Mat Langford’s Gaming World: First impressions of the PS Vita.

The Vita is here!

I’ve had five days to play with Sony’s new handheld, the PS Vita, and so far it’s a great experience. Here’s a rundown on my experiences with it so far, both good and bad.

The screen on this baby is gorgeous! It’s a 5″ (16:9) OLED multi-touch display, and it looks great. The colors pop, it’s quite vibrant, and the touch functionality is really responsive. It’s a pleasure to look at for long periods of time (and believe me, I’ve put a fair bit of time into Uncharted: Golden Abyss already). The one drawback that I’ve seen so far is that glare is probably going to be an issue. It can’t be helped really as the screen is glossy, and nearly all portable devices have this issue, however even playing in my living room with the blinds open proved to be difficult as I was often tilting the device to get a better view.

Get yourself a good pair of headphones and you’re going to enjoy the sound quality that the PS Vita offers. Uncharted has a score that sounds truly epic when heard through a decent set of ear buds. The external speakers however leave something to be desired, as they are a bit washed out and difficult to hear in all but the quietest of places.

The dual analog sticks had me a little uncomfortable at first, as they are spaced farther apart that on a conventional Xbox or PS controller. I figured that it would be a problem, but as I played more, they became increasingly more comfortable, and felt natural. They don’t stick out too far from the device allowing you to comfortably slide it into a breast pocket or carrying sleeve. They do NOT however act as buttons as they do on the PS and Xbox controllers, so don’t try and push them. They are all-around responsive, and add that control dimension that has been missing from every handheld device before it. It makes me giddy with anticipation for first person shooters that may be on the horizon. Plus, with talk of a Vita exclusive Call of Duty, this could be the one of the hottest systems out thee within a year or so.

I can live with it, because – let’s face it – this thing is packing some serious internals, but the Vita is BIG. To put it in perspective, the screen itself is the size of the PSP Go. The whole PSP Go. It makes for some stunning handheld gaming, but carrying it around is a bit of a chore as it doesn’t really fit comfortably anywhere, unless you’re rocking some baggy cargo pants. I have a zip up travel case for mine, but it’s like carrying a book around with you.

Even though it is big, the Vita is surprisingly light. That was the first thing I noticed when I picked it up. Coming from an old PSP 1000, I was used to a pretty heavy handheld, but the Vita it a pleasure to hold. Sony has dome some remarkable inner layouts here, because they’ve packed in some powerhouse components and kept this thing light as a feather.

And finally,

The PS Vita has one of, if not the best launch lineup of any portable gaming system. I remember buying my 3DS and trying to find anything I liked at launch, but the choices were horrible. With the Vita, I was trying to narrow my choices down, eventually going with the tried and true Uncharted. It launched with other titles such as:

  • Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
  • ModNation Racers: Road Trip
  • wipEout 2048
  • Dungeon Hunter Alliance
  • F1 2011
  • Rayman Origins
  • Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3

And that is only a few of the nearly 25 lauch titles…this list is HUGE for a launch. And with games like MLB 12 The Show in the pipe for early next month, there really isn’t any sign of the Vita slowing down any time soon.

Overall I’m very happy with my Vita. I’m off to Cuba on Monday and rest assured it will get plenty of use on the plane!

If you’ve got yourself a Vita, let us know what YOU think!

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