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EGM E3 Experiences: Hands On The PS Vita

Posted on June 13, 2011 AT 04:07pm

I had a chance to get my hands on the PS Vita at E3, so here are a few of the impressions I walked away with.

The Hardware Itself
When you look at photos or see other images of the PS Vita, you get this sense that it’s really big and possibly awkward to hold. Once you get it in your hands, however, it’s a totally different story. The unit seems a little big for the first minute or so that you hold it – because you’ll mentally be comparing it to the PSP – but after that you’ll completely forget about any difference in size. Also, compared to the PSP, the PS Vita is shockingly thin.

The Screen
Gorgeous. Really, there’s no other way to say it. You’ve never played a handheld gaming system with a screen this beautiful, and I’m not sure I can even think of any other mobile device period that I’ve personally ever used with a screen this nice. Deep blacks, rich colors, and none of the ghosting or interlace issued the PSP has had over the years. Also, for those who have a collection of digital PSP titles, the screen resolution on the PS Vita will be able to perfectly upscale those older games.

The Controls
The d-pad and buttons felt different than the PSP’s, and a little smaller, but the size difference could have been just a mental thing due to the overall hardware being bigger. Of course, it’s nice to finally have dual analog sticks, and they felt great.

The Touch Options
My hands on with the PS Vita wasn’t long, so I didn’t get a whole lot of time trying out the various touch options. For the time I did use it, however, I had no problems at all with the front touch screen. The back touch pad, however, I did have one issue with: the way I hold handheld systems, I spread my fingers across the back of the hardware. Because of this, numerous times I accidentally set of something in the game due to touching the back touch pad. So, depending on how you usually hold handhelds, you might have to re-train yourself in that regard.

Overall Opinion
I went into E3 being excited for the PS Vita, and I walked out a total believer. The hardware is absolutely great, and the games I played (such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss) showed a level of power that I’ve never seen before coming from a handheld gaming device. I can absolutely see the PS Vita being able to give players experiences on par with PS3 games, something that for me is totally exciting. For $250, this is going to be one heck of a new gaming platform.

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