Stefano’s E3 2014 Report Part 7: PlayStation Vita

The PlayStation Vita is, without a doubt, my favorite handheld device. I also love my 3DS, but my library of games on the Vita is over 160 and still growing. So, it goes without saying that I was anticipating seeing what the handheld had on offer at this years E3, but I was also apprehensive, as there was nary a peep from Sony concerning the Vita at their E3 press conference the Monday before the show floor opened. So, did the Vita deliver this year?

Fortunately, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” I was actually surprised at the rather expansive space Sony had allowed for the Vita. There were a few dozen games, from all types and genres, lined up at kiosks for people to play. From La Mulana, to Rogue Legacy, to Hyperlight Drifter, to Minecraft, and Dangan Rompa 2, the Vita had a nice selection of indie, first party, and third party titles available. I didn’t get to sample them all, but here is a brief rundown of the titles I’ve played, and what I thought.

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The first game I made a beeline to was Rogue Legacy, from Cellar Door Games. This procedurally generated, Metroidvania inspired roguelike has me addicted on the PC, and I’ve been quivering with anticipation for the Vita release. Fortunately, it looks like the game has translated very well to the handheld, as the controls were spot on and tight, the visuals, in all their retro, pixelated glory were sharp, and crisp, and the gameplay was just as addicted as it’s always been, with a brutal difficulty, fun upgrades, and randomly generated dungeons all in tact. There is still no solid release date, but I was told “very soon,” and “summer,” by everyone I pestered. Needless to say, my wallet is ready to double dip on this gem of a game.

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Next up, I played the stylish looking Zelda and Diablo inspired top down action role-playing game, Hyper Light Drifter, from developer Heart Machine. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with the game, but I ran around a sharp looking level with vivid colors, hacking, slashing, shooting, and dash attacking hordes of enemies. I couldn’t tell you what exactly was going on, but the game was hard, and I died many, many times, but had a lot of fun doing playing it. The game is coming out for every platform under the sun minus the 3DS, so you can pick your poison, but it looked bright, colorful, and sharp on the Vita 2000’s LCD screen.

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I then moved on to developer Mojang’s monster hit, Minecraft. I admit, I never fell into the Minecraft hype train, but my curiosity won me over when it was announced for the PlayStation 4 and Vita, the latter of which I do 90% of my gaming on these days. I played both the PS4, and the Vita versions that were on display at the PlayStation booth, and both of them looked and played identically for the most part. The games blocky, pixelated style has made the jump to the 5” Vita screen with seemingly no loss of detail or effects (although the PS4 version looked notably smoother; I suspect the Vita version may be running at 30fps, while the PS4 is 60fps). The tutorial I played through had me chopping down trees and gathering resources to build a workbench, which, as most Minecraft players already know, allows them to build and fashion all manner of objects, tools, and weapons to populate their randomly generated world. I’m more of a Terraria guy, but I’m willing to give Minecraft a chance when it releases sometime in the next month or so.

I didn’t have enough time to play everything the Vita had on display, but I walked away impressed with the future lineup of platform. From indie titles to larger fare, the Vita had it covered. 

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