There was so much to see at E3 and, as always, no one person can see everything, even with the help of a media badge and appointments. The one thing I wanted, as many others did, was to get their hands on the new PS Vita (formerly known as the NGP or the next PSP). It is truly an amazing handheld device, with dual analogue sticks as well as a touch pad on the back. It seems you couldn’t be more comfortable and in control with the Vita. Though I got to try a variety of games for the system, I just couldn’t stay away from Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Uncharted: Golden Abyss was demoed at the Sony Press Conference which I am sure most of you saw, but since I played that title the most, I will start off with that one.
Everything about Golden Abyss seemed very familiar, like I could just pick it up and play it as in Uncharted 2. The difference being, it was actually EASIER to play than a Playstation 3 game. All of the added features to the Vita, compared to the older PSP models, are not just a gimmick; they are really there to give the gamer a better experience and to give the games more convenient mechanics. Just to remind you guys, the special features of the Vita are the touch screen on the front, the touch pad in the back, the dual camera system (front/back), the enhanced gyroscope inside and other things as well, but those are just the basic features that will affect gameplay.
There were two levels that were demoed for Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and for the most part, I only got to play one of those levels, over and over again without being bored from it at all. I just got more used to the controls, and at one point during my last demo of the level, one of the developers was surprised at how well I was executing it. Playing the game, I actually realized that you could probably use the new Vita features more than the traditional ones, but of course you could not play the game only using the new features, which was fine. In fact the integration between the two is what made it so much fun to play. Running/walking, initial aiming and shooting with Golden Abyss had to be done with the traditional dual stick and trigger buttons. Once you are climbing you could literally use the touch screen to navigate 100% or use the sticks. My favorite part had to be sniping in Golden Abyss; as you hold the left trigger to initiate aiming, you then could use the back touch pad to zoom in and out by moving your from left to right on the back. Then when it came to aiming for that head shot, the gyroscope let you physically move the Vita where the enemies where, while the bad guys stayed stationary almost making it seem like you were in a 3D world. To prevent you from spinning around circles with the Vita looking like an idiot, as soon as you let go of the left trigger on the sniper, your view resets.
I also got to play other games like Wipeout 2048, an anti-gravity, futuristic racer. This is one of the titles you can play on the Playstation 3 and the PS Vita. I got a chance to race against one of the developers on the Playstation 3 while I played on the PS Vita. After losing, I gave the game a go just on the Vita alone and the game itself was really cool, and you can use the touch pad for acceleration as well as breaking while you can also use the front touch screen to fire weapons. The game was ultimately very entertaining with Wipeout 2048 taking full advantage of the internal gyroscope.
Another game I got a chance to try out was Virtua Tennis 4 for the Vita, and it almost seemed like I was cheating at certain moments, due to the ease of the touch screen taking full advantage of the controls. Eventually I got used to it and I saw that the game was balanced but very easy to just jump into and play.
There were plenty of other titles like LittleBigPlanet, Little Deviant, Real Fighters and many more, but I did not get a chance to get my hands on all of them. However, all of the titles shown at E3 for the PS Vita had their own unique way of using the innovative features of the new Sony hand held. Overall it might have been the biggest hit of E3 as it had one of the longest lines just to play, but it is now in obviously in hot competition with the Nintendo 3DS as that has many new features coming as well. It’s funny how I have spoken to some people about the Vita, with many different responses, one being how the touch screen is nothing new with gaming, but no hand held device combines a touch screen and a touch pad in the back along with its other features so well. Here is a list of the PS Vita titles: