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Friday, August 24, 2012

Ten PlayStation Vita games that already make the console worthwhile

Recently, the PlayStation Vita was reported to have sold 2.2 million units worldwide. By no means is that a runaway success, but I find myself disappointed by the increasingly-vocal group of people claiming doom on Sony’s handled. It’s clearly never going to outsell the 3DS, let alone the iPhone or iPad, but Sony’s vision for the console still promises an exciting future.

Before we even look at that, though, consider the line-up of games already on the Vita – it’s amazing, and definitely a case of quality over quantity. I’m not even talking about Uncharted, although that is a decent enough game. The real gems on the Vita are games like Gravity Rush, Sound Shapes (a game better suited for the handheld than the home console), Disgaea 3 and Dynasty Warriors Next (the first Warriors game of real A-grade quality on a handheld). There’s an excellent port of Rayman, and Lumines remains reliable fun. There’s a superb backlog of PSP games and, soon, PSOne classics… Even despite apparently having “no games,” I can genuinely say that the Vita is one of, if not my most played console in recent months.

Many would scoff at the mere idea that we could make a “top 10” of Vita games, and not be including throwaway stuff like Treasures of Montezuma Blitz… but indeed it’s possible. In fact, in this list of 10 games that have had me glued to my Vita, I bet I’ve left off a few favourites of other people (in fact, I’ve left off some of my own, like Lumines and Metal Gear Solid).

Disgaea 3

Disgaea has always sat with me better as a portable game. I loved the first two on the PSP, but could never quite put aside enough time on my PS3 for the third and fourth. The Vita is released, and suddenly I’ve started playing (and loving) Disgaea 3 all over again. This game alone would have given me enough hours of play to justify my Vita purchase.

Gravity Rush

The best of the Vita exclusives, Gravity Rush is stylish, charming, and very, very creative. One of the best leading ladies in games history, Kat runs, jumps and flies through one of the most vibrant and secrets-filled game worlds ever designed. It’s a real pity only 2.2 million people so far are able to experience this game.

Sound Shapes

This is also available on the PS3, but for my mind the simple but musical platformer is better suited for gaming on the go. Like Gravity Rush, it overflows with creativity and the level designer adds an impossible amount of replay value to the game. Until Little Big Planet hits the Vita, this is the game for the creative gamers out there.

Dynasty Warriors Next

The Warriors games have always struggled on the handheld consoles – after all, when you need 100 or more people on the screen at once, it takes a fair amount of processing power. Dynasty Warriors Next is the first time we’ve had a fully-realised Warriors game on a handheld console, and for those of us who like Warriors games, this is important.

BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend

The reputation of Blazblue is such that I was not expecting to enjoy this. I suck at Street Fighter, I knew I would suck at a really hardcore fighter. And I do. To this day I prefer playing Blazblue on the easiest difficulty setting. But I love playing it because of its amazing animation, surprisingly entertaining story and gorgeous artwork.

Rayman Origins

Rayman Origins needs HD to really shine – the 3DS and Wii versions are inferior to the PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Vita versions. And of those, the Vita version is my favourite. It loses co-op, but the portability factor suits the game better, I think. I love being able to go down to my local park and play one of the few platformers I’ve really fallen in love with in recent years. In HD, the way the animation of the game demands.

Motorstorm RC

This is the perfect Vita game for the train commute. Great visuals, high difficulty curve and plenty of unlockables means that this is still more of a game than most of the racers on the iPhone or iPad, but at the same time it’s playable on those 10 minute train commutes or waits thanks to short tracks.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus

Given that so many were disappointed by Ninja Gaiden 3, a Vita and this game might be a good purchase to remind you of just how hardcore this series could be. Though it’s an old game now, it comes up brilliantly on the Vita, and a nice meaty challenge for the “hardcore” gamers that the Vita was designed to appease.

Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen

I know, I know, this is going to be the “controversial” game on the list, but I really like Shinobido. It’s not the perfect game, but there’s a nice “vibe” to it – skulking around and taking out everything from samurai to warrior bears is an experience unlike anything else you’ll play on the Vita, and indeed this is a fairly unique game even amongst its console bretheren.

Pure Chess

Probably the best Chess game I’ve ever played, Pure Chess understands the value of nice presentation, realises that for a chess game play-by-email is far more convenient for online multiplayer than “live” games, has a proper ELO system for ranking, and has some great AI to compete against for the people who are waiting for their turn in the multiplayer.

I'm very keen to hear from our Vita-owning readers what your favourite Vita games are so far; sound out in the comments below!
Ten PlayStation Vita games that already make the console worthwhile
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