He Said, She Said: The New PlayStation Vita
Our (married) (to each other) tech editors debate the pros and cons of Sony’s just-released mobile gaming gizmo
Libe: Strictly as far as visuals, the PlayStation Vita is definitely a sexy piece of hardware, with a shiny black body, a big bright touchscreen and every type of button configuration you’d possibly need for gaming, social media, and video playback. It’s like a Swiss Army Knife of modern gadgetry, but it also feels like a gaming device that wants to cram in too much other stuff.
Dan: That reach-for-the-stars attitude is precisely why the PlayStation Vita feels special in a world flooded with copycat smartphones and tablets. It just looks and feels like a cool gadget should, and the hardware is packed with features, including front and rear cameras, a 3G antenna for data (if you want to cough up an extra 50 bucks), motion-sensing gyroscopes, a GPS antenna, and even a super-bright OLED screen, which looks better than your iPhone’s screen. Still, I’d agree that the Vita can feel cluttered, with its dual control sticks and 13 different buttons.
Libe: I’ll admit the Vita offers a very high-end experience, but how does it stack up to the unsung hero of portable gaming, Apple? Think about someone who takes her $250 and decides to spend it on something like the iPod Touch, which already has a great interface, web browser, decent camera, does e-mail and texting, plays video, and — most importantly — can access a vast catalog of hundreds of thousands of apps and games, many of which are a buck or less, while Vita games, even the downloadable ones, cost $20-$50.
Dan: The games may give anyone used to Apple’s App Store a little sticker shock, but it’s also hard to emphasize enough just how thrilling something like the flagship game Uncharted: Golden Abyss (based on the hit PS3 series) is to play – it’s light years beyond any other portable gaming experience. To be fair, many of the first round of Vita games and remakes or ports of current console and tablet games. There definitely needs to be more original content for the system.
Libe: The Vita, if it can move past the hurdle of convincing people to carry yet another gadget around, needs more stand-out games. Uncharted looks fantastic, and some of the other games slated for this year also look promising, including Little Big Planet, Michael Jackson: The Experience, and Resistance: Burning Skies, but Sony really needs to crank out more original, Vita-only hits to keep up any momentum.
The Sony PlayStation Vita is available in the US starting today, starting at $249. Check back for a rundown of the best and worst Vita launch games.