One year on, why not buy a Vita?

Over the Christmas break, the Vita turned one in Japan. In Australia, we’ve had the device in our hands for eleven months, and we’ve watched as the price quietly dropped a whole heap as no one bought the damn thing. But the Vita is a damn neat little system, a consistently impressive machine, and one that you might well want to look into now that the inevitable lull-periods of a year’s beginning are on the horizon.

PlayStation Plus is really great

Kyntt Underground, LEGO Batman (PSP), Big Sky Infinity, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush: all currently free for PS Plus subscribers. Last month, Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack was free, too. If you’ve already subscribed on PS3, the extra value for Vita owners is outstanding.

You can pause anywhere!

This is a game changer. You can’t pause at any time in Metal Gear Solid 3 HD on console for some reason, so when a cutscene starts up you’re stuck for the next six hours (rough estimate). Press the guide button on the Vita and bam, paused. You can put down Persona 4 during one of those endless, dull sections where the kids meet at the mall and talk about teenage malarkey for way too long.

This is a bigger deal than you might expect, and makes the console feel portable in the same way the DS’ ability to pause by closing it does (except the Vita’s version of MGS 3 looks way, way better and costs a lot less, naturally).

You probably never owned a PSP, either

So maybe you missed out on Half-Minute Hero, Persona 3 Portable, Final Fantasy Tactics, and all the other great PSP games you can now buy fairly cheap through your Vita. Not to mention the damn treasure trove of PS One content – this may be the year that I finally bloody play Final Fantasy VII.

FPS games actually totally work (although there are no good ones yet)

Alright, this one is a bit theoretical. But the tragically dull Resistance and Call of Duty games on the system have proven that the system can handle FPS games with very little compromise, which we can’t reeeeally say about any other portable systems. Here’s hoping for brighter days down the track, right?

There are actually games worth playing

This is an obvious point, but one worth making, because it seems like a lot of people simply aren’t aware of this. It has a great (and probably the last ever) wipEout game! It has the absurdly impressive Gravity Rush! It has, arguably, the most enjoyable LittleBigPlanet game! There’s the only portable version of Sine Mora (the most underrated game of last year), the ultimate edition of Persona 4, a more-than-worthy Uncharted spin-off, the best Super Monkey Ball in a decade, an Assassin’s Creed spin-off far more interesting than ACIII, and thanks to cross-play it has the likes of Sound Shapes and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, which can be played on both the PS3 and the Vita with nary a point of difference. Plus, if all else fails, there’s always Lumines. In the space of a year it’s built up the sort of catalogue of genuinely worthwhile games that take most systems at least two years, despite having a fairly barren release schedule.

The rate of quality is alarmingly high – you certainly won’t want for good times.