Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Exactly How Does the PlayStation Vita Have "No Games?"

A common statement among some gamers is that Sony's struggling handheld, the PlayStation Vita, lacks software, even going as far as saying it has zero in the way of competent games. Of course, a lot of these people are simply trolling (These people could stand to read this article.), but the idea that the Vita is starving for content is simply a falsehood. I would like to back the falsehood statement with some games that prove that the Vita does, in fact, carry a rather robust library of software.

Persona 4 Golden


The highest-rated Vita game on game review aggregate sites, Persona 4 Gold is a port of the PlayStation 2 classic. Players mix, match, and use the titular persona characters (of which there are 150 varieties) in battle as they traverse dungeons and towns and progress through an engaging story. The addition of two new characters, hundreds of lines of fresh dialogue, and high-definition visuals make for a port that is definitely worthy of adding to one's Vita collection.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss


Nathan Drake returns in this prequel to the PlayStation 3 Uncharted trilogy. While the lack of any form of multiplayer hurts the title some, the single player of Golden Abyss has been expanded with new locales, set pieces, and characters to get to know and like. The use of Vita system features like the touch screen controls make for a novel approach to gameplay. Sony Bend has done a splendid job bringing yet another one of Sony's prized first-party properties onto the small screen with Uncharted: Golden Abyss.

Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational 


The goal of the Hot Shots Golf series has always been to provide an accessible golfing experience to players while still keeping the depth of the sport. Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational is no different in this department. The sixth mainline game in the franchise, World Invitational offers tons of replay value with its single player, challenges that unlock new balls, clubs, and costumes, and online multiplayer tournaments that help you test your golfing prowess against the world. An incredibly capable addition to the Hot Shots Golf series, World Invitational's new MSRP makes it quite a steal.

WipEout 2048


Another game meant to serve as a prequel, WipEout 2048 (2048 being the year the game takes place in) brings the fast-paced and intense racing game to the PlayStation Vita, and uses many of its features such as tilt, touch, and voice controls. WipEout 2048's multiplayer allows eight players to jet through the gorgeous futuristic tracks online, and in some cases, play with PlayStation 3 players via Wipeout HD. In addition to that, there is also cooperative play for missions. There's a ton of challenge and speed with WipEout 2048, and for the racing fan, it is at the top of the mountain on Vita.

Assassin's Creed III: Liberation 


Taking the Assassin's Creed III name and creating a side story for PlayStation Vita owners, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation stars, for the first time in franchise history, a female protagonist. If you have been worrying about the Assassin's Creed experience not being transported well to a portable, rest easy-- you'll be doing all the same running on rooftops, stealthily stabbing enemies, and earning chain kills, just like Liberation's bigger, more popular brother. What Vita owners get is yet another title to add to the list of worthy games to the Vita library.

Gravity Rush


Formerly a PS3 project before its development was shifted over to the Vita, Gravity Rush is quite unlike any other game out there, much less for the Vita. One of the obvious primary mechanics of the game is the ability to control gravity-- walk on walls, send the heroine Kat careening into enemies, and other fascinating feats. The RPG elements add another dimension to the game, with such concepts as leveling up and optional bosses. Gravity Rush isn't a perfect game, but its positives far outweigh any faults it possesses.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale


Speaking of Kat, how about we go to a game that will feature character in DLC form? PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is one of the first of many "YOPO" games. This acronym stands for "You Only Pay Once." However, it only works if you buy the PlayStation 3 version. (Thanks to Ken S. for that clarification!) Both versions have cross-play, so PS3 owners can duke it out with Vita owners, and vice versa. No matter which popular PlayStation character you choose-- whether it be Kratos, Sackboy, Nathan Drake, Ratchet, or whoever else-- you're bound to have one heck of a party.

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita


My favorite new IP of the past generation hits the Vita, containing all new story levels and content. With the front and rear touch screens on the PlayStation Vita, level creation, a profusely popular feature of the franchise, has become less troublesome and much more streamlined. While you can't import levels from the console versions of LittleBigPlanet to the Vita version, already there is an immense catalog of impressive levels by some creative level creators. If you need a game that will boost your own level of creativity, look no further than LittleBigPlanet PS Vita.

New Little King's Story


While this game is only available via download in North America, New Little King's Story is still a great game. It is essentially a remake of the Wii cult classic, Little King's Story, only given enhanced features. One such feature are the improved visuals, showcasing a less childlike look. As your little king, you try to conquer neighboring kingdoms, gathering resources, hiring citizens to battle alongside you as you vanquish bosses and baddies, and expand your own kingdom. If you can stand the quirky gameplay, New Little King's Story brings enough that is new to the table that makes it a worthwhile Vita title.

Super Monkey Ball: Banana Splitz


It seemed perplexing how Sega could continue to mess up a winning formula with several poor Super Monkey Ball games, such as Banana Blitz (not to be confused with the game I'll be talking about, Banana Splitz), Step & Roll, and Super Monkey Ball 3D. Well, now it seems like Sega and the Super Monkey Ball series has got its groove back with Banana Splitz, a Vita exclusive. The traditional rolling Aiai and friends through progressively more difficult and twisted courses, trying not to fall off as you go for the goal, is present and accounted for. It's a welcomed return to form, for sure!

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While the PlayStation Vita is not overflowing with quality games, it does have several serviceable and outstanding games in its library. These are just ten of such titles, and there are many more I neglected to mention. Hopefully this list will make some of you out there who are eager to claim a specific system lacks quality games quiet down. Oh, heck. Who am I kidding? Gamers will be gamers...

Monday, December 3, 2012

SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs - Nintendo 3DS Edition

We are returning to the normal routine of my favorite VGMs where we listen to songs from five different games rather than just one. This week is a special Nintendo 3DS-themed edition. Three of the games on this list might just make it on the Best Soundtrack category for my end of the year award show. From Mario to Pit from Kid Icarus, the 3DS is represented well this week.

v251. Super Mario 3D Land (3DS) - Special World 8 Crown


A play-through of Super Mario 3D Land might make you think the game is short and easy. That might be true for the initial eight worlds, but then you unlock an additional eight, much more challenging worlds full of remixed and entirely new levels to try out. By getting all star coins, beating the game as both Mario and Luigi, and reaching the top of every flagpole, you unlock a final difficult level.

v252. Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS) - The Chaos Vortex


If someone were to tell my Game Boy-playing younger self that future handhelds would possess the power to have their games contain fully orchestrated music, I would probably not have believed it. But here we are with Kid Icarus: Uprising among other titles. The Chaos Vortex is a chapter near the end of Uprising. If I had to tell you might favorite part of this terrifically tense track, it would come right here when the bold brass blares with a recurring melodic phrase from the game.

v253. Mario Tennis Open (3DS) - Penguin Iceberg


There was much in the way of diverse opinions for Mario Tennis Open. I happened to enjoy the game, but others did not. That's just fine. However, I think we can all agree that Motoi Sakuraba's soundtrack for the game was sensational, as evident by this example for the Penguin Iceberg court. It's a perfect theme for the upcoming winter season.

v254. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy (3DS) - Shining Glory


Continuing with the orchestrated goodness, Shining Glory from the under-appreciated Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy wastes no time engaging the listener with its brass, strings, and choir. Imagine taking it to the skies and participating in intense dogfights as you battle for your life.

v255. Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS) - Warm Fuzzy Plains


The final VGM volume of this special Nintendo 3DS edition is from the most recently released game, Paper Mario: Sticker Star. The soundtrack for the game might just be my favorite from a Paper Mario. Warm Fuzzy Plains features guitar, brass, piano, and hints of the Super Mario Bros. theme.

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Another edition of SuperPhillip's Favorite VGMs is in the books. Next week I will showcase five more themes from video games you may or may not know. Until then and as always, scope out my VGM database for every VGM ever spotlighted.

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