28/02/2013 – So about the PlayStation Vita…

I bought one. I said I was going to and I did. All things aside, this is a really slick device. It feels much better in my hands than the PSP ever did. The inclusion of dual-analogue sticks is a serious improvement also. Persona 4 Golden feels fantastic on the system because of it (Although it being an awesome game in it’s own right helps).

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What I got when I first got the system.

So starting the system up in the first place didn’t take too much time in comparison to something like the PSP or even the PS3, Probably took about 10 minutes at most for the initial setup. General stuff; setting the time, connecting to the Wi-Fi, so on. Then there was an update I had to install that took 20 minutes, but actually installed as it downloaded, so already an improvement over the PS3 in terms of that.

Thereafter, I finally get to the main screen, and it’s your typical “Lets cover the whole thing with shortcut symbols to apps” that every mobile device does these days (Thank you Apple, you’ve ruined UI design forever), albeit there are some shortcuts faster ways of navigating if you want it. Pressing the PS button to bring up the multi-paned interface showing all open windows is an example. Reminded me of the Xbox Blade interface that was on the X360 when it first came out.

After a few weeks with it, I think I have finally perfected the interface for my uses. I essentially have it so that games are at the top along with the PSM Dev, PS Store, Friends, etc. On the second level is all the communication apps, Skype and such; and then on the last level is all the apps that came pre-built on the system or stuff I never use; Near, Maps, E-Mail, etc. This layout system to work fine for me. I only ever use the top layer when I use the thing outside, mostly to launch Persona 3 Portable.

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Some time and a bit of tweaking later…

Speaking of features, there’s a significant step-up from what the PSP offered, but that’s expected seeing as the market is considerably different in scope and user demand. But the general idea of it being primarily for games is still there, but the other media options continue their presence and are perfectly welcome. I’m partially fond of the new camera and video capture options, albeit the camera does not have a resolution that’s even remotely on par with most phones, but some condescensions had to be made after all. For £215, it’s a seriously low price when you consider most phones are £400-£600 when all is said and done (Referring to contracts).

Social aspects certainly play a more prominent role here. Every time I boot a game or look at my friends list, I can scroll down and see their current activity throughout their games; trophy lists, whether or not it’s their first time playing, and much more. It reminds me of Steam’s community hub that one might see when clicking on that item in the window, and how it displays a similar (but slightly more in-depth) feed page.

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Multi-application support is a significant step up from what the PSP had.

 But back to multi-tasking for a second, because it is one of the more impressive features when compared to the PSP and PS3. I can press the PS Button to practically pause any game, bring up the web browser and start YouTube videos, and then go back to the game and continue from where I left off; AND THAT’S AWESOME!

OK, I realise any smartphone has been able to do that for a few years now. But it does impress me nonetheless. The fact that the multi-tab idea of the PC interface is starting to become more and more a part of nearly every device is certainly an improvement; and in regards to the Vita, this can used for some awesome stuff.

Take for example Persona 4 Golden, you’re going to want to use a wiki for a good chunk of that game. And the ability to pause, check the Internet, and jump right back in; all within minutes, maybe even seconds, is crazy awesome and useful.

Speaking of games, I gotta disagree with some ideas that there is a serious lack of content. After one look in the store, I saw plenty of games. The problem is that a good chunk of them were part of PlayStation Mobile, so very people know where to look. And they don’t look bad at all, some seemed very impress, and I can’t wait to get better at programming in C# so I can get a chance to have a crack at that stuff

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The screenshot feature is a nice touch. Here’s some Persona 4 Golden for you.

Also, I have Persona 4 Golden, a 100 hour JRPG, I’m pretty much set for the rest of the year with that alone. But you add on top that most of the PSP games on the store can be played on the Vita, that’s a ton of content! And they are more comfortable on the Vita than the original PSP, partly due to the improved form-factor and shape.

Overall, I’m a lot more impressed with this device that I initially theorised. It’s a solid machine, I really hope Sony support it and market appropriately, so there can be a larger install base, which will lead to even more content. Furthermore, I am really interested in PSM now that XNA has been killed off.

That’s all. Sorry for the month long delay, I kinda forgot about this place… And real-life for that matter. Persona 4 is a a Hell of a game.

-Adam

About Adam Lutton

Game Designer / Programmer
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