Fresh from a fabulous launch week in Manchester, the PlayStation Vita Roadshow swaggered in to town on a cold and blustery Monday evening in Glasgow. The last time Sony set foot on these shores for a PR event Scottish gamers were introduced to an array of new PS3 content. Housed in what can only be described as a backwater warehouse in a dodgy part of town, the venue wasn’t exactly what you would call glamorous. However, that was 2011, this time around Sony pulled out all the stops to provide a very glitzy and chic venue to officially launch their next generation hand-held games console – the PlayStation Vita.
Glancing at the massive queue built up outside, it was obvious that this was a much anticipated night with gamers of all backgrounds wanting to get their hands on the Vita. The burly doormen and ‘check in’ girls only heightened the feeling that this was a ticket only, over 16 event. And the bright, neon blue signs splashed across the glass frontage were the perfect vibe to get gamers in the mood for some serious fun.
On entering, it struck me how much Sony must have spent transforming the venue. Set over two floors and sporting a live DJ set, it really was a high quality affair. With a load of people gathering towards the back of the shop to try out the latest Uncharted reincarnation, I headed upstairs where I presumed it’d be less busy. On first glance though, I realised I must’ve been near the back of the queue outside. Everywhere I looked, huddled around the Vita, there were crowds of people.
My first taste of the new machine consisted of lots of oohhs and aahhs, as I took in the beauty of the Vita. In my opinion it is stunning. Just as I felt when I first set eyes on the original PSP, my initial impression of the Vita was sheer wonder. One thing that struck me was the weight of it though. It is extremely light. Compared to the original PSP it’s as light as a feather.
As you are probably aware, the Vita comes with full touchscreen capabilities. From what I could see, though, there aren’t too many launch games which take advantage of this facility, apart from simple menu selections. When I got the chance to sample how the Vita’s touch screen worked I was left a little unimpressed. It just didn’t feel very intuitive or smooth. I personally hope that this will be addressed as most touchscreen tablets are head and shoulders above when it comes to this type of gaming.
Sony managed to have a good amount of games available to try out on the night. LittleBigPlanet, Wipeout, F1, Rayman, Motorstorm, Modnation Racers and the Michael Jackson Experience to name just a few. But the undoubted favourite of the evening was Uncharted Golden Abyss. As a massive fan of the PS3 series, this version is almost as good. And I think the majority of visitors were here to play this game. The queue to play Uncharted stretched the length of the shop, but the plentiful supply of nibbles and beer kept gamers from getting too frustrated.
Here’s what some of other people thought of the night:
Umar “Doboworth” Ali
The Vita event was pretty good. Great device, good games and the event staff werenice. Sony made an effort and it showed. I want one.
Willie “willziakds” Lockhart
The vita rooms looked like a cross between the apple store and a laser eye surgeryclinic. Nice device though!
Stuart “Furyac3” Cullen
For me the Vita rooms was well handled event by Sony and it was clear to see that they had spent time and money on the layout and location of the event, to best show off the new machine.
As for the games on show there was a good mix from the new Wipeout to Rayman Origins. One downside for myself was that it was a little badly spaced out, with the likes of Uncharted only being demoed on four Vita units, which caused a very long queue to get some time with it, which meant you missed out on time with other titles.The only other bad point about the event for myself was that the Vita staff, as good as they were, would come up to you every five minutes and ask you what you think about the system. It’s okay once or twice throughout the night, but after the 6th time it gets a little bit tiring. Plus, on top of that, the fact that none of the staff believe that £280 is a lot of money for a HANDHELD is a bit of a joke, especially with most gamers having to watch their pennies just now and the fact you could buy a 360 or PS3 and some good games for the same money shows just how over priced the Vita is just now I feel.
So, after a decent hands-on preview of the Vita, my overall impression is that it is a fantastic piece of kit. I think it’s a great new addition to Sony’s repertoire. With PS3-like graphics and touch screen capabilities, it is sure to sell by the bucket load.