When I played the upcoming PS3 & Vita downloadable title, When Vikings Attack, last week, I realised something about PlayStation’s Cross Play and the Wii U – that they’re actually very similar.
It’s hard to tell if Sony had this in mind all along, or if they were inspired by Nintendo’s reveal of the Wii U last year, but using a Vita to control a game on the PS3 seems awfully similar to using a GamePad to control a game on the Wii U. Remote play, however, has been there from the start – showing Sony took the initiative with connectivity years ago.[videoyoutube]It’s not entirely as functional as the Wii U however; it isn’t implemented into every game and it doesn’t go much further than using a Vita as a controller in the multiplayer component, but it does work very well indeed. Being able to choose between looking at the Vita or the TV is great and whilst current titles – Vikings and PlayStation All-Stars – feature same-screen gameplay, it could be a brilliant alternative to split-screen in the future.
The short latency is really impressive – using a Vita to control the game is just as speedy as using a DualShock controller and perhaps even better, due to the secondary touch screen available. Being able to do all of this without cables, even available over WiFi, is a truly impressive feat. Now that they’re past the launch window of the Vita, Sony seem to be pushing the cross compatibility of their two consoles, so let’s hope they keep it coming.
Oh, and When Vikings Attack is an absolute blast, particularly on the multiplayer side of things. It’s a simple and somewhat crazy concept – you control a group of townspeople and have to fend off groups of Vikings by throwing bits of the environment at them. The Vikings will throw objects back, of course, so you’ll have to avoid them and keep your group together.
Objects can range from smaller items such as bin bags or missiles to much larger items, including vehicles, giant disco balls and various other, often hilarious, items. Picking up items is automatic, whilst hurtling them towards the enemy groups is a matter of pointing the stick in the right direction and tapping the square button.
The objective is essentially to get past the hordes of Vikings and add more people to your group along the way, all whilst avoiding losing out by being hit by an enemy projectile. Bigger groups are slower and more likely to be hit, but can pick up larger objects – it’s a very good system.
It has a lovely art style too – think Fat Princess’ cel-shaded style, without the defined outlines. It’s very quirky, colourful and suits the game perfectly – it’s hard to imagine a much better fit for the game.[drop]Vikings, unfortunately, can get slightly repetitive, with group after group appearing and with little variation beyond some larger enemies at certain points. Whilst environments do change (one level is in a zoo, for example, with various themed animal sections) it often takes too long before you can move along to the next area. Perhaps a levelling system or a better scoring system would combat this, but such a feature is unfortunately not present.
Versus multiplayer is a different story, though – it doesn’t become repetitive for a second and having another player battling against you is a much better experience than playing against computer controlled Vikings. Many laughs and a lot of fun will be had with this essential multiplayer mode.
So, yes, it’s a great game and Cross Play is a wonderful system, not only for Vikings but for the brilliant PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, too. Let’s hope we can see even more Cross Play features in the future, bringing the system on par with Nintendo’s Wii U functionality.