If you, like me, are a PlayStation Vita early adopter and you threw down a wad of cash to own Sony’s new handheld, you’re probably feeling a little bitter. Beyond a mostly mediocre launch line-up, there’s been pretty much nothing for Vita owners to get excited about. Sony even seemed to largely ignore the flailing, fledgling handheld at its press conference at E3 this year. That’s changing.
Sony really, really wants you to to think your investment in the Vita was worthwhile, and at the same time do all they can to encourage people who don’t already own a Vita to get one. at their conference at Gamescom this year, they put their money where their mouth is – by showcasing a slew of impressive titles that are sure to get just about anybody interested in the Vita.
Sony was rather heavily criticised for not giving the Vita much attention at E3 – and it’s more than listened. In fact, it kicked off Gamescom with Vita news and announcements. You wouldn’t have believe it at first, when Sony’s European Boss Jim Ryan first took to the stage and started waxing lyrical about the gaming becoming more social. Just when you’d imaged he was 5 seconds from announcing Zynga as a PlayStation partner, he started showing some real games for the system.
The first of those games was one we already knew was coming – but he did show off some of its new controls. That game, coming on September 19, is LittleBigPlanet for the Vita – which has all sorts “new ways to play” by incorporating gyroscope-based tilting action, rear touchpad controls and a heck of a lot of grappling hooks. It’s not the only LittleBigPlanet love that the Vita’s getting though; LittleBigPlanet 2’s getting a dash of DLC that’ll allow you to use the Vita to play the game – in an asynchronous manner that’s not particularly dissimilar to Nintendo’s new Wii U. No word on when that DLC’s due – but if it’s released before the Wii U, Sony could end up beating Nintendo to the punch (though I doubt Sony will ever beat Nintendo at its own game).
They then showed off a little more of their Smash Bros Clone PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, which has an ever-increasing roster of characters (now including DmC’s Dante) and it’ll also offer cross-platform play between the Ps3 and Vita versions. That’s not the exciting bit though; Sony announced something new called “Cross buy,” where those who purchase the Ps3 version of the game will get the Vita version (presumably as a download token) for free. all stars is the first Cross Buy title, but joining it will be the new Sly Cooper and Ratchet and Clank games.
Sony also announced that starting with Vita update 1.80 (which is coming on August 28), they’ll be opening up the entire PSOne Classics library for play on the Vita – giving old PlayStation games a breath of life on the system’s crisp OLED screen. Sony also showed off tow third party Vita titles; Assassin’s Creed Liberation and Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified – both of which will be offered bundled with the hardware – and also announced that new FIFA and Need for speed games were due to hit the system, though no specifics were mentioned. Also, there’s a new Killzone coming for the Vita, called Killzone Mercenary.
The star of the show however, even if judging from the sheer applause it garnered was the new IP from LittleBigPlanet geniuses Media Molecule. They showed off their new game, a Vita exclusive, called Tear Away. Their first new IP after a full six years with LBP, it comes across as the stuff of magic. with echoes of Paper Mario, Tear Away is the story of Iota, a messenger, in a world of paper. You, as the player, act as a sort of God for the world contained in the vita’s screen – helping Iota make his way through the enemy-filled, platformer paper world. You’ll be able to more than influence iota’s world – even poking your fingers through the screen (using the rear touch pad) with the system’s rear camera cleverly projecting your own, real world through the holes you create in the paper one – and that’s just the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to interactivity with the world that sits in the palm of your hands.
Right now, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the reason to own a Vita – and quite possibly the best thing to come out Gamescom.
Here’s the trailer again, for those of you who missed it.
Last Updated: August 15, 2012