5 Reasons Sony Should Make Vita 2.0

5 Reasons Sony Should Make Vita 2.0

With the Nintendo Switch and next gen handheld gaming on the horizon, should Sony make Vita 2.0? It’s no secret that the PS Vita has been treated as the forgotten step child by Sony and the sun is starting to set on the aging system. Will the console’s legacy end quietly or does the Vita still have a chance for a comeback?

Full disclosure, I am a Vita enthusiast and have happily owned my system since it released. I dropped the full amount for the system, a little more for the memory cards, popped in Persona 4: Golden and haven’t looked back. As Colin and Greg from Kinda Funny Games would say, I am a card carrying residence of Vita Island. The PSP successor, ignoring the PS Go, PS Vita was ahead of its time and gone too soon.

Despite it’s slow decline and cult following, I’m here to talk about why Sony should make Vita 2.0.

Sony Knows Its Hardware

LCD V OLED
Image retrieved from Geek.com

Even with lukewarm reception, the Vita was a work of art. It had a sleek design, two analog sticks, pretty OLED display and could fit comfortably in your hands, pocket, bag etc. Since PS3 was the current gen system at the time, being able to produce PS2 level graphics on the go was no small feat. In comparison to the 3DS, which is a great system, it is surprising to see who ended up the ultimate victor.

If Sony changed some outdated features like removing the back touch controls and update the internal components, the current Vita design could still work. The Switch mobile screen looks very similar, minus the analog sticks, so the Vita 2.0 has a shot.

Momentum Is Strong for Mobile Gaming

Mobile GamingDespite many adults owning a PSP and/or Vita, in the US owning a handheld gaming device can be seen as childish. If you look at the many ads for handheld games they are dominated by 3DS cartoon-like games directed to children. Don’t get me wrong, those Pokemon Sun and Moon commercials were for me too. But if you are a grown up, not into Pokemon, Yokai Watch, Story of Seasons etc. then a handheld device may not appeal to you as a product.

The Switch has made it look “cool” to take your platform on the go. Nintendo may have dominated the handheld space but that doesn’t mean some healthy competition isn’t good for the consumer. Vita 2.0 could have a chance since the climate for mobile gaming has improved.

New Games Are Coming To Vita In Japan

 

Danganronpa
Image retrieved via Playstation Blog

Even though the Vita hardware sales stalled out in the states, it is doing pretty well in Japan. The Vita receives a steady stream of games which, through localization, have helped to retain its life despite Sony doing all it could to kill it. The Vita PSN store is littered with JRPGs and other niche games, like the Danganronpa Series, that would not otherwise make it to the states. Catering to this market has carved out a nice audience for current Vita supporters in the states.

Since the Japanese player base has continued to expand into mobile gaming on phones and handhelds why not tap back into that source? While it wasn’t planned, Vita 2.0 could market itself as a system that offers unique experiences to gamers.

Sony Learned From Past Mistakes

PS4Sony recognized that they made some missteps with their previous console, the PS3, and gave us the PS4 as an apology. The marketing push of the PS4 being “for gamers” allowed me to trust that they got their act together. The Vita, just like the PS3, had too much going on. It wanted to have gimmicks so it had screen touch controls, back touch controls, remote play possibilities, cross play possibilities etc. It also had two versions that offered different internet options at launch, Wifi and data plans. You name it and Sony tried to fit it on the Vita.

The other costly mistake were the memory cards. The price could go into the hundreds for the biggest size of 64gb via Play-Asia and was only available from Japan. Additionally, the internal memory space was trash, the original units didn’t come with a memory card or, if it did, it was only 4GB. Sony created a horrible bid for consumer dollars because the barrier to entry was too high. If they made Vita 2.0, judging from the PS4 marketing strategy, they wouldn’t do the same thing again.

It’s All About the Games

Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Image retrieved via Playstation.com

The Switch launch trailer shows that Nintendo has 3rd party support signing up. Their first party offerings, Mario, Smash Brothers, Zelda, etc, can make it a “must buy” for fans of those titles. It may even be fair to say those IPs are the main reason Nintendo is still in the console conversation. Nintendo had some tense moments with 3rd party developers over the years so it will be interesting to watch the company adapt to the times via the Nintendo Development ID program.

Sony has their own impressive stable of developers and a thriving Indie scene. The Vita started off strong with Killzone, Gravity Rush and Uncharted: Golden Abyss so it can be done. Thinking about how hard developing games for PS3 was rumored to be and the PS4 being the complete opposite, the “gamers and games first” logic should be passed down to the Vita 2.0.

Here’s the Bottom-line…

The Switch’s release opens the door for the Vita to be viable in the market. With the growth of mobile gaming in the West and the push toward a more mature handheld audience, Vita 2.0 could offer great competition. If Sony does not repeat the sins of the past and continues to support their peripherals, a new Vita could be just as successful as the PSP. The probability of this happening is slim but we can always dream right?

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Are you a Vita Island resident? Do you think Sony should let Nintendo keep the monopoly on the handheld market? Do you think a new Vita would pass or fail? All opinions are valid here.

 

Until Next Time guys

 

 

 

PS Plus, Games With Gold Freebies For March 2016

With March swiftly approaching, both Sony and Microsoft have detailed their free games of the month.

From the zany hit that is the original Borderlands, to the excellent Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments, this month is definitely one of variety and a welcomed great change of pace.

Without further adieu, here are the freebies for PlayStation patrons.

 

  • Broforce – PS4
  • Galak-Z – PS4
  • Super Stardust HD – PS3
  • The Last Guy – PS3
  • Flame Over – PS Vita
  • Reality Fighters – PS Vita

A lot of past PS Plus line-ups consisted of mainly 2D platformers, yet this month we’re graced with not one, but two space shooters! Galak-Z is a game I’ve been eyeing up for a while now, and Super Stardust HD is one of the best shoot-em-ups on PS3. While I personally voted for Assault Android Cactus during last month’s Vote To Play, Broforce seems to be quite fun.

For Xbox owners, here are the games you will receive for March.

    • Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments  – Xbox One
    • Lords of the Fallen  – Xbox One
    • Supreme Commander 2  – Xbox 360
    • Borderlands – Xbox 360

March is certainly a good month for Xbox users with Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments leading the charge. The game failed to gain the popularity it deserves, so anyone who missed out definitely needs to jump on it, as it is a very polished and consistently entertaining adventure.

And while I can’t say the same about Lords of the Fallen, having an RTS like Supreme Commander 2 is such a breath of fresh air that I think we all might need.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out the video above for the dates of availability, as Microsoft has a tendency to throw off the best of us with their strange schedule.

Indie Spotlight: Kick and Fennick

If I haven’t said it anywhere publicly before, I’ll say it here: Playstation Plus is amazing! Every month I get at least 2 new games for each of my Playstation consoles for free. Sometimes, I get games that I heard of but never had the chance to play or I’ll get an indie game that I never heard of. Earlier this year, the indie game I didn’t hear of was a game on PS Vita called Kick & Fennick. I downloaded it because the image caught my eye as looking cute and I thought it could be fun. What I didn’t expect is that this game would become a contender for my personal Game of the Year.

This game is a has a simple premise, a small boy named Kick wakes up in what looks to be a post-apocalyptic/1984-esque world. Kick gets saved by an even smaller robot named Fennick who has a dying battery. The two, along with a big gun, then go off an adventure to the Core Tower to fix up Fennick.

The gameplay is a sidescrolling platformer where you use a giant gun to destroy robots and launch Kick like a tiny cannonball. The simplicity is shocking, because I’ve never played or heard of a game that has a mechanic like this through the majority of the game. It opens the game up to have tight, well developed levels, which bring the difficulty and the fun. It reminds me of an old school Rareware game in all of the best ways.

Throughout each level and world, it gets progressively harder and you have to really think about how to make each jump. It’s really interesting to have a platformer where you have to think strategically about how you get from one platform to the next. The levels also never overstay their welcome, which is something a lot of games fall into the trap of.

If I had one complaint, it’s with the combat. When Kick shoots an enemy, he always gets knocked backwards a bit. It’s not a flaw in the game design, because it’s clearly meant to be like that, I’m just saying it got a little frustrating. However, whenever you die in this game you never feel like the game cheated you. Since the player has to strategically make all of their jumps, the only person to blame is themselves. Despite the “meh” combat, everything else is amazing!

This isn’t a review, I just want to shine some light on a great game, but if it was I would give this game a 10/10. It’s a charming game made by a rad developer for a system that needs more great games. If you have a Vita, it is currently $7.99 on PSN and is totally worth every penny. As a side note, if any of the people from Jaywalkers Interactive are reading this, please know that you now have a ride or die fan in me because I completely adore this game. Good luck with everything, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for you guys!

PS4 Getting Four Of The Six PlayStation Plus Free Games of July

PlayStation

PlayStation

The monthly PlayStation Plus lineup of free games is upon us and it is no surprise at all that this month’s lineup consists of six indie titles. PS4 will be getting four of the six available games. Some games will be available for cross-buy so you can play it on your PS4, PS3 and PlayStation Vita.

The games are:

  • Rocket League ( Available on PS4 only )
  • Styx: Master of Shadows ( Available on PS4 only )
  • Entwined  ( Available on PS4, PS3 and PS Vita )
  • MouseCraft ( Available on PS4, PS3 and PS Vita )
  • Rain ( Available on PS3 only )
  • Geometry Wars 3 ( Available on PS Vita only )

These games will be available starting from Tuesday, July 7 so if you didn’t have the chance to download June’s games then hurry up already, because June’s games included Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. All you need to be able to download these games is a PlayStation Plus subscription.

Are you a PS games amateur? Tell us which one of these games you are most excited to try out. Please use the comments box below.

There Might Be a Persona 3 Dancing Spin-Off

Persona 3

Persona 3

The milking of the Persona brand continues! After two  fighting game spin-offs, a dancing spin-off, a chibi  dungeon-crawling spin-off, and a few remasters, there might be another spin-off starting development soon. Recently, Persona 4 Dancing All Night (or P4D) released in Japan. During the launch stream for the game, the director/producer of it, Kazuhisa Wada,  admitted that there is a chance of a  follow up with the cast of Persona 3.  When asked about the possibility of another spin off, Wada responded:

“We are looking into the possibility of a ‘Persona 3 Dancing’ game and, if Persona 4: Dancing All Night sells well, we will consider it.”

Persona games normally sell pretty well, so don’t be surprised if there’s an official announcement at some point in the near future. The real question is if this potential Persona 3 Dancing game will come to the Playstation Vita. Sony confirmed at E3 that there are no longer AAA games being developed for the Vita, thus hammering the nail into it’s coffin.

However, even though the Vita hasn’t sold well, the people who do own Vita’s (myself include) buy games like there’s no tomorrow. The attach rate of games on Vita is impeccable, and any other console would die to have that level of attach rate. Also, when Persona 4 Golden came out on Vita, not only did it sell well, it increased the sales of the Vita by 150%. Perhaps Dancing All Night can also boost Vita sales and reinvigorate more developers to want to make AAA games for it.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night releases exclusively on the Playstation Vita in North America on September 29th.

Paint With a Snake While Dodging Bullets, You Can Do That in Soft Body

Soft Body

Soft Body

Soft Body is developed by one person only and he’s called Zeke Virant. The game is an odd mix of genres as it is supposed to be a twin-stick shooter and an action-puzzle game at the same time. Weird combo but it is worth a try. The announcement came through the PlayStation Blog.

Soft Body allows you to control two snakes each with one analog stick, that’s why it’s called twin-stick after all, and you swerve around the screen painting the blocks while dodging bullets and enemies that try to stop you. It sounds a lot of fun and a type of game we haven’t seen in a while.

Check it out:

The game has 2 modes, Soft mode and Hard mode. In the soft mode, you will control a two-in-one snake that is said to contain a Ghost snake in it that won’t appear unless you move the second analog at the same time and if you leave the analog to rest, the Ghost snake will return to the Soft Body.

Hard mode is a bit trickier and more difficult to master since you will always be controlling two snakes and if either of them dies due to bullets or attacked by an enemy, you will lose and start over.

This video game will release on PS4 and PS Vita later this year.

Tell us if you are an amateur of this video game in the comments box below.

‘Soul Sacrifice Delta’ and the Lure of the Platinum Trophy

Sacrifice

For many of us, the lure of the trophy/achievement is a powerful one. It grabs us by the man-plums and squeezes relentlessly. In some extreme cases, the trophy hunter is born; a dangerous breed of player enslaved to their gamerscore or… y’know, PlayStation’s little percentage counter thing.

As for me, I’m a little more selective. I like to keep my Platinum-ing to my very favourite games, those that warrant my taking the extra mile.

Right now, that’d be Soul Sacrifice Delta. This series (Delta and the original Soul Sacrifice) is something special. Something horrifying and crap-your-pants ghastly in places, but also special. I’d go so far as to call it PS Vita’s only unique IP worthy of the name.

The brainchild of Mega Man’s Keiji Inafune, the games combine two disparate concepts: the Monster Hunter-style hunting game and Tim Burton’s taste for the quirky, creepy macabre. Essentially, you play as a sorcerer who hunts Archfiends (fellow mages transformed into hideous abominations by their various vices), doing battle with magic that costs your very body and soul to cast.

As with Monster Hunter, there are a great variety of ways to customise and build your character. And as with Monster Hunter, I found it all buttcheek-numbingly addictive.

Soul Sacrifice Delta 2

I’ve always seen the genre as the kind that you’ll immediately dismiss –and never touch again– if it doesn’t click with you, but will spend hundreds of hours with if it does. I’m firmly in the latter camp, which is what led me to pursue that Platinum trophy in the first place.

Its sequel, Soul Sacrifice Delta, is a big game. Surely the biggest handheld release I’ve ever tackled. With the DLC pacts (stages) that have been steadily released since launch, it’s a bumper package for sure. And yet, it isn’t too daunting a task to attempt that Platinum.

For me, the series offers the best kinds of trophies. It’s more of an ‘explore everything the game has to offer’ sort of affair, as opposed to titles that demand ridiculous score feats or something similar. Something like attaining top ranks in all three factions, for instance, caters well to players who switch builds and classes often. Which is perfect for me.

In short, I find Soul Sacrifice’s trophies to be that rare thing: a crop that are fun and natural to go for, and still decently challenging, without being frustrating.

The Best Games You’ve Never Heard Of: Crimsonland

Crimsonland

Why, yes. Crimsonland does sound like a generic, craptacular, low-budget horror movie. You know the sort of thing: drunken youths wander about an abandoned amusement park at night and everybody wonders who’s going to have their pancreas impaled by the crazed killer first.

Well, fear not. That’s only kinda sorta the deal here, and in a good way anyway.

Crimsonland
is, in fact, a twin stick shooter from 10tons Entertainment. It first hit the PC in 2003, and has just this month made it to PS Vita and PlayStation 4. By all accounts, it’s a rather generic entry in the genre, but there are some brilliant touches that set it apart. Let’s take a look.

As a tiny space-dude (and on the Vita screen, as a really freaking tiny space-dude) you have one simple objective. Namely, to murderize. You appear in a series of arenas, are beset by all manner of nasties, and must dispatch them before they do the same to you. If you’re familiar with the likes of Robotron and Smash TV, you’ll know the score.

Mostly, it’s the variation on this basic concept that keeps the game appealing. In one mode of the original release, your character was stationary, and you defeated the encroaching horde by typing out the words above their heads. It was a fun little throwback to Typing of the Dead, and an example of the cheeky, slightly crazy spirit that runs throughout the game.

Man that's a violent screenshot. Hence the name.
Man that’s a violent screenshot. Hence the name.

The first mode on offer in the PSN edition is Quest. This is a procession of sixty stages, divided into chapters. Don’t let that fool you into thinking there’s a story going on here, though, because there isn’t. Not a bit of it. Instead, this is where you unlock perks and weapons for the meat of the game, the survival modes.

There’s the regular vanilla version, a blitz variant in which you have only an assault rifle, one with limited ammo and scarce one-use weapon pickups, and more. You gain experience for destroying the monsters, and can pick a perk with each level you reach. While this is all rather standard, I enjoyed the quirky humour and imagination that went into naming these abilities and describing their effects.

As quite a fan of twin stick shooters, I’d have to say this is one of the best I’ve played for some time. The weaponry is weighty and varied, and there are a lot of them to choose from. Quest mode is quite large too, and actually warrants play with the way that the unlocks work. It’s a fairly obscure download title, but it’s one that fans of such won’t want to miss out on.

The Best Games You’ve Never Heard Of: Unit 13

Games

PS Vita hasn’t been the most stellar of success stories. Much of this is due to a failure to utilize its impressive potential. In the technical stakes, it’s quite the I-think-I-just-wet-myself-a-little powerhouse; in handheld console terms. But what of the most crucial factor, the games themselves?

The portable Uncharted that released with it was a bold effort, and showed that the big PlayStation franchises could translate quite well to the handheld. It’s just a shame that they haven’t been given the chance since.

While the AAA gaming elite haven’t graced the system much, it hasn’t been without quality and impressive games. One of these was slightly-late-for-launch title Unit 13.

This TPS was the last game developed by Zipper Interactive, and a system exclusive. It’s the tale of a man-tastic, studly band of special forces guys (think the helicopter drop-off scene from Predator and you’re just about there), in the fight against international threats.

Well, ‘tale’ may not be the word. There’s very little in the way of plotting to be had here. All you really get is a few lines of dialogue between missions, explaining how you’re shooting right up, where you’re shooting them right up and why you’re shooting them right up. But that’s more than enough to get us into the action.

Unit 13 2

The aforementioned action is very well done. Gameplay is of the SOCOM variety, with particularly cover-heavy combat and objectives to complete. The controls feel spot on, with a few scant touchscreen shortcuts that aren’t intrusive or shoehorned in. It all looks suitably sharp too.

There isn’t a huge crop of missions, but each offer different ‘styles’ which change the way you approach your objectives. The stealthy-stealth mode is much different to the blow-the-hell-out-of-everything-like-Arnold-Schwarzenegger mode (the real names of which elude me). There’s further replay value in leveling up your squad, each of which are better suited to certain styles of play. The frail sniper, the tanky dude, they’re all here.

The primary appeal to Unit 13 is for high score hunters, who will find more points multiplying opportunities than they know what to do with. The game was a great showcase for the Vita’s capabilities in all kinds of ways, from a technical standpoint. Another of these was the community aspect, with scoreboards and such always displayed. If you’re a shooter fan looking for that community sense, and a real challenge, this slightly obscure title is a fine way to go.

The Best Games You’ve Never Heard Of: Men’s Room Mayhem

Mayhem

Continuing our journey into the more obscure corners of the Gamingsphere, we have another indie release. This time, we’re fleshing out one of video games’ more neglected genres: the Help Tiny Cartoon Dudes Not to Pee on the Floor ’em up. Because that’s totally a thing, mostly courtesy of Men’s Room Mayhem.

This arcade title was brought to us by Ripstone. It’s a cheeky little touchscreen affair, akin to the acclaimed Flight Control in its toontastic visuals and control system. Only, here, we’re directing a stream of patrons around the men’s room, and trying to prevent lapses in hygiene/fistfights/puddles of pee on the floor. Yes indeed.

Men’s Room Mayhem consists of a series of… bathrooms, increasingly fancy locations which serve as the game’s levels. You’re presented with a topdown view of your urine-smelling domain, and a fairly strict time limit. ‘Customers’ will enter the bathroom of their own accord, and you must draw a path for them to follow. From the entrance to the urinal/toilet (a charming little icon above their heads will show you which they need) and back to the door, put simply.

Etiquette bonuses, handwashing bonuses... they're all here for the wily player.
Etiquette bonuses, handwashing bonuses… they’re all here for the wily player.

Naturally, though, there’s more to it than that, which is where that big ol’ MAYHEM in the title comes from. As with Flight Control, you’ll need to manage everybody on the screen at once. Your stylus-flailing skills will have to be top-notch to avoid all of the dangers, as this deceptively simple-looking game has a lot of factors to consider.

Firstly, patrons cannot cross paths. This will instantly cause a fight to break out (perhaps symbolic of men’s extreme intolerance for small talk while they’re having a wee). This will give you one ‘strike,’ of which you have a limited number before game over. The same applies to taking too long to get somebody ‘relieved,’ which will yield you another strike and a mess on the floor.

Suffice it to say, once the game has introduced you to the basics it gets very hectic very quickly. Later, special characters will appear, and have particular requirements (for rather obvious non-dangly-anatomy reasons, the rare female visitor can’t use the urinals). Men’s Room Mayhem is an odd little package, but one full of achievements to earn and highscores to tackle. If it strikes a chord with you, there’s a very addictive experience here.