PS Vita User Interface Walkthrough
The PS Vita is already out in Japan, is making quite a splash in the handheld industry. While we have to wait till February 22nd (or February 15th if you ordered the First Edition Bundle), folks over in Japan are steadily uploading their unboxing videos, as well as some comprehensive walkthroughs of the system's user interface.
If you've seen any of the previous video presentation on the device, you might remember the menus with those round icons for each application/game. Sadly, this remains the same. I say sadly because that was one of the things I truly hated about the Vita's interface. Circle icons just seem a little bit outdated, especially when the iPhone's square icons with rounded edges look so good. Of course I'm not saying they should have copied Apple's icons, but circles in my opinion just look terrible.
Though that is where the bad design decisions end. Everything about the Vita's user interface is extremely intuitive. The entire menu is touch based, meaning you aren't able to navigate it with the d-pad or analog stick, so if you're used to navigating the iOS app store, you'll feel right at home navigating the PSN store on the Vita.
You're also able to browse any previously purchased games associated with your PSN account, which will work on the PS Vita, though PSP demo's and PS1 games will not work as of right now. There could be potential updates to allow this in the future but right now, you're going to have to be content with playing only Vita games, and PSP games.
The top right of the screen houses a notification bubble which will always display pertinent information such as what you're currently downloading, recent trophies, or when a friend signs on and plays a game that you could possibly play together. You also have this option when downloading various things off of the PSN store to either tell your friends what you just bought/downloaded or not.
Each app page that opens up, houses various useful information. If running a game for example, the app page will display the game in the middle, leaderboards on the side, trophy information, dlc available, etc.
The interface also allows for quick terminating of applications. The click of the PS button will bring up all of the currently open apps in tabbed cards, that can all easily be accessed. With a simple swipe down from a corner, the currently running application will be turned off.
Sadly, when using the browser, you will quickly find that the PS Vita does not support Flash or HTML5. That's sad considering that the iPhone is able to browse YouTube on the mobile version. Hopefully some future updates will either add these features or perhaps a YouTube app that will allow browsing and playback of videos from the Vita
The included Welcome Park, which oddly looks like something you'd find on a Nintendo handheld, is an app that will get you acquainted with all of the features that are new to this handheld, such as the touchscreen, gyroscope, camera, etc. None of these games are overly complicated or sophisticaed, but they serve the purpose of getting to know your handheld better.
If there is one thing for certain, the PS Vita is definitely shaping up to be the must have handheld, when it comes out in February. And now we play the waiting game.