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Engadget Analysis: The PlayStation Vita Is A Beast

Normally, we aren't in the habit of linking to other sources when it comes to reviews.

But this is a special case; Engadget has the first fully detailed analysis of the PlayStation Vita (the Japanese version, obviously), and it's well worth a read.

Essentially, it's a very positive review. They're impressed with the sheer level of technology that's placed in the palm of our hands, and the OLED screen remains sharp and "comfortable on the eyes." The basic controls, especially the analog sticks, work very well, and the availability and diversity of the software is a huge plus. Here's part of the wrap-up:

"The Vita is a beast. The first-string gaming selection really gives us a scale of portable gaming not seen before, while the ability to dip in and out remains effortless. For extended play, the OLED screen is sharp and comfortable on the eyes, although we worry how long it'll last unblemished in the rough-and-tumble of everyday use. The controls, too, soon felt familiar to these gaming paws. The additional analog stick now makes the device a close substitute for the PS3's DualShock."

That being said, there's one thing they definitely want: longer battery life. The device only goes for three hours if you're using it to full capacity; "a battery performance that's enough to make even the Thunderbolt smirk." But the review does say there's "a space for this kind of premium gaming," so long as you can't find anything even remotely like Uncharted: Golden Abyss for $5 on Android or iOS.

And that, we can easily understand.

Tags: vita, playstation vita, vita review, vita details

12/21/2011 9:05:32 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (22 posts)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 @ 10:16:47 PM

I'm a little pissed about finding out the only way to use the Vita menus is via the touchscreen. I don't want to smudge the screen when I could just use the controllers like I did on the PSP.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011 @ 10:26:31 PM

Really? That is pretty lame. I'd like to use my fingers as little as possible for that very reason. That's what I like about the DS line. No need for fingers when you have a stylus. Maybe it's something they can add later via firmware.

Last edited by Jawknee on 12/21/2011 10:30:37 PM

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 3:45:10 AM

Aww so no XMB? bummer. The XMB really goes well on portable devices.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 3:53:13 AM

thats not really a problem, its coated in a special film so a wipe with a cloth and it looks brand new!
a massive improvement from the ps3 and PSP, those things were fingerprint magnets!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011 @ 11:29:24 PM

You know what is weird? Hot Shots Golf is the best seller by far so far in Japan and is way ahead of Uncharted. That just struck me as odd. I guess the Japanese like playing golf more than treasure hunting.

Another strange thing is you can not access the PSONE classics on the Vita. I read that on the comments section here and thought it had to be a mistake but I did find a statement from Sony that confirmed this. What's the deal with that?

I guess industry analysts are describing the Vita's launch as mixed. Some stores sold out but others did not. It did sale more than double the original PSP so that's good. One thing you have remember is Japan has been very supportive of the PSP line of handhelds so it's no surprise the Vita is having some success over there. There have been many weeks where the original PSP has managed to outsell the 3DS. Quite a few PSP games were sold in Japan as well.

The real question is will the Vita have any legs OUTSIDE of Japan. That was an issue with the PSP. It struggled in regions outside of Japan. Will the Vita suffer the same fate? I don't know the answer to that question.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 12/21/2011 11:39:45 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 @ 11:49:57 PM

If you knew how popular Hot Shots Golf has been in Japan for the past 15 years, you wouldn't be surprised at all.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011 @ 11:54:17 PM

I'm really shocked that anyone would be surprised by this. As great as Uncharted is, Everybody's Golf (AKA Hot Shots Golf) is mega in Japan - and as someone who enjoys it myself, I understand why. Uncharted was never as big a game even on PS3 in Japan as it is here, so it should be no great surprise that a portable friendly title like HotShots Golf is outselling Uncharted on the Vita.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 12:16:44 AM

Agreed, this shouldn't come as a surprise. Knowing how Japan's tastes are I was very surprised to see MW3 do so well up against JRPGs.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 1:15:11 AM

I guess you guys are right. Uncharted probably is not nearly as big in Japan I suppose. Japanese tastes are different than ours.

Limitedvergo makes a great point about MW3. I think I remember reading something about MW3 outselling the PS3 version of No ni Kuni. Now that was surpise.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 6:18:47 AM

Hehe - we had a lengthy discussion about whether or not it really was strange that No ni Kuni did not outsell the biggest selling title ever in the history of gaming.
I think we concluded with that "Japanese are people too". :D

You guys should join the forums! I think it is a great gang there, and plenty of room also for diverging opinions. Even *I* have found acceptance for some of my thoughts and opinions over there. :)

Last edited by Beamboom on 12/22/2011 6:23:01 AM

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 1:26:41 AM

If only they would drop the price. That would stop the 3DS sales killing spree cold.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 2:21:17 AM

Awesome to hear some good stuff about the Vita. It seems all you hear about Sony stuff on the Internet these days are the complaints. I know people have had some touchscreen/freezing problems, but that should be ironed out by February.

I'm looking foreward to a D1P of the Vita here, hopefully I'll have the dough for at least a game and a memory card too. I've got high hopes!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 3:19:00 AM

I disagree with that to some extent. Sure, you hear about complaints, but Sony got mostly POSITIVE reactions concerning the Vita until the details started coming out. Everything about the Vita was mostly positive until the memory card prices were announced.

Now, I think going with a propietary card was a dumb choice and really not necessary. That is an example of Sony shooting themselves in the foot there. Cheap flash memory is available now so I don't want to hear about how much a memory stick cost back when the PSP launched.

Sure there is tendency for there to be complaints about Sony when they mess up, but I also think there is still a crowd that is ready to cheer for Sony when they do something right. We kind of saw some that when the Vita's price was announced. Gamers had a positive reaction to that. people were saying Sony's finally getting it, and good job, etc...

I would say Sony has an image problem in NA mainly associated with the PS3. There is a tendency to hear mostly complaints about it but I think it is mainly limmited to the PS3. The system is grotesquely under appreciated here for various and complex reasons that are tough to break down. My hope is that if Sony has a good launch of a console next time that crap will come to an end for the most part. Even a good clean launch of the Vita would help clear some of that negative vibe around Sony. I will say this...I am pretty amazed at how fickle gamers are and I am also amazed at how hard it is to reverse an image problem once it sticks.

Listen, Sony has a lot riding on the Vita. Sony posted a billion dollar loss this year which is their third straight year of posting a loss. They want to show they can have a good launch of a product this time. I would say so far so good. The real test comes when the Vita launches in regions outside of Japan.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 12/22/2011 3:22:48 AM

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 3:32:59 AM


Actually, I think you are wrong. Sony got good positive traction with the Vita, but as the details have come out, some elements of the media have sought to make mountains out of mole hills. Take the whole multiple accounts per unit thing. That's really not so different to how the PSP works today. Battery life is no worse than anticipated. Apart from the apparently shocking cost of the memory cards (I say shocking mockingly since it's not that bad), everything else has been a matter of perspective with many taking the worst possible speculation as fact.

Sony's reported loss has a lot to do with accounting maneuvers and less to do with PlayStation. It also has a lot to do with the HDTV market becoming a commodity market, which was always going to hurt Sony.

Last edited by TheHighlander on 12/22/2011 3:34:04 AM

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 8:22:08 AM

Yes, they got positive traction on the Vita at the start which is exactly what I said. Making mountains out of moehills is debatable on the details of Vita. Maybe on the touch screen glitch thing I would agree, but only 1 PSN account per device is quite restrictive plus there was some conflicting reports coming from Sony. One spokeperson said you could have more than 1 account with an extra memory card then Sony later said no that's not true. The first report linking an extra account to an extra memory card only amplified the complaints about the memory card prices and it was a foolish thing for Sony to say since ended up not being true. It's only 1 account per device.

Now, I noticed out European friends were complaining about that the most because apparently they say the UK store sucks and is slow to get content so they like to have an additional account for US store. They still want to keep their UK account because it sometimes offers deals not available in the US. Now that's understandable. 2 accounts per device would have been nice and matched what is available on the PS3. Hell. I am still confused over the PSN account issue since I've read so many different things. If it's really not so different than the PSP then if I were Sony I would quite loudly point that out.

The devil is in the details. Unless I am mistaken I thought you said you thought the memory card prices were too high and wondered if there would be third party memory cards available. I know Bikersaint thought were pretty darn high. Several others as well. I think the memory card prices and only 1 PSN account are legitimate gripes and stories covering them are okay because they reflect legimate concerns of gamers.

The only thing I see that was maybe blown out proportion is the touch screen thing but similar reports came out about the 3DS...reports of glitches and the 3DS shutting off on its own. High return rates on the 3DS. No, it was not because of sickness caused by 3D either. I guess a small percentage 3DS adopters just did not like it or its launch games and returned the product. I know CVG ran a couple articles on that subject. Capcom got pounced on for some kind of save file issue on their Resident Evil game for the 3DS.

So I don't think Sony is being singled out per se. It's just in this day and age of the internet problems get reported quickly, and frequently. I just don't agree that everything you hear about Sony is negative. They have shown the ability to get good responses from the media when they do things correctly. Frankly, I think the media is ready to pounce on mistakes any of these companies make. I have noticed several negative stories about Microsoft's new dashboard for the 360 making it tough on indie developers recently. Bethesda literaly got the living daylights knocked out of them over the potentialy broken version of Skyrim for the PS3.

Companies need to make sure things go as smoothly as possible at launch and be on message when they respond to problems. Responding quickly helps a lot as well. If something is getting blown out proportion then for the love of God a company should just flat out say so in a nice and informitive way.

I'm somewhat encouraged that Sony was getting positive traction on the Vita at first. I thought it showed that if Sony did things right some of the enthusiasm for their hardware that was lost this gen might return.

As for Sony and its loss. A loss is a loss. Multiple quarters of posting losses are a concern let alone multiple years. Maybe they should just get out of the HDTV business. It's pretty obvious they can't compete price wise, and in this economy few are willing to pay a premium for a Sony HDTV. Especially if there are high quality and cheaper alternatives available...which there are, and that's a problem for Sony. One that I do not see an easy answer to.

I just read my post. Sorry the its length. I can't help myself at times.

Last edited by Excelsior1 on 12/22/2011 8:42:30 AM

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 3:55:16 AM

still cant believe a friend imported one for me for my bday!
im really happy with it so far, though all ive done is install the new FW and play a bit of the welcome application.
not a bad idea at all, shows you how to use everything which is really in handy since the manual is in Japanese.
slick little device, but im glad i did not pay for it no way in hell its worth 450 AUD!

Last edited by ___________ on 12/22/2011 3:56:19 AM

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 3:58:59 AM

Guys, will you please quit b*tching about the price. It's a damn good price point for a feature rich mobile device. And if you don't like it you can roll up that cash and shove your pocket, drive to your nearest videogame store and buy another PS3. See if you can play videogames on the go with it...

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 6:04:00 AM

Good to hear positive stuff about Vita. I am disappointed about the 3hours battery life. I hoped for 4hours at full power. I guess it will have to do. It will last my train journey home from university at least :)

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 6:34:13 AM

Interestingly enough we seem to have been correct when we discussed the camera details when they first emerged. I thought they looked suspiciously like they would use the same camera technology that was in my current Xperia back then - a camera that sucked hayballs.
And indeed, that shopping mall pic in the article could just as well have been taken with my old Xperia.

Too bad, cause it would be really neat if the Vita could have be used as a pocket camera too - since it's such an obvious companion at travels. I'd call this a missed opportunity.

(the camera in the new Xperia Arc is *splendid*, btw. It produces great pictures)

Last edited by Beamboom on 12/22/2011 6:36:35 AM

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 6:41:27 AM

Oh sh** I just discovered a detail regarding Touch My Katamari: "The ball-rolling space opera demands the dual-analog sticks. Play is smooth and well, with this soundtrack -- it's just awesome." - you CAN still use the two analogue sticks, and not just the touch screen! It even seem to be the best liked game of the ones they listed!

Ok that's the last hindrance: This game SHALL be mine. Oh yes it shall. All of a sudden I want a Vita too.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 12/22/2011 9:47:21 AM

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 12:10:03 PM

Is it just me not doing research, or does there seem to be a lack of mention about whether the VITA will be compatable with the PS4 or whatever it will be called?

I don't want to drop $299 for a VITA and then in 2-3 years time or less the PS4 will be out and the VITA could be obsolete?

My guess though, is that as with the PSP there will be multiple models that come out as time goes by.

This, along with a few other things will definetly keep me from a D1P.

I know there are firmware updates they can do, but the hype seems to focus on the fact that you can play full PS3 games on the go and that it is just as powerful as a PS3. OKAY, what about as powerful as the PS4, or the ability to be upgraded as such? Or will I just have to buy a whole new model when that time comes, or even worse a whole new handheld to be compatable with a PS4?

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Thursday, December 22, 2011 @ 9:59:31 PM

i'll dmit im not a portable gamer.
but the vita is an impressive little machine.
i dunno, maybe ill get one when they redesign it, sorry i just dont have the time to be playing portables nowadays.

but yea, still impressive

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