By Luke Douglas
It has been over 5 years since the PlayStation Vita was released and while Sony has long since dropped the level of support Nintendo shows for the 3DS, some indie and Japanese developers see the loyalty of the PS Vita player-base to be a strong enough reason to produce ports of their latest games to the system.
Despite the release of the Nintendo Switch, Vita players continue to buy games for their handheld of choice. Speaking as a fan of the system from day one, here are 5 reasons why:
Whether you prefer the weighty feel of the OLED model or the lighter presence of the Slim, the PS Vita is a very comfortable device to hold.
As the 3DS settled for an inferior Circle-Pad and the inclusion of a 90’s style laptop nipple on its upgraded *New* model, the Vita distinguishes itself with two analogue sticks that almost deliver the familiar feel of a standard console controller.
While the sticks are a tad smaller than those on a Switch Joy-Con, the D-Pad of the PlayStation Vita is arguably one of the best to grace a gamers thumb. Positioned parallel to the face buttons of the handheld ; the clicky, fully-rotational design makes 2D platformers a pleasure to play.
Smartphones of today may have spoiled our eyes with ultra-high resolution screens but as far as dedicated gaming handhelds go the Vita is among the best.
Sporting a 5-inch 544p OLED display on the original model, colourful games such as Tearaway, Fez and Hotline Miami appear stunningly vibrant; amplifying the little doorway to the other world you hold in your hands. Even with the less saturated screen on the Slim, graphics still appear sharp and clear.
While 544p sounds like a joke on paper, the Nintendo Switch screen is a slightly higher 720p on a screen that is about an inch bigger. For 5 year old technology, the Vita certainly holds its ground against the latest.
Library of games
“Vita has no games” couldn’t be further from the truth with the system itself boasting over 1,000 games, not including the magnitude more available on the store as PS1 and PSP classics.
On this one handheld I’ve enjoyed gems like Persona 4 Golden, Final Fantasy X Remastered, Suikoden 2, Child of Light, Trails in the Sky, and many more spread across three systems. The Vita’s extensive library has managed to broaden my gaming palette greatly; something I already thought was expansive beforehand.
Though major publishers and developers have long since abandoned the platform, Vita continues to receive strong titles; just recently the highly acclaimed Undertale and hilariously self-conscious Bard’s Tale: Remastered landed on the digital store. But there’s more to come as Vita fans eagerly await epic titles like Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Hacker’s Memory and Danganronpa V3 to name just a few coming in the near future.
Even PS Vita fans will be the first to say that Sony screwed up with the decision restrict the handheld to proprietary, overpriced memory cards. And if you’re not happy to transfer your digital games with your PC/PS3 to manage storage, purchasing physical copies of games is the logical conclusion.
But that’s fine because collecting PS Vita games is a fun hobby. The small compact size of the cases containing the nostalgically charming cartridges are satisfying to keep on one’s shelf. It’s a great feeling walking into a game shop or thrift store and picking up a hard-to-find PS Vita game for below the escalating market price.
And while it’s true that the majority of games for the system are digital-only, publishers like Limited Run Games are collaborating with developers to produce physical prints of games that would otherwise be stuck in the great void of digital space.
Trophies were first introduced to PlayStation 3 in 2009 following the success of the Achievements system on Xbox 360, and launched as a day-one feature for all games on the PS Vita.
While some may argue the value of trophies, the objective based method of obtaining them encourages players to spend more time on the games they purchase than they otherwise would. With the dedicated Trophies app on Vita, players are able to track their progress on Vita games, as well as PS3 and PS4 on one handheld platform.
In conclusion, the PS Vita continues to be a great all-rounder in the different factors that make a modern gaming device. Though Sony has seemingly ceased production for it in the West, PS Vita fans will continue to proclaim for the foreseeable future that it is the first choice for any handheld gaming enthusiast.
Vita continues to mean Life.