Sunday, February 26, 2012
PlayStation Vita Impressions
I was walking around my local Best Buy today when I noticed they had a PlayStation Vita set up for demo play, and with absolutely no one else around trying it out, I got to spend a good fifteen minutes with Sony's new handheld.
My overall impressions? Very nice.
The PlayStation Vita is about the size of an Xbox 360 Controller, but significantly thinner. It features a beautifully detailed touch screen, a touch pad on the rear (which I sadly didn't try), the basic four face buttons and D-Pad, and at long last, not one but two analogue sticks. There's also a "Select" and "Start" button in the bottom right, the PlayStation "Home" button on the bottom left, and on the top of the device a volume up and down button.
Even at max Volume I was not able to hear anything on the PlayStation Vita very well, however Best Buy was open and noisy so I didn't take that as a negative and more the result of the environment.
During my limited exposure to Sony's new handheld, I tried the built-in demo for Uncharted: Golden Abyss. This is actually my very first experience with the Uncharted franchise and the demo included what I believe to have been the beginning section of Chapter 4, entitled "Why's the Building on Fire." As the title suggests, Nathan Drake finds himself in a building that's burning down, which is generally considered a bad thing, and he naturally wants to get out.
For a hand held title, I couldn't believe how gorgeous this demo looked and I was instantly impressed with the PlayStation Vita's graphical quality. There's no combat in the demo and you essentially need to navigate your environment, climbing pipes and moving along other obstacles until you can exit the building. At one point you pick up a machete and must use it to cut a tarp blocking a doorway by slashing via the touchscreen, and while this worked I personally found it gimmicky and unnecessary. In addition, at one point when walking across a beam the building shook and I needed to move the PlayStation Vita itself, using its motion sensor to keep balance, which also felt tacked on. I actually failed and feel and had to climb up again, and this time I was able to run across without difficulty.
Both the sticks, face buttons, and touch screen responded very smoothly, and my only issue with the overall design is that whenever I went to use the D-Pad, I'd often accidentally hit the Left Stick, moving Nathan a bit to the back and left. Not a huge issue, but one that I was instantly aware of.
After completing the level there was someone else who wanted to try, so I let them have a whirl. Overall though, I was quite impressed with my limited test of the PlayStation Vita, and I'll be keeping my eye on the handheld over the next while to see how well Sony supports the device.