A sexy piece of hardware with a few potential issues.
After months of waiting, Sony finally let us go hands on with PlayStation Vita, the company's new handheld. Bottom line, there's a lot to love about the PSP's successor.
On the flip side, we also have some issues with it that the publisher should eventually address before the 2011 launch and/or in future hardware revisions.
That said, here's what we think.
It's the biggest portable since the Game Gear
Rest assured that Vita is far superior to Sega's ill-fated system, but there's no denying its size. The system is surprisingly big, which works for and against it. Kids may struggle to wrap their mitts around the frame, while people with huge hands will probably dig it.
Start and Select need to move
For whatever reason, Sony made both of these buttons extremely small and stuck them on the bottom right corner of the device. Not exactly the best location.
Right analog stick is sweet, but sometimes gets in the way
First, we love the inclusion of a right analog stick. This will make first person shooters so much more entertaining than they are on PSP.
With this in mind, we kept grazing the stick with our thumbs every time we attempted to press X and Square at the same time. Could be a problem down the road.
The screen looks glorious
While not as sharp as the iPhone 4's retina display, the Vita's five inch screen is still a joy to behold.
Rear touch pad holds promise
We love the idea of a rear touch pad, but aside from Little Deviants, no game uses it in a revolutionary way. Stay tuned.
Sadly, the Left and Right triggers are still just as flimsy as they are on PSP. Come on, Sony. Fix this.
Cross platform play is sweet
Sony and Studio Liverpool did the right thing allowing PS3 and Vita owners to enjoy Wipeout 2048 multiplayer matches. It's a wonderful feature that works great, even at this early stage.
Front touch pad is cool, but gimmicky
Sony needed to put a touch screen on the Vita, and we think it'll prove useful for years to come. For now, though, it seems like developers have thrown touch controls into their games just for the sake of doing it. Aside from ModNation Racers, which lets you create tracks by drawing, few games use the tech in a way that surprised us. That'll most likely change down the road.
Graphics look sick
Similar to PSP in 2005, we love the way games look on the Vita. Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Wipeout 2048 and Virtua Tennis 4 are without question the best show pieces for the system, with many more on the way. Just a powerful handheld that will help developers realize their visions like never before. Kudos to Sony for shoving this much power into a portable system.