It has been old news that the Playstation Vita has been a dying breed; in the West at least as the Japanese developers still make games for the Eastern gamers and their love for handheld gaming. But nowadays, it’s becoming more evident that Vita-kun is now breathing its last as more and more games evolve and attain higher degrees of complexity. And while some Japanese developers still end up keeping it alive, it just goes to show that their games aren’t leveling up as much as others that ditched the handheld bandwagon.
As a fan of the PS Vita for years, it pains me to say that the PS Vita itself is one of the reasons that Japanese games are suffering and can’t push the boundaries of the new-gen systems. Not only does it take time to develop it for the handheld, what’s worse is the games themselves can’t provide better mechanics, bigger and larger worlds, more advanced systems and above all re-imagining how to play the game.
And I’m not suggesting that the Vita dies an honorable death right here, right now, because not every game would really require such innovation to make the leap to better heights. Visual Novels are still pretty viable on handhelds, in fact I can’t even imagine playing a VN on a large screen TV when I can bring my PS Vita anywhere I need to go and play it as I see fit. And of course, Visual Novels are very popular in Asian countries and for some in the West. Most JRPG’s, or rather turn-based RPG’s are even better played on a handheld in my experience due to the ability to postpone a game and get right into the action with a single push of a button. Something that won’t be as good as a game for consoles as it takes more time to do so. Rhythm games, fighting games and platformers are also pretty good to play on the go and doesn’t require much processing power so it’s something worth investing on if you can bare the fact that the face buttons are pretty small in comparison to a regular controller.
But as far as games that has room for further innovation go and of course without suffering from identity problems, it’s not going to be a pretty sight as those in particular want to go big or go broke on it. Games like Toukiden 2 still had a PS Vita version released despite the huge difference in quality and performance opposed to its console version. And while it is a very enjoyable experience I find that it lost its touch as the game became simpler to play catch up with the handheld.
Now games like Gundam Breaker and God Eater, a game of similar genre or rather kinda similar has taken a step up and left the PS Vita scene entirely. Gundam Breaker 3 was pretty fun to play on my PS Vita although it does have its hick-ups as you suffer from frame rates dipping below the average and graphics aren’t as crisp compared to the console counterpart. And with the announcement of the New Gundam Breaker game and God Eater 3, they’ve redesigned and re-imagined how to play both games as new systems has been added to the Gundam game while God Eater now is focusing on an open-world adventure as opposed to its previous titles with quest-based gameplay mechanics. Dragon Quest Builders 2 has also fled and went for a PS4 and Nintendo Switch release which came out as a surprise to me as I felt like the game would’ve been okay for the PS Vita although I guess at least we still have an option to get it on the Switch, right?
It’s only the first quarter of 2018 yet the Japanese games… the games that I’ve been playing on my PS Vita for hundreds of hours has now jumped ship on their next instalments. It’s a shame as I see more game time can be done on handhelds as opposed to consoles.
With all of that in mind, let me ask you, what kind of gamer blood do you possess? Are you leaning towards a bigger and brighter future of innovation with consoles? Or are you still an avid fan of handhelds in general?
As for me… I still think the Vita has some life in it for the Asian market, but it all depends on how the Japanese developers go with their games as even a turn-based RPG game like Persona 5 has left the Vita. Something that can probably run it without much problems has taken the leap to the console-only market. And of course let’s not forget that most games that even get a Vita release doesn’t even get localized like Atelier Lydie and Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings. While some games try but eventually comes crashing down with the ESRB for sexual themes… sigh.