Tuesday, February 7, 2012

VIDEO GAMES: The Vita is amazing and I love Gamestop.

As you may have heard yesterday, over 3,000 Gamestops around the nation now have the Playstation Vita available to demo. Apparently some of the locations will only let those who have pre-ordered the system get their hands on it, but my local Gamestop wasn't so stingy. The Vita was set up on a nice little display about halfway back in the store. Just another example of the massive underselling that has already plagued this clearly incredible system. Unless you read silly blogs like mine or visit gaming sites like IGN on a daily basis, you're probably not aware that an incredible, brand new handheld system hits the market in two weeks. Sony, for some insane reason, has remained nearly mute about their newest product and it's a shame that the Vita likely won't get the attention it deserves. You can now enter to win a Vita by buying a "$5 buck box" at Taco Bell but most Taco Bells no longer give you the actual box with the order where the code for the promotion can be found. After spending about an hour with the system today I can tell you, this deserves your attention and your money.

In my limited time with the Vita I managed to check out Little Deviants, Fifa 12, Uncharted: Golden Abyss and a game that used escaping a factory to showcase some of the Vita's new features (I think it was called Escape Plan). Little Deviants made nice use of the back touch screen which I guess I hadn't fully comprehended until now. Yes, you can touch the back of the Vita to make things happen in the game. It's weirdly satisfying and works much better than you'd expect. Fifa 12 looks gorgeous and plays very similar to Fifa on the PS3 and 360 which unfortunately meant confirming that I suck hardcore at soccer games. Uncharted is where the system shines though. The playable level has Drake waking up at the bottom of a burning building where he must scale the crumbling interior to find a way out. As a 360 owner I have always suffered from massive Uncharted envy and the fact that I'm too poor to buy a Vita for some time ensures that that envy will continue.

PlayStation Vita

While it may not look like the PS3 on a small screen, the Vita boasts some impressive visuals. The 5" OLED screen has responsive touch capabilities and readily sucks you in with its brilliant graphics. In my opinion, Sony has found the perfect size where the handheld is still small enough to fit in your pocket but the game play is clearly superior to the miniscule iPhone and Android screens. The analog sticks work well and feel more responsive and sturdy than the 3DS circle pad and all of the buttons feel natural. My time with the system actually got me to feel a radical urge to trade my 3DS for a Vita (I f**kin love my 3DS).

Not only did my trip make me excited for the Vita, but it reminded me why I hope that used games don't become a thing of the past. I love Gamestop. Say what you will about used games and the way the industry works, the fact that I can walk into a Gamestop at any time, check out a new system, put down a pre-order for an upcoming game and chat for over an hour with an employee about gaming in general is something I am extremely thankful for. I've yet to find a Gamestop where the workers aren't passionate about what they're selling; and although we may not always agree on certain games or systems, they always seem ready to talk about this common interest that we all share.

So what did I learn today? The Vita may go down in history as the worst represented, best developed system of all time and I hope Gamestop is in it for the long haul.

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