GDC 2011: Hands On A Hard Vita

Screen shot 2011-10-12 at 4.19.40 PM

Finally, I got my hands on a PS Vita. I played the TGS build of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, which is a system exclusive. I can see why it’s difficult for games reviewers to get a sense of what a product (a game and system, in this case) will be like on launch just from playing a demo. The game demo was short, a bit buggy, but overall pretty impressive. The bug, if you’re wondering, involved Drake getting into a “ready” position to hoist an AI character onto a higher platform. The AI character proceeded to get stuckThe graphics capability of the Vita looks somewhere close to a 360, and possibly better, but it’s difficult to say with any certainty. There were high resolution textures, lots of simultaneous sounds, and a relatively smooth play experience. The demo isn’t enough to convince me that the system is worth buying, but then again, I’ve been soured by my PSP experience. I shouldn’t have to hack my system to access functionality I want it to have (to be specific, I want to play PS1 games I already own without having to buy them again). Hopefully, my annoyance will change with PS Suite.

As far as the hardware goes, the system is frickin’ huge. It’s surprisingly light, the screen is fantastic (it can pick up pressure in addition to location by way of calculating the amount of finger coming into contact with the screen), and the buttons feel responsive even if they are a bit small. The second stick is a welcome addition, but the sticks are minuscule and scare me to use them. I didn’t have the sense that I would break them while playing, but I did think I’d likely catch one on a piece of clothing and rip it off. They also tended to have too much play while in the neutral position. I’m not sure they’ll hold up for those who play a lot. There is no way you’d fit this thing in a pocket and go anywhere comfortably. Remember, this is all based on a 5-minute playthrough of the Uncharted Demo and a much shorter period of hands-on time with the device during the PS Suite panel at GDC.

More news on the Vita and its PSN store craziness over on
Destructoid. I didn’t even know Jim Sterling was here!

-Roddy