In this week’s Power Up! Gaming Blog, Glen Ferris gets to grips with a bunch of PlayStation Vita launch titles…
Following on from our glowing report of the stunning PS Vita in last week’s blog - and with various review embargos lifted - we can finally talk about the launch titles taking their bow alongside Sony’s latest and greatest handheld device.
And what a line-up it is. You can usually expect some chaff amongst the wheat when a new device is launched, but the Vita has bucked the trend with a mostly impressive software roster that makes great use of the marvellous machine’s myriad features.
There are tons of third-party games – too many to go over here - so let’s just concern ourselves with the SCEE (Sony Computer Entertainment Europe) stuff coming your way for now…
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
The most prestigious SCEE release is also far and away the best. Nathan Drake’s fourth adventure serves as a prequel to the first game, Drake’s Fortune, and subsequently makes for a great introduction to the series. Regular game developers Naughty Dog may have handed over the reins to Bend Studio for this Vita exclusive, but their cinematic stylings are still all over it – from the inventive set pieces (admittedly scaled down from the PS3 releases) to the entertaining dialogue, via ferocious action and stunning animation, it looks and plays as brilliantly as any entry in the series. What’s more, the treasure-hunting aspects are given an extra dimension thanks to the Vita’s touch screen. Now you can take rubbings of important artefacts, reassemble torn-up maps and decipher clues puzzles using your fingers. Put quite simply it’s the essential Vita title and you need it in your life.
A PlayStation stalwart since back in the day, it’s lovely to see Wipeout in the launch line-up. All the elements that made the original series such a hit are present and correct in 2048 (funny-looking hover-racers, speed boosts, destructive weaponry, banging choons from the likes of Underworld, Orbital, The Prodigy and Kraftwerk… that sort of thing) are augmented with the choice of Vita control systems. The front touch screen can be used for firing and defending against weapons, while the rear touchpad can be used for acceleration. Tilt control can also be employed to make the most of those big jumps. Just as the opening cut scene shows the evolutionary leap forward from the first racing jalopies to the super cars of 2048, so the Vita version of this much-loved classic represents a technological step forward without losing any of the essential parts that made it such a success in the first place.
The best-selling Vita launch title in Japan, Everybody’s Golf manages to combine appeals-to-all-ages fun with a pretty darn compelling golfing sim. Look beneath the sunny, smiley graphics and you’ll find a cracking and challenging game that makes the most of the Vita’s touch-screen capabilities. Choose from a variety of characters, hit the green instantly or embark on a career mode and even check out the golf course using Vita's augmented reality feature - it’s a game that’s packed with features. The market may be awash with golfing games but, as far as the Vita’s concerned, this will be the only one you’ll ever need.
ModNation Racers: Road Trip
Just like Little Big Planet, the original ModNation Racers gave players the opportunity to tinker with every aspect of their game. From the driver to the car to the track and beyond, it was fully customisable and really rather lovely. ModNation Racers: Road Trip does pretty much the same thing but with a few improvements here and there (a few extra choices of weapon, some new design choices etc). What’s particularly impressive is the sheer level of tinkering options of offer when you consider it’s all squeezed into a device that fits in your pocket. Get this one in your gaming arsenal and you’ll never be short of something to fiddle with.
Also released in the launch line-up are Little Deviants – a fun but slight collection of mini games that err on the side of cuteness and is as such perhaps best left to the kids – and Reality Fighters – a design-your-own fighting game that allows you create your own action hero using the in-built camera and a host of body-mod choices. Both take advantage of the Vita’s augmented reality capabilities by superimposing the games onto a real-world setting and both are throwaway fun, but unfortunately suffer by comparison to the excellent titles listed above.
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