Sony was kind enough to let us have some time handling the new PlayStation Vita for a good 40 minutes. One of the games we got to play was Uncharted: Golden Abyss. I must say, if you haven’t seen the device yet, you must do so now. The quality of the screen is to be seen to be believed.
As aforementioned, the first game that was shown to us was Uncharted: Golden Abyss. No matter how many times you look at videos from the game on Youtube or even high resolution screenshots online, they pale in comparison to actually viewing the game itself on an actual PSP Vita system. I know it’s been said many times before but the PS Vita truly is like having a PS3 only in portable form. I would even go as far and say the titles I saw today on the PS Vita even trump some games seen on the PS3.
During the hands-on session, I brought along with me the original PSP that was first released back in 2004. In terms of the screen size the PS Vita’s screen is 5 inches big compared the original’s 4.3 inch screen. Even though it has a larger screen size, the PS Vita is actually much lighter than most other portable devices out on the market. It’s obviously lighter than my fat old PSP console but it’s also lighter than most cellphones. Considering the amount of power the system has, I was surprised that the PS Vita weighed like a feather.
Another great thing about the PS Vita is all the new features that the original PSP and even the PS3 don’t have. One of the best features on the entire system is a second analogue stick. FPS games have never been playable on portable systems as the lack of a second stick made things too difficult. Thankfully, the PS Vita doesn’t suffer from this flaw and playing the Vita exclusive Resistance: Burning Skies made life much easier for me.
The Vitahas two touch screens on the front and back of the system and two cameras as well. Not only could the cameras be used during gameplay but you can record videos and even take HD-quality photographs. This may not be anything new to the android phone market but it’s sure better than the low resolution camera attachment for the original PSP. The PS Vita’s cameras are built-in too so there’s no need to pay extra for an attachment.
One thing I noticed the PS Vita does better than the original PSP is how seamless and intuitive the menu is. You can effortlessly quit one game and then load another game in a matter of seconds. Despite the graphics being the best I’ve ever seen on a handhold console, the loading times are super fast. I noticed the difference right away since I was playing Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep on UMD earlier and those load times are considerably slower.
Although it was a 40 minutes hands-on session with the PS Vita, Sony Computer Entertainment New Zealand boss, David Hine kindly explained to me other great tidbits about the PS Vita which makes it unique from other portable devices. The major plus for me is the fact he told me most first-party games for the PS Vita are all originally made titles. The likes of Uncharted, Resistance, Modnation Racers and LittleBigPlanet are all unique titles for the PS Vita and are not just straight ports from the PS3. If you don’t plan on getting a PS Vita, you will be missing out on all-new original titles from many renowned PlayStation franchises.
Hine also explained to me the quality of the screen itself. Earlier this year, Sony showcased the PS Vita version of WipeOut and displayed it on a TV screen. The company then displayed WipeOut on the PS3 right next to it. As a result of this, many onlookers were confused as they couldn’t tell the difference between the two. In other words, the PS Vita is able to generate PS3-like graphics even when it’s displayed on a larger screen. In comparison, playing the PSP on a TV screen made the game look more pixilated and downright ugly…
If there was one thing I might criticize about the PS Vita, is the size of the face buttons. They are considerably smaller than those seen on the original PSP. Although the analogue sticks are much better to use thanks to the rubber-like material on them. The “start” and “select” buttons are so tiny that only your pinky would be able to touch them. I suspect Sony may have done this on purpose to encourage players to use the touchscreens instead…
From what I experienced playing on the PS Vita, it’s a fancy looking machine and no other portable device can match it in terms of the quality of its screen. As I previously mentioned, screenshots and Youtube doesn’t do any justice to the amazing visuals the PS Vita can produce. You must see the real thing in action in the palms of your own hands to truly witness the beauty of it. If you still have the original PSP, it may be a good idea to save up and upgrade for a PS Vita.
The PS Vita is released in both North America and Europe on February 22nd, 2012. It will be released a day later on February 23rd, 2012 in Australia and New Zealand.PlayStation Vita Hands On Impressions,