You’ve read what we think about the best the Vita has to offer, now how about the worst? As with almost any launch, the Vita had a ton of games on offer, but not all of them were good….
We knew something was rotten in Denmark the moment Sony demoed this feature during the Vita’s unveiling at the 2011 Electronic Enterainment Expo. While using the rear touchpad to make Uncharted: Golden Abyss’ Nathan Drake climb up a vine, Sony made it seem like it was the second coming of Riiiiidge Racer. We gamers knew better. It didn’t look intuitive or fun at all, and in reality, it’s not. When active, the rear touchpad is, at best, a nuisance. Just by trying to hold the Vita, you’ll accidentally waste a blackhole in Super Stardust Delta or perform the wrong Freestyle move in Michael Jackson: The Experience HD. As stated in our staff impressions, our hope is that developers forget the rear touchpad even exists, rather than trying to force their games to work with Sony’s ill-designed idea.
Click here to see Best Hardware Feature.
We have no issues with memory cards. They’ve been an accepted mainstay of console gaming since the PlayStation 1 days. No, our complaints lie specifically with Sony’s mandatory Vita memory cards, which inexplicably cost two to three times as much as the competition’s. And they’re not really “optional” if there’s no internal storage whatsoever. The majority of Vita games do not pack their own memory, and if you want to play a PSP or downloadable title, you’ll be required to pony up for an overly expensive card.
Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is a one-year-old PSN game and more recently, a Mac app that was available for $1. The Vita version is essentially the same exact game. Only it’s on the Vita. And it’s considerably more expensive ($40).
Worse yet, Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is not even a good game. It’s an overly simplistic Diablo clone with no originality or compelling additions to the genre. The PlayStation Portable boasted a similar game during its launch as well. We’re not sure why each handheld Sony device needs to be accompanied by a slipshod dungeon crawler, but the blatant price-gouging certainly doesn’t help its case.
Click here to see the Best Port.
How hard is it to make a good ninja game? Seriously. Developer Acquire has been making Tenchu games for over a decade now, and they somehow manage to get worse with each iteration. Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen plays very much like the dated Tenchu series, which wasn’t even good in its heyday. While it does bring some interesting elements inspired by the Way of the Samurai franchise, the dumb-as-a-rock A.I., god-awful script, and unpolished gameplay left us wanting to commit seppuku shortly after leaving the main menu.
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ModNation Racers: Road Trip brings a mere fraction of the franchise’s potential to Sony’s handheld. Should a game be smaller just because it’s not on a console? Absolutely not, and plenty of Vita launch titles provide an experience rivaling that of the console equivalent (or in some cases, surpassed it). In addition to featuring muddy visuals, ModNation throws out much of its online functionality with little explanation. Other games such as Wipeout 2048 and Asphalt Injection featured full multiplayer options, pointing to ModNation simply being a rushed product.
Click here to see Best Racing Game.
It’s a rare occurrence for Square Enix to support an original intellectual property, but that’s just what they did with Army Corps of Hell for the Vita. A little bit Overlord, a lot of bit Pikmin, and plenty of heavy metal, Army Corps was a promising title, but all of that was immediately washed away the moment the game starts. The graphics are PS1-era garbage, and the extremely barren levels get repetitive fast. We could rattle off a dozen indie iPhone games made by some guy in a basement that look infinitely better than this game.
Since Mass Effect 3 isn’t available for the Vita, this dubious honor goes to Capcom once again for Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. UMVC3 for the Vita openly touts 50 combatants, but when you start it up you’ll notice that two of those slots are unfilled. They belong to Jill Valentine and Shuma Gorath, DLC characters from the original Marvel vs. Capcom 3 game. When Ultimate was released nine months later and fans had to buy essentially a slightly upgraded version of the same game all over again, there was a bit of a public outrage to find that Jill and Shuma still required an additional purchase. Does Capcom not read the Internet? That’s really the only way we can see them thinking making that decision yet again would be a good idea.
If you’ve already bought the DLC for the PlayStation 3 version, it will be unlocked in the Vita, but what about those consumers who don’t just want to throw their wallets at Capcom, as the company clearly expects them to? In comparison, Aksys’ BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend not only includes all previous Continuum Shift console DLC characters for free (three in total) but also throws another one on top.
Award images by Samir Torres
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