We’ve talked about the PlayStation Vita and its games a fair bit over the last couple of months, with the likes of the PlayStation Suite, Escape Plan, Sound Shapes, Little Deviants, MotorStorm RC, Unit 13 and Uncharted all getting a hands-on from TheSixthAxis.
However, with a special invite to the most recent PS Access event in hand, we thought it would be good to talk about some of the stuff that hasn’t yet been mentioned.
There’s no denying it; WipEout 2048 looks the absolutely business. Taking advantage of the Vita’s horsepower and beautiful screen, the game literally jumps out at you with vivid colours and detailed vehicle models.
The sound is also worth a mention, when listened to it through a decent pair of headphones the effects are almost ear bursting in volume, with simple actions such as running over a boost strip sounding like the apocalypse has just kicked off.
The controls are also just what fans of the franchise are after, meaning noobs will struggle for a while, using the track sides as handy bumpers until those brakes are mastered.
Then there is WipEout’s trump card; PS3/Vita cross play. This means that any number of WipEout 2048 PS3 and Vita owners can battle against each other in online play.
I was lucky enough to get a go on this during PS Access, and it’s a fantastic idea. Connecting to a match takes a matter of seconds, and seeing your craft overtake an opponent on the Vita and TV screen at the same time never gets old.
Actually, I have to assume it never gets old, as I was racing against WipEout dev and pro player, Ami Nakajima, who totally destroyed me. It’s fine, hats off to her, I hold no grudge. It’s a complete co-incidence that I now think that game’s terrible.
Resistance: Burning Skies
I feel that Resistance: Burning Skies has had an unfair amount of criticism in terms of the visuals. I can see why though, as the screenshots don’t paint a particularly attractive picture. However, I’m pleased to say that when seen in motion the game doesn’t look too bad at all. It’s not Vita’s prettiest game, but it runs smoothly and still has that Resistance vibe.
Saying that, there are noticeably less enemies on screen than what we have become accustomed to with the console games, although this might change in later levels.
On the plus-side, the controls are spot on, with the game making good use of that second analogue stick.
Burning Skies also makes good use of the touchscreen, allowing for a quick melee strike, grenade throw, or simply highlighting what enemies need a good homing rocket up the backside. After not gelling with the Uncharted touch controls at all, ten minutes on Resistance allowed me to come away with renewed enthusiasm for Vita’s touchscreen.
Crucially, after all the talk of touchscreens and ugly graphics, you get the feeling that the developers are trying to provide gamers with a full-sized Resistance game, despite the miniature proportions of the Vita. When a Titan bursts in at the end of the demo and grabs your character by the neck, you get the feeling that they might just pull it off.
This is probably the weirdest game you’ll play in 2012; at least, I hope it is. Frobisher Says will be instantly familiar to Nintendo fans, as the game is very much in the mould of WarioWare. Each ‘level’ only lasts a few seconds, and requires you to complete a task, although figuring out how is up to you.
For example, one level demands you scratch someone’s back.
Immediately you rub the touchscreen, but that doesn’t have any effect. Neither does wiggling the analogue sticks. Then you remember that the Vita has rear a rear touchpad, and by scratching that your one-screen avatar scratches the demanding back.
Crazy stuff, yet oddly compelling.
Super Stardust Delta
When Super Stardust launched on the PSN all those years ago, it stole a ridiculous amount of my life, as well as totally ruining my eyesight with its retina-burning visuals. If anything, Super Stardust Delta is even better, and is right near the top of my Vita wish list.
For those who haven’t a clue what I’m on about, Super Stardust Delta is a top-down shooter which sees you try and conquer a number of levels by destroying both enemies and asteroids. You have three basic weapons, and they can be upgraded by collecting icons that appear.
Delta looks great on Vita, taking full advantage of that wonderful screen, although I have concerns about being only able to play it for ten minutes at a time before suffering from an almighty headache. Of course, it all runs at a silky smooth pace, with no hint of slowdown.
This is high score chasing at its very best, combining beautiful visuals, a pumping soundtrack, meaty weapons and a good difficulty curve.
I came away from the PS Access event thoroughly excited about the PS Vita. Despite still having a couple of misgivings about how developers are going to incorporate the touchscreen, the games on display where of the highest calibre and it’s the first console launch I can remember where there are more than two games that I want.
Now all I have to do is scrape together £230.
Should be OK, humans can live without their kidneys, right?