With every new system comes a new batch of launch-quality software. The offerings are always a mixed bag of crap and awesome, so we’ve decided to run over the titles we’ve had a chance to play in order to give you a glimpse of what’s out there.
While these aren’t full reviews, they are our opinions of the games themselves. Call them “quick thoughts,” if you like.
Let’s get into it.
FIFA Soccer is a strong little game. This sporting effort on the PS Vita is really good as a launch title, and it’s stacked with a lot of the same features gamers can find on the console editions. EA Sports did a much better job here than with Madden for the 3DS. That game was abysmal, this game is actually pretty solid. For soccer/football fans, we recommend it.
While it is nice to use the touchscreen to pass into empty space or to specific players, you’ll do it on accident often…or, at least I did. Touching the rear panel lets you shoot on goal. You treat it as if it represents the goal itself and pick your location, hold the touch for a harder shot (of course, don’t hold too long).
Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
If you’ve been gaming on the PlayStation platform for any length of time, then you likely already know and love the Hot Shots Golf franchise. It’s here in portable form on the PS Vita. It’s a quick game that’s been built for the portable platform. As far as options go from the launch titles, we can recommend this to anyone with a tolerance or love of golf. You simply can’t go wrong.
This golf title has been absolutely crushing the sales charts in Japan since its launch. Well, relatively speaking. The PS Vita hasn’t been performing too well in its home nation; this game, though, has.
The nicest thing we can say about Little Deviants is that it looks solid and offers a bevy of Trophies. If Trophies are your thing then, well, go nuts…
Otherwise, this is the game that we liked least out of the launch grouping. It’s a collection of 30 mini-games that do nothing more than show off the inputs the PS Vita packs. That’s it. There’s no drive to play them, no need for their existence, it’s nothing more than a glorified tech demo.
Lumines Electronic Symphony
If you love puzzle games, Lumines is where you should hang your hat. The original Lumines was a launch title for the PSP. Q Entertainment has created a fantastic entry in the series with Electronic Symphony for the PS Vita.
The game is simple to play, hard to master; that’s a great combination of feel for a puzzling challenger. It’s also the type of game that can lull you into relaxation while making you think. The music, the visual appeal and the gameplay all work together to give off this definite feeling of chill. We love it for that.
ModNation Racers: Road Trip
Sony’s champion kart racing game makes an appearence in the PS Vita’s launch lineup. You’ll be able to download all of the mods made on the PlayStation 3 version, as well as browse the work of fellow PS Vita owners. The gameplay here is great, and there’s a really nice track creation mode that makes use of the Vita’s touch panels.
The big bone we have to pick with this game? No online multiplayer. Seriously. How Sony let the developers make that decision (or vice-versa), we’ll never know. For a racing game to lack multiplayer in today’s gaming age? Just silly.
If you didn’t play Rayman Origins last year, I’m sorry. Really, this gorgeous gem is one of the best games I have played in years. The beauty and mechanics hold up on the PS Vita, so the portable wouldn’t be a bad place to pick up the title. It’s almost identical to the console iteration, with things like additional collectibles that require touchscreen input. If your PS Vita will be the main thing you game on, you owe it to yourselves to get Rayman Origins.
However, what sucks about Rayman Origins for the PS Vita: no multiplayer. This cooperative adventure was probably the most fun the Crave gaming staff had in 2011. Is it still a great platformer? Of course. But, really, co-op play took it from great to exceptional and earned it a spot in our 10 best games of the year. No multiplayer is a major bummer.
Touch My Katamari
We did up a full review for Touch My Katamari. In summation: a strong game with solid controls. Check the full write-up for more.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is the best fighter currently available for the PS Vita. The good news? It plays beautifully. It’s a graphical beast that manages to keep its speed throughout play, and it actually feels a lot like its console equivalent. There are a ton of modes to play, including online multiplayer. The addictive forces are out in full swing here.
We suppose you could be frustrated with Capcom if you’re caught up in that whole thing where they launched Ultimate less than a year after the original MvC3. That pissed us off, too. But this is the first portable entry for the game, and it’s also a very good one.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
We did a full review for Uncharted: Golden Abyss. In summation: good campaign, great graphics, force touchscreen use. Check the full write-up for more.
This is Sony’s longest running racing brand. The WipEout series is classic, and the PS Vita edition continues that run to glory in just about every way. Touchscreen controls aren’t jammed down your throat, while tilt controls feel better than the PS3’s version. Snag the game, and you’ll be buying into a lengthy campaign, great multiplayer (that even goes cross-platform with the PS3) and what’s actually a prequel in the series’ universe. You’ll even race on city streets.
While the competition isn’t necessarily too stiff, this is probably our preferred racing game of the launch lineup. Followed closely by ModNation Racers: Road Trip, WipEout 2048 is a well-built, well-controlled, graphical beauty worth any gamer’s time. It’s also an overall strong entry in the franchise, so fans will want to snag it regardless.