To Vita, or not to Vita, that is the question
With the PlayStation Vita now available in Japan, and due to hit Europe and North America in February, we thought it was only right to help you guys decide which launch titles you should purchase alongside Sony’s new handheld. After putting several games through their paces, we narrowed our search down to five titles that you should pick up when the PlayStation Vita launches in Europe and North America. Read on to see the first two titles that made the NGB cut.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Bringing the Uncharted experience, known for its epic set-pieces and sumptuous visuals, to a handheld must have been some task for the team at Bend Studio, mission impossible almost. However, going by the playable demo that we got hands-on with, it would appear they have done just that without much problem at all.
Whilst the visuals do not match up to the titles on the PlayStation 3, Uncharted: Golden Abyss shows just what the Sony’s latest handheld is capable of. Just one look at the game running on the PlayStation Vita via its gorgeous OLED screen, and you’ll realise no other handheld or mobile device on the market can lay claim to a title as good looking as this. Nathan Drake looks just like he does on the PlayStation 3, handsome and rugged, albeit at a slightly lower resolution. The environments are detailed, with some surprisingly decent textures, and effects are impressive too, especially the fire.
On the gameplay front, Golden Abyss follows the standard Uncharted formula with a few Vita related tricks thrown into the mix. The section showcased at the event featured a very short platforming section followed by some gunplay, sniping to be more precise. When it comes to the platforming, you can choose to use the touch screen, the standard control scheme or a combination of both. That’s what makes Golden Abyss such an interesting proposition, you can choose how you want to tackle each platforming section. For instance, you might prefer to get Drake across ledges by a quick swipe of the touch screen rather than guide him using the analog stick. On the other hand, when making tricky jumps you might choose to go down the standard control scheme route rather than make use of the touch screen. Whatever method you go for, you’re sure to be happy with the results.
The only Vita enabled feature that doesn’t work well is moving the handheld around to snipe enemies, it feels quite tacked on and we can’t imagine anyone using it beyond trying it out for the first time. Apart from that, Golden Abyss captures the Uncharted experience on the PlayStation Vita exceptionally well, making it a must-own if you’re a fan of the series.
Based around two characters called Lil and Laarg, Escape Plan is a puzzle game that makes use of the PlayStation Vita’s features extremely well. Whilst the initial draw might be the fantastic black and white visuals, spend a few minutes with the game, and you’ll stay to solve the intricately designed puzzles.
The objective is simple, help Lil or Laarg (sometimes both) out of a room by avoiding various obstacles placed their way. Naturally, as you progress from room to room, you’ll find guiding the characters to the exit becomes harder. You move either Lil or Laarg forward by swiping the touch screen, and touch it again to stop them. The latter part is most important, as this gives you a chance to survey the room and work out how exactly you’re going to get them to the exit. This is where the gameplay gets interesting, and highlights how the puzzles have been so wonderfully designed around the Vita itself.
Early on you’ll performing tasks such as moving blocks using the touch screen and back touch pad, so either Lil and Laarg can safely move towards the exit. To push a block back, you’ll need to tap the relevant position on the touch screen, so it moves in that direction. On the other hand, to push a block forward, you’ll need to tap the appropriate position on the back touch pad to make sure it comes out correctly. Later on, you’ll be “squeezing” Laarg at the right time by touching the screen and back pad, initiating a burp that propels him across the room.
It’s a title that might pass you by as the bigger names get all the launch attention, but you’d be a fool not to give Escape Plan a look, especially if you love solving a puzzle or two.
Part two of our “Must-Own PlayStation Vita Launch Titles” feature will be hitting the site very soon.