When I got my Nintendo 3DS, I was thrilled with it. I stormed through the huge game library that was available, and loved almost every title. But it was just never…enough; It’s almost hard to say why. Market-wise, the 3DS pretty much owns the role of top handheld. In fact, the DS series of handhelds has pretty much been king since the big, bulky silver model; It’s really been no contest. For me, and all my gaming preferences, the console itself gained my love but lost it after a few months of play.
But what about the other guy? He’s been sulking in the background for years, building a decent little fan base, albeit not nearly as vast as that following the Nintendo handheld product line. The handheld Playstation series, The Playstation Portable (PSP) and the Playstation Vita, have always been the runner-up in the handheld wars. It’s always been quite the landslide, too. The PSP and Vita have both earned a negative reputation because of this, and I want to attempt to explain why the Playstation Vita deserves, if not preference, at least a little credit.
In recent times, far after choosing to retire the 3DS, the craving for mobile gaming has hit me again. I knew there were pretty much only two options for portable, barring those that would not be worthwhile to a seasoned gamer. And yes, I’m looking at you, Google Play Store - 90% of you is a joke, but I digress. Seeing that my only remaining option was the PS Vita, I groaned a bit to myself at the thought of buying this console that even diehard Sony buffs tout as ‘worthless’ or ‘embarrassing’.
Well, sales-wise yeah, that’s probably factual information. If that’s your argument, you win. But I did my research, and I was surprised at what I found. So, I’ll now attempt to confront the three main complaints that I found to be most common about the console, hopefully presenting a few positive points that reinforce the console’s worthiness in the world of handheld gaming.
The first, and definitely most common of the complaints that I found, was the game library. Sony has obviously always struggled in its mission to obtain developers that want to create games for the consoles that have always been falling behind. Even Sony has had a limited role in cranking out games in their own name. When you look under the hood, and by that, I mean in the Playstation store, I personally find it difficult to not keep running into a great game. Original Playstation classics, PSP games, Cross-Buy games, and ports from PS3 hits. There’s a lot more options than I was led to believe. Borderlands 2, Monster Hunter, Injustice: Ultimate Edition, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Patapon, pretty much every Final Fantasy up to FFX, the God of War series, Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, AND Ratchet and Clank compilations…. And not to mention it’s JRPG heaven. It might just be me, but I found the games library to actually be quite appealing. It may not stack up to the 3DS library in sheer volume, but it delivers in quality. And the games are definitely on the cheap side.
‘Gimmicks.’ I found this complaint all over the place. The touchscreen is a gimmick. The rear touchpads are, as well, and so is the rear light sensor. And the gyroscope? A mere folly. I can only approach this one with a frustration towards those that oppose change. Is it possible that these things aren’t gimmicks? Is it possible that they’re actually legitimate, worthy ideas that make the gaming experience more involving? The rear touchpads… those are extra input options, guys. Not many games even require you to use them. The touchscreen adds functionality to some games that simplify menu browsing and make turn-based or strategy games much easier to navigate and control. The gyroscope is actually a pretty cool idea, and presents an alternative to using the joysticks when all you need is a horizontal axis. It doesn’t make sense to call all of these new ideas gimmicks, simply because they present fresh alternatives to the way we game. The Wii was pretty popular, guys.
Battery Life & Memory
The battery life, and the memory cards are another burning issue. I was shocked to see the uproar that surrounds this one. In my experience, with a standard PS Vita battery, you can get about 8 hours of solid game time. That’s one-third of a day…. A relatively atypical amount of time to be away from an outlet. The included charge cords are actually quite lengthy, too. As for memory cards, those are a one-time purchase. A 32 Gigabyte card will fit a good load of music, videos, and even a decent amount of full digital games. The file sizes for vita are pretty reasonable. They are undoubtedly a little pricey, but the console’s highly reasonable price assists in offsetting the high price for the ONLY required accessory.
Perhaps this article didn’t change your mind. Hell, maybe you still despise the console entirely. But if you have never considered one because of the stigma that surrounds them, I’m here to tell you, there are some people (well,at least one person) out there who genuinely enjoy this console. You can’t forget its capabilities as a solid multimedia device, either. I’ve done all that I can to defend this neglected console, even though it’s quite difficult to do with the reputation that has been built around it. Maybe Sony handhelds have become a niche thing, and I’m simply caught in a crowd that sees their products as worthwhile no matter how much negativity the gaming community throws around. If you’re on the fence, give it a shot. You never know, it might be the perfect handheld for you.