E3 2011: 10 Thoughts On… Playstation Vita (Uncharted, Little Big Planet)

After an excruciatingly long wait in line to play, how was the Playstation Vita hands on?

1) The hardware itself is similar in size to a PSP (non-GO) but is slightly larger in height. The unit itself feels lighter than you’d expect, less like the weight of a PSP-1000 and more like the weight of a PSP-3000.

2) The screen is large and seems extremely high resolution. The graphical games – uncharted, wipeout – seemed to really pop off the screen and feel the same as their ps3 counterparts.

3) The new hardware features seemed pretty complete. The front touchpad responded well to both presses and swipes, and was used in a variety of ways.

4) However, the back touchpad was the most exciting new feature of the Playstation Vita. In various game demoes, the back touchpad was used as a primary gameplay driver (in Little Deviants) as well as a compliment (in Uncharted: Golden Abyss).

5) It was slightly awkward at times to hold Vita and also effectively use the back touchpad and regular controls, but it was hard to tell whether that was because the units were tethered with thick wires, or it will just take getting used to.

6) In terms of more “normal” hardware features, the dual analog sticks felt natural and were welcome in controlling the games. It will be great to finally have this on a portable and could be an underrated point of differentiation between Vita and other portables (3DS, iPhone/iPod Touch).

7) The cameras were used in one of the games (Little Deviants) and worked very well. The video taken in real-time was crisp and clear and at a much higher clarity than the camera on DS or 3DS.

8) The graphical capability of Vita seemed to be close to that of a PS3. If the original PSP had “PS1.5” type of power, the VIta seems about “PS2.75” just based purely on E3 impressions with the software shown. In particular, Virtua Tennis 4, Little Big Planet and Uncharted all looked and felt like their PS3 console counterparts.

9) It’s hard not to be intrigued by the launch prices announced. At $249 for the Wi-Fi version and $299 for the 3G version, the prices are competitive with the competition with substantially higher quality tech. It will be interesting to see how Sony handles the network and software, which will be the real tests.

10) The E3 2011 demo stations featured five games, all showing different ways Vita can be used to display and control games. The lineup on display was strong and again featured games and experiences that couldn’t be replicated on 3DS or iOS.

Check out my impressions of five Vita games:
Little Big Planet
Little Deviants
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Virtua Tennis 4
Sound Shapes



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