Monday, August 24, 2015

Viva La Vita

A few months ago, I did something rash and foolish after I was a few paychecks in on my new job.  I bought a PlayStation Vita.  Do I like it?  My goodness yes.  Let's talk about it. 

I'm either a terrible consumer or terrific consumer, depending on your position and perspective.  Either way, I spend way too much money on video games, and last year I pledged to spend less publicly in a blog post last year.  In a different blog post last year, I detailed my then-recent purchase of a 3DS and several games, mentioning that a 3DS was/is a much better investment than a Vita.  Whoops.  Here are those two blog posts:

2015 game-buying plans
My new 3DS

I was actually doing an okay job at sticking to my goals in that first blog post... until March.  While perusing eBay one day after work, I saw a deal on a PlayStation Vita I couldn't refuse.  I was tempted, I was being compulsive, and I had been at my better-paying job for several months.  I ended up buying a black PS Vita 1000 and a separate listing on a memory card.  I am a weak-willed human being. 

PlayStation Vita 1000

I got a pretty good deal on the machine: $110 for the Wi-Fi version of the Vita 1000, plus a 16GB memory card.  Funny thing is, I didn't realize it came with the memory card.  The eBay listing didn't mention one at all, so before the thing even arrived I ordered at a 64GB memory card (eep!) from an importer on Amazon.  Amusingly, the 64GB card arrived at my house before the Vita did, and I managed to pass the now-unnecessary 16GB card on to a friend.  That memory card is filling up rapidly, but I that's because uploaded EVERYTHING that my PSP had on it, including some games that I will probably never play again.  Those will get deleted without hesitation if that card threatens to fill up (which it will, but not anytime soon). 

This thing is just so damn *playable*.  The screen is gorgeous and my PSP games have never looked better.  Guacamelee looks better on Vita than on PS3.  The thumbsticks feel WAY better than the stupid nub of a joystick on the PSP, and the buttons and directional pad have pretty good feedback as well.  I don't know how many Vita-exclusive games I'm interested in for the long term (because I have doubts about the Vita's long-term health), but I could see this thing become my preferred platform for multi-system games.  It feels that nice. 

Since owning the device for about five months, I've bought 5 games for my Vita; I already owned a sixth that I bought in 2013 for the special edition extras (again, I'm a weak-willed person).  Those six don't count a few games that I already had cross-buy copies with my PS3 version (one of those is listed below) or the handful of PSP games I've obtained in the past few years (not counting them for this list).  I haven't put a ton of time into any PSP games recently, but once I beat them they'll appear on this blog.  So here's the list of the seven Vita games that I've bought and/or played in the past five months:


Persona 4: Golden

Ys: Memories of Celceta

Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Hell of a first four.  I've already beaten Persona 4: Golden twice (and that's an 80+ hour game) and obtained its platinum trophy.  Definitive version of my favorite game from the past 15 years. Ys: Memories of Celceta was a really good action RPG, but I wish it had a little longer and didn't like it as much as Ys Seven.  Virtue's Last Reward is an incredible visual novel / puzzle game and even better than its predecessor, 999: 9 Persons 9 Hours 9 Doors.  Danganronpa is a visual novel game that's weird, dark, unique, and hilarious, but maybe not one of my favorites when I compare it to its competition.  You'll see reviews of all four of these games in the next month or two (hopefully). 


Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time

I've put about 7 or 8 hours into Oreshika, which is a really unique RPG where you revive and raise a clan of cursed Japanese nobles by breeding new children and forming contracts with deities.  It's definitely interesting, but at times feels a little grindy and generic.  I wish there was more diversity in classes and abilities.  I've only played the first mission or two in Sly Cooper, but skulking around a museum and going back in time to feudal Japan was a fun jaunt for an hour or so.  Will definitely follow through with both of these. 


Gravity Rush

I got this on sale for only a couple bucks, at something like 80% off the normal PSN price.  I couldn't believe it; here's one of the Vita's signature exclusives, which I was interested in but maybe not thirsting for, on probably the best deal I'll find for it in years.  I couldn't resist.  I haven't touched it yet, but I don't regret buying it.  Maybe next year, even. 

Those are the strictly-for-Vita games that I own, and Sly Cooper 4 is a free Vita version I obtained via cross-buy with a PS3 copy of the game, which I've owned for a year or two.  Virtue's Last Reward is also available on 3DS, but I got the Vita version for trophies and because I like the Vita.  I bought all of these games when they were available on sale or using a gift card except for Ys: Memories of Celceta and Oreshika, so I've stayed (mostly) frugal in my Vita purchases so far.  That might change on some future payday and I see one of these on a shelf:

Three Current Vita Games I Want

Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited
Grim Fandango
Three Future Vita Games I Want

Persona 4: Dancing All Night
Tokyo Xanadu

I originally had three Nihon Falcom games on that second list, but thought that would be a little unfair so I cut out Trails of Cold Steel and Ys 8 but kept Tokyo Xanadu.  The Vita's upcoming library is sort of similar to the PSP's - lots of niche games and RPGs.  That suits me just fine, but I'm not sure it's a very sustainable strategy for Sony going forward. I can guarantee that I will own at least four of those eight games 12 months from now, possibly more.  Whatever.  I've already put over 200 hours into my new machine (you can thank Persona 4 for most of that) and there are enough future games I want that I feel I was justified in making the purchase.  Even if I annihilated my financial goal for buying fewer video games this year.  Sigh....


I'm still plugging away at multiple game projects.  The aforementioned Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Paper Mario, Digital Devil Saga, and The Last Story are four target games that I've put some time into; I'm playing The Last Story while contributing to the Retro Encounter podcast on RPGFan.  You can check that out here: Retro Encounter.  Along with those four, I have my ongoing addictions to Heroes of the Storm and Diablo III that aren't slowing down anytime soon.  I have a busy couple of months in video games coming up. 

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