As has been proven countless times in the past, games sell systems. The Playstation Vita certainly struggled during its first year and this lack of sales is usually attributed to a lack of quality games. While it’s true that the system has failed to gain the “buzz” needed to move huge numbers of any product, look a little deeper and it becomes clear that there’s no real lack of great gaming to be had on the Vita. It’s pretty common for gamers who are just now adopting the handheld to be surprised by the rich catalogue of fantastic games that saw release before they started paying attention.
Sony’s newest system is really picking up steam, and with the recent celebration of its first birthday we wanted to take a look back at the Vita’s first year and see how Sega has contributed to its ever-expanding library of quality titles.
Virtua Tennis 4 World Tour Edition
Release Date : February 22, 2012
The first release from Sega on the PS Vita and a launch title for the system, Virtua Tennis 4 World Tour Edition is a solid, addictive, and fun game. A port of the previously released console version with added features exclusive to the Vita, such as motion and touch screen controls, and numerous mini-games. This game is essentially the same Virtua Tennis we’ve been playing for years, with added portability. Online modes round out the package and make for a fantastic multiplayer game to play for 15 minutes, or 3 hours. The controls are tight and responsive, and the difficulty is perfectly balanced throughout arcade and tournament modes. This balance lends itself to nerve-wracking matches dripping with tension, and a palpable sense of accomplishment when you finally pull off the “Game, Set, and Match”.
Super Monkey Ball : Banana Splitz
Release Date : October 23, 2012
Sega has been letting gamers play with Monkey-filled balls for more than a decade now, and the latest Vita incarnation of the series retains all of the traditional action expected. The graphics are fantastic, with brilliant colors splashed all over highly interesting and cute designs. In Banana Splitz, the monkeys have been sent back in time and the player will roll through well-designed puzzle platforms themed in tropical, jurassic, and medieval lands drenched in that typical Monkey Ball style. Fantastic music, well-implemented motion controls, and a slew of addictive and challenging party games round out the package on Vita. The game offers vast replay value and “pick-up-and-play” action that suits the system perfectly.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
Release Date : December 7, 2012
The latest retail release by Sega for the Vita, S&ART is the best without question. The game, developed by fan-favorite studio Sumo Digital, excels in every category. Graphically brilliant, audibly fantastic, with tight controls, full-featured online multiplayer, and loaded with fan-service, this game is a Sega fan’s dream come true. The Vita is again a perfect platform for Sega’s arcade styled games, lending itself perfectly to short spurts of play or marathon online sessions. The career mode is massive, and with countless unlockable characters, stages, and powerups the game has enough meat to easily satisfy. Add in the multiplayer and the upcoming DLC and Sonic Racing becomes a game that no Sega, or racing fan, should pass up.
Jet Set Radio
Release Date : October 16, 2012
A digital release of the classic Dreamcast game remastered in widescreen format and high definition. Sega has done a great job, creating a port that looks much more vibrant and crisp than on the Dreamcast. Include the addition of trophy support and dual-analog controls and gamers have a much-improved experience over the original. The Vita version retains the complete original soundtrack, and since the Dreamcast’s outrageously loud disc-read noise pollution is absent you can actually hear the music.
These games as well as Sega’s previous PSP offerings make for an excellent, established library on the year-old Vita. As the system ages look forward to more support from the Big Blue S as more retail and digital releases find their way to the handheld.
This article covers all the games released thus-far in the West. In a future article we’ll explore the fun things Sega is doing on the Vita in Japan, and quietly hope to see them in the rest of the gaming world.