PS Vita: post Japanese launch, here are our hands-on impressions

PS Vita launch date and uk prices announced

So, it’s launched in Japan but there’s still just over two months to go until the UK release of Sony’s new handheld. Editor Ben Wilson gives his impressions of what the chunky new console is like to play.

Here’s the thing: PS Vita reminds me a fair bit of the Game Gear. Not in the sense that I’ll be on the verge of tears if I don’t get one this Christmas like the upsetting Yuletide of 1991 (a subject that mother and I still refuse to discuss). But because it’s eminently portable, yet has a pleasing heft to it when you actually come to using it for games.

That chunkiness has no actual effect on gameplay, but it’s still oddly satisfying. Of greater importance are its pair of analogue sticks – a meaty tag-team we’ve been crying out for since we first featured PSP in the mag over half a decade ago. They’re a Godsend: for the first time on a handheld, sports games like FIFA, shooters such as Resistance and kookier offerings along the lines of Touch My Katamari all feel just like their PS3 counterparts.

Touch My Katmari PS Vita

That’s not to say the best PSP games were a letdown: Lumines remains one of my favourite puzzlers ever. But thanks to the nub’s shortcomings, it was only really playable on D-pad, meaning that in terms of its control scheme you could just as easily have been sampling its delicious mix of blocks and beats on Game Boy ten years earlier.