I have always been an avid fan of video games. I remember buying my first Atari video game back in early 90’s and that was followed by Nintendo Gameboy, Sega Megadrive, Playstation 1, Playstation 2, Nintendo Wii and so on. And if you have not been living under a rock you know that videogames have become a part of the modern modus vivendi. However, another revolution that has taken both the adults and youth by storm, is the mobile phone phenomenon. Consequently, the two has emerged to produce video game consoles that are portable and more specifically – ‘mobile’. Sony’s latest production of their legendary Playstation® line is the Vita which is a portable video game console (a descendent of the Playstation portable or PSP) with the functionalities of both mobile phones, tablets and most importantly – games. A point that is imperative to note is that Sony Playstation® as a brand is the highest selling video game line in history.
Introducing the Playstation® Vita
It’s analogous to MacGyver’s Swiss army knife of mobile gaming hardware with extreme power and many built-in gadgets and gizmos. Whereas the PSP simply aspired to being a Playstation 2 in your pocket, PlayStation Vita wants more. It has the screen, the dual analogue sticks and the graphics power that hardcore gamers demand. It has the touch functionality, cameras, tilt controls and quirky downloadable games to reach those looking for something less traditional. Whereas Nokia’s nGage was a mobile phone with gaming functionalities, the Playstation® Vita is a gaming console with mobile functionalities!
The physical design is an evolution of the PSP Slim and Lite, the front dominated by the whopping 5-inch screen, with the dual analogue pads to either side. Those who are familiar with Playstations will notice the resemblance with dual-shock 3 controller. Vita feels light and comfortable in the hands. Weighing only 280 grams, it’s comfortably light as well.
The physical controls work perfectly. The analogue ‘sticks’ deliver the same experience that of the monstrous PS3. The most attractive aspect of the Vita is the fact that this is the first gadget from Sony Playstation that has introduced touch-screen capabilities. The capacitive front touch-screen is fast, responsive and multitouch aware. Uncharted and many of the PlayStation Vita launch titles use it regularly, both to provide handy onscreen buttons or menu controls, and as a means for swiping or pinching gesture controls. Then there’s the rear touch panel which is a sheer novel concept as well.
‘Tilt feature’ refer to the new concept of controlling a game simply by tilting your device in whichever direction you want your character or car (depending on game) you want to move. This is an excellent summit of man and machine. It is used in different ways in different games like allowing changes of view in the Pool game Hustle Kings, or providing an excellent means of fine-tuning sniper shots in Uncharted.
PlayStation Vita augmented reality
This is probably the most outstanding feature of the gadget. The augmented reality is the reason this device has dual cameras. With a 0.3 megapixel resolution they were never going to be much cop for photography, and low light performance is predictably poor. Yet Sony’s initial efforts at making AR gaming work are great, bite-sized chunks of silly fun. Reality Fighters (the game), for example, allows you to digitise your face, map it onto a CGI body, and then whack tons of stuffing out of Vita-owning friends or CPU-controlled opponents in the real-world environment of your choice.
Connectivity, Screen and Technical Specs
There are some minor disappointments with PlayStation Vita. The original games are available abroad on SD-card sized cartridges that slip into a slot at the top. However, instead of a regular micro-SD card, Sony has opted for a proprietary alternative, available at roughly double the price. This might be good for the anti-piracy and profits, but it doesn’t do the buyer any favours. However, the micro-SD approach of games instead of discs is probably a boon for Bangladeshi users.
The Vita screen is the most impressive portable gaming screen till date (considering Nintendo DS, PSP and even the iPad). An OLED screen with a 960 x 544 resolution, it’s a beauty; crisp, clear, with vibrant colours, deep blacks and brightness to spare. Even if it doesn’t have a true 720p resolution or quite the intense clarity of the iPhone 4’s Retina display, it still goes way beyond the sub-SD. It’s an exceptional ‘screen resolution for size ratio’ for watching movies or playing games on a portable device.
Beyond games, PlayStation Vita has a range of apps pre-installed, mostly focused around media playback or communications. Welcome-Park is a nice starting point, giving you a selection of tutorials and augmented reality activities that get you used to the main features of the device. Meanwhile, the Friends, Group Messaging and Party apps give you means of checking up, organising games with and chatting with friends. Finally, the Web Browser, while lacking flash functionality and not feeling particularly brisk, is a big improvement on the PSP’s or PS3’s efforts for the simple reason that it has a touch-screen keyboard for text entry and touch-screen controls.
Vita as an MP3 and movie player
For media playback, Vita will happily display photos in the most common file formats, plus music files in MP3 and AAC. Playback quality is excellent. Movie file support is a little more limited, with just MPEG-4 supported. This is fine if you know to convert your movies to that format in your PC.
PSP always promised to deliver full-scale console gaming on a handheld, but only with a few titles did it ever deliver. With PlayStation Vita, Sony has got impressively close to producing a handheld gadget with the graphics performance of a PS3. The most sought games are Uncharted: The Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush, Wipeout 2048, Resident Evil: Revelations, Mario Cart and many more. With its large screen, dual sticks and potent 3D graphics hardware, it does more than any handheld before to close the gap between mobile and console gaming.
Bangladeshi Users’ Exclusive
If you were asking me, I’d tell you to rush to the store to buy this since this is a precious gem to be enjoyed no matter where you are – be that on the bus, car, home or office. There is absolutely no letdown in this gadget. It is available for 29,000 Taka at Bashundhara City and Eastern Plaza among other stores. No one will give you credible warranties so don’t bother. Original Sony showrooms are yet to bring in this latest piece of a gadget.
Impressively powerful and astonishingly feature-packed, Playstation Vita is the ultimate handheld gaming machine of this time. With its touch-capabilities, augmented-reality cameras and motion-sensing capabilities – it’s a versatile little beast that must inspire both innovative developers and consumers. For Bangladesh, I believe the price is right and this is a must buy for gaming enthusiasts.
developed by avocats