Vita, Latin for “Life”. This was supposed to be the next evolution of the PlayStation handhelds that would challenge the Nintendo DS/3DS line. The system was designed to combine the power of a home console with the portability of the PSP.
From a visual perspective, the system is gorgeous, with many games looking as though they belong on the PlayStation 3. Series like LittleBigPlanet, Killzone, and Uncharted made an appearance on the system. Resogun is a shining example of how gorgeous the system can look, whether the game is being played on the original Vita’s OLED screen, or the Vita Slim’s LCD screen.
Where the games looked great, they faltered in controls. The Vita has a touch screen and a touch rear panel. These additional controls felt like an attempt to mimic the 3DS. The use of the touch screen varied by the game. As an example, Killzone required the player to swipe to do a knife attack. Where as Uncharted used the touch screens to uncover hidden treasure and as a light to shy through a piece of paper. In the end, i found myself gravitating towards games that did not use touch screens.
Where the vita does shine is in the library of games it has access too, namely the PlayStation classics. From the original God of War to Jack & Daxter to Ratchet & Clank, the PlayStation exclusives made a showing. The game also had access to some great RPGs, from Final Fantasy to Chrono Trigger. To date it is one of the few places you can play the Final Fantasy VIII. The Vita also allowed players to play certain PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4 remotely while on the same WiFi.
The size of the system is very appealing as well. The Vita is about 2/3rds the size of a Nintendo Switch. In 2014, Sony released an updated Vita, most commonly called the slip that was 20% thinner and 15% lighter than the original model. The size of the system makes it much easier to put the system in a backpack, purse, or even the pocket of a pair of cargo shorts to carry around on the go. From my experience, the slightly smaller screen yields a little bit longer battery life as well. The rounded edges on the system make the system a little more ergonimacal when you compare it to the 3DS. It also feels pretty comfortable when playing for extended periods of time.
Unfortunately, Sony has slowed, or even stoppped, production of new Vitas and physical game cards throughout most regions of the world. In my opinion the high price point, combined with using proprietary, high cost memory cards, really stunted the growth of the system and has led to this decision. Sony announce that beginning March 8, 2019, PlayStation Plus will no longer off PlaySation 3 and Vita games as part of the program. This is a necessary change as Sony looks to move on from the Vita. Overall, the Vita is a great system and is worth having as a portable system.