comes with a few big flaws.

Final Score: 7.5/10

Dragon’s Crown Review

dragonscrown02Dragon’s Crown (Available on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: T
Number of Players: 1-4
Genre: Action/RPG
Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Vanillaware, Atlus
Release Date: August 6th, 2013
PS3 Price: $49.99
PS Vita Price: $39.99

PS3 vs. Vita: There aren’t many differences between the two versions. The Vita version has all of the content found in the home console version. It’s easier to gather around friends and play together with the home console version, though the handheld version is $10 cheaper and the pointer controls feel much more natural on the Vita. The Vita version seems to slow down more frequently during gameplay though, especially in the fights with the Kraken and the Goblin Gate. You can transfer save data between the two versions, though unfortunately cross-buy and cross-play features are not available.

Parent Talk: Dragon’s Crown doesn’t have any blood or gore, but it does have highly sexualized character designs. The character designs are meant to reference Dungeons and Dragons and Weird Tales/Conan the Barbarian, which had very scantily clad characters, but it may make some people feel uncomfortable, especially parents with young children.

Plays like: Classic arcade brawlers with a twist like Capcom’s Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom (and the recently re-released Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara), as well as the Golden Axe series. Dragon’s Crown is a beat ‘em up game at its core, throwing you against hordes of enemies in a semi-2D field, but it has adventure and role-playing elements as well. Also, if you enjoyed Code of Princess, you’ll really love this game.

Review Basis: Completed the Elf campaign, played locally and online, currently on Hard mode, started campaigns with the Fighter, Wizard, and Sorceress.

dragonscrown05

Vanillaware deserves a lot of love, whether or not many gamers know it already. They’ve been keeping 2D gaming alive with excellent titles like Odin Sphere and Muramasa: The Demon Blade (my personal favorite of the bunch). Dragon’s Crown fits squarely in with its forebears, because it thoroughly embraces its 2D heritage and manages to be fresh and interesting at the same time. While Odin Sphere was more of a single-player RPG and Muramasa was more of a Metroidvania-style adventure game, Dragon’s Crown is more of a Golden Axe-like arcade brawler. Yet also like its kin, Dragon’s Crown manages to make itself distinct, thanks to an interesting array of characters and a surprising amount of depth.

The Great:

Wonderful, nostalgic, 2D brawling. Dragon’s Crown is a throwback to classic arcade-style games, but given a modern twist. Part of the game’s charm is that it seems like a mindless, fun, hack-and-slash game at first glance, but hides a layer of depth beneath the surface. Destructoid probably put it best, calling the game a “technical brawler.” It doesn’t have the insane move-set of a typical fighting game, but each character has a unique move-set, a character-specific skill tree, and a wide variety of equipment at his or her disposal. Deciding who to go with and how to spec characters can make your adventure that much more successful.

The Good:

+ Absolutely stunning artwork. Though the character designs drew some ire from people, I’ll go out and defend it: George Kamitani’s artwork is absolutely wonderful and he has a true sense of style. The designs are meant to pay homage to the stylized look of Weird Tales/Conan the Barbarian, Dungeons and Dragons, Golden Axe, and perhaps Record of Lodoss War. I do agree that it’s highly exaggerated, but that’s the point of the characters. I personally prefer the aesthetic of Muramasa more, but that’s because I’m more interested in the Japanese mythology background and characters from that game. No matter which you prefer, it’s impossible to deny that the highly detailed characters and the amazing monsters really show that 2D artwork can still impress in the HD era. The dilapidated ruins, sprawling ruins, ornate castles, and dank waterways feel nostalgic rather than cliché. The characters have a sense of personality and life. The game looks especially beautiful on the Vita’s OLED widescreen. It’s quite possibly the most beautiful game on that system.

+ A diverse cast. There are six playable character types: Elf, Fighter, Amazon, Sorceress, Wizard, and Dwarf. While you cannot customize your character like in some fantasy role-playing games, each character has unique gimmicks. The Fighter has a wide array of sword attacks, can block with his shield, charge through enemies, and perform powerful combination attacks. However, the Wizard can create familiars out of wood and rain down fiery destruction. Each character gets access to a common skill tree as well as a character-specific skill tree. The Elf character, for example, can get access to a larger quiver, a better charged-shot skill, and more. You can build your character differently by focusing on different skills and changing your equipment list. I’ve spent most of my time playing as the Elf character, which is nimble and graceful. She can quickly unload a volley of arrows, but also unleash quick kick attack combos, which makes her a fun character to play.

+ Variety of equipment options. Most beat ‘em up games just set you own your way with a basic weapon and an occasional power-up. That is not the case here. Over the course of the game, you can open chests and get new gear, including weapons, armor, belts, necklaces, greaves, etc. Each piece of gear is ranked between E through S. E ranked gear tends to not offer any perks, while S ranked gear tends to have more passive bonuses. You can even purchase multiple equipment bags so that you can swap out different item sets between levels. You can spec one item list for finding items and increasing your chances of getting great loot. You can have up to 500 pieces of loot in your main equipment list, so you’re never pressured to start selling off your gear. Your equipment actually has a durability gauge as well. If you use your equipment too often, it may break, so you have to go to the shop and repair it. Though you may find that appraising a weapon you found may be the better option.

dragonscrown03

 + Items and power-ups. In addition to the equipment system mentioned above, you can also find limited-use weapons and items, such as crossbows, daggers, and torches. You need torches to ward off ghosts and bombs are needed to blow up secret passages. You can even mount certain monsters and ride them around!

+ Partner system. Even if you’re playing alone, you still have options. You can play locally or online of course, but if you prefer, you can resurrect other characters to help you. If you find bones in a level, you can take them to the local priest and revive them. These partner characters can’t level up or change equipment, so you’re encouraged to manage these partners carefully. Bury the bones if you don’t need to revive them and then part ways with them after you’ve adventured for some time.  If you bury the bones, you may be rewarded with a bonus item as well.

+ Magic system. Of course, the Sorceress and the Wizard have spells at their disposal, but there’s also a rune system as well. You can purchase several runes from the wizard Lucain, who looks suspiciously like Lord of the Ring’s Gandalf.  When you enter a level, you may find inscriptions strewn about the landscape. You can select the runes via a point-and-click style control system and then combine them with your own to cast a variety of spells. By combining specific runes, you can heal your characters, open hidden passages, petrify enemies, and more. After you uncover a rune combination, it will be recorded in Lucain’s rune guide. Sometimes it’s too hectic to select the runes while fighting enemies and renders some of the attack-based rune spells somewhat ineffective, but it’s an interesting mechanic.

+ Multiple pathways, multiple difficulties. When you first play the game, everything is very straightforward. You go through a basic tutorial, undertake a basic quest, and then gradually reach new areas. Once you get far enough, you can get a “second quest” in each area. Once you finally clear each level and get all of the talismans, you can challenge the dragon in the hopes of defeating it and restoring the land. However, that’s just part of your quest. Beating the dragon once clears the game on “Normal” and revives on the goddesses, represented as a statute in the church. You can then play the game again on Hard, and then again on Nightmare, in the hopes of reviving the other goddesses. Your level cap increases on each mode, going from level 35 on Normal, to 65 on Hard, to 99 on Nightmare. I completed the Normal mode in about 15 hours after completing all of the quests, and going through the remaining modes is not a breeze either. The bosses become more challenging and you also gain access to a new labyrinth level, which is basically like a remixed tower consisting of various sections of other levels. Most levels only take about 10 minutes or less to beat, making the game ideal for short bursts of play.

+ Both English and Japanese audio is available.

+ There are multiple color schemes for each character.

+ Continuous play option. Levels don’t take much time to complete, but there’s an interesting hook that comes after beating a stage—you can choose to keep going in the hopes of getting added rewards, but risk becoming worn out. After each stage, you may get a bonus incentive, whether it’s added gold or score bonuses. However, if you use your equipment too long, it might break, making it less effective in combat. You also have to worry about how many life points your characters have, because after a certain amount of revives, you have to start shelling out money to revive your comrades. It’s a careful balancing act. Do you risk braving the next level? Or do you go home and rest, repair your equipment, and prepare for the next adventure? However, you may occasionally get the option to heal between adventures by feasting over the campfire.

+ Quests. Each level already has a secondary path to discover and alternate boss to fight, but you can also revisit levels to satisfy quest objectives. Some quests ask you to defeat a number of enemies, for example. After completing a quest, you get a piece of art with a short story. It’s simple, but rewarding, and may remind many gamers of Lost Odyssey. I became more interested in finishing the quests just to see the various art pieces and stories, rather than getting the quest bonuses and items.

+ Multiplayer. One of the big draws of Dragon’s Crown is the multiplayer. You can easily drop in and out of online plays, making play seamless and quick. I joined a game in a few seconds and experienced no lag whatsoever.  I also played with a friend locally and everything was seamless. You can drop in and drop out in the middle of levels, making joining games less cumbersome.

+ Music. The music is just excellent. Composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto, Dragon’s Crown score perfectly fits the fantasy aesthetic. Some of Sakimoto’s work includes Tactics Ogre, Vagrant Story, and Final Fantasy Tactics, which should give you an idea of its epic scope.

+ The fantasy landscape. Playing Dragon’s Crown is like reliving a session of Dungeons and Dragon’s mixed with a game of Golden Axe at the same time. The narrator perfectly complements the adventure with lines that make you feel as though you’re experiencing a tabletop adventure. The game play is reminiscent of classic arcade beat ‘em up, but the sparse story segments still manage to have personality and charm thanks to the dungeon master-like proclamations from the narrator. You can even access other narrator voices as well. The adventure is remarkably simple in scope, but that’s what makes it endearing—you have to defeat the dragon and save the land. It’s not bogged down with brooding characters or meandering plot threads.

+ Cross Save option easily lets you transfer your save data between the PS3 and Vita versions. You can upload your save data on one platform and then download the data on the other, so you can pick up where you left off.

dragonscrown04

The Bad:

-The pointer controls on PS3. Controlling Rannie the Thief and activating runes is interesting, but the pointer controls on the PS3 are a bit awkward. It’s not necessarily that bad, and considering that it would otherwise be impossible to control Rannie at the same time, it’s a somewhat necessary evil. Many times, I wouldn’t activate runes or move Rannie until I cleared out enemies because it was difficult to do both, but the runes had attack-focused abilities, thus completely useless by the time I cleared out the enemies. This is a very minor complaint. The Vita version avoids it completely, because the touch controls are significantly quicker and easier.

-Stiffness. Dragon’s Crown is a 2D brawler, but it has a pseudo-3D plane like other arcade brawlers. And like those games, it also can be a bit awkward at first. This was especially problematic when playing as the Elf, when precision is required. Sometimes I would barely miss my arrow strikes because I misjudged the enemy’s hit box. Using the analog stick makes movement a bit easier, but then running became more awkward, because you have to hold the attack button down to run. The d-pad makes running easier (with a simple double tap), but then lining up to attack enemies is a bit trickier. This issue goes away in time and to be fair, it’s just a matter of getting used to the game’s controls and quirks. After some time, I was able to easily land hits.

-Even with the option to replay levels, do quests, and explore hidden routes, the action can get a bit repetitive. You’ll be fighting the same bosses several times, you’ll see the same levels several times, and you’ll have to run through the same challenges. If you play the game with other characters, you’ll have to redo the same challenges and stages. Playing on multiplayer alleviates the tedium and the game does remain fun to play for quite some time, but if you’re on your own, it does drone on a bit.

-Unfortunately, you cannot customize your character’s appearance and equipment doesn’t seem to change the look of the character. Also, there aren’t variations of the characters—if you select the Elf, there’s only the female Elf character, for example. The six characters are very well developed and designed, and the character art is incredibly intricate, so I can understand why they don’t have the added customization options. Still, it would have been nice to have other options for these characters.

-Sadly no Cross Play feature.

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The Ugly:

Occasional slowdown. This issue was more prevalent on the Vita version, especially during more hectic boss fights like the Kraken. I rarely had this issue with the PS3 version.

The Lowdown:

If you like classic arcade games and are a fan of 2D action, you’ll find a lot to love in Dragon’s Crown. It’s one of the best games of its kind, as a brawler with depth and heart. For a game in this genre to last more than a few hours is a feat in itself, so one that lasts a dozen is a godsend.

Score: 9/10

The Current State of Portable Game Sales

Steven recently wrote an article on his top 3DS games, which was then followed up with a top Vita games article. Since everyone pretty much agrees on which games are the best on any given platform, let’s take a look if those great games actually have great sales. Before we begin please keep in mind these are sales estimates, and they don’t include digital sales, so that does have an impact. The numbers are also worldwide sales, and not region specific. Let’s start with his top five 3DS games.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D – 3 million +

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon – 2 million +

Super Mario 3D Land – 8.5 million +

Fire Emblem: Awakening – 900,000 +

Resident Evil: Revelations – 700,000 +

Next we’ll take the most popular Vita games based on sales I could actually find.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale – 170,000 +

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection – 190,000 +

Gravity Rush – 300,000 +

Lumines – 100,000 +

Uncharted: Golden Abyss – 970,000 +

Now comes the fun part, matching those highly regarded games against the actual top five selling games on each of the platforms. We’ll keep the same order, first 3DS then Vita.

1. Super Mario 3D Land – 8.5 million +

2. Mario Kart 7 – 8 million +

3. New Super Mario Bros. 2 – 6 million +

4. Animal Crossing: New Leaf – 3 million +

5. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – 3 million +

1. Uncharted: Golden Abyss – 970,000 +

2. Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified – 740,000 +

3. Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation – 690,000 +

4. Persona 4: The Golden – 450,000 +

5. FIFA Soccer – 420, 000 +

Now before looking at the numbers and saying wtf, keep in mind that worldwide lifetime sales of the 3DS are 32 million compared to around 5 million for the Vita, which explains why Vita numbers are so much lower. Super Mario 3D Land was purchased by 27% of all 3DS owners, and Uncharted was bought by 20% of all Vita owners, which is pretty damn impressive for both platforms.

It’s interesting how so many people adore Resident Evil: Revelations on the 3DS, yet the game’s performance pales in comparison to the first party Nintendo content. Notice the top selling Vita games are all more mature releases, leading one to believe that the system is selling to an older demograph. So what do we take away from this, first and foremost that the PlayStation Vita is in dire need of more software in order to pump out higher sales figures, and that as always, the biggest hits on a Nintendo system are Nintendo first party games. The 3DS has proved to be a truly impressive piece of hardware that the masses are eating up. Selling 6 million units of any game is truly impressive, and Nintendo has three games that have already sold that much.

So what do you take away from the current portable sales? People like to talk smack about Nintendo, but clearly the company is doing something right with sales figures this high. Is there any hope for the Vita to rebound, or will Sony just leave the system to die?

The Ultimate Top 5 Vita Games of All Time List

Steven originally came up with the concept of writing a Top 5 article for the PlayStation Vita. To mix things up he invited one of our most loyal fans to join the ranks and list off his top 5. So here’s how this is going to work. Steven’s list is based on a novice’s point of view, seeing that he’s played on a few Vita games. Next up will be my list. I’ve played quite a few games, but nowhere near as many as AppetitePat, who acts as our Vita expert. If you want to check out our reviews, click on the title of the game. So let’s get the party started!

Steven’s Ultimate List

HSG5) Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational – A truly kick ass launch game that I had the pleasure of reviewing. One of the best golf games I’ve played, also really well adapted for a portable system. This made me realize how awesome it was to have (near) HD visuals on a portable.

 

 

 

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Review4) Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 – I’m a huge fan of this game, and having it on the go can’t be matched. The Vita port is almost 100% identical to the console version, with just a bit too much loading. Still, it plays like a champ and the lightning-fast action is represented marvelously on the Vita’s OLED screen. Gotta love it!

 

 

Mutant Blobs Attack3) Tales From Space: Mutant Blob Attacks – The Vita’s surprise launch hit. This made me fall in love with DrinkBox Studios. If you’ve yet to experience this classic, shame on you!

 

 

 

Guacamelee!2) Guacamelee! – Go read my review right away! That should tell you why it’s so high on my list. What could possibly beat this as my number 1…..

 

 

 

Lumines: Electronic Symphony Review + Video Review1) Lumines: Electronic Symphony – I just couldn’t believe how addicting a puzzle game could be. I’ve invested over a dozen hours into this title. I don’t recall ever playing a puzzle game for more than 15 minutes before. I would lose myself for hours trying to beat my friend’s high scores, the Vita’s online infrastructure is perfect for a game like this. It’s an awesome puzzler that fools you into thinking you’re playing an action game at some points. You really need to give this game a chance.

 

 

Jarrod’s Deluxe List

Gravity Rush5) Gravity Rush – With an incredibly unique concept, a great gameplay world to explore, and a pretty entertaining storyline, Gravity Rush is just what the doctor ordered for anyone looking for a unique Vita action adventure unlike anything else out there. It may have had a few issues, but it’s still a fantastic trip worth taking.

 

 

 

Lumines: Electronic Symphony Review + Video Review4) Lumines: Electronic Symphony – My favorite PSP launch title also happens to be one of the very best puzzle games of all time. Electronic Symphony is just as endearing and exciting to play. It includes a ton of amazing gameplay modes, phenomenal music, and great gameplay. What’s not to love?

 

 

 

Uncharted: Golden Abyss Review3) Uncharted: Golden Abyss – Proving it is possible to have a console-like experience on the go, Golden Abyss takes everything you love about the Uncharted series and miniaturizes it for the go. Featuring a great cast of characters, some of the best visuals ever seen on a portable and excellent gameplay, Golden Abyss deserves to be on everyone’s top five list (I’m looking at you Steven!).

 

 

 

Mutant Blobs Attack2) Tales From Space: Mutant Blob Attacks – The surprise hit of the decade. Honestly I had no expectations for this game at all. Released as a digital-only title at the Vita’s launch, Mutant Blobs Attack featured the most charming characters ever. The gameplay was spot-on, and the secrets were excellent. This game shocked me to no end, and should be played by absolutely everyone. It’s the title that introduced me to DrinkBox Studios, who have since become my favorite PSN developer out there.

 

 

 

Guacamelee!1) Guacamelee! – Hands down my favorite game on the Vita. While it’s also available on the PS3, this game rules like no other. It’s a Metroidvania-style game, but with its own unique charm and visuals. Another smash from Drinkbox Studios. This game challenges you in insane ways, but never becomes frustrating. If you own a Vita, this is one game you need to play right this very second. It’s brilliant!

 

 

Pat’s Super Crazy Cool List

Plants vs. Zombies Review5) Plants vs Zombies – Probably my favorite tower defense game! I spent more hours on this one than I care to mention! Did three playthroughs and this is on top of the two I had already done on the iPhone. The screen size and touchscreen worked really well once again. Not much else to say.

 

 

 

 

Battle Royale4) PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royal – This is a game that I feel didn’t get as much love as it deserved. One of (if not the first) games to have multiplayer servers for both PS3 and Vita. There was absolutely no lie when they said it would play as great on any system! Even though it didn’t sell much or become a classic like Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros., the online community is still going strong!

 

 

 

MGS HD Collection Vita3) Metal Gear Solid HD Collection – Not much to say here, we’ve all played the MGS games numerous times and know what to expect from this collection. Everything worked well from the screen size to the smooth controls.

 

 

 

Rayman_Vita2) Rayman Origins – This was my first Rayman experience, and I enjoyed it quite a lot! I found it to have all my favorite aspects of platform games and none of my dislikes. Fast paced, unlimited lives, diversity and great music all contributed to what made it so enjoyable. Sure the Vita version didn’t have multiplayer, but I usually play my games alone anyway and quite honestly, I think acquiring the platinum trophy would’ve been harder without the touch feature.

 

 

Uncharted: Golden Abyss Review1) Uncharted: Golden Abyss – This one’s an absolute no-brainer! I had quite a lot of fun with this one. I think it’s quite crazy to have been able to reproduce a game on a handheld that is just as good if not better than the original Uncharted on the PS3. The length of the game was long too, and the ability to use the accelerometer to fine tune your aiming was quite welcome! I even found myself trying to do that on the PS3 afterwards!

 

 

Unfortunately there are a lot of games that I haven’t had the chance to play yet. There are plenty of them that could easily have made this top 5 list such as Gravity Rush, Persona 4, Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation, LittleBigPlanet, Sly Cooper 4, Unit 13, Guacamelee and Mutant Blob attacks. That’s not naming them all, and that’s why I don’t understand when people say the Vita doesn’t have any games. Sure a lot of them are also available on PS3 but it doesn’t make them any less available on the Vita to play on the go. For some of us, on the go is where you get most of your gaming! I really love that powerful little machine and I hope Sony’s got a good show for us this time around for E3!

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time Review (PS3/Vita)

Sly Cooper - Thieves in TimeSly Cooper: Thieves in Time (Available on PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Action Platformer
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Sanzaru Games Inc.
Release Date: February 5th, 2013

Parent Talk: Sly’s latest has been rated E10+ for everyone over the age of 10. As with any action platformer of this kind parents can expect cartoon violence, but the ESRB also notes Thieves in Time features alcohol reference, suggestive themes and the use of tobacco. Honestly given the exaggerated situations, and the cartoon nature of the game there isn’t very much damaging to children, and as a matter of fact I would have loved to play through a game like this when I was younger.

Plays Like: Much like the Sly Cooper Collection, Thieves in Time has a heavy emphasis on action, while also challenging players with unique platforming elements and exciting puzzles.

Review Basis: Finished the game on the PS3, and then compared it to the Vita version. Both are virtually identical.

It’s hard to believe we’re so far into this generation and the action platformer has almost died out completely. Sure we’ve had a couple of Ratchet and Clank games, but that series has seemed to have lost its direction. As a matter of fact if it weren’t for the excellent collections Sony’s released over the past few years, action platformer fans would be up in arms by now. Thankfully Sanzaru has come to the rescue with an all new Sly Cooper and not a moment to soon. The ultimate question is whether or not they’ve succeeded in making a game worthy of the name, or if this genre truly is on its way out.

Sly Cooper - Thieves in Time1

The Great:

A Sly Cooper you can be proud of. If there’s one element that stands out above the rest, it has to be the way Sanzaru has taken everything that’s worked for the series and added a fresh new layer to call their own. This time around the spin is that players take on the roll of several new characters, play through different stages in time and also have access to unique gameplay elements never seen before.

Sly Cooper - Thieves in Time2

The Good:

+ Cute storyline has Sly and company travel through time to determine exactly what is causing Sly’s family history from being erased. All the characters from the previous games make an appearance and are voiced by their legendary actors. There are more than a few laugh out loud moments, so be prepared for a very good time.

+ Exploration is both rewarding and a delight to partake in. Sure there are your usual collectibles to seek out, but players will want to see what’s around the next corner, or venture just a little further than the last time because of how intricate and well-designed the hub areas are for the five unique stages in time.

+ Progression is player controlled. By finding new goodies players can unlock new moves for Sly allowing him to become more nimble than ever before, which plays directly into the exploration element.

+ Controls are tight and responsive. Players won’t have any issues whatsoever sneaking around enemies and snatching loot from unsuspecting prey.

+ Each new time travel episode puts players in the roll of a new character and the gameplay changes based on which character you happen to be playing as. The good news is that no matter which character you assume the role of, you’re in for a good time. Pacing and variety will keep you glued to the screen for hours.

+ Both the PS3 and the Vita version look stunning, and feature excellent audio. From a sweeping musical soundtrack to the fantastic dialogue, this is how you make a modern action platformer.

+ Buy the PS3 version and you get the Vita version for free. What’s not to love about that?

Sly Cooper - Thieves in Time3

The So-So:

+/- Difficulty is scaled to a much younger audience, and while that will please your children, it doesn’t leave you with a deep feeling of satisfaction when you evade a guard. Taken as a whole, you never feel as though you’re threatened in any way, shape or form.

The Bad:

– Combat is lackluster no matter which character you happen to be playing as. The main culprit is the simple and easy nature of the fights. Just mash on a few buttons, collect healing items and repeat until you’re all that remains. Simple as that. Thankfully the boss fights are much more interesting, and can pack a punch.

Sly Cooper - Thieves in Time4

The Lowdown:

It is so nice to have a new Sly Cooper. While it may have taken almost an entire generation for it to arrive, it’s here and it’s a blast. Sure some of the combat systems aren’t as good as they could be, but the tight controls, excellent variety of gameplay, and brilliant dialogue help make this one game you don’t want to miss out on. If you were ever a fan of the series, pick Thieves in Time up as soon as you can. If you’ve never played the series before, it’s about time you start. Either the PS3 or the Vita version come highly recommended.

Final Score: 8/10

Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault Review

Ratchet and Clank FFARatchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault (Available on PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Number of Players: 1 to 4
Genre: Tower Defense
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Insomniac
Release Date: November 27th, 2012

Parent Talk: Comic mischief and fantasy violence are the only warnings the ESRB give parents and for very good reason, the franchise has always been aimed at the T crowd and under, and this game is no exception. Full Frontal Assault is about as damaging as a Pixar movie.

Plays Like: In a bizarre turn of events this latest entry in the venerable R&C series plays very little like its predecessors and much more like a tower defense game you’d find on tablets and smartphones. All of the action takes place third-person, but instead of exploring, collecting unique weapons and taking on other-worldly bosses, you’re trying to keep your base secure while defeating the enemy base as waves of enemies rain down on you. It’s confined, linear and likely not what you expect.

Review Basis: Played through what little content was there.

Let’s get something out of the way right now. I want another disc-based fully featured Ratchet & Clank. I adore the series, but am starting to get annoyed by all these “experimental” games Insomniac has released over the past few years. Last year’s All 4 One wasn’t too bad, but I still found it annoying that it wasn’t a real R&C. Whatever happened to spending countless hours looking for that last gold bolt, or being floored by entering a new planet and being amazed by it’s sheer visual fluidity. The charm and magic of the core series is slowly disappearing thanks to what amounts to quick cash-ins on the popular IP. Full Frontal Assault is the worst culprit yet.

Ratchet and Clank FFA1

The Great:

The online multiplayer is clearly where it’s at. Available in either co-op or competitive, players attempt to destroy the opposing teams generator nodes, while doing everything in their power to ensure at least one of their nodes survives. Players begin by taking control of as many nodes as possible, which grants weapons, and bolts over time. The objective is to use these bolts to enhance your defenses before the assault phase begins. It’s at this point where players have to determine whether they have enough defenses to leave their base and assault their opponent, or stay and guard it as waves of enemies attack. This was clearly how the game was envisioned and works relatively well if you’re playing with other players, sadly things fall apart if you aren’t as the gameplay structure changes.

Ratchet and Clank FFA2

The Good:

+ Some of the best weapons in the series make a return, including Mr. Zurkon, and the Groovitron. The new weapons aren’t quite as memorable, although they’re never really put to the proper test.

+ Nice animations and improved visuals over All 4 One. The same witty voice actors also return to help make this feel like a true Ratchet and Clank.

+ The PS3 Blu-ray disc version includes the PS Vita version. Two for the price of one is always a plus in my book.

Ratchet and Clank FFA3

The Bad:

– Single-player is repetitive and short-lived, featuring only three distinct maps.

– While more bolts are generated over time, you never have enough to make proper defenses while in single-player. You spend the assault phase constantly babysitting your base, while your defenses should be doing the work for you. It becomes tiresome after a short period of time.

– Enemy waves are sporadic and seem to happen at the most inconvenient times, forcing you to race back to your base in order to protect it because of the shameful defenses.

– Ammo is scare, and weapon upgrades don’t help very much.

The Ugly:

The franchise just celebrated its tenth year, and it deserved much better. Hopefully a true installment in the series isn’t too far off, because we all miss spending 20+ hours with these characters, not half an hour of frustration.

Ratchet and Clank FFA4

The Lowdown:

Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault isn’t a bad game if you play it with others, it’s just not the game players have been asking for. At only $20 it’s worth checking out if you know you have other players who can help you out. If you’re only going to be playing it alone, skip it.

Final Score: 5/10

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Review (PS3 & Vita)

PS All-Stars Battle RoyalePlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (Available on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: T
Number of Players: 1 to 4
Genre: Fighting
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: SuperBot Entertainment
Release Date: November 20th, 2012

Parent Talk: Crude humor, mild language, mild suggestive themes, and violence are the main elements the ESRB warns parents about. While the fighting isn’t overly realistic like Mortal Kombat, the characters themselves come from T or M-rated games and therefore skew towards a somewhat older audience.

Plays Like: Despite what most may think, there’s a lot more to All-Stars than being a Super Smash Bros. clone. Make no mistake about it, this game was heavily influenced by that classic Nintendo series, but it mixes up the fighting elements enough that it feels like a completely different beast. Up to four players go head to head in order to build up a devastating super move, which is the only way to defeat your opponent. No being thrown off the stages here.

Review Basis: Played a ton of both the PS3 and Vita version, enough that one review will cover both games.

PS All-Stars had a lot to prove when it first was announced. The early video footage and screenshots made it look identical to Nintendo’s popular brawler. It featured the same cartoony look, same four-player battles, and for all intents and purposes, it looked like the exact same game. Fast forward to when I finally got my hands on it, and I can tell you now, this is an entirely different game. The ultimate question is whether or not it’s any good.

PS All-Stars Battle Royale1

The Great:

Complex fighting system takes a long time to master. It features a very steep learning curve, which could easily throw players off. Punches, kicks, throws, taunts, rolls, dodges, etc. are all available. While there are only three attack buttons, using them in combination with the d-pad or analog stick completely changes their output. Each of the game’s 20 playable characters feel completely unique. If you’re an inexperienced fighter, odds are you’re going to spend a lot of time just trying to learn the ropes of a single combatant. In this regard, PS All-Stars is a much more serious fighter than anyone expected, and also not the best game to just pick up and play for a few minutes. It requires devotion if you’re planning on actually winning matches.

PS All-Stars Battle Royale2

The Good:

+ Interesting win mechanic. By using combos and other skill-based moves, you build up a special power meter. Once it reaches max level, you can one-shot multiple opponents. Rack up enough kills within a certain time limit and you’re declared the winner.

+ Wonderful assortment of characters. You’ve got Nathan Drake, Sly Cooper and countless other famous PlayStation faces. There are also some nice third party additions like the Big Daddy from Bioshock and Raiden from the Metal Gear Solid universe.

+ Some of the best stage designs I’ve seen from a fighter in years. Each arena has a mash-up of at least two different universes. I don’t want to spoil them for anyone, but they’re typically games you’d never imagine would work together, but really do.

+ The audio visual presentation on both the PS3 and Vita versions are impressive. Characters animate well, are fluid and highly responsive. From an audio perspective, the music is exactly what you’d expect and all the famous voice actors return to their respective characters.

+ Online and local multiplayer is extremely fun. Coupled with wonderful cross-play features that allow PS3 and Vita users to play one another, and you have yourself a fighter you can literally play whenever the mood hits you.

PS All-Stars Battle Royale3

The So-So:

+/- Where are all the funky PS characters from days gone by? It would have been excellent to get Crash in here, or maybe the rabbit from Jumping Flash. While I enjoyed the characters that managed to make the cut, I felt a little more effort could have gone into highlighting some of the more obscure PlayStation characters from the early days of the platform.

+/- Arena challenges, such as moving platforms, butt heads with the technical fighting. It’s extremely hard to think three moves ahead when you’re trying to stay on a platform so you don’t get stunned for a couple of seconds. Thankfully you can turn these challenges off for versus play. For more casual matches they do a good job of allowing newbies to mess around.

PS All-Stars Battle Royale4

The Bad:

All-Stars biggest problem is one of an identity crisis. It doesn’t know what it wants to be. It has all the technical prowess you’d expect in a hardcore fighting game, but also features tons of casual-friendly options. At the end of the day the mash-up might throw off more people than it encourages to try the game.

The Ugly:

For whatever reason the menus look downright ugly. They go directly against the rest of the game and look completely uninspired.

PS All-Stars Battle Royale5

The Lowdown:

PlayStation All-Stars, which is what the game should have been called, is a really fun fighting game. It’s technical and requires tons of time and devotion to get the most out of. That’s also its biggest hurdle. There are already countless hardcore fighters out there, and this one happens to look like a casual-friendly game. Don’t be mistaken by the game’s look, this is a hardcore fighter wrapped up in casual clothing. For all those naysayers that said it was nothing more than a simple SSB clone, go take a closer look as I think you’ll be surprised. I know I sure was.

Final Score: 8/10

Smart As… Review

Smart As… (Available exclusively on PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: XDev Studios
Release Date: October 30th, 2012

Parent Talk: This is a perfectly rated game. Like Nintendo’s Brain Age series, the sole purpose of this game is to test your brain’s power through observation, language, logic and arithmetic puzzles. You won’t find a single offensive sprite anywhere.

Plays Like: If you’ve played the Brain Age series from the Big N you know what to expect here. There are daily challenges, individual puzzles and more ways to test your brain than you could possibly imagine.

Review Basis: Played for several days trying to do as much as I possibly could.

Haven’t had an excuse to play with your Vita lately? Waiting for the Assassin’s Creed: Liberation as your next big Vita purchase? If you’re in this category, Smart As… might just be the perfect compliment to whatever you’re waiting for or currently playing. It offers players a reason to keep coming back to your Vita.

The Great:

Testing yourself has always been fun, and the same can be said here. Each day you can try to best your scores from the previous day’s puzzles. This one addictive gameplay element is hands-down the best reason to pick this game up.

The Good:

+ Each puzzle category features a series of interesting and unique challenges. They never become bothersome or frustrating, and each mini-game is genuinely fun. As players progress new free-play and practice mini-games unlock, allowing you ample time and opportunity to better your scores.

+ Interesting Near and GPS leaderboard functionality. Challenge boards show how you stack up to the people in your city. Street Smart Challenges are updated all the time so you’ll always have something to do.

+ Presentation values are sharp and consistent. They aren’t breakthrough, but make you feel as though you’re playing a mature puzzle game. John Cleese does the narration and it’s superb, as expected.

The Bad:

+/- $30 might not seem like a lot of money, but this is a game you’re likely to spend no more than 15 minutes a day playing. I think it would have been better suited as a digital download app for $10, but hey that’s just me.

The Ugly:

Seeing my brain score after a game of Roller Blocks. Ouch!

The Lowdown:

Smart As… is an interesting and quirky little game. While I think it might have been better as a downloaded app, the fact remains that this is the perfect game to pick up and play for a few minutes each day before your next gaming marathon begin. All those complaining the Vita doesn’t get unique games should certainly check this out.

Final Score: 8/10

Growlanser IV: Wayfarer of Time Impressions

Growlanser IV: Wayfarer of Time (Available only on PlayStation Portable and PSN)
ESRB Rating: T
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Strategy RPG
Publisher: ATLUS
Developer: Career Soft
Release Date: July 31st, 2012

Note: This game is playable on PlayStation Vita.

So far, I’ve poured about 15 hours into Growlanser IV. I plan to play for quite a lot longer. My experience thus far has been very favorable, because Wayfarer of Time has proven to be an addictive, engaging handheld role-playing game. Fans of the strategy genre will have a lot to work with her and people who enjoy the “dating sim lite” approach in games like Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 and 4 will be thrilled. Even if you’ve retired your PlayStation Portable, you may want to dust it off or download this gem for your Vita–because it’s looking great.

What is Growlanser? Growlanser is a strategy role-playing game series. Most of the games have an isometric perspective and 2D character sprites. Think of like like a combination of Final Fantasy Tactics and a dating-sim. Outside of battles, the player can talk with characters, go to shops, engage in events (like going to see plays), and so on. There is an extensive relationship system that permeates the whole game. The player can form relationships with characters in the game, becoming close friends and possibly more. There are extensive dialog trees and the experience is highly customizable and personable. In battles, players fight enemies in a real-time, menu-based system.

I’ve never played a game in this series before. Can I play this one without experiencing the others? Yes! Wayfarer of Time stands on its own. If you’ve played Growlanser Generations, you will have a good understanding of how this game works-both are similar. They have the same battle system and general mechanics.

What makes this game unique/worth playing? The character customization make this a unique, lengthy, and engrossing adventure. There are multiple endings and many different options, depending on how you play. Are you kind and caring? Or are you cold and ruthless? How you act determines how characters will interact with you and treat you. You can also meet different characters based on how you act in the game; certain characters may live or die by your actions, as well. The battle system is also highly engaging and should be fun for any role-playing game fan, with its clever blend of real-time, turn-based, and tactical elements. Characters do not move on a grid nor is it a “wait-based” system. Battles require quick thinking and a level of preparation.

Is the story any good? Yes, and it’s lengthy. Characters are memorable and interesting. The high-level of of character interaction means that you get many opportunities to learn about each of the characters, but it won’t be the same way for each person. ATLUS has proclaimed that there are over 40 possible endings in the game. I won’t include any spoilers here, but here’s a rough primer: You play as Crevanille, a young boy taken in and raised by a mercenary brigade. His leader calls him the “key” and believes he will be instrumental in defeating the angels, who had destroyed human civilization ages ago and apparently threaten to do so again.

Expect a full review from me soon! 

PS Vita Update 1.80 Arrives!

Sony’s latest PS Vita firmware brings one of the most requested features to the masses, the ability to finally play original PlayStation classics on the go.  The firmware is a measly 102MB and should take most no longer than a few seconds to download and install.  Sony officially says nine games work with the Vita, while the European reps say over 100 work.  The truth of the matter is that only nine games are available for download directly from your Vita via the PlayStation Store.  If you purchased your games via the PS3 you can transfer them via system link to the Vita.  I’ve tested this myself and it works just fine.  I don’t know if all games work, but it’s a simple work around for those of us who happen to own both systems.  The problem is that not everyone who owns a Vita necessarily owns a PS3.  Hopefully Sony addresses this issue before too long as it’s amazing being able to play PS1 classics on the go.  Here are the game that can be purchased via the Vita right now.

  • Arc the Lad
  • Cool Boarders 2
  • FINAL FANTASY VII
  • Hot Shots Golf 2
  • Jet Moto
  • Syphon Filter
  • Tomb Raider
  • Twisted Metal 2
  • Wild Arms

Firmware 1.80 also brought with it the ability to control the Vita’s dashboard with buttons instead of the touch controls. These new controls can be turned on via the settings tab.

Have any of you tried to transfer other games?  If so, which ones have you got to work, and are there any that haven’t?

Problems Continue to Plague Sony’s Fledging Portable

The Vita has had it rough.  I think everyone can agree on that.  While it had a super impressive launch, the system has virtually disappeared from the headlines since then.  Sure we hear about the odd announcement, and yes last week’s news was awesome, but before that it was as if Sony was in silence mode.  It appears gamers didn’t like the silence as new sales figures have been released and they paint an extremely ugly picture for the PlayStation Vita.

As of June 30, 2012 the PlayStation Vita has sold 2.2 million units worldwide.  On March 31, 2012 Vita sales stood at 1.8 million worldwide.  What does that mean?  It means only 400,000 systems were sold worldwide in April, May and June.  In that exact same timeframe the PSP sold very close to one million units, meaning the older portable is outselling its big brother by a factor of 2:1.  How many people do you know are actually buying a PSP?  Yeah, I don’t know anyone who is either, which is exactly the point here.  If no one you know is buying the PSP, that means even less people are buying the Vita.  Ouch, not a very good way to kick things off.

Thankfully the future looks much brighter thanks to all the Gamescom announcements, but with news like this it does make you wonder what Sony can do to rectify the situation.  The company has sales have been “acceptable” and that they’re having a very hard time convincing third parties to choose Vita over mobile offerings such as the iPhone and Android-based smartphones.  Meanwhile the 3DS has been a sales powerhouse after Nintendo dropped the price of the portable.  The last official numbers we have are from September 2011, and they paint an even uglier picture for the Vita.  Back then the 3DS was at 6.68 million units sold.  So just imagine how far ahead the 3DS is now.

So now it’s your turn to chime in.  It’s clear Sony is at DEFCON 1 with the Vita.  Imagine if you were in charge, what would you do to try and turn things around?  Do you think this will have any impact on what Sony might try to do with the PlayStation 4?