Sony PlayStation Vita Early Impressions

I recently picked up the new PlayStation Vita when it launched in North America and decided to let my impressions known to the Internet at large. Now first, you must understand the sheer excitement I had for this product. I kept up with sales numbers in Japan, scoured websites looking for information about the system and games, and got all the things I wanted to transfer from my PS3 to my Vita ready. However, I was in no way prepared for the number of options that the Vita held inside its sleek shell.

Getting a look at the PS Vita

After unpacking the Vita, the first thing I noticed was the screen. It is large compared to other handheld devices, save tablets. After the system is turned on, I realized that not only was the screen big, but it was also amazingly beautiful. Almost insanely so. Even the front menu looks crazy good while also being simplistic. Speaking of the main menu, it eschews the XMB style used by the PS3 and the PSP for a look more like an iPhone, including a reliance on touch commands. Each different application has its own icon that, once touched, opens up a page containing that application. Each application can be opened and scrolled through without other applications being closed. Also each page on the menu can be customized using different colors or pictures.

Now, if you really want to see the true visual power of this system, I suggest downloading either the Uncharted demo or the Rayman Origins demo. These two games show the console level visuals that this system is capable of. These games also showcase the multitude of input options available to the Vita.

Hands on with the PS Vita controls

The Vita corrects a major misstep of the PSP, the lack of two analog sticks. Aiming in shooters is now much more fluid and doesn’t call for an alternate control scheme. Also, PSP games can be programmed to use the second analog stick. The system also includes the normal D-Pad and face buttons. The Vita also hopes to appeal to gamers that enjoy touch controls by including a touch screen on the front and a touch pad on the back. These extra input options more than make up for the lack of the R2 and L2 buttons. And while they aren’t input options, the system also comes with a forward facing camera and also one on the back. All of this makes the Vita on uniquely jam-packed device.

Now after fiddling with this device, it is plain to see the intent of all these options. Sony wanted to offer handheld gamers the chance to play console-quality games in the trappings of previous handheld systems and mobile. With the qualities offered by Sony and third-party companies, the Vita seems well on its way to accomplishing these goals.