With the worldwide launch of the PS Vita happening today, you might be asking yourself “Self, is there a new handheld gaming system in my future?” As you await the response from Sal, your alter ego, we’ll go ahead and help you make that decision with a comprehensive(ish) look at what critics, fans, and other alter egos are saying about Sony’s newest creation. First, a few quick facts:
- Price: $249 Wi-Fi, $299 WifFi + 3G (AT&T)
- Size: 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth)
- Screen: 5″ OLED Multi Touch Screen (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors
- Games: 25 available right now, more than 70 in development
With those factoids out of the way, let’s take a detailed look at the early reviews the hardware and software are getting. CNET is heaping 4-star praise on the Vita, citing its “amazing visuals” and “smartly designed, easy to use, and ultraresponsive” operating system. Engadget slaps at the Vita’s camera (“unimpressive”) and battery life (“short”), but still says it “triumphs where it counts.” And Game Informer loves the hardware, giving the Vita an A-, correctly pointing out that the need to buy a proprietary memory card is a nasty hidden cost attached to each system.
Of course it’s all about the games, because if they suck, the sweetest specs in the world won’t save Sony. Joystiq has a host of reviews up, giving 3.5 stars (out of 5) to Uncharted: Golden Abyss, 4.5 stars to Lumines: Electric Symphony, and just 2 stars to Little Deviants. Gamespot gives a solid 7.0 to Touch My Katamari and a paltry 3.0 to the rebirth of Ridge Racer. Of course, as we reported earlier today, the Vita is another option for streaming video content with apps like Netfllix.
Will the Vita thrive on the strength of its impressive hardware and handling? Or will it get lost in the sea of smartphones and tablets? The odds are certainly trending against it being a huge success in the face of so many other handheld options, but we hope this piece has made your decision (and Sal’s) a little easier.