Incoming! Playstation Vita Special - Part One
- Warner Bros. Interactive
- SCE Japan Studio
- Resistance: Burning Skies
- PlayStation Move
- NetherRealm Studios
- Mortal Kombat
- Little Big Planet
- Gravity Rush
- Final Fantasy
- Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention
While the launch line-up for Sony’s Playstation Vita was impressive enough to shift over 1 million consoles in the first month, it’s the strength of future releases that will decide the Vita’s fate. Titles like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Motorstorm RC, Wipeout 2048 and BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend are a great way to show off what the console can do, and the potential for greatness is huge but, as yet, untapped.
There are well over twenty titles announced for release on the Vita in 2012 alone, so we at Made2Game decided to pull together a two-part list of our most anticipated incoming games so you know which are worth looking out for over the next 8 months. Here are the first eight...
Developer: Nippon Ichi
Publisher: Nippon Ichi
Expected Release Date: April 17th 2012
What’s the skinny? Originally released in the UK on the PS3 in 2009 (having launched in Japan and North America a year earlier), Disgaea 3 is an isometric, tactical RPG with a host of (at the time) unique gameplay elements – not least of which is the ability to “stack” parts of the environment and even your playable characters to reach higher areas and combine attacks. The Vita remake (the subtitle of which was changed from Absence of Justice to Absence of Detention), will include new characters and locations.
What’s cool about it? With a magic system that allows enemies to be used as weapons, and a combat system that incorporates special upgradable abilities and character-specific weapon proficiencies, there’s surprising depth to be found. Also, it’s been reported that the game looks better on Vita’s smaller screen than on a full-sized TV.
So where’s the bad? Well for a start, the story is predictably bonkers, based around a school in the Netherworld where pupils are rewarded for deviant acts such as truancy and delinquency, and honourable students are regarded as trouble makers. Of course, mental stories in Eastern games are nothing new, but the decidedly old-school gameplay could put a lot of gamers off.
Made2Game anticipation rating: 6/10
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Expected Release Date: May 1st 2012
What’s the skinny? A “Game of the Year” style re-release of last year’s successful Mortal Kombat reboot, the Komplete Edition features everything from the previous iteration but with all the DLC characters (that’s Kenshi, Rain, Skarlett and Freddie Krueger), a 100 new missions for the challenge tower, all the downloadable costumes and the Playstation-exclusive character of Kratos, from God of War.
What’s cool about it? The Vita’s touch screen and tilt function have been utilised in the new challenge missions and with two new modes: a Fruit Ninja send-up entitled Test Your Slice (where you slice up various body parts but must avoid the fizzing bombs), and a Sixaxis challenge called Test Your Balance, wherein you guide your character across narrow beams and attempt to avoid a typically-brutal death. Certain moves such as triggering specials when your super meter is filled will make use of the Vita’s touch screen interface.
So where’s the bad? It’s not a new game. It’s essentially the same game we played on PS3 and Xbox 360, but with the added DLC and some potentially-gimmicky new controls. That being said, the previous release was hardly content-light, so for fans of the franchise, there’s not really anything to say against the Komplete Edition.
Made2Game anticipation rating: 8/10
Developer: Nihilistic Software
Expected Release Date: May 29th 2012
What’s the skinny? Burning Skies is set in a “new part of the Resistance universe”, according to Sony, and features new protagonist Tom Riley, a New Jersey fire-fighter who joins the battle for humanity when the Chimera attack America’s East Coast in 1951.
What’s cool about it? Sony have pointed out several times that Burning Skies is the first handheld FPS to feature fully dual-analogue controls – meaning you’ll be getting the same level of control and precision as you’d expect when playing on the PS3. It will also make use of the touch screen and rear touchpad, likely in a similar way to Uncharted: Golden Abyss, with a quick tap of the screen to reload or change weapons.
So where’s the bad? Well that depends on how you feel about the Resistance franchise, a series that has always enjoyed good sales if not world-beating success. Also, another new protagonist and new narrative direction means there’s less consistency with the main franchise.
Made2Game anticipation rating: 7/10
Developer: SCE Japan
Expected Release Date: June 12th
What’s the skinny? A gravity-bending action puzzle game from Sony’s Japan Studio, Gravity Rush follows amnesiac Kat who has been granted the ability to control gravity after an encounter with a mysterious black feline. As a “gravity storm” threatens the world and brings with it a race of creatures known as the Nevi, Kat finds herself using her unique abilities to protect her people.
What’s cool about it? The director is Keiichiro Toyama, director, writer and designer of the first Silent Hill and the Siren series that first began in 2003. Gravity Rush (or Gravity Daze, as it’s known in Japan) is also written by Silent Hill and Siren scribe Naoko Sato, so expect some totally off-the-wall environments and some exceptional atmospherics. Utilising the Vita’s gyroscopic tilt function to manipulate gravity looks great, and the minor RPG elements including levelling up and side-questing will add depth.
So where’s the bad? Hard to say, really. On paper, Gravity Rush ticks all the right boxes. The Japanese release has garnered some excellent scores from Eurogamer and Famitsu already, and perhaps it’s only downfall will be that it won’t appeal to everyone. But what does?
Made2Game anticipation rating: 9/10
Developer: Double Eleven Ltd / Tarsier Studios / Sony XDev
Expected Release Date: June 2012
What’s the skinny? As inevitable as nervous turkeys at Christmas time, Sony have announced that the next game in their inimitably cute puzzle-platformer franchise will be released on their new handheld.
What’s cool about it? Sackboy, for a start. More Sackboy is always welcome. But also, unlike the PSP release, the Vita version can utilise the touch screen, rear touchpad and tilt controls to help players navigate the uniquely wacky levels – and the various tricks up the Vita’s sleeve should make designing your own levels (one of the series’ major draws) an intuitive doddle.
So where’s the bad? Ain’t one, as far as we can see. If they bork the control interface (which is highly unlikely) there could be problems – and in fairness it’s unlikely to be greatly different to the last three titles. But that’s kind of the point. The best moments of LittleBigPlanet are always the ones you create yourself.
SILENT HILL: BOOK OF MEMORIES
Developer: WayForward Technologies
Expected Release Date: Summer 2012
What’s the skinny? A weird one, this. Apparently still awaiting “concept approval” from Sony, the ninth entry in the eponymous horror franchise is taking a complete different direction in almost every possible sense. It focuses on co-operative multiplayer over survival horror, features a whole new protagonist and non-canonical story and rocks an isometric viewpoint. Quite why it’s called “Silent Hill” is anyone’s guess.
What’s cool about it? At this point, not a great deal is even known about Book of Memories other than that it’s set in Silent Hill and will follow a new character through the familiar nightmare. The co-operative gameplay is likely there to make use of the Vita’s ad-hoc multiplayer capabilities, but it’s all looking a bit Dungeon Hunter Alliance without the levelling up and, you know, general level of crap-ness.
So where’s the bad? All over it, frankly. Far be it from us to tear down a game we know so little about (for all we know, Book of Memories could turn out to be the best thing since sliced awesome), but the huge departures from Konami’s established series are likely to be chewed up and spat out by fans of the brand. After all, a Silent Hill game without psychological horror is like a Tomb Raider game without climbing.
FINAL FANTASY X
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Expected Release Date: Autumn 2012
What’s the skinny? The remastering of what some consider the pinnacle of the legendary Final Fantasy series is not to be scoffed at, and the chance to revisit the adventures of Tidus and Yuna for the first time since the 2001 Playstation 2 release is one that will have fans salivating.
What’s cool about it? Not only is FFX one of the most celebrated entries in Square’s Final Fantasy franchise, it’s also one of the most unique in terms of the world and its aesthetics. Giving its aged visuals a HD makeover would be welcomed by most fans, but the Vita release means there’s a fair chance some of the controls will be revamped to make it even more accessible, too.
So where’s the bad? Even if nothing changes but the visuals, this will still be a welcome re-release – but will non-fans, or even younger fans, even bother to buy it, especially given the directions the franchise has take in recent years? That remains to be seen.
Made2Game anticipation rating: 7/10
Developer: Idol Minds/SCE San Diego
Expected Release Date: Autumn 2012
What’s the skinny? The isometric dungeon-crawler formerly known as Ruin, Warrior’s Lair was one of the first titles announced for the Vita post-launch, and is apparently due some time in September. It features the usual staple of selectable classes, likely boasting the standard fighter-mage-thief combinations, but apart from promised destructible environments, it has a major stand-out system in the form of the Lairs: player-generated dungeons in which you can hide your most impressive, powerful unique loot and then populate with monsters and traps galore. Invading and beating other players’ Lairs will be an integral part of the game.
What’s cool about it? Apart from the aforementioned Lairs, Warrior’s Lair will also feature a large social element including the ability to trade and chat with other players and post your progress to Facebook and Twitter. A simultaneous release on Playstation 3 and Vita will allow players to make use of the game’s “cloud storage” function, to continue your game on either console at will.
So where’s the bad? It’s another isometric dungeon crawler in a world already drowning in them, and of course its release at any time this year will see it placed firmly in the path of Blizzard’s mammoth Diablo III. The accessibility and social functions might just be enough to make it stand out, however.
Made2Game anticipation rating: 6/10
So there we are, Part One of our list of the most interesting Playstation Vita titles announced for 2012 so far. The rundown continues in PART TWO.
Is there any thing we’ve missed so far that deserves a mention? Let us know your opinions in the comments box below, but as always, please be polite – or if you can’t, at least make sure your venomous insults are correctly spelt. :-)
Words by Mick Fraser (Twitter: @Jedi_Beats_Tank)
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