The PS Vita is a console which you quite possibly didn’t own. I ventured out into the world of PlayStation handhelds with the PSP in 2005, but left it gathering dust after just a few months. When it came to the Vita, I skipped it entirely. Now I’m here to tell you why it’s worth buying a PS Vita, a console first released in Japan in 2011, even now in 2020.
When Sony tried to take on the likes of Nintendo by entering the handheld market, it should have been a success, but both the PSP and its successor, the Vita, failed to sell the units projected. Now both consoles are a thing of the past, and yet, the Vita has had something of a resurgence over the past couple of years. Now with a thriving community of gamers dedicated to the console, it’s never been a better time to try out the Vita.
The PS Vita isn’t anything impressive on paper when you’re looking at it through a 2020 lens. Taking a quick look at its stats doesn’t really give you much to write home about, especially with its minimal storage. Still, it manages to pack an impressive punch, especially with its screen.
The five-inch touchscreen of the PS Vita is a lovely thing, especially on the original model. The PS Vita 1000 series boasts an impressive OLED display, while the slimmer PS Vita 2000 series opted for an LCD version. Both offer a really nice-looking handheld experience, which is only made even more impressive when you remember the console originally released in 2011 (the 2000 series launched in 2013).
Both versions of the PS Vita featured two very pleasant-to-use analog joysticks, front and shoulder push-button input, and even support Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and optional 3G connectivity. The 2000 series even offered extended battery life, which is always a plus.
Perhaps most notable was the design of the PS Vita. Both versions boast a smooth and classic design that just screams “Sony.” While the bright colours and plastic casings of some of Nintendo’s handhelds can age a console, Sony opted for a timeless design that still feels high-end, even to this day.
Like most Sony consoles, the PS Vita was (and is!) home a number of excellent titles, many of which saw classic franchises make their portable debut on the console. The Vita is the only place to properly experience Vita-exclusive games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, Tearaway and Silent Hill: Book of Memories.
GameByte’s Brett Claxton is a huge fan of his PS Vita, and he’s specifically requested I share with you his favourite titles on the platform. Persona 4 Golden, Rogue Legacy, Don’t Starve, Darkest Dungeon, Spelunky and all the PS One classics are must-play games according to Brett (and for once, I don’t disagree with him).
In case you weren’t aware, the PS Vita is a console which is incredibly easy to mod if you’re so inclined. Modding and hacking consoles definitely isn’t in the manual, and it’s important to note that there can be legal complications with doing so. However, if you wanted to (and we’re not recommending that you do), there are ways you can use your Vita as an emulation box for non-Sony titles.
There’s also a number of fan-created apps and programs that you can install to yours, if you so choose to. (Note that any form of modding or hacking will void your warranty and also runs the risk of bricking your console. Again, we don’t recommend it, we’re just making you aware that you can if you wanted to).
Should you buy a PS Vita, even in 2020?
With features like Remote Play (which, yes, is available for PC, but it’s not in the palm of your hand), games you can’t easily play anywhere else, and the sleek, sleek look of the thing, it’s frankly a travesty that the PS Vita failed to make the waves it deserved.
Thankfully, the Vita still has a devoted community even nearly a decade after it first launched. If you’re a Vita owner (or thinking of becoming one), you don’t have to look much further than Twitter or Reddit to find gamers still avidly using their Vitas in what’s now an ever-growing gaming fan space.
“The Vita was (and is!) a wonderful bit of kit,” says Brett from GameByte. “It’s just big enough to make longer gaming sessions possible, and with a decent battery life. At the time, its crossplay with the PS4 was great (I would often take my save from one to the other) and it’s a shame that it just seemed to slowly get less and less support.
“It’s great to see the console find life again in a new community. Hopefully it shows Sony there may still be life in a handheld console!”
If you’re thinking of buying a PS Vita in 2020 your best bet is to use third-party retailers, as the console was discontinued in 2019. If you’re looking for more ways to explore handheld gaming, then I definitely recommend buying a PS Vita – even if it is 2020.
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Featured Image Credit: Sony