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PS Vita

Release Date: 
02/22/2012
Star Rating: 
9 out of 10

We leave our dirty fingerprints all over Sony’s new portable.

The Pitch: After eight years of PSPing, the PS Vita is Sony’s rebuttal to Apple and Nintendo’s dominance in the mobile gaming market. The PS Vita jams more gaming and entertainment capabilities into a handheld than we’ve seen before, including a rear multi-touch panel, and the unicorn portable gamers have been chasing since Gameboy debuted - dual analog sticks.

 

What It Really Is: The most impressive dedicated, portable gaming device yet. The Vita has a solid, hefty build, a scorching 2GHz quad-core processor that leaves the iPhone 4S in the dust, and a beautiful, vibrant 5” OLED touchscreen that begs for the touch of your controller-callused digits.

 

Touch vs Analog
Vita’s touchscreens are capacitive and react to your fingering exceptionally well. (Stop giggling.) Sony’s OS is a definite compliment to the pumped up Vita hardware, feeling smooth and intuitive - even when multitasking - and lets you peel away tabs to close games and running apps. At its core, though, PSVita is a device aimed at hardcore gamers and its shoulder triggers and analog sticks are a testament to that. The miniaturized sticks are undeniably small but serve the purpose well, giving the Vita a precision that’s not found on the 3DS or an iDevice. Until you glue control sticks to your iPad, this is the best way to play.

 

Launch Lineup
When the iPhone launched, there was no App Store. When the 3DS launched, there was no Mariokart 7. Years of conditioning have taught gamers that buying a new console, portable or otherwise, isn’t just about the hardware but leaving enough cash in your pocket to pick up a few killer launch titles. Vita’s not just launching with tried-and-true, recognizable titles in every genre that look and feel like their console counterparts, but each one provides a great example of the portable’s capabilities. Uncharted shows off the systems pretty graphics and battery life, FIFA boasts online play and lovely touch screen percision controls, and  even Touch My Katamari (stop giggling) does an admirable job of justifying the inclusion of the back touchscreen and shows how it can make gameplay better.

Bottom Line
PS Vita is filling a niche for console gamers who still require power and depth when they’re on the go. It’s hard to look at the Vita as the first of its kind. Rather, this is the logical end point for portables that incorporates everything great that’s come before - front and rear facing cameras, wifi, cellular, touchscreens, GPS, analog sticks, motion controls - and ditches the worst (we’re looking at you, UMD’s) then packs it all into one, beautiful, beastly package.

 

Who’s It For: Subway riders and those relegated to the backseat during road trips will find the Vita a useful companion. It also doubles as a great couch escape when you can’t get to your PS3 because your girl is blasting a Real Housewives of Cake Wars in Downton Marathon.

 

Maxim.com Ready-Made Press Blurb: “The PS Vita is powerful and sexy. It’s the Female Olympic volleyball player of hand helds.” – Maxim.com

 

Fun Fact: Vita’s Japanese launch in late 2011 was plagued with problems, all which seem to be solved in time for its North American launch. [fingers crossed]

 

Special Features/Extras/Cheats/Packaging…The Vita comes in three different flavors, Wifi-only, Wifi/3G (as long as you’re cool kicking another couple bucks to your AT&T overlords) and a First Edition Bundle that packs the 3G version with a case and the Little Deviants game...though we’re not sure why.