games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 PS Vita Games – Gravity Rush, Tearaway, More

April 3, 2018 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Gravity Rush

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I wanted to talk about Vita games, because why not? Actually, the reason is, is that I just got my Vita *finally* working and this list gives me a chance to go through and pick out some of my favorite old Vita games. A lot of Vita games were ports, so trying to come up with a strict Vita-only list would be a nightmare. Still, I have a few games on here that are Vita-only, so that’s good. Let’s begin:

#8: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection

The MGS collection isn’t exactly the right type of game for the Vita. Both MGS 2 and MGS 3 are pretty long, involved games that don’t lend themselves to a portable handheld, but both games manage to work really well on the system. They are straight up ports of the 360/PS3 version of the HD collection, minus Peace Walker but including some touch control stuff. Some stuff works better than others (like the quick select option), but overall both games play about as well as you remember them from the old PS2-era days.

#7: Wipeout 2048

I’ve never been a huge fan of Wipeout, as a whole. I really like the concept, but the air-braking stuff always felt odd and eventually the game difficulty ramps up too much. 2048 didn’t quite have the difficult spike that most other Wipeout games had, but it did have some annoying issues related to its career mode, and being forced to do events you don’t want to, to unlock new events. Still, the game plays decently well, and really looks great on the Vita screen.

#6: Odin Sphere Leiftrasir

This is probably one of my all-time favorite remasters of a game. Odin Sphere, originally, was a cool, artistic-looking platformer/action game with some severe technical issues on the PS2. It played “ok”, but had some severe slowdown when things got too hectic. Leiftrasir fixed all these problems, as well as drastically improving the combat system/alchemy system as well. It might have a similar issue of the game not being built that well for handheld systems, but Odin Sphere Leiftrasir is a fantastic game.

#5: Persona 4 Dancing All Night

This isn’t the deepest rhythm game, that honor still goes to Samba De Amigo, but Dancing All Night is still a whole lot of fun to play. The songs are catchy remixes of some classic Persona 4 tracks, the story fits in well with Persona 4’s world, and all the character models and dancing are impressive. If anything, that is the biggest knock against it, is that you might get too into the action happening on screen that the icons might be too hard to see on screen. Still, Dancing All Night is a cool rhythm game, and when it, and the Persona 3 and 5 games come to PS4, I’ll definitely be picking all of them up.

#4: Spelunky

I’m kind of split between Spelunky, Axiom Verge, Guacamelee, and a half dozen other indie platformers that hit the Vita. All are pretty good on the platform and helped to cement the Vita as the indie games machine. For me, the best was Spelunky because of its short nature. The other ones, except possibly Rogue Legacy, have longer runs, or are built to be enjoyed for long periods of time. Spelunky is a pretty short-time game, all-told, you could beat it in 20 minutes if you get the right items, but the way to getting those items and skills requires hundreds and hundreds of failed attempts. Luckily, the game respawns you very quickly, so you can begin spelunking again. Also, the mines and various other stages are full of secrets, which should keep you occupied for a good long while.

#3: Tearaway

Tearaway is probably the best example of using the Vita’s technology well. From the touch screen, to the touch pad, to the camera, almost everything in the Vita is used to good effect in this game. That’s honestly the best thing the game has going for it, and it’s why the PS4 version wasn’t quite as well-received. As for the actual game, it’s serviceable, like most Media Molecule games, but isn’t the best in what it’s trying to accomplish. Still, if you want a technical showcase for what the Vita has, not just as a gaming machine, but for the extra crap Sony threw into it, Tearaway is a good use for that.

#2: Gravity Rush

Combat in Gravity Rush can be real slog. It’s slightly wonky, due to the gravity mechanics and some things are imprecise. Still, it’s high on my list just for the novel nature of the game. You can alter the force of gravity, either detaching from what you’re standing on, which causes you to float/fly, to sticking onto the sides or ceilings of buildings, which can cause some vertigo but also is a really interesting shift in perspective. Gravity Rush 2 is a much more cohesive game, but it’s also running on vastly more powerful hardware. Still, Gravity Rush 1 is a very neat idea and execution of a game idea.

#1: Persona 4: Golden

I don’t see any “Best PS Vita Game” list without Persona 4: Golden being at the top of it. This was the reason I got my Vita working recently, because I wanted to play this version of the game, and it does not disappoint. Unlike Persona 3 Portable, which added but also deleted some things in its conversion, Golden is the full Persona 4 experience, just adding new characters, events, and gameplay options to make it a richer experience. The battle system is still great, the story is full of twists and turns, and it still has the push and pull of trying to level your character during the day vs. wanting to fight at night and proceed further in the dungeons you come across. This is the reason to own a PS Vita, and it should have come to the Playstation 4 already, so you can enjoy it there also.

For your comments, list your favorite Vita games and why.

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Top 8 Fighting Franchises that need a Revival

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The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison