The PlayStation Vita has officially gone on sale in New Zealand stores. We've either finished or played the demo for most of the launch titles, as well as some upcoming games, and can tell you which ones are worth checking out, and which ones you might want to give a miss. Keep in mind that it's not a comprehensive guide.
Before you start, check out our review of the Vita.
THE GOOD AND THE INTERESTING:
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
There are two must-have game choices in the PS Vita line-up, and Uncharted: Golden Abyss is the first. It's made by Sony-owned company Bend Studios and is the prequel to Naughty Dogs' Uncharted series. Adventurer and treasure hunter Nathan Drake - who is modelled on Indiana Jones, if Indy wore a ring instead of a rat - is doing some contract work for a rather shady character. Things don't go well and he ends up traipsing around the jungle figuring out ancient mysteries and fighting bad guys.
Some people will find that controls inspired by mobile gaming - the touchscreen and the rear touch panel - have been integrated too heavily into the game for their liking, and that's fair enough. But it's the fullest, most engaging hardcore gaming experience for the Vita so far.
(We wrote a full review of Uncharted: Golden Abyss - check it out.)
The second obvious pick is the new Wipeout game, 2048. Wipeout has always been a whole lot of crashing, burning, hovercrafting fun, and nothing much has changed here. The single player campaign has you racing other vehicles, completing time trials, and engaging in combat races which you pass or fail by tallying up the damage you do to your opponents. You do damage using weaponry picked up along the way. You can also play through races where you have no opponents but have to keep your vehicle intact for as long as possible by not crashing into walls or falling off-track.
As you complete challenges, you unlock new hovercrafts and new races. When you're done with the single-player, there's a multiplayer campaign to be completed where you'll race against real-life competitors. you don't necessarily have to win a race to 'pass' it. We're not usually big racing game fans, and we still found that Wipeout 2048 was loads of fast-paced fun.
FIFA Football 2012
For fans of sports games, it's all about FIFA. We're not really sports gamers here at PC World - as you might notice from the complete lack of sports game reviews on our website - but the thing we like about FIFA is that's it's fun for beginners and experts alike, and you can choose exactly how complex you want your experience to be. If you're already a fan, jump in and kick a ball around.
If you're more of a rugby fan, New Zealand developer Sidhe is in the process of porting Rugby Challenge to PS Vita. We've seen the game in action at the PS Vita's launch event, so it can't be too far off.
We've only played a demo of Gravity Rush, but it wound up being a bit of a dark horse amongst our collection of upcoming titles. Gravity Rush (called Gravity Daze in Japan) is an open-world game in which the main character, Kat, has lost her memory. It sounds silly, but she meets a cat that gives her the ability to alter gravity - but only her own gravity. Kat can now walk up the side of buildings and float through the air. It's a unique game mechanic, and the brief demo we played made us very, very interested. Of course, it could fail spectacularly. We'll have to wait and see.
Ever played WarioWare? You should have. It's an awesome old-school Nintendo franchise wherein you complete a string of minigames in quick succession. When we say minigames, we mean minigames - each one is only a few seconds long. Frobisher Says is similar, except it uses all of the Vita's functions to the fullest. You'll use buttons, touchscreens, the rear touchpad, the gyroscope, and the camera. It's a very, very silly game, and the demo we played was loads of fun. It looks like a great game for kids, too - there are fart jokes and funny noises abound.
The entirely black-and-white art style of Escape Plan is phenomenal, and if this game doesn't make you smile, nothing will. You start out as a character lying on a bed in a room, and the game gives you no direction on what to do - you just figure it out yourself while beautiful, morose classical music plays in the background. You have to solve puzzles, largely using the touch screen, to figure out where to go and what to do. While it's a bit cartoony, it's not really a game for kids, as some of the deaths are a little bit gruesome.
How well you do in the game depends on how many gestures you make on the device's touchscreen or rear touchpad.
THE ONES WE COULD PASS ON:
Unit 13 is the Vita's only shooter launch title, so it's a big deal for Sony. It does show off how well the dual thumbsticks work, but frankly, the whole game is a little bit half-baked. There's no cohesive story mode, just a series of generic missions where you complete generic tasks and kill generic enemies. Yawn. The game seems like it was made just so there was a launch third-person shooter that featured online multiplayer. It's cool that they've tried to introduce a new IP, and the game's graphics are great, but it's probably better to wait for Resistance or Call of Duty, if that's your thing.
Reality Fighters is a cool idea, but you'll only play it for a few minutes and you won't get your money's worth out of it. You can create a fighter that has your own face, thanks to the Vita's cameras, but that's kind of gimmicky. You can also use the augmented reality so that it looks like the characters are fighting in your living room, but that's kind of gimmicky too. All in all, it's really just a tech demo.