Gems of the PlayStation Vita Launch

Uncharted: Golden Abyss  - 877787

Even though the First Edition is already on store shelves, the PlayStation Vita – and all its apps and features – officially launches this week, bringing a new level of portable entertainment to the consumer market.  It’s the next evolution in Sony’s handheld division, with its innovative front and back touch sensors, its gyro sensitivity, and its advanced visual game design.  Seriously, this thing is a monster.  Plus, no UMD’s, since you can either play the games in card format or download them through the PlayStation Network.

That said, this is probably one of the biggest launches in the industry, mainly because of the available games.  There are a ton of games that are coming out for the system, many of which are already on hand in most stores.  With that, which ones should you pick up?  Well, you could wait for our reviews this week, but, instead, we’ve got a handy guide to help you with picking up the best of the bunch.  We’ve got ten recommendations that are absolute must-adds to your gaming library, some of which being quite affordable.  So, with that, let’s get to the “gems”…

Uncharted: Golden Abyss (SCEA) – Though Naughty Dog didn’t handle the development on this one (as they normally do on PS3), Sony Bend is more than up to the task with Nathan Drake’s portable debut, with stunning graphics, great gameplay (including touch screen and gyro tilting) and an adventure that comes close to living up to its PS3 predecessors.  It’s definitely a must if you’re looking for a “showcase” piece.


Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (Capcom) – Even though you may not have a dedicated fighting controller for this one, Capcom’s port of its hit crossover fighting game is absolutely stellar.  Featuring over 45 characters from both universes, a ton of modes, online play and good gameplay between traditional and touch-screen controls, it’s as good as fighting gets – until Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter x Tekken arrive, anyway.


Rayman Origins (Ubisoft) – Yes, the multiplayer component is missing, which might be a no-sell for some, but it’d be a shame if you didn’t invest in this brilliant side-scrolling platformer.  Featuring some of the best artwork ever put into a game, Origins plays like a dream and also features Ghost Runs, so you can compete against friends’ best times.  It truly is a wonderful game, and well worth your time.


Super Stardust Delta (SCEA) – One of the cheapest games for the PS Vita launch – mainly because it’s download only – Super Stardust Delta is a quality sequel to the hit Housemarque twin stick shooter.  You once again pick up power-ups, including black holes and EMP mines, and let loose on rocks, enemies and bosses and survive as long as you can.  With online leaderboards and superb controls, this one is an absolute must.


Hustle Kings (SCEA) – VooFoo Studios always seems to get the game of pool down to a science, as it proved on the PS3 with its previous version of Hustle Kings.  This portable version keeps up the trend, with great accessibility, cool modes and tables, and plenty of online action to keep you shooting balls into pockets well into the night.  Consider this a solid hit on the 8-ball…and a must buy on the cheap.


Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack (Drinkbox Studios) – We didn’t think we’d be getting a sequel to About a Blob so quickly, but here it is – and it’s even better than the original. Devour everything in sight while skillfully working your way through complex level designs and finding bonuses, all while diggings a cool 50’s sci-fi vibe that Drinkbox has perfectly captured.  For $8, this is a must-own for those snagging a Vita, period.


Wipeout 2048 (SCEA) – Sony’s long-running futuristic racing franchise has been at a peak since the release of Wipeout HD on the PS3, and that fun continues into the portable version, with more tracks, online play and plenty of great features that make you feel like you’re racing through neon-lit cities.  Seriously, this one is a riot and handles smoother than ever.  If you’re a fan, don’t hesitate to get your heart racing with it.


Lumines: Electronic Symphony (Ubisoft) – Q Entertainment once again addicts us to no end thanks to its ongoing puzzle series, Lumines, as Electronic Symphony adds to the fun with all new skins, a 3D design that makes the game look a little newer than before, and great square-building gameplay that never gets old.  Add some competitive leaderboards and you’ve got a game that’s too funky to miss.


FIFA Soccer (EA Sports) – We were surprised when EA Sports only released one game in time for the Vita launch, though its full line-up is likely to hit later this year.  For now, though, we’ll happily take FIFA Soccer, a wonderful recreation of the sport that’s been nailed down pat, featuring great controls, tons of options for soccer fans, and an unparalleled presentation that nails the accuracy of the real thing.  Don’t miss it.


Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour (Sega) – Finally, though Sega’s Virtua Tennis game may not be completely new anymore, it’s still very, very functional, and a blast to play.  This version resembles the PS3 one in quite a similar manner, and is packed with an awesome Career mode and plenty of mini-games to keep you swinging well into the night.  If you even care slightly about Sega’s tennis franchise, this is definitely a top-tier purchase.

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Robert Workman
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