A little Vita this and a little Vita that …

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately you’ll probably be aware of the new handheld from Sony, the Playstation Vita

I got some hands on time with it at last year’s Eurogamer Expo and was mightly impressed with it then so a pre-order was placed and launch day was marked on the calendar.

That was a little over a week ago now … so now that the initial “new shiny gadget” euphoria has cleared from my head what do I t.

Well to be frank, I love it … I honestly believe that on the whole Sony have finally managed to do something right.

I do have a gripe concerning the use of a proprietary memory card for the Vita that’s shockingly expensive and a required piece of kit if you’re planning on playing anything on it, but putting that to one side the rest of it is in my opinion brilliant.

Firstly I opted for the 3G version over the plain WiFi flavour, yes it was a bit more expensive but with Vodafone throwing in a sim and giving you a copy of Wipeout 2048 for the price of a £5 topup it actually worked out only a few pounds more for me than just the WiFi only version. The data connection has been pretty good so far, decent signal strength and the actual data usage isn’t as hefty as I thought it would be so the 250Mb that I got for my £5 I can see lasting for the month.

Graphically I can’t fault it .. the display is just stunning. I got Rayman: Origins with my bundle and could see no difference between this conversion and it’s 360/PS3 big brothers (I would also go so far as to say that if you’ve got a Vita you really should have this in your collection). Wipeout and RidgeRacer both performed smoothly and had no visible drop in framerate at all.

Downloadeble titles areon the cards for it too, and this is where the gripe comes in about the memory cards.

Available in 4,8,16 and in the US 32Gb they’re essential for saving your games and installing downloadable titles.

However at the prices they’re charging (£47 for 16Gb anyone ?) it’s a rather pricey “extra” that’s actually a required purchase. The 4Gb will probably be fine if you’re not planing on downloading any of the games from the Vita store. I got an 8Gb with mine and so far it’s got a load of DLC for RidgeRacer, full games for Escape Plan, Motorstorm RC and Wipeout 2048 along with demos for Lumines and Dungeon Hunter Alliance and there’s still some space left over.

Essentially the first run of true DL titles (MotorStorm RC, Escape Plan) appear to be quite friendly in the file size department. Downloadable versions of the full retail titles can be a bit more savage, Blazblue Continuu, Shift Extend weighs in at around 3.5Gb which kind of makes a good argument for buying the physical card version of the game.

The other argument to some of the downloadable titles is related to the price, it’s fine for the titles that are download only like Motorstorm RC which is an utter bargain at £4.79 (especially as they throw in the PS3 version too) but for the titles that are available on cards there’s the distinct possibility that you’ll find the game for a few pounds cheaper at one of the numerous games retailers out there in the wilds of the internet.

I should also point out that at this moment in time I’ve yet to play Uncharted Golden Abyss, which many are saying is the “killer launch title”, I’ll get round to it but to be fair I’m impressed enough at the moment without getting my mitts on that one.

Remoteplay functions in the same way as it does on the PSP so no changes there, other than on the lovely crisp OLED screen it looks that much nicer 🙂 PlayTV and also the PSOne games installed on the PS3 run well and look as you’d expect, only tried it over a local Wifi connection so far more testing on a wifi hotspot (or more likely the work wifi network ;D) is on the cards.

Generally it’s had a good start out of the gate, finally there’s a portable unit that can deliver an almost home console quality experience. It’s up to Sony now to prove that they can follow through and deliver the goods going forwards with content that makes full use of all the PSV has too offer.

And for those of you on the fence, Little Big Planet is on the horizon … and it’s awesome !!

 

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Access Granted ?

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So this week saw the release of firmware 2.30 for the PS3

Most of us were excited about the redesign of the Playstation Store, with good reason as it now loads significantly faster than before along with being much more user friendly in the navigation stakes.

The other little tit-bit that had people counting down was the news that with the store update they’d be opening up the Metal Gear Online beta to Europe officially (instead of having to sign up for a Japanese account and going through a very odd/confusing process all in Japanese)

This brings me to the topic of this post … Access ….

A lot of people have been very vocal about the fact that PSN is free for users and allows them to play with others online in the same way that Xbox Live does. A lot of other people have been very vocal about the quality of service offered by Xbox Live and it’s “user-friendliness” ….. I think that the later of these two sets are going to be very happy with what’s happened.

In order to play Metal Gear Online you’re going to need to do the following …

1) Have a playstation network ID (pretty much a given I know but there’s a point here)
2) Sign up for a Konami ID on a separate website
3) After signing up for a Konami ID, you then need to create a Game ID

It’s also worth noting that you need to create a password for both the Konami and Game ID’s. The Konami one needs can be alpha-numeric but the Game one can only be numeric.

So, realistically, you need 3 ID’s and passwords to get MGO running … and before anyone suggests it the Konami ID and Game ID cannot be the same ….

On Xbox Live everything is tied to your gamertag .. that’s it …. that is your online “presence” for that console.
And that’s it … no going to website “X” and signing up for account “Y” ….
Admittedly with Phantasy Star Universe you have to pay a monthly fee for a “hunters licence” but you don’t need to sign up for another account, you can do it all using your gamertag and from the Marketplace blade of the 360 itself.

This in my opinion is why the Live service is worth the money .. after all it’s £40 for a 12 month subscription (which works out at roughly £3.35 a month) so it’s not exactly breaking the bank.

I’ve got my account ready and the client for Metal Gear Online downloaded so once it goes live on April 21st we’ll see how it performs ….