I’ll never regret buying my PlayStation Vita. Despite the fact that the media and Sony itself have been playing its funeral dirge for over a year, it remains a solid little handheld that is, in my opinion, underrated.
The problem with the Vita has always been its game library. You can play your ported PlayStation games on the Vita and your low-profile or underrated games that are native to the Vita. But arguably there’s no must-have Vita-specific title, like you have with Pokémon or The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds on the Nintendo 3DS. If you want to play Pokémon, you need the 3DS. There aren’t really other options.
As Wired points out in their requiem for the PS Vita (one of many that exists on the Internet), Nintendo responded quickly to initial low sales of the Nintendo 3DS. Sony, on the other hand, failed to deliver on their promises for the platform. They even referred to the Vita as a “legacy platform” in May, later clarifying that no, what they meant was old versions of the Vita. In any case, this back and forth isn’t doing the beleaguered Vita any favors.
This is too bad, because the Vita has so, so much to offer. It’s comfortable to hold! Its buttons and thumbsticks don’t feel flimsy, despite their small size. Its graphics are gorgeous.
And it’s not like there are no games for the Vita. My absolute favorite game of all time, the reason I bought this darn thing, is Media Molecule’s Tearaway. This game is coming out for the PlayStation 4 on September 8, but the original Vita version is the best example of what this hardware can do. It uses all of the Vita’s functions, folding them into the gameplay in classic, surreal-adorable Media Molecule fashion.
The Vita also offers Remote Play, which means you can play your PlayStation 4 games on the Vita over wireless Internet. And PlayStation Now means you can stream PlayStation 3 games to the Vita too. Both services are a great deal for parents, because they give you more control over which screens you’re using for gaming.
In Japan, the Vita is doing…okay. Back in January, Kotaku reported that the Vita had more upcoming games than any other console through the end of March.
And now we’ve been through E3, the yearly gaming expo that showcases the best and brightest of upcoming titles. There wasn’t much mention of the Vita during Sony’s presentation—they were too busy resurrecting everyone’s broken dreams in the form of Final Fantasy VII. But they did release the video above, which gives us a good idea of what’s coming up for the Vita.
And guys, it looks awesome. Here’s a look at some of the games coming out on the PlayStation Vita.
Severed, made by the same studio that brought us Guacamelee!, is a touch-screen action role-playing game. IGN did a great hands-on report of Severed from PAX East. It’s about a girl who has lost an arm and fights against an array of colorful demons. As she slices them up, she absorbs the boss monsters’ abilities, eventually becoming something of a demon herself. This looks like one of the most creative, complex uses of the Vita’s touch-screen since Tearaway. It also grabs my attention with its colorful graphics and a butt-kicking woman protagonist.
Severed comes out this year.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night
Persona 4: Golden is a fantastic game for the PS Vita. It deals with issues that teens face every day, like busy schedules, friendships, sexuality, and anxiety. Also there are murders.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night sure does build on that, but instead of solving local disappearances by fighting in dungeons, you rescue some missing pop idols by dancing to the beat. This trailer makes my soul shrivel up, but it also makes me want to play this game so badly I can’t stand it. I love rhythm games. I love supernatural mysteries. I love anime. Persona 4: Dancing All Night comes out on September 29, 2015.
forma.8 is an absolutely gorgeous-looking action-adventure game that takes place on an alien planet. It’s an open-ended game that requires you to explore the planet to uncover what you need to do next. This is the kind of game that looks great on the Vita, a little world in your hands that you can get immersed in. Forma.8 is undergoing some renovations and will be coming out this year.
This is another game from Atlus, makers of the Persona series (as well as one of my favorite games, the bizarre and not-family-appropriate Catherine). Lost Dimension is a turn-based role-playing game about a squad of psychics trying to prevent the apocalypse from happening. There’s a twist though, and an awesome one at that: someone in your group is a traitor. The identity of the traitor is randomized every time you play. I love this concept. Lost Dimension is already out in Japan, but is being localized for English-speaking audiences this year. Japanese role-playing games really thrive on the Vita, where you get to intimately experience the story in your hands.
Minecraft Story Mode
Minecraft Story Mode is an upcoming episodic series from Telltale Games. Following in the footsteps of The Walking Dead game, Tales From the Borderlands, and The Wolf Among Us, this will be a story-based adventure game. Minecraft is a lot more family-friendly than the rest of Telltale’s properties. We’re excited to see how the humor that they have in Tales will translate to this Minecraft story. They say it’s inspired by Ghostbusters and The Goonies, so I think they’re on the right track.
Lego Marvel’s Avengers
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers is coming out this winter, and it has over 100 Marvel characters to choose from. The LEGO games are full of humor, and this one is bringing a lot of Marvel’s female heroes to the screen for the first time.
Tales From The Borderlands
Tales From The Borderlands is already out on consoles, but it has been confirmed for release on the PlayStation Vita as well. Tales is an enjoyable adventure game that is chock-full of humor, hijinks, and disastrously lovable characters. Like Minecraft Story Mode and Telltale’s other games, it’s an episodic game, and its stylized graphics will look great on the Vita.
Tales from the Borderlands is definitely one of my favorite games from this year. I hope putting it on the Vita opens it up to a whole new audience.
None of these games are going to make the Vita a must-have console. But they all show that there’s still a lot of life to be had in this little handheld.