Dex's Review: The Vita

Alternatively called "Dex finds another excuse to post on TAY" or "Dex gets himself a Vita". I'm taking a page out of Dex-from-2006's book by writing a review about a console. This console is Sony's Playstation Vita.

As you can see, I broke down and bought myself a Vita this past couple of days. In all I purchased The Walking Dead Vita Bundle, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, Persona 4 Golden, Playstation Plus (3 months), a 32 GB Vita memory card, and Sony's official protective film for the touchscreen.

Today, I'll review the overall system. I'll be modifying my review marathon's system down to the Good/Bad/Verdict segments, since that seems most logical.

The Good:

Right off the bat, the build quality and durability are pretty solid. Clearly I didn't try to throw it off a building or anything, but the overall feeling that you get while holding it is pretty good. Since there aren't any moving parts in this system (it is all based on solid state memory), it probably helps. The buttons and analog sticks feel solid enough to last for a pretty long time without issue.

Dex's Review: The Vita

Speaking of buttons and sticks, they both feel pretty good. The analog sticks aren't intrusive, but they are easy to use when needed. You don't get much of a range of motion out of them like a Dualshock 3 but that is to be expected. The buttons have a good tactile feel to them and the D-pad is the same way. In addition to the physical controls, the touchscreen seems good too. This sort of feature could easily feel incredibly gimmicky and underdeveloped, but I think the Vita has it down (at least as far as the main menu and basic apps are concerned). I haven't had a use out of the touch screen on the back, but I'd guess that it works pretty well too.

The tutorial videos are surprisingly well done. I won't dwell too much on this one, but they have a pretty good production value for something that most people will see once (or less than once since people will skip right on past).

Lastly, the battery life I'm getting so far is pretty good. It should be perfect for a short stint on an airplane like I do on occasion; Salt Lake City to Omaha is a ~2 hour flight, so I'd have time to spare I'd bet.

The Bad:

The triggers seem a bit too easy to press. This gets a little annoying with me since I frequently adjust my Vita while playing (we'll get to that in just a second). One particular instance of this issue cropping up was when I first started Persona 4 Golden and I accidentally skipped the opening cinematic by hitting the trigger. I won't lose sleep over that particular instance, but I can easily imagine myself doing it during a cinematic that actually matters.

Dex's Review: The Vita

In addition, I'm still working on a good way to hold this thing. I'm a pretty big guy unfortunately, so this was to be expected. My hands are as big as the Vita, so curling them around the sides can be a bit troublesome. I'm getting pretty close to a good way to do it, but I haven't quite made it yet.

On a different note, I encountered an extremely peculiar logical loop during the initial system setup. When I wanted to input my PSN information, the setup would tell me to update the system software and return me to the previous screen. The problem is... I'm setting up the system, so I have no way to update it. Huh, weird. A quick search turned up a Sony support thread here. The fix was (as I did) to just not sign into the Vita and instead to make a trial account. I then input the PSN info later. Taking note of the date on that forum thread though, they noticed this problem back in February last year. It is perplexing that this issue hasn't been patched out of the system yet. It is vaguely possible that my unit is just old and I was unlucky, but I don't have anyone to compare to.

This is specific to the Walking Dead Bundle, but that 4 GB memory card is absolutely laughable. Compare the 4 GBs of space with the 2.2 GBs that the Walking Dead (included in the bundle) uses and it is even worse. The bundle is guaranteeing you less than 2 GBs to mess around with. Having dealt with this kind of thing before, I had the foresight to buy a 32 GB card alongside everything, but it still seems like a terrible decision to ship this bundle with such a tiny card. At least bump this up to 8 GBs!

The Verdict:

Dex's Review: The Vita

The whole package feels very solid all things considered. The only major gripes I have with the physical system are the triggers which, again, are a bit too easy to press and how it feels a bit small for those with larger hands like me.

Other than that, the production quality is good and the design is spot on. The game library on the Vita isn't gigantic but it has a couple of good names behind it. In addition, there are PS1 classics and PSP ports to be found in bulk on the PSN. It worth noting that the PS+ Instant Game Collection also has Vita games to explore, so there's that.

While Sony and the Vita aren't quite the portable gaming utopia that Nintendo and the 3DS built, I think that Sony has a respectable system in the running on this one. I'm probably not the only one hoping for the Vita to survive for years to come.

You can see all my articles on Dex's Corner.

Question of the Day: Do you guys want me to continue this line of thought and review Vita games too?