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 PLAYSTATION VITA FEATURE

Pocket Gamer's Sony PlayStation Vita Christmas gift guide

Vita-l purchases this holiday
 
PlayStation Vita PS Vita, thumbnail 1
I'm going to assume that everyone's been waiting until this Christmas to go out and buy a lovely shiny Vita.

That would (partially) explain, you see, why the uptake on Sony's newest portable powerhouse hasn't exactly been incredible.

Putting the Vita's less-than-stellar sales to one side for a moment, though, it is a high-quality piece of kit, and something no self-respecting games enthusiast should be without.

The tech's great, the online play is brilliant, the games are fantastic. And it beats Nintendo's 3DS hands down in terms of providing a true home console experience in the palm of your hand.

So, now you're completely and utterly sold on the idea of a PS Vita, you'll be wanting a gift guide for this holiday season, eh. Luckily for you, you've come to the right place.

Hardware



'"To 3G, or not to 3G, that is the question."

Oh, hello, I was just practising my Shakespeare. The part where the Bard of Avon debates the merits of wireless connectivity on Sony's latest handheld. You must remember it.

The above is a work of fiction, of course. It's a completely preposterous notion. There's no question at all: you just need the wi-fi-only model.

For normal everyday use (downloads, playing with friends, chatting, posting on Twitter, Liking stuff on Facebook), you'll only really need a wi-fi connection. There aren't any must-have titles available yet (location-based games, MMOs) that require a persistent online connection, so 3G isn't essential at this moment in time.

It'll save you money going wi-fi only in the long term, too. Plus, if you follow our guide and own a decent mobile phone, you can trick the Vita into thinking it's a 3G system, anyway.

Other than the issue of 3G connectivity, there's not much you need to weigh up when buying a Vita. There are a few good bundles out there that include a game or two, but that's all about personal preferences regarding games.

Memory cards



Ah... now, here's a sticky wicket.

You're not going to get too far in your Vita adventure without a memory card. You'll need one for pretty much every game you'll buy for the device, especially moving forward into 2013.

The problem is that these official Sony Vita memory cards are rather expensive, and, well, Santa does have to buy presents for all the good boys and girls (and their parents). The most popular memory cards are available in 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB flavours.

If you're only really interested in the big boxed games and aren't planning on downloading much from the PlayStation Store, then you can just about get by with the 4GB memory card. To avoid having to delete content constantly from your device, invest in the 8GB version.

The 16GB memory card is aimed at those who get through a lot of games; purchase a lot of digital-only content; and intend popping a couple of films or albums on their Vita. Legends and tall tales speak of a 32GB card, too, but most believe its existence to be a myth.

Other accessories



There's not a whole lot else you need for the Vita in terms of hardware peripherals, but anything that you might think would come in handy can be found in the PlayStation Vita starter kit.

For less than twenty quid, you get a cloth to wipe down the surface after you've put your sticky little fingers all over it, a hard-shelled sleeve to carry multiple games in, and a case to pop the Vita into. Plus, there's a lanyard and a screen protector. Woo.

If you have money to burn, mind (lucky old you!), then you could always grab a battery pack for your Vita. Considering the Vita already lasts for five hours or so off a single charge, you'll only ever need the battery pack for really long trips.

Retail games



There seems to be this contention kicking around that the Vita doesn't have any good games. That assertion simply isn't true.

You can find loads of great PS Vita titles at retail, including full-on experiences to properly sink your teeth into on the train. Here are three prime example...

WipEout 2048

The very best racing game on Vita is this day-one launch title, which also happens to represent Studio Liverpool's swan song. Hotter looking than the Devil in an oven and quicker than a Relentless-fuelled Speedy Gonzales, WipEout 2048 is the pinnacle of futuristic racers. Loads of tracks, furiously fast racing, and a killer soundtrack. What more do you want.



Gravity Rush

Completely gorgeous, totally bold, utterly unique - Gravity Rush is weird in all the right ways. The artwork is a mash-up of the hyper-real and the cartoonishly abstract, while the gameplay is about as wonderfully disorientating as you can get.



Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection

Two incredible stealth-action games given the glorious HD treatment, then packaged up and sold on one cartridge. Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection contains the second and third MGS outings, and while you'll briefly make a sad face about Peace Walker not being here, you'll quickly forget your troubles as you revisit the adventures of Snake, Snake Jr, and Raiden.

Downloadables



Of course, there are some pretty swell bite-sized Vita games available, too.

Here, have three more suggestions on me...

Rebel

Our Damien described Rebel as "the ultimate pacifist action title" in his review of the game, and that just about nails it. You run about areas; avoid incoming fire; and try and survive an increasing enemy presence. Simple yet brilliant fare.



SunFlowers

SunFlowers is your lazy Sunday afternoon game. It's the game you go to when you just fancy whiling away an hour or two. By guiding the sun, you shoot rays down to earth, aiming for clouds so that they release rainwater and make the plants grow. There's loads to collect and share with friends, but I mainly love it because it's just so ruddy cheery.



Sound Shapes

If you like the idea of playing with music conceived by sonic geniuses like Beck, deadmau5, and the Sword & Sworcery composer, then you'll find a lot to love in Sound Shapes. It's certainly not the best downloadable game available, but it is perfect for showing off how cool and 'arty' your new handheld is.

Retro

Don't forget that digital PSP and PSone Classics are also available on your Vita. Best of all, if you own a PSP and are upgrading to a Vita, then you can simply re-download them to your new device.

There are simply too many retro titles to list here, but you can't go wrong with the Monster Hunter and Pursuit Force games for PSP, as well as the PSone Silent Hill and Ridge Racer Type 4 games.
 

Reviewer photo
Peter Willington 21 November 2012
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Joined:
Sep 2011
Post count:
96
Tiel | 11:43 - 6 December 2012
A (bug) memory card and playstation plus should be all you need to stay happy for quite a while. Of course-there is quite a selectin of top-tier games now for anyone just jumping in. I have never wanted a console to suceed more--it is by far the best portable games machine ever made--and I speak as a re-habilitated i-gamer. Those apps just don't have the level of polish and depth of development that 'full' games offer. I literally haven't played an app since getting my vita 3 months ago.
Joined:
Jun 2008
Post count:
22
Acteon | 22:37 - 3 December 2012
Everybody's Golf, Virtua Tennis 4 and Disgaea 3 are also must haves. One thing you should perhaps mention is that Vita is multi-region, and perhaps the biggest question a new owner has to face is whether to use a British or US account. I went the US route and have never looked back.

Oh, and Sine Mora should be on your downloadable list, it's frickin' amazing!
Joined:
Aug 2011
Post count:
16
Zephram | 18:03 - 21 November 2012
Don't forget to mention the instant game collection with playstation plus, unless you Brits don't have that yet.
Oh and Persona 4 coming out next year,which I just downloaded today(I'm a lucky Canadian).
Joined:
Aug 2012
Post count:
62
s4ndm4n87 | 17:06 - 21 November 2012
good list. Uncharted, Need for speed, rayman origins and mutant blobs are also excellent games to get
 
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