Ah the PlayStation Vita. While many would argue the system is a bit of a failure, for me it came at the right time with the right games. Thing is, I don't have a laptop or a phone more advanced than a simple Java phone so to have a handheld console like the Vita pretty much fulfills all my needs from a handheld device. It's more than a game system to me. It's also a device I can use to browse the web, watch YouTube, post on Facebook or even use Skype. It's very multifunctional and from the PSN store you can also get PSP titles (which is a godsend since I never owned a PSP to begin with) and PS1 titles (which is also great since I wanted a device to play PS1 games on the go with). Ever since I bought it, it has become my most used handheld and so far my favourite. Not that I don't give my 3DS playtime either, it just happens that I am more often in the mood for Vita games. So let's take a look at my own top 10 favourites of them.
10. BORDERLANDS 2
Borderlands 2 is arguably my favourite game of all time, and in my opinion also one of the best sequels of all time. It's a game that centers around two things; GUNS and LOOT. What makes the Borderlands games so special are the insane amount of guns in them. Guns can spawn in any kind of strange combinations, though most players are most likely going to go for the unique and legendary guns. So it goes without saying that the idea of being able to play the game wherever I go is extraordinarily tempting. In fact, this game was the reason I bought a Vita to begin with since I had kind of held off until it was announced. When I got the game, granted, I was a bit disappointed. What I was promised was the Borderlands 2 experience on the go and what we all got was a heavily watered down port, with subpar graphics and audio, only two-player co-op, and one that likes to crash a lot or have audio that goes out of sync. Still, with all these flaws there is one undeniable truth. It's Borderlands 2, and you can take it anywhere you want. When it works, it's still Borderlands 2 and that's what matters to me. If you're a fan of the game and want to play it on the go, pick it up if you find it on discount. It also comes with a few DLCs so there's a lot of playtime here.
9. SURGE DELUXE
Futurlab is quickly becoming one of my most liked developers on the PS Vita. Their games have a really futuristic style to them (which goes well with their name), sporting bright colourful neon colours and very distinct shapes and lines. Surge is a puzzle game in the vein of Bejeweled or Tetris, though has its own unique twist. Using the touch screen, you need to connect blocks of the same colour together in order to clear the screen, since pressure is building up on both sides and needs to be released. It's a very intense arcady game where it's all about making a high score and battle on the online leaderboards. Or you can just play it to kill time which I often do when I am in the mood for it. Definitely gives your brain an exercise as well which is never a bad thing.
8. ASPHALT: INJECTION
There are about three racing games on the Vita that I play in rotation. Wipeout 2048, Need For Speed: Most Wanted and Asphalt Injection. Asphalt is actually the game that I find myself coming back to the most for several reasons. While Wipeout is something I have to be in the mood for and never feel like I master 100%, and Need For Speed: Most Wanted definitely feels like a port, you can tell Asphalt Injection was made specifically with a handheld system in mind and with people who like arcady racers in mind as well. The graphics for one are really nice and colourful and very bright so that they show well even in non optimal conditions. A problem I have with other games, especially ports is that they don't show up well in less than ideal conditions, for instance if you're out in the sun. The game also is really fast, notably much faster and smoother than Most Wanted for instance. Gameplay wise the game offers several different racing modes with different goals and the fun of the game comes from achieving different objectives in each race instead of just merely reaching the finish line in first place. Additional points for taking down enemy vehicles are given, collecting a certain amount of cash etc. Definitely highly recommend the game if you have a Vita.
7. METAL GEAR SOLID HD
Unlike the title suggests, Metal Gear Solid HD is not an HD remake of MGS 1 but rather an HD collection of MGS 2 and 3. These are easily some of the most beautiful and cinematic experiences from their era and have a gameplay style that is entirely unique to the series. While you wouldn't think this kind of experience makes sense on a handheld device, when you sit down with a pair of headphones, lock out the world around you and dive into the world of Tactical Espionage Action, these games come alive on the Vita in a beautiful way. I definitely recommend picking this one up if you're a fan of stealth games as they are worth playing through at least once.
6. RESISTANCE: BURNING SKIES
Resistance: Burning Skies is not really that special of a game. It's standard first person shooter fare for the most part where the goal is to survive and kill any opposition that comes your way. The difference of course lies in the setting and weaponry you have and the fact it's on a handheld device. The fun of the game comes in how all the weapons have an alternate fire mode and you use the touch screen more often than not to use these extra modes which adds a bit of strategy and fun to the shooting and gives a nice break up now and then. It's also a bit difficult if you're not used to console shooters like I am, so it gives a lot of bang for your buck. The game is strangely enough about a 50's alien invasion however, it does this in a way that no other game has done as far as I can recall. While the concept of 50's alien invasions have been done before (it was the decade where sci-fi was born after all), this game doesn't really do it in that oldschool 50's sci-fi style but does it in a really modern and gritty style which makes the alien culture actually feel alien to the game's original setting. Much like the newly released Wolfenstein: The New Order, it gives a very nice contrasting setting that makes the game feel like it takes place in an alternate reality. Definitely recommend it if you're a shooter fan like me.
5. VELOCITY 2X
Velocity 2X is another game from Futurlab that, like Surge Deluxe, has a very arcady oldschool feel to it. But where Surge went the puzzle route, Velocity takes the shooter route. It blends two kinds of game modes seamlessly where you fly around in a vertical shmup style game in one moment and then run around inside platformer levels in the other with a handgun. At first it takes a while getting used to switching between these two game styles, but it becomes second nature quickly. The music consists of nice techno and chiptunes which greatly fits the futuristic sci-fi style, the graphics are definitely typical Futurlab here, going hand in hand with the music, and I would go as far as saying they far surpass even Surge. The design of the main heroine herself is especially nice and she has some Samus Aran qualities to her. It's a pretty good game that is a lot of fun to play on the go, especially if you're a fan of oldschool 2D shooters.
4. RAYMAN LEGENDS
Rayman Legends is probably my favourite Rayman game nowadays. It harkens back to the roots of the franchise of being a 2D platformer with cartoony graphics and does this even better than the original in my opinion. The most fun aspect is that you have multiple characters to play, all of them with different attacks, voices and gameplay styles, and the levels all feel very varied and memorable, something the original did so well. Granted Rayman Legends is on pretty much every system nowadays, the Vita version still feels pretty unique in how it utilizes the touch screen for a lot of the game's levels. It makes it feel like more than just a port and making the touch screen feel like it was intended to be used with the game, instead of just a tacked on feature like with a lot of Vita titles. That alone makes it worth picking up even if you might already own the game on a different system.
3. GRAVITY RUSH
Gravity Rush might as well be considered a perfect bundle game to pick up if you have just gotten a Vita. While I also hear Tearaway is a good game that shows off the Vita's functionality, to me that game just feels too gimmicky. The thing about Gravity Rush is that it shows off what the Vita can do but implements those things into the game's story and has the Vita's functions work within the story rather than making it feel like someone simply made a game to have fun with the Vita's touch screens which is the feeling I got from Tearaway, and which is why I was put off playing it. Gravity Rush has a rather intriguing story set in an unknown universe where you play a character who is unaware of who she is or what her past is, trying nothing more than to make a living for herself in a floating city. She discovers though she has powers that allows her to control gravity. The game is in a genre of its own and is unlike anything I've played before. It's not really a shooter or anything, since all you do is use gravity to attack your enemies, and not really an action/adventure game either. It kind of mixes a lot of genres and at times, feels kind of like a platformer where you can control gravity. It's an entirely unique experience and I cannot recommend it enough if you have a Vita.
2. DRAGON'S CROWN
Dragon's Crown feels a lot like a modern version of Golden Axe. It's classic 2D sidescrolling slice-em-up fun and best of all, it's co-op, both with AI NPC's and your friends. There are also a lot of RPG elements to the game and making sure you always have the best gear for your characters, giving it a lot of depth beyond being just a simple action game, though I like it because it also has the satisfying action I love. The art style is also pretty unique, with a sorceress sporting boobs the size of Jupiter. If that doesn't make you want to play, I don't know what doesn't. :P
1. KILLZONE: MERCENARY
For me it was impossible not to be impressed when I first played Mercenary. Not only is it a gorgeous game - sporting graphics that truly impress for being on a handheld device, showing the game was made to take full advantage of the Vita's hardware - it's also a really solid shooter experience. While the campaign is pretty short and split into multiple short missions that you can play in bursts, there is also a lot of challenge and fun in the game from completing these missions in different ways. The multiplayer is also solid as hell, giving the game a lot of longevity. If you're at all a first person shooter whore like me and have a Vita, get this game immideately. It at least makes up for the subpar Call of Duty game we got on the system. The only downside I can say about the game is that the story isn't really that good and the music is pretty bland. But the game is definitely a solid shooter and exactly the kind of game I wanted the Vita for.