When was the last time you sat down with a handheld gaming device that you actually really enjoyed? With the market flooded with cheap smart phone games and gimmick held devices, the Playstation Vita is truly a breath of fresh air. The newest contender in the gaming market, the Vita is a literal powerhouse, filled with all the features you’ve come to expect of a quality gaming device and more that you didn’t even know you were looking for.
Coming in two flavors, the Vita offers both wi-fi options (at around $249) and a wi-fi/3G version (a bump up to $299) depending on what kind of gaming you’d like. 3G is affordably available through AT&T with prices comparable to most phone data plans. While no part of online content is required for most games, you have access to a whole host of features for your games and the Vita itself while connected to the internet. For starters, online play, game leaderboards and the Playstation Network stores are available while online with your Vita.
There are also several other online functions for the Vita itself while online. While connected, you have access to the Near feature. Using Near, you are able to get a look at the world around you through your Vita’s eyes, letting you see what other Vita users in your area are playing or recommending. You can also see your friends’ recent activities, trophies and their profiles as well. Near’s final function is probably the most unique thing I’ve seen in a long time. Taking a cue from geocaching, you can use Near to leave behind gifts for other players in the real world and pick up gifts others have left behind. It utilizes the 3G model’s GPS or access through a wi-fi hotspot to let you pick up game items or tips other Vita users may have left behind at your location.
Sony Video Games
Aside from Near, it has all the features you’d expect of a web enabled handheld. It has a web browser, connectivity to the Playstation Network store and also the ability to link your existing PSN account to the handheld to add Vita trophies to the account as well as the ability to check all your trophies from your Vita. Another unique function of the Vita is the Remote Play Function. You can use the Vita to wirelessly play your Playstation 3 from any place you have an internet connection (provided your PS3 is also connected) meaning you never have to leave the action behind, no matter where you are. You can also play certain titles cross-platform with PS3 users (Marvel vs Capcom 3, for example).
Enough about the online features, you probably want to know about the actual gameplay, right? Well, the Vita stands to impress on all fronts, boasting the largest number of features out of any handheld device I’ve ever seen. It has the largest OLED touch screen on a handheld to date (a whopping 5 inches, beating out the Dsi XL by .8 inches) which is also capable of receiving multiple touch inputs as well. It also has a rear touch screen, the first of its kind, giving you more control over your games than ever. It also has a standard D-Pad, six-button input (including shoulders) and an impressive dual joystick combination. That would be great along, but it doesn’t stop there. It also features a both a front and rear 0.3 MP camera as well as a built in microphone and gyroscope. This handheld literally never runs out of unique ways to make you play its games.