While much of the current gaming discussion is revolving around next-gen console wars and the like, there's another war brewing. The PlayStation Vita has gained a lot of respect over the past year, building up a substantial library of Japanese localized titles and unique first-party projects. That said, many North American gamers are still waiting for that standout game to justify the purchase.
However, it may not be a game that really makes the Vita a must-have platform, but rather the handheld's robust new feature set. I'm referencing, of course, the Vita's ability to work with the PlayStation 4 as a controller or even an off-screen alternative. Plus, more and more games are being released featuring Vita cross-buy, which means two versions of the game in one.
Does that make the Vita a must-buy? Not necessarily, but the Vita is certainly a viable option for picking up this holiday season. Costing around $200, often without the platform's spendy storage cards, watch out for bundle deals this Black Friday where the handheld drops between $150 and $180. Watch out for those spendy memory cards, however -- pick up a bundle with one included or buy an 8GB one for $9.99 on sale this Friday.
Must Have Exclusives
From the developers of LittleBigPlanet comes this cheerful, adventurous game that should put a smile on every player's face. The entire world is made out of paper, including the player's customized character, and in order to journey through it they'll have to tear and rip and a variety of interesting other gameplay features. When it comes to the Vita, it doesn't get anymore high quality than Tearaway.
- Who It's For: Adventurers, all-ages, origami fans, smilers and LittleBigPlanet fans
- Why You Want it: Made by one of the top development studios in the business just for Vita, Tearaway is a beautiful world filled with wonderful ideas
This PS Vita exclusive first-person shooter is all action, from the developers of the LittleBigPlanet Vita game. Set between the events of the original Killzone trilogy and those depicted in the PlayStation 4 launch title Killzone: Shadow Fall, Mercenary sets the page with firefight after firefight. Plus, for the first time in the series players can fight alongside Helghast, though why you'd want to is something else entirely!
- Who It's For: Shooter fans, young adults and up, gunners, runners and campers
- Why You Want it: Maybe the best first-person shooter on a handheld, plus all of the continuity that goes along with being a Killzone title
Japan knows how to do fighting giant monsters right. Monster Hunter got that down pretty quick. Now it's up to Japan to make fighting giant monsters even weirder. Welcome to Soul Sacrifice, where you had fight giant monsters and then eat their Souls, or save their Souls. Somehow all this soul-eating turns into leveling up and preparing yourself for the ultimate battle -- OF SOULS.
- Who It's For: Hunters of giant beasts, young adults and up, fans of dark fantasy, fans of Japanese oddity
- Why You Want it: Nothing's more pleasing than battling giant monsters, defeating them and then deciding their fate
More Great Vita Exclusives:
Dragon's Crown is likely another title that many gamers missed, since it's digital only. Basically, it's what would happen if Japanese developers based a 2D beat-em-up on Dungeons & Dragons. Pick the dwarf, witch, knight, or sorceress and battle through dungeons in either single-player or multiplayer, picking up loot and leveling up in order to regain the magical Dragon's Crown.
- Who It's For: Budget gamers, loot grinders, those who are big on action, small on story
- Why You Want it: While there's some mature art, it's a beautiful style, tons of action, great cooperative gameplay
Perhaps the best Atelier RPG yet, Gust's Plus version of the game has one of the most robust item synthesis systems yet. A direct sequel to Atelier Rorona, if you're interested in lengthy Japanese RPGs then investing in the Atelier franchise is one of the best decisions you can make. Well, if you have a few hundred hours to spend on it.
- Who It's For: Those with lots of time, those with lots of patience, all-ages, fans of lots of story that may not be written outstandingly
- Why You Want it: Very endearing story with very in-depth and rewarding gameplay that will eat a week, month, year of your life
This is the official Ys part four that fans of the franchise have been waiting for, for years. Even though other developers have tried to make a Ys 4 RPG, it just doesn't feel right unless it's made by Falcom. Finally, there's a modern take on the classic franchise.
- Who It's For: RPG fans, nostalgic gamers, all ages
- Why You Want it: There are so many Ys games that this might be the first step in falling down the rabbit hole
More Great Vita RPGs:
- Atelier Meruru Plus: The Apprentice of Arland
- Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God (Releases December 10)
Sometimes genres of games become stale and it takes a truly prophetic team to cut away the fat and get back to the basics. That's not Iron Galaxy and it certainly isn't their game Divekick, but nevertheless Divekick takes everything that's core to the fighting game community right now and boils it down to a system that's easy, fun, and perhaps most of all still highly competitive.
- Who It's For: Fighting game fans, all ages, newcomers to fighting games, bargain hunters, those with a sense of humor
- Why You Want it: The best fighting game released this year doesn't have all bells and whistles of a Street Fighter, but it does have subtle racism
Where Divekick attempts to usher in a new era of gaming , Guilty Gear XX throws us back to the past. This game is a classic arcade fighting game with tons of recognizable characters, flashing action and tight controls.
- Who It's For: Hardcore fighting game fans, wannabes, anime nerds, Sol Badguy
- Why You Want it: Outstanding animation and unique characters fighting it out in classic Japanese arcade fashion
More Great Games
- Spelunky - Dynamically created levels packed full of secrets, dangers and loot that should be challenging to even the most hardcore of gamers
- Guacamelee - 2D brawler with a great story and tight, combo-based fighting, it's like Metroid meets Mexico
- Pixeljunk Monsters: Ultimate HD - Small tower defense that's challenging and still hours of fun
- Rayman Legends - Some of the best 2D platforming ever made, with great level design and art direction of the generation
Check out all of Neoseeker's other Holiday Gift Guides for 2013: