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Friday 24th October 2014,
Noble Press

PSVita: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Justin Pla March 12, 2012 , No Comments
Overall Score
4

Performance

Software

Graphics

Cosmetics

Trollol

I went into my local game store last week to pick up my PlayStation Vita (Wi-fi). I reluctantly made the purchase while praying this would be a good investment. I left the store with my new console clutched in hand and entered my car with even more anxiety. All the bad things my friends had told me about this hardware raced through my head.Still fixated in my thoughts, I pulled up behind a car with the licences plate that read: Trollol.


Being in the pessimistic mood I was in, I immediately took this as an omen; Thank God I’m no prophet.

The Good:

Durability

Let me start this part off by saying that the PSVita is a beast. It’s surprisingly light considering the fire power it’s packing. The Wi-fi model weighs in at 260 grams (9.2 oz). Holding it in my hands, it felt solid and natural (that’s what she said, ha). I didn’t dare test the durability, but by my judgement, it should be able to withstand a good old drop on the floor. (Update: I dropped it on the floor, it’s fine.)

Cosemetics

The PSVita has a sleek, oval shape, similar to the PSP. This has people mistaking it as being another model of the former handheld; a similar problem that the Nintendo 3DS had. No my friends, do not be fooled and judge a book by its cover. This console is the next-gen portable at its best. The external dimensions are approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth). My eyes had a fantastic time enjoying the bright and colorful images on the whopping 5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, approx. 16 million colors, and OLED Multi touch screen. The graphics are beautiful, no doubt. The device wields 2 analog sticks similar to the PlayStation 3 controller which are placed on either sides of the touchscreen. The signature triangle, circle, cross, and square buttons are placed in their respected places. A D-pad is included on the left  as well. Some people have argued that this console lacked much needed triggers for the R and L buttons. I, for one, was happy with the familiar bumpers. I had no problems executing head shots in Uncharted: Golden Abyss. The back is utilized with a multi touch pad that’s covered with mini triangle, circle, cross, and square symbols.

Hardware

Okay, so remember how I was telling you the PS Vita was a beast? It features a quad-core ARM® Cortex™- A9 CPU Processor and another, that’s right, quad-core SGX543MP4+ GPU processor! So far everything has been running smoothly. I have had the chance to play Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (UMvC3). I’ve had no frame rate or performance issues while running the games. The system comes equipped with front and back 1.3MP cameras. The cameras provide a picture good enough  to enjoy the augmented reality games and perhaps video chat hopefully sometime in the near future. In addition, it’s loaded with stereo speakers, microphone, the Sixaxis motion sensing system, a GPS receiver (3G Model), Wi-fi, 3G, and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity. The PlayStation Vita has 128 MB of VRAM and 512 MB of system RAM. The console uses proprietary PSVita memory cards, which are available in sizes from 4 GB to 32 GB. Sony has released a statement declaring there will be much larger memory cards going well over 100GB.

Performance

The console performs very well while running multiple applications. I was able to run apps like Chat, Facebook, a game like UMvC3, play music, and have my browser running with no problems at all. The life span of the battery lasted up to 6 hours of  non-stop play. It’s a bit less if you have the brightness on high the whole time.

The Bad:

Remote Play

The Remote Play option allows you to be playing a game on your home console then switch over to your PSVita and take it on the go. This was suppose to be one of the major functions that differentiated itself from the other portable gaming devices. I found it really cool that I am able to access my PS3 from anywhere over the internet! Once I tried it out, it was very disappointing. The most I could see you do with this function besides switching to games on the go is sharing pictures stored on the PS3 to your friends. I tried popping in a Blu-Ray to see if I was able to watch the movie on the go. I couldn’t do it. I was hoping it would be similar to Apple or Microsoft devices where you could be watching something on one screen in one room and then switch it over to the other device in the other effortlessly. The remote play option seems very restricted. It sounded like a good idea on paper but the final product blows. I will give them some time. Hopefully they are able to release an update that will utilize this function to its fullest potential.

Near

The Near App is similar to Nintendo’s StreetPass. Its a social networking app that allows you to check in to real life locations, exchange gifts, and connect with PlayStation Network friends nearby. I put this under the bad section because I do not see anyone carrying their PSVita around rather than the 3Ds. StreetPass allows for more functions (such as mini games) compared to Near. With Near, I can only send and pick up gifts for my games. The StreetPass has created a community by encouraging gamers to interact with each other in order to fully benefit from this application. It’s gotten to the point where people have organized monthly meet ups to play games and interact with other 3DS enthusiast. The following is huge! So huge that people are organizing a StreetPass meet up world tour.  I do not see PlayStation Vita ever igniting a social movement on the scale that the 3DS has.

Screen Shots

You have the ability to take screen shots with your PSVita. That is, unless you are in game. This almost gave me an aneurysm. What is the point of having this function if you cannot take screen shots of the games your playing? ”Oh hey guys look at this sweet screen shot of my Facebook App”. I am sorry Sony, but can you do something right? Please! Okay, I am done venting.

The Ugly:

Software

The PlayStation Vita has a new touchscreen user interface coined as LiveArea. This is an upgrade from the XrossMediaBar interface that we are use too. It works very well as far as performance. The only thing this OS is lacking are apps. At launch we have a total of 6 apps to download. Apps such as Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter. This was an epic fail on Sony’s part. I believe if the console had more apps at launch I would have more of a use for it. Even the release titles, although there was an abundance of them, weren’t titles that would make me go out of my way to buy the PS Vita. I am already bored with Uncharted: Golden Abyss and UMvC3. The PlayStation Vita web browser does not support Adobe Flash but Cookies, HTML5, and Javascript are available.

Final Thoughts

All in all, it’s a decent system. I think the hype behind it was a little too built up.  I now understand why it was such a flop in Japan. The keyword here is potential. Sony has the potential to come out with more apps and updates that will maximize the use of the console. If it does not, the PSVita will flop here in the U.S. There have been more announcements of new games such as GTA: Vice City Nights. So we’ll give Sony some time. I definitely recommend to wait for that price drop. However, if you are a PlayStation fan boy or girl, you will love it!

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