Friday, March 29, 2013

Project Vita: Part 1 - The PlayStation Vita Plan

Part 1: The PlayStation Vita Plan

How I went about getting a PlayStation Vita

It has been over one year since Sony’s new handheld, the PlayStation Vita, was release on February 22, 2012 to the gaming market, and since then has been met with both good and bad reviews. After all the time that PSVita has been on the market, I have seen many gamers and critics giving the system the “Cold Shoulder” and many criticisms, both warranted and unwarranted. As a PSVita owner, who got the system within the first year of its release in the North America market, I was happy with the system before I even booted it up with my first game, and the reason I feel that way was because I had a well laid out plan for my PSVita, contrasting many other gamers (Myself include at one point) who I feel would buy a system for only one game, and feel like it does nothing after awhile. The post that follows here is the plan that I had for my PSVita, and the reason why I choose it over the Nintendo 3DS, which will include info from other PSVita owners too.

This is "Project Vita",

On November 2012 of Black Friday, I had gotten into line to get my PSVita against all the other people who had been line for one week, I once said to myself “I would never stand in line on Black Friday for everything.”, yet there I was waiting at 5:30 PM PST just to shop for a few things, but mostly for my PSVita.

Why was I standing in line for this piece of tech?

To understand that we have start at the beginning, when I first saw the PSVita in real life, which was at a GameStop in southern California, where I was just doing some window shopping, and there I saw a demo of the PSVita. When Sony talked about a 5-inch screen, it was just a number to me, but holding it in my hands it was huge, and I was a happy PSP player too, and the screen was there playing a demo of Gravity Rush, an open world, cel-shaded, steampunk adventure game. Seeing Kat (The main character) run along this city that was beautifully animated, and flies across the sky with her gravity powers, I was completely amazed. When my friend Sam got a PSVita, when he was playing on an arcade machine, I got to spend a good deal of time on the system, and I understood what Sony was saying about the PSVita, PlayStation home console gaming on the GO! So I knew what I wanted, but how to make the system work for me to it maximum level? What followed was a plan that I had set for myself to get within the first 12 months.

1. Get PlayStation Plus
2. Wait for a good bundle (Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation, White PSVita)
3. Take all money and invest in PSVita accessories (Cases and film)
4. Buy a high end PSVita card
5. Have five reasons to have a PSVita, which puts the system to work for the foreseeable future.
(Backwards compatibility i.e. PSP and PS1 games, Persona 4 Golden, Virtue’s Last Reward, Gravity Rush*, Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale,  Uncharted: Golden Abyss*, WipEout 2048*)
*Games were free by way of PlayStation Plus

PlayStation Plus enables to off set the cost on games

This was the plan I had when I had set for myself, and so the first part was to get the PlayStation Plus service. The PSPlus service would work on my PS3 at the time I needed it to, it was important as it would allow me to enjoy hundreds of dollars of entertainment on both my PS3 and my future PSVita, avoiding the need to paid full price on the first party Vita games, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, WipEout 2048, Gravity Rush, so when I got the Vita I knew I was set on games to play from the PSN.

The PSVita AC Bundle that acts more of a starter bundle

The next step was getting a good bundle with the PSVita; I wanted to max out the money going into the PSVita, so I wanted to get the PlayStation Bundle with Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation, which was a white PSVita that came with the game, and most importantly, a 4GB PSVita memory card. The thing I knew about the 4GB card was; that it was only meant for those who were planning on buying physical retail copy games. So at the beginning when the 4GB was the only card I had, it worked well for a starter, as I was playing only Virtue’s Last Reward and Persona 4 Golden by retail copy, so it worked to tie me over until the later parts of my plan could go into effect.
32GB cards can run you as high as $100

Step Three was to take any money that would have been spent on retail copy games, and pour it into PSVita accessories, such as a case to protect the PSVita when I was out, film to protect the 5-inch screen, and an extra USB cable. This was the simplest step as I was just trying to protect my PSVita, and the fact that I knew I would not need to buy retail copy games at jump, allowed me to make that call.

Step Four was a key part of the plan for my PSVita, to buy a high end PSVita card. Now this is my one real complaint with the Vita, is the price of memory cards, which can cost you a total of $100 USD for a 32 GB card. Part of the reason for this is the fact that the cards are proprietary, which makes them cost so much, but from Sony’s POV makes sense to do, as the PSP was ruined by piracy and hacking the system with third party memory cards and software. But this was important to the plan I had, as my PSPlus, the free first party games, the digital games I had for PSP, and online cloud saving needed a high end memory card. But the cost was worth the price, as I now have the PSPlus games, my PSP games such as Valkyria Chronicles 2, and PS1 one games such as Wild Arms 1 on the system, along with the digital episodes I buy of the PSN, which gives me a reason to buy SD video, as I can watch them on both my PS3 and PSVita, and is a cheaper option too.

The Fifth and final part of my PSVita plan was all about the games, five games to play at the time when I got the PSVita. And I would say I had a good set of games to play, because of my planning I had games that were at my hands that I wanted to play.

1. Persona 4 Golden (Step 5)
4. WipEout 2048 (Step 1)
5. Gravity Rush (Step 1)

That does not include all the other games I wanted to play as well that were at my hands too.

6. Assassin’s Creed 3 Liberation (Part of Step 2)
7. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (With Cross-Buy, allowed me to have both the PS3 Version and PSVita version at no extra cost to me. Part of Step 4 and 5)
8 Valkyria Chronicles 2, (The digital copy I had from my PSP, this is important as this was easily my favorite PSP game of all time. Part of Step 4 and 5)
9. Jet Set Radio, thanks to PSPlus allowed me get another game that I almost did not account for (Part of Step 1 & 4).

Sly Cooper 4 title screen
10. Sly Cooper Thieves in Time, (One of the main reasons I wanted to get the PSVita, as Sly 4 most or less is an open world, platform, cross-play/cross-buy game, where I was able to play freely on my PS3 and PSVita, which is what I understand about my PSVita, which was to have a home console PlayStation feeling on the go, weather on my PSVita or my PS3, “Never Stop Playing”, and I really do not stop playing because of the Cross-Save that lets me upload to the cloud and download the save on to my PSVita from my PS3 (and vice versa), and thanks to Cross-Buy I was able to get the PSVita at no extra cost with just the PS3 version which was already cheap when I got it ($40 USD), and was one of the best games I played on the system. (Steps 3, 4 & 5)

Sly on a roof top, "Like Batman, I RUN THIS CITY!"
That is the full 5 step plan that I had before I got the PSVita, and the reasons why I was standing in line to get my PSVita that I was waiting to have the whole year, and why I was willing to fight with Black Friday shoppers. And that is only the parts of the plan that I had mapped out, there were unseen things that I ended up liking about PSVita, that just added to Step 5. Like taking screenshots of the games I play, tweeting those pictures on Twitter and using hashtags to show them off, which my PSVita remembers. Connecting Netflix to my Vita, to watch movies and TV shows on the go, having a simple web browser to look at the internet when I want to, and to watch the TV episodes I buy from PSN on my PSVita at cheaper SD video which I mention before.

One of the things I have to mention which I cannot understate is Step 1, the power of PlayStation Plus, which in the long run is just as important as Step 4, and is getting to a point that it over powers it. Just to mention the games that I have gotten from PSPlus that allows my PSVita to have a consistent set of games to come to my PSVita, and that were not accounted for, but their inclusion was foreseen with PSPlus values and weekly deals.

1. Jet Radio Radio
2. Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention
3. Plants VS. Zombies
4. Retro City Rampage
5. Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus
6. Mega Man Maverick Hunter X
7. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lion

All these games are on my Vita and I play all of them, and each and every one of them was completely free with PSPlus. Disgaea 3 and Jet Set Radio were the best parts of the plan with Step 1, as I had my eye on Disgaea 3 for my Vita for a long while, and when it was put on PSPlus for Vita, it was great as that game allowed me to not really pay a lot of money to get it, and the fact I also got Jet Set Radio on Vita was also a nice surprise too as I keep getting content for the PSVita, again look at Steps 1, 3 & 4.

On a side note, when the PSVita became one year old, on February 22 2013, Sony gave away games for free for the Vita users, two of which were to my liking, such as Patapon for PSP & Wild Arms 1 for PS1, and these I did not even have to use my PSPlus to get any of them, they were completely free for Vita, and in the case for Wild Arms, my PS3 as well.

That is the full details of my PSVita Plan, lots of games and lots content and there is still games coming for it, the full experience of my PSVita can only be shown in the games that I have for it.

To Be Continued in Part 2

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