Something For The Weekend: PlayStation Vita (no, really)



Had a birthday recently (like me)? Have some spare cash burning a hole in your pocket? Fancy grabbing a fantastic piece of hardware before it gets replaced by a less shiny version?

My friends, it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to an original model, OLED-screened PlayStation Vita. And time is really of the essence here.

If a migraine hadn’t reduced me to a grumpy wreck last night, I would have used the recording of our new podcast to preach the wonders of the Vita. For something that’s so powerful and versatile, it’s incredibly light and ergonomic, and it now has an enviable back catalogue that covers pretty much all genres. However, it’s been a sales failure up to this point, forcing Sony to make some changes. The first was a masterstroke – they basically rebranded it as a companion piece to the PS4, allowing you to play all its titles remotely. They also switched the focus onto indie games instead of trying to replicate the big console titles, resulting in a glut of wonderfully addictive pick-up-and-play titles (many of which are below).,

However, the second change was an attempt to drive the cost down, and it’s more problematic. One of the main selling points of the Vita was its incredible OLED screen, bright and vibrant and detailed even in sunshine. On April 30th, the PS Vita Slim will change that – the new model has an even smaller design and slightly longer battery life, but the OLED screen has been swapped out for a standard LED version. It’s still a great screen, but compared to the OLED, the difference is quite dramatic. Of course, you may prioritise an extra hour of power over screen clarity, in which case this is not a problem. However, once you actually use the OLED screen, I imagine it would be incredibly difficult to swap.

So, if you’re thinking of buying a Vita, now’s the time. It’s already getting harder to track down the original version, and prices on the Mos Eisley shitpit that is Craigslist are already reflecting this. And, if you do pick one up, here are some game recommendations:

OlliOlli: The best skateboard game since Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3. Just try to turn it off.

Spelunky: I’m terrible at this cavern exploration adventure, but it’s a great fit for the machine.

Killzone Mercenary: An FPS that controls well and looks stunning. You’ll have difficulty understanding how a handheld can run something like this.

Gravity Rush: A wonderful adventure by Sony’s Japan Studio that allows you to flip around in your own gravitational fields.

WipEout 2048: What turned out to be the final entry in the franchise (probably). The engine sounds are worth the entry price alone.

Lumines Electronic Symphony: The best PSP game in a return to glorious form. Getting an Ultra Combo and hearing the game remix Hey Girl, Hey Boy made me shout “HA!” on the bus. Worth the embarrassment.

TxK: Jeff Minter’s new take on Tempest, you can almost feel the sticky popcorn-infused carpet underneath this blissful love letter to arcade thrills.

LitteBigPlanet: The front and rear touchscreens bring this creative classic to even more vibrant life, and the huge amount of quality community-made games means this is like owning a games library in itself.

And that’s just a tiny selection. Sony have really understood the importance of digital sales (unlike, say, Microsoft) meaning there’s always a Vita bargain on the horizon. Coupled with that, if you have a PS+ subscription, then you already have a library of free Vita games waiting for you.

Convinced yet? There’s no doubt that it’s an investment, what with Sony’s continued insistence on bespoke overpriced memory cards and the tiny analogue sticks really requiring a sturdy case, but if you happen to see an OLED version in the wild, you could a lot worse than giving that Vita a loving new home.