Playstation Vita, Gravity Rush & Other Demos

I was driving some folks around today and had time to kill. I happened upon a Playstation Vita station at Target and since I was curious, I gave it a spin. Also nobody else was around, so I pretty much had free reign over it. Here are some of my thoughts plus dispelled and reinforced notions.

The PS Vita itself

Slightly larger than my PSP, featuring a larger/sharper screen and tighter joysticks. No surprise there. What was surprising (but really shouldn't be) was the touchpad nature of the screen. Even though I'm a pretty avid Android/IPad user, for whatever reason, I didn't immediately recognize it and was fumbling around the buttons trying to select a game. Also one comment about the motion sensing stuff: I don't understand why they treat it like it's a new hotness ... it's been on PS3 for 6 years? Hello? SIXAXIS. Sigh.

The resolution is pretty nice, but I based on what I saw from the games, I feel like the actual graphics engines are being held back and aren't as good as they could be. i.e. I don't know, but sometimes it felt like it was barely an upgrade from my PSP. I was mixed with the games, but they did have some merits, however, including a few pleasant surprises as I would soon discover.

Gravity Rush Demo

This is the game that really made an impression on me and actually made me want to buy one of these infernal Vita devices. I had mostly blown through most Vita coverage over the past month because I wasn't that interested, so I'd never heard of this game. The premise and gameplay is pretty damn awesome, and some research revealed that I wasn't alone.

With one button you can release yourself from gravity, with motion (or joystick) targeting you can realign your bottom, and with another tap, you reestablish and 'drop' towards your new destination. You can do this multiple times for some interesting tricks. Also for those familiar with Ipad comic readers, this game has a 'swipe for next panel' for some of the dialogue sections. Both of these are things you would need to see/try out to really understand though. Luckily, this official trailer seems to demonstrate a lot of this:

Because words aren't often enough, and because of the cell shaded Japanese style graphics, of which they claim the character designs themselves are based on French comics - I don't know a lick about French comics, but I would agree that the characters don't look quite Japanese or Western style - I ultimately really don't think this game will sell as it should when it releases in June. I hope I'm wrong.

I seriously wish this were made to be a PS3 game though, it could be one of the greatest SIXAXIS/Move games ever.

Uncharted Golden Abyss Demo

Standard Uncharted fare, with some Vita features thrown in; i.e. Vita tightrope balancing and touchscreen swipe choping of a cloth wall. I'm sure the story will probably be there, but I wasn't blown away like the console versions.

Fifa 12 Demo

Very interesting. Except for the tiny ass people, it looks almost the same as the PS3 version, especially in the warm-up section. The ball isn't as fluid as the console version though, the passes shoot out like a rubber ball (like in old Pro-Evo), but there is ONE HUGE DIFFERENCE. You can touchscreen select a player or empty field area, and your player will attempt to pass to your target. Not to mention rear-touchpad precision shooting! Or touchscreen freekick aiming.That is so friggin boss, I would buy this damn Vita right here right now if I could use this device as a controller for my Fifa 12 game at home and have that touch to pass and shoot functionality.

Virtua Tennis 4 Demo

I love Virtua Tennis! But it's a complete time sink, lol. If I were going to set aside time for a sporting game, I would rather spend it on Fifa, NBA 2K, or Soccer Manager. Back to the game itself, I feel like the action isn't as sharp as the console, but it's a decent facsimile.

TL;DR summary:

  • Higher resolution, but graphics rendering improvements questionable to me.
  • Gravity Rush looks like an awesome game. Wish this game was on PS3.
  • Fifa touch-passing/shooting looks revolutionary. Wish this feature was in PS3.