My Recent Romp with the PlayStation Vita

Gravity Rush I’ve had a Vita since its release in February of last year but it wasn’t until recently that I started playing it almost exclusively, but why the sudden shift in my playtime? In addition to PlayStation Plus coming to the Vita, there are also simply more games out now. That means a larger pasture for the system to evolve with.

These games are much more involved storywise and offer much more content than Touch My Katamari’s scant 10 hours or so. And that’s after replaying each level at least 10 times and collecting everything.

Aside from Treasures of Montezuma: Blitz, which also had very little to offer, there wasn’t really much going on for my Vita up until the last couple of months. I definitely didn’t have the disposable income to splurge on some more games so my Vita became a nice handheld Netflix box for watching shows before bed.

Fast forward a few months in the Vita’s life and you have quite a few quality titles out now that pack a punch. In my last column, I talked about some great gifts to get for someone you know who owns a Vita. Of course, that could also apply to yourself.

Now, I haven’t played every big game that has come out for the Vita since its release because I’m not made of money. Of the ones I have played though, I’m noticing a trend that I really like. With the Vita, I’m having an easier time finding a game that I would like to spend my money on than I did with the DS. Sure, you can chalk that up to the difference in demographic but is that really it?

I’m not going to say I’m a Sony fangirl because I’m far from it. Nintendo has a stranglehold on the IPs I grew up with and hold dear (Pokemon, anyone?). In fact, I’ve been buying Nintendo’s handhelds solely to play the latest iteration of Pokemon, a habit I see changing with the announcement of Pokemon X and Y.

Assassin's Creed III: LiberationEven though games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation are handheld spin-offs of popular series available on the PS3, they easily hold their own as stand-alone games. Never mind the fact that Liberation had some odd bugs to work out because it wouldn’t be Assassin’s Creed without them. The actual content of the game was quite good. It really did feel like I could have been playing a game from the main series. There were only a few bits of gameplay, such as ramming use of the rear touchpad and the accelerometer into unnecessary mini-games, that really detracted from the overall experience. And before you ask, yes the story made absolutely no sense and I have no idea how it’ll affect the series overall.

You know what though? That’s OK. I don’t really play Assassin’s Creed for the story anyways. I just want to climb things, assassinate my targets, and slip away into the shadows, all of the things that Liberation lets you do. Instead of making another spin-off game with Ezio though, Ubisoft opted to start fresh with Aveline de Grandpré, a mulatto heiress to her father’s trading company living in New Orleans circa 1770. It really is a nice change of pace from the predominantly white male protagonists of the main series games.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in TimeIn addition to Liberation, I also had the pleasure of playing Gravity Rush. This is probably the best game available on the Vita. Everything about the game is unique and it manages to show off exactly what the Vita can do quite well. The game is split into chapters and the scenes between chapters are told in the form of comic panels. The way in which the story is delivered is pretty cool but the story itself is engrossing. The world that Keiichiro Toyama created has a sort of industrialized beauty. I kept telling myself, “Just one more chapter before bed.”, two hours would pass and I knew I would be horribly tired the next day but I was satisfied.

Now I’m on to Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, a fun return to the Sly Cooper series. I’m very much looking forward to this and more great Vita releases such as the HD Final Fantasy X and X-2 remakes in the near future. The Vita may not have had many games upon its release but that is certainly not a problem now.