Published on February 9th, 2012 | by Ethan
Preview—I’ve played the Vita. Don’t be jealous, though. You can too.
Select GameStop locations are currently displaying playable Vita units in their stores. Although my time with Sony’s new handheld was brief at best, I’ve put together a few first impressions:
While certainly more comfortable to hold than the 3Ds, the size and clarity of the OLED touch screen had me immediately impressed by the hardware.
The system is also surprisingly light, that is, without sacrificing durability (We’re talking to you, PSP 3000).
The analog sticks feel smaller than what we’re used to, but they’re sturdy, responsive, and well within reach (Hear that, Circle Pad Pro?).
Playable demos include Hot Shots Golf, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Wipeout 2048, Little Deviants, and more. However, one game in particular stood out among the rest…
As I mentioned on episode 4 of the podcast, Gravity Rush is shaping up to be the Vita’s most innovative and interesting experience within the system’s “launch window.”
Set in a steam punk, London-esque environment, Gravity Rush sports a stylistic, comic book aesthetic. Although the title doesn’t pack nearly the number of polygons as Uncharted, every movement and gravity-shift is fluid and visually appealing.
The controls are intuitive. One tap of the right shoulder button sends the amnesiac “Kat” into zero-gravity, where she floats in place above the ground. Using the right analog stick or the Vita’s gyro controls, players direct the camera towards the next surface they wish to land on. One more press of the R button throws our hero toward the selected surface.
Traversing the city is a blast, but this innovative gameplay mechanic flows seamlessly into combat as well. In addition to standard melee attacks (square button), players can shoot Kat through the air in order to take down enemies with a sudden, gravity-defying kick.
Gravity Rush plays smoothly and intuitively while supplying plenty of vertigo-inducing eye-candy to boot. If you find the time to make it down to your local GameStop, treat yourself to a tease of what I consider to be the Vita’s first killer app.
Happy soaring, legends.