Mashable stopped by Sony’s Vita Hill Social Club — a pop-up store Sony has opened temporarily to show off the Vita to curious consumers — to play major games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and FIFA Soccer.
The Vita comes out Dec.17 in Japan, and Feb. 22 in North America, Europe and Australia, starting at $249.99. Some of its most-touted features include dual analog sticks, WiFi and 3G capabilities, augmented reality, a back touchpad and a six-axis motion-sensing system. It also features the ability to remotely log in to and stream games from the PlayStation 3, while a Party App allows users to chat with friends while gaming.
Overall, the Vita impressed us. It’s easy, intuitive touch interface makes navigating the system simple and hassle-free. The graphics are pretty amazing for a 5-inch screen; it was easy to forget you were playing on such a small device.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss is one of the system’s biggest upcoming titles, alongside other highly anticipated games such as Unit 13 and Resistance: Burning Skies. Golden Abyss, which follows from the popular Uncharted series on PS3, was developed especially for the Vita. The impressive visuals and fast-paced storytelling at times felt almost like watching a movie.
The game also takes advantage of Vita’s built-in motion technology. You have to tilt the device back and forth to balance on beams and swiping the tilt screen resulted in your character chopping through a barrier. These are nice, intuitive additions to normal gameplay.
Reality Fighters, meanwhile, showcased the Vita’s augmented reality and connectivity. Players can snap a picture of their face and digitally layer it onto a fighter. Two people can battle it out by connecting their Vitas wirelessly. The combat can then be projected on a live “battlefield,” or any flat surface between them.
The augmented reality feature really shines on the new Little Deviants game, which also capitalizes on the back touchpad.
The back touchpad, a touchscreen on the back of the device, was most impressive in FIFA Soccer. To shoot on the Vita version of FIFA, for example, you simply visualize the rectangular back pad as the goal, and tap where you want the ball to go. Meanwhile, the front touchscreen lets you simply touch players to pass them the ball or switch to them to defense.
While FIFA is currently EA Sports’ only scheduled release for the Vita, it’s easy to imagine how other sports can make use of the device’s touch capabilities.
In short, the Vita is an extremely cool and innovative little handled console. The augmented reality and front and back touch capabilities allow a world of possibilities, as do the connectivity features.
Still, the system is not a must-buy for casual gamers. Consoles and mobile gaming offer enough diversion for boring subway rides. For the more serious gamers, the Vita could be a great purchase — offering truly remarkable visuals and gameplay capabilities in a portable format.