by Pawl Schwartz
Got Sony's special gaming bundle featuring the PS4 with the PS Vita for Xmas? Well, we’re going to give some help to those getting into the handheld system for the first time, because let’s be honest, there is a large amount of absolute crap out there for the Vita, but there are also a lot of games that make it far beyond worthwhile. We’re here to make sure that you find those games, and don’t end up with stinkers like the Call of Duty game or Valhalla Knights 3.
1. Killzone: Mercenary: KZ:M takes first place quite easily, and for more reasons than the graphics, which are of course, beautiful. No, it’s the playability and the use of Vita features that make this game gold. When you hold down the right trigger to bring up the iron sights, you can tilt the vita to aim instead of using the right joystick. This feature may seem simple, but it makes the game infinitely easier, and is a feature that every Vita shooter should have standard now, or else they will all pale in comparison.
2. Mortal Kombat: The revitalization of Mortal Kombat on 360 & PS3 is one of the best fighting games I have ever had the pleasure of playing, and now here it is on Vita! The graphics are a little less crisp with lots of anti-aliasing problems, but the game plays smoothly and comes with loads of extra content just for the Vita. The replayability is also through the roof, and that is exactly what you need for Vita, a game cartridge that you can just leave in when you are on the go and play over and over any time.
3. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time: Some of the best graphics on the Vita coupled with a smooth-n-sneaky platforming experience make SC:TIT (hehe) the best platformer you can buy for the handheld system. I had never played a Sly Cooper game before, and I was worried that it was going to be too much of a kiddie game for me, but instead, it hits that sweet spot of ‘fun for all ages’ that actually means it. Lots of playable characters and even more in terms of collectibles.
4. Rayman Legends: This game is simply gorgeous. There is no discernable difference at all between the graphics on the console versions of this game and the Vita version. Smooth, crisp cartoons with 3D bosses. This edition of Rayman follows the path of Rayman: Origins before it, and is a 2D sidescrolling platformer instead of a 3D one as it had been before, and it works wonders on the franchise. This game is Super Mario World level as far as masterfully wraught sidescrolling gameplay goes. The icing on the cake is the musical levels. These levels are timed so that as you run forward through them, you do everything in time to the music.
5. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate: If you love Metroid games, then this is for you. The companion to Batman: Arkham Asylum, it does not deliver in cloning the experience of the real game, but it is a great game in its own right. You will scour Arkham Prison looking for power ups like the batclaw and the line-launcher so that you can get into new areas and defeat villains.
6. Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation: No dumbing down of the gameplay, this game plays like any Assassin’s Creed (built on the same engine as ACIII), but with its own gameplay twists. Your character is Aveline, a female Assassin, and you are in Louisiana during the Fench and Indian war. Running around New Orleans is a blast, and, the most fun part: Aveline has three different disguises she can switch between: Fancy Lady, Slave, or The Assassin.
7. Resistance: Burning Skies: I know I just applauded the hell out of Killzone: Mercenary, but if you want a cheaper FPS, this is your best bet. It doesn’t have tilt-aiming, but it is longer than KZ:M and more challenging.
8. Tearaway: Tearaway is beautiful and original. So why is it at the bottom? Well, it’s quite short. I beat it the day I got it. But as far as quality and gameplay go, you couldn’t find a more fun game on the Vita. Tearaway really uses all of the Vita’s features, and with a nice twist. You’ll find that you can stick your fingers through the back of the screen and into the game to tear into the game world and help out your little envelope-headed character (not joking). The game is also meta as hell, putting the player into the game in a million ways, for example, your face is the sun for the whole game, and the main mission of the game is for your character to break out of videogame world and meet you. Amazing gameplay, original graphics, blistering platformer-y fun. Too bad it’s short as hell.