Some PlayStation Vita afterthoughts

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BlackHeronBlue

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Edited By BlackHeronBlue

The only reason I bought a PS Vita was to play Persona 4 The Golden - I did not expect to want any other game for that system, and I didn't really care about what the catalog would offer in the future. That was five years ago, and now that I'm saying goodbye to the Vita, here's some afterthoughts about that system.

When it was released, the Vita was rather impressive: two analog sticks, front and back touch controls, nice display, and very decent technical capabilities made the system a gadget that promised to finally bring big boy console gaming to the portable world. I strongly believe it could've done it, had it not been abandoned by Sony so early on. The hardware was there to make a lot of things possible, and I really wanted to see more titles like Gravity Rush to utilize the console's full bag of motion/touch control tricks. But the Vita, as it turned out, never really shone. Why?

I have to say the launch was pretty confusing, because of the price, and the memory issue. Honestly, the Vita was way too expensive at launch, and you had to buy yourself a very specific memory card on day one, because the console didn't have built in memory. I thought, I have a lot of spare SD cards I'm not using for anything - no problem. I'm sure you can imagine the frustration when I found out the system only takes its own type of memory card, and how much those cards cost. It was just such a big investment you had to make, and it didn't come bundled with any games (at least I couldn't find a bundle when I was shopping for a Vita). So right off the bat, a very bad first impression.

I've grown to like the vita after playing a few games that made use of the touch screen and motion controls, not to mention the days I was completely dead to the world because of P4G. Sadly, I've soon ran out of games to play, and it was disappointing to see the console being used mostly for big brand offshoots. You see, the problem was that in Poland, no stores actually carried Vita games in any meaningful quantity. Only the biggest names were available on store shelves, and it was a rather sad sight to behold, three or four Vita games somewhere in the corner, next to two hundred PS3/PS4 games. The PSN Store was the last resort, and that wasn't a great option, because most Vita games take up around 4GB of memory, and as I mentioned, those memory cards weren't cheap.

On top of that, even today the European PSN Store catalog is very disappointing. The obvious classics are there, of course, and some obscure Japanese games that you really need to be a fan of to get into, yes. But browsing through it, it becomes obvious that at some point early in its life cycle, they kind of just pulled the plug on the Vita. The only things that save it from being a complete failure is CrossBuy, and indie games such as Salt And Sanctuary, or The Darkest Dungeon. There's quite a few great indie games to be played on the Vita, and they mostly come with CrossBuy, so you can play them on your PS4 for no additional charge as well. That way, the Vita does what it was designed to do: play some God Eater 2 on the big console at home, CrossSave, continue game on the bus, or wherever. That works just fine.

I guess my final thoughts are that it's a shame nothing more was done with the device that was so promising. Perhaps here in Europe I wasn't able to fully experience what the catalog has in store, but Sony didn't do much to bring the content here.

Regardless, you can still play a lot of good stuff on the PSV: P4G, Gravity Rush, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Salt And Sanctuary, Darkest Dungeon, God Eater 1 & 2, Soul Sacrifice, Hotline Miami 1 & 2, the Final Fantasty X/X-2 remake will certainly keep you busy, and there's even some version of Gal Gun available. Might be enough to justify a purchase, especially with how cheap used Vitas are now.

All in all, I have to say that my expectations have been met. Persona 4 The Golden was worth it.

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adamcboyd

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"play some God Eater 2 on the big console at home, CrossSave, continue game on the bus, or wherever. That works just fine."

This is what stood out to me. I never realized it but if they would have played their cards right and not screwed poor people over as well as find a much better and clearer way to explain that you can do this, they could have basically did what the Switch did. I wonder if even now if they threw their weight behind it, could they bring it back to life? Those motion control wands got a second life years later for VR. I just don't think they have connected the dots.

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Justin258

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You see, the problem was that in Poland, no stores actually carried Vita games in any meaningful quantity.

I saw a similar problem in the US. In the Best Buy near me, there was a corner of the video game section that had two small shelves with Vita games on them and that's it. Those shelves disappeared some time ago and I haven't seen a Vita game in a major retailer since. I have seen a few Vita games in some small stores focused solely on video games - the Gamestop nearest me had a few of them last time I was in there, but again, only a miserable half-full shelf, and there's a local store near me that has more but not much more.

This won't happen, but I'd like to see Sony open the Vita up for the homebrew scene so that people can tinker with it. It's still a cool, sleek, feature-filled piece of hardware, it just didn't get any real support.

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BlackHeronBlue

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"play some God Eater 2 on the big console at home, CrossSave, continue game on the bus, or wherever. That works just fine."

This is what stood out to me. I never realized it but if they would have played their cards right and not screwed poor people over as well as find a much better and clearer way to explain that you can do this, they could have basically did what the Switch did. I wonder if even now if they threw their weight behind it, could they bring it back to life? Those motion control wands got a second life years later for VR. I just don't think they have connected the dots.

I doubt it, it seems they're not gonna do anything more with the Vita at all. There's still obscure Japanese games coming out. The limitation also seems to be that you could play Vita games on the PS4, but it probably wouldn't be technically possible the other way around. I mean, there's just no way graphically demanding PS4 titles would ever be playable on the Vita without the devs having to rewrite them completely. No money there, as pretty much everyone buried the PSV already. But yeah, I absolutely agree that had they worked on this earlier, the Switch wouldn't be that innovative and surprising.

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BlackHeronBlue

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This won't happen, but I'd like to see Sony open the Vita up for the homebrew scene so that people can tinker with it. It's still a cool, sleek, feature-filled piece of hardware, it just didn't get any real support.

There's gotta be people already doing that, right?

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Justin258

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#5  Edited By Justin258

@blackheronblue said:
@justin258 said:

This won't happen, but I'd like to see Sony open the Vita up for the homebrew scene so that people can tinker with it. It's still a cool, sleek, feature-filled piece of hardware, it just didn't get any real support.

There's gotta be people already doing that, right?

They're definitely trying, but last I checked the CFW scene for the Vita wasn't thriving anywhere near as much as the ones for the PSP were, or the Wii, or the original Xbox.

It has been a while and it's also totally possible I didn't check the right places. I wound up softmodding my 3DS XL instead.

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BlackHeronBlue

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@justin258: who knows, maybe everyone just gave up on it altogether. :D

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Coreus

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Don't forget about Rayman collection and all of the PS1 classics like FF VII, IX, Metal Gear, Silent Hill and more. It's still a very solid system. Too bad the EU PSN store is crap compared to the US. Why can't they sell Secret of Mana on the EU PS Store!?!

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#8  Edited By DarlingDixie

The 3DS feels like a sack of shit compared to the Vita, the build quality is so much worse on those first few 3DS models.

Vita analog sticks suck and they tried to cram too much functionality into it on the software side. Really wish it found a bigger audience than it did!

Those memory card prices... Anyway my Switch killed off the Vita for me, but if I get an itch for Persona 4 Golden I will be buying another!

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BlackHeronBlue

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@Coreus said:

Too bad the EU PSN store is crap compared to the US. Why can't they sell Secret of Mana on the EU PS Store!?!

Don't even get me started, we always get shit online store catalogs here. Half the stuff is missing.

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MeierTheRed

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@Coreus said:

Too bad the EU PSN store is crap compared to the US. Why can't they sell Secret of Mana on the EU PS Store!?!

Don't even get me started, we always get shit online store catalogs here. Half the stuff is missing.

It's gotten better over the years. But i'll agree that it's still not where it should be.

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#11  Edited By TwoLines

@blackheronblue said:

You see, the problem was that in Poland, no stores actually carried Vita games in any meaningful quantity.

Oh my dude, after the system was out for a year or two, I never saw any Vita games actually being displayed anywhere in Poland. But Nintendo doesn't have great distribution over here either. At least Sony tries to localize games here, but then there's the Vita's EU store, which sucks. I still vastly prefer my Switch to Vita, but yeah, if only Sony tried just a little bit more, that thing had some potential.

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If you are into Japanese games, or even just dungeon crawlers in general, even a little bit the Vita and 3DS are must owns. Even if you discount the trickle of new releases I want to play, my backlog on the Vita is big enough to keep it around and out of storage for the next few years.

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BlackHeronBlue

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@blackheronblue said:
@Coreus said:

Too bad the EU PSN store is crap compared to the US. Why can't they sell Secret of Mana on the EU PS Store!?!

Don't even get me started, we always get shit online store catalogs here. Half the stuff is missing.

It's gotten better over the years. But i'll agree that it's still not where it should be.

I'm not going to ever argue with you because Obzen avatar.

@twolines said:
@blackheronblue said:

You see, the problem was that in Poland, no stores actually carried Vita games in any meaningful quantity.

Oh my dude, after the system was out for a year or two, I never saw any Vita games actually being displayed anywhere in Poland. But Nintendo doesn't have great distribution over here either. At least Sony tries to localize games here, but then there's the Vita's EU store, which sucks. I still vastly prefer my Switch to Vita, but yeah, if only Sony tried just a little bit more, that thing had some potential.

Nintendo couldn't forgive Poland for the Pegasus for 20 years :D The only store that actually carries pretty much everything you'd want is ultima.pl - the problem with them is they order very limited stock for non-AAAA titles.

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MeierTheRed

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@meierthered said:
@blackheronblue said:
@Coreus said:

Too bad the EU PSN store is crap compared to the US. Why can't they sell Secret of Mana on the EU PS Store!?!

Don't even get me started, we always get shit online store catalogs here. Half the stuff is missing.

It's gotten better over the years. But i'll agree that it's still not where it should be.

I'm not going to ever argue with you because Obzen avatar.

Made me laugh with that one.

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BlackHeronBlue

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@blackheronblue said:
@meierthered said:
@blackheronblue said:
@Coreus said:

Too bad the EU PSN store is crap compared to the US. Why can't they sell Secret of Mana on the EU PS Store!?!

Don't even get me started, we always get shit online store catalogs here. Half the stuff is missing.

It's gotten better over the years. But i'll agree that it's still not where it should be.

I'm not going to ever argue with you because Obzen avatar.

Made me laugh with that one.

It's nice to know that people still listen to real music, this site promotes all the worst garbage :D Rember the Trackmania streams? They would certainly be better with some shuggah instead of that lawnmower music. :D

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MeierTheRed

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@meierthered said:
@blackheronblue said:
@meierthered said:
@blackheronblue said:
@Coreus said:

Too bad the EU PSN store is crap compared to the US. Why can't they sell Secret of Mana on the EU PS Store!?!

Don't even get me started, we always get shit online store catalogs here. Half the stuff is missing.

It's gotten better over the years. But i'll agree that it's still not where it should be.

I'm not going to ever argue with you because Obzen avatar.

Made me laugh with that one.

It's nice to know that people still listen to real music, this site promotes all the worst garbage :D Rember the Trackmania streams? They would certainly be better with some shuggah instead of that lawnmower music. :D

I wholeheartedly agree on that for sure.

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dafdiego777

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To me - the vita was a neat idea way ahead of its time (in both a good and bad way). I think a lot of the first party games made by Sony were bad games - they were attempting to be big console like experiences, without the gameplay to back it up (looking at you uncharted). The ultimate ideal experiences were those with crossplay and crossbuy - ie you could buy one copy on your PS3 and your save would automatically update between the two platforms. But these games were few and far between, and Sony's network didn't always make this an easy system to work. I think the Switch is the realized version of the best of the Vita without any of the downsides. Full game experiences on the go without having to buy two games and making sure your save was pulled from the cloud.

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BlackHeronBlue

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To me - the vita was a neat idea way ahead of its time (in both a good and bad way). I think a lot of the first party games made by Sony were bad games - they were attempting to be big console like experiences, without the gameplay to back it up (looking at you uncharted). The ultimate ideal experiences were those with crossplay and crossbuy - ie you could buy one copy on your PS3 and your save would automatically update between the two platforms. But these games were few and far between, and Sony's network didn't always make this an easy system to work. I think the Switch is the realized version of the best of the Vita without any of the downsides. Full game experiences on the go without having to buy two games and making sure your save was pulled from the cloud.

Yeah, but the Switch achieved this because it's what it was being designed for from the very beginning. Maybe Sony didn't realize that potential until it was too late. We'll never know, but I'm curious to see if any other brand will try to copy Nintendo with their own attempt at a home/handheld mix.

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disco_drew22

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I had such a strained relationship with my Vita. To be honest, I can't tell you why I bought one, but I did and was immediately enamored with the screen and the style of games it accommodated. I was one of the two people who like playing Uncharted on Vita, and I literally could not put down Gravity Rush. A few years later, I had the same type of experience with Tearaway (I had a six hour train ride and played it almost the entire way).

Overall, though, I mostly remember it for collecting dust on my end table. It's odd to me that the system vacillated between being totally useless and an all-time great gaming experience so regularly, but that was just how it played out in my household.

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#20  Edited By dafdiego777

@blackheronblue: If you go back to watch their marketing for the pre-launch and first couple of years, I don't think Sony knew what they had as well. I don't think any other company will enter the handheld space, because MS+Sony compete on power, which the Switch has ignored.

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