Chris Sanner: To me, the Vita feels like what mobile gaming should feel like: a smaller version of what you already play on your TV. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think the Vita is perfect or even great (yet) -- but I do think as far as a handheld gaming device goes, it's about as good as we've ever had.
The touch screen is what just feels natural now. The control layout feels like a slightly bigger (yet smaller at the same time?) PS3 controller. And the overall 'feel' of using a Vita is actually quite nice.
I was impressed with the smoothness of games on the system, and I'm even more impressed with the audio quality coming out of it's little speakers. It's not loud enough to be heard in an airport or something, so pack a pair of ear buds.
Overall, I think the system could be a decent success if we see some good titles released. FIFA is solid, ModNation is average and F1 is kind of meh right now -- as far as the games I'm reviewing.
So should you buy a Vita? Well that's a question you have to answer based upon your economic reality as I think the system is priced about $100 higher than it should be. A price drop is what the system will ultimately need to really be a success. Here's to hoping it comes sooner rather than later.
Bishop Tart: Many people have said handheld gaming will go away over the next few years. The PlayStation Vita proves that is simply not true.
Upon first use of the Vita, I was immediately impressed with how light the thing was. Not only that, but it actually felt great in the hands. And with me having somewhat big hands, I was somewhat skeptical. After three straight hours of playtime, my hands never felt cramped or painful. The 5-inch OLED screen is absolutely gorgeous up close -- making games, pictures and videos look exquisite on the device.
Battery life runs in at three-to-five hours. In one single charge, with brightness all the way up, I was able to get just under five hours of play time.
At first use, the analog sticks do take some getting used to. But after 15 minutes with Uncharted, they felt fine and comfortable. I also felt the D-pad was a little flimsy, mainly due to the fact that it's not the same as the PS3 controller. But again, after spending a few minutes using it, this time with Lumines, it was fine.
I've heard from most people that they don't like the layout of the interface. After using it, I can safely say the interface works well with the touch screen, and it really is the perfect fit. Audio quality is good with the speakers, but I prefer to use headphones when playing some games. The microphone that is on the system actually surprised me. When testing out "Party," the microphone didn't actually sound horrible and people could hear me.
If the only games you play are sports games, I would say wait it out until August when Madden releases for the system, unless you are a huge FIFA Soccer or Wipeout fan. FIFA is one of the best launch games for the system, and it really utilizes the backtouch well. Wipeout 2048, my favorite launch title, proves that racing games can look stunning on the system.
To say that the PlayStation Vita has potential is almost an understatement. Being able to play games that rival their console counterparts while on a plane, train or during your work lunch break, makes the system worth it to me. I also disagree with Chris, I don't think the system needs a price drop to succeed. Will it ultimately get one? Yeah, probably. But, in my opinion, it needs great third-party games, not a price drop.
So should you consider purchasing the Vita? I would definitely recommend it, but I would also suggest going to your local GameStop or BestBuy and trying it out for yourself. Then you can get a feel for the system while also testing several of the games.
Dustin Toms: I can honestly say, for the first time, that handheld gaming has become what it needs to be -- a console experience you can hold in your hand.
I'm enamored with the Vita right now. The graphics look brilliant, the games are fun and the features work seamlessly (so far). The touch screen, as stated above, is what has become the social norm. The Vita does a great job executing the menus and the way you interact with them, as do the games.
So far I've played Hot Shots Golf, Wipeout and Marvel vs. Capcom. All three games run like they should and don't feel rushed for the handheld's release. I can think of another recent handheld that had plenty of rushed release-day titles. However, the system has a couple flaws -- one major and one minor, which both can be easily fixed.
The minor issue is simple. The games may be solid and running just fine on the Vita, but that doesn't mean you want to play those games. As with every handheld release, the launch titles are never anything to drool over. Probably the most hyped title would be the Uncharted game, but that still only targets a decent sized audience. But in due time, I'm sure the Vita will release much better games, both sports and non sports, that will make this worth the money. Which leads into the major issue.
The price tag is just plain and stupid. The non-3G version costs more than an XBOX 360 and just as much as the PS3. The 3G version is more than both. Doesn't that seem odd? I don't feel like it should be that much money. Now to top it off, the games and accessories become the killer. Uncharted is retailed at $50, and everything else is at least north of $30. I was expecting big time titles to be around that $40 range, but $50 is too much.
And that's just the games and system. You want to save your games and download some of the Playstation Store (which is a great layout), then be prepared to cough up some dough. To buy a 32gb memory card, your wallet will become $100 lighter. So in the end, if you want to maximize your PS Vita experience with three games, you'll be spending at minimum $620 before tax. Yikes.
But I really do love this system, I can't put it down. Unfortunately the price tag, until lowered, is going to hinder the sales of the Vita as the 3DS continues to rise.
The question is, "Can you afford the Vita?" not "Should you buy one?" Because if you can afford it, I'd recommend you go buy it this instant.