Sunday, March 4, 2012

3RM Plays PlayStation Vita

Almost a full year after we received the Nintendo 3DS, our newest next-generation handheld has arrived: the PlayStation Vita.  Announced in January 2011, the PS Vita, previously the NGP, was meant to be both an evolution of the PlayStation Portable while also bringing itself closer to the growing mobile audience of smart phones and tablets.

The PS Vita launched in Japan this past December, but a few months later, Americans got their hands on the Vita for the first time.  A special bundle was released a week early to pre-orders, consisting of the 3G/Wi-fi model PS Vita, a special carrying case, a 4GB Memory Card, a microfiber cloth, and a copy of BigBig's Little Deviants.

It was on February 22nd, 2011, that the PlayStation Vita became available to all, and just over a week later, we here at Third Rate Minion would like to show you a walkthrough of multiple programs which span its OS, including free downloadable games available in the PlayStation Store since the Vita launch.  Check the videos after the break and enjoy (or follow to our Youtube Playlist)!  For our written impressions, check below as well.

Part I: The Unboxing

Part II: The Hardware

Part III: The Setup

Part IV: Welcome Park

Part V: PS Store

Part VI: near

Part VII: The Camera

Part VIII: Maps and Browser

Part IX: Cliff Diving

Part X: Fireworks

Part XI: Table Soccer

Part XII: Media, Settings, and Verdict

The Verdict (Written Edition)
The PlayStation Vita is a great piece of equipment.  The system is weighted well, and despite it being bigger than the 3DS, the large screen makes up for the size.  Furthermore, the bulk allows for easier handling for larger hands.  The OLED screen has a great resolution, bright colors, and clean display.  The touch screen works a little less effectively as the 3DS touch screen, but with its large resolution, it is not as big a problem to be exact, as long as games do not try to push for extreme accuracy.  Not to mention having multi-touch capabilities lends to more creative concepts.

The cameras are of great quality, and the means to film video and take photos are welcome additions to the handheld's repertoire.  The photo software might not have a lot of bells and whistles compared to its competition, but for basic usage, it is solid in many ways.  The AR Card products are more in-depth than the AR Games on 3DS, but they are not as numerous.  Programs can be quickly entered and left with the push of a button, and there are barely any hiccups seen in the OS with each movement.  Trophies, Friends, and everything else blend well into the OS, and movement through the OS is accessible and equally complex, depending on what you want to make of it.  The Vita certainly has taken what the PSP started and brought it into the next generation, ready to combat smart phones and gaming handhelds alike.

Now, that is not to say we have no issues with the device.  For one, the Memory Card prices are high, and the 3G model effectively splits the userbase in two from the get-go.  The Store needs to have streaming videos or screenshots to provide better help toward purchasers; a textual description and a boxart will not convince all gamers to make a purchase.  The rear touch pad, being the handheld's most unique input addition, has yet to pull from being a gimmick addition to the system, from our experiences.  Until a more prominent use is devised for the touch pad, we cannot see it being used for much else but another button or gesture input.  Perhaps playing more retail games will convince us otherwise.  Meanwhile, our biggest fear is that the game lineup will not be able to match up to the system itself; Tony himself mentions his fears that the PS Vita will be no more than a portable PS3 when it can be much more innovative and unique.

In the end, the overall system is a high-quality product worth the $250 you have to throw down for it.  Whether the lineup grows and matches the quality of the hardware, we will have to wait and see.

Either way, we hope you enjoyed our videos, and good gaming!

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