Join us over the next few days as we look at all of the leading games consoles and platforms out right now and try to convince you why you should spend your hard-earned cash. Today we're looking at the Vita, with Zorine Te telling you why it's the handheld console of choice.
With an existing library of original games and well-handled ports making use of the handheld's punchy hardware, there's already plenty of reasons why the PlayStation Vita is a great choice for gaming on the go. This year the addition of some hot new games and PlayStation Now functionality could make the Vita your go-to platform for handheld gaming.
The Vita received a slick new model last year: the PlayStation Vita Slim. The original handheld was revamped with a thinner and lighter body and a longer battery life. While the Vita Slim (also known as the PlayStation Vita 2000) sports an IPS LED screen that is less impressive than that of the original model's OLED screen, games on the Vita still look sharp and colourful, and action still plays out smoothly.
It has been nearly three years since the Vita first launched in North America, and no longer can Vita owners cry for a lack of games.
Media Molecule's Tearaway connects the real world with its virtual one to create a game that taps into the potential of the Vita's touch screen capabilities and controls. The charming and wondrous visuals in Tearaway are brought to life on the Vita's vibrant screen. If you prefer your platformers to be challenging, roguelike Spelunky is a pleasure (and pain) to sink into. While the game is available on other platforms, the Vita iteration offers responsive controls that are better-suited to the game and a UI that is easier to see on the five-inch screen.
Velocity 2X sets itself apart as a platformer with shoot 'em up elements that dazzled us and earned itself our 2014 Vita Game of the Year award. The game's mechanics work symbiotically with each level's design, making the fast and flashy chase for that perfect run all the more rewarding.
Need a hit of nostalgia? The Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster brings two classic RPGs for the price of one to the handheld. The Vita-exclusive Persona 4 Golden is more than just a remaster of the PlayStation 2 classic; laden with new features and gameplay improvements, it offers a refined take on role-playing games that sets itself apart from others in the genre.
Resident Evil 2
If you've always felt like you've missed the legacy of other established series, the Vita offers a plethora of PlayStation classics, too. Couldn't muster the courage to play through horror games when you were younger? Grab the classic Resident Evil 2 or Silent Hill for scares on the go. Don't understand why Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is generating so much excitement? Make your way through the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection while in transit. The Vita offers a portable means to catch up on experiences first established on the PlayStation consoles of old. Throw in some triple-A games such as Telltale's The Walking Dead, Borderlands 2, and Minecraft, and there is little argument against the variety of games the Vita is able to offer.
The Vita's library stands to expand this year with both original games and sequels. The gorgeous turn-based RPG Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines, which has players battling monsters to accumulate points. These points allow the player to marry deities and produce children. The player's family line is beset by a curse that causes all members of the bloodline to die in two years, so progress through the game is made in generations. Last year, Atlus announced Persona 4: Dancing All Night, which catapults the Persona 4 cast into spinoff rhythm-game territory.
From the creators of the Luchadore-themed beat 'em up Guacamelee! comes Vita-exclusive action game Severed. The game is fronted by a one-armed heroine who must slash her way through colourful monsters in a non-linear world.
Square Enix has confirmed it is working on a new entry into the SaGa RPG series, with SaGa 2015 announced exclusively for the Vita last year, although the publisher is yet to confirm whether the game will be released outside of Japan. Similarly, cult-classic horror series Corpse Party may be making a Vita entry with a domain for Corpse Party: Blood Drive registered by localisation company XSEED Games earlier this month.
The potential offerings of PlayStation Now shouldn't be overlooked either. The service unlocks a library of PlayStation 3 games which can be streamed to the Vita. At the moment PlayStation Now's Vita functionality is still in beta, so it may be worth testing the waters (i.e. your internet connection) before picking up a long-term subscription.
The Vita Slim contains a quad-core CPU capable of pushing 2GHz, making it twice as powerful as that of the 3DS and enabling it to stream both PS3 and PS4 games. Both the screen and rear panel are touch responsive, and the console weighs in at a reasonable 0.48 pounds (219 grams.)
While the Vita Slim does contain 1GB of internal storage, a proprietary memory card is necessary for owners who intend to frequent the PS Store. Cards are available in a range of sizes up to 64GB.
A brand new Vita bundled with either Borderlands 2, The Walking Dead, or Madden NFL 13 will set you back $200 and includes an 8GB memory card. If you already have a subscription to PlayStation Plus, the Vita also gets access to its own selection of free games for download.
In addition to the PlayStation Now, which enables streaming of PS3 games to the handheld, the Vita supports remote play from the PS4. This can be achieved in one of two ways. The first method allows players to connect remotely to their PS4 through the Vita via an internet connection, allowing the Vita to function as a secondary screen. The second method requires the Vita to connect to the PS4 directly by receiving a signal sent from the console and requires the handheld to remain within range.
Hit up some Destiny in bed or on the toilet--just make sure the wifi connection is sturdy to minimize lag. Certain Vita games also support cross-save, allowing players to pick-up game progress on the Vita where they left off on the PS4 or PS3.
And let's not forget last year's launch of the PlayStation TV, which brings Vita games onto a TV screen. The PlayStation TV can read both physical Vita games and download digital games that have been purchased. While the PS TV may not be a necessary add-on to the Vita, it's nice to have the option to bring some of the handheld's more visually appealing games onto a larger screen.
With a library of games that make use of the system's hardware, a host of streaming capabilities, and the cross-save feature, the PlayStation Vita is a powerful handheld that offers expansive standalone experiences which are heightened when complemented with a PS4.