This Week’s Purchase: Lime Green PlayStation Vita 2000 Slim
It took forever to arrive, but the PS Vita Slim I purchased some time back in November is finally here. I must admit I was at first a little skeptical of Sony’s redesign, I mean it’s a bit thiner and the back is green, that’s about all that’s changed, right? But now I’ve got hold of it I’m pretty impressed, and this Japanese exclusive is a clear improvement on the original Vita in just about every way.
The PS Vita Slim isn’t currently available in the west (Update: since the time of writing the black version of the console has been released worldwide) but as the system is region free and everything is in English, there’s no real downside to importing. Unless you have to pay duty tax, like I did. That was a real kick in the teeth. In fact my entire experience of purchasing the console was pretty tiresome, and because of the hefty import fee I didn’t even get the good deal I thought I would. I used Play Asia for the first time in about five years, and it’s probably going to be another five by the time I use them again (as in 2018 I’ll have probably forgotten how crappy my experience was). The console itself cost roughly £150 (bargain) and I got a case, game (Muramasa Rebirth) and postage for a grand total of £190. I thought this was pretty good going, considering that the console alone is usually marked at that on eBay. But once I’d spoken to customer service three times, waited ten days for my item to ship, another two weeks for it to arrive, and payed £46 in duty, I didn’t exactly feel this way any more.
That’s the bad news out of the way, and once I’d actually got the box in my hands my things started to look up. I’d watched some videos, read the reviews and studied photos comparing the old PS Vita with the new one, but nothing really gives an accurate impression until you’re actually holding both consoles. From the photographs, the PS Vita Slim simply looks a bit more rounded and slightly thinner, but once it’s in your hands the difference in size becomes far more noticeable. The weight in the back of the original Vita is completely gone, and the shape and feel of the newer system is a significant improvement. It feels more durable, more portable, and extremely high quality. The green panel on the back looks extremely nice, and whilst I can’t vouch for the other colour schemes, the combination of white and lime green is a real winner for me. There’s also a couple more subtle changes, including reshaped start and select buttons, and the annoying blue light from the PS button has been removed. The rear touchpad has also been resized, and this is a significant improvement when playing a game that maps buttons to it’s corners as you’ll no longer be pressing on it by accident.
I also picked up a green case to match the console. This is the third official case I’ve seen for this PS Vita, and every time Sony has gone with a dramatically different design. These new ones only fit the Slim models, and even then it’s a pretty tight fit. At first I wasn’t even sure if the console could actually go all the way inside it, and the analogue sticks seem to struggle to make it in. After a bit of use I found myself developing a couple of techniques for getting the console in and out of the case, which isn’t exactly ideal, but on the plus side it looks really nice and matches the colour of the system wonderfully.
The main question people seem to have with the new PS Vita is if it’s worth upgrading. Sony replaced the OLED screen with an LED screen, and whilst the reduction in size is a clear improvement, many have seen the change in screen as a step backwards. It certainly doesn’t help that it the majority of comparison screenshots the OLED looks much nicer, although you can really see the difference from a picture. The superior look is likely to go down to personal preference. I was never really a fan of the OLED screen, and felt the colours were too over saturated and the screen smudged easily. Worse still, these marks would interfere with gameplay, and when you’re constantly using the touch screen to navigate menus, cleaning it is only ever a temporary solution.
On the LED screen the colours appear more muted, and a few fingerprints on the touch screen don’t get in the way of your game. However the white has a hint of yellow in it, which some gamers might find off putting. For me it’s an overall improvement, although it can really depend which game you’re playing. Anything with vivid colours like Rayman: Legends, Wipeout 2097, or the PSN Store is now a little easier on the eyes, but then Ys: Memories of Celetsia (which is a little washed out on the OLED screen) looks even worse. If you’re currently not a fan of the OLED, then the new Vita is likely to solve your screen related issues. However, if you like your screen just the way it is, you probably don’t want to be purchasing the Slim model.
For those who don’t currently own a Vita, the Slim would be my personal recommendation, and I’d definitely consider it to be the best version of a great console. And what about games, I hear you say? Try these; Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Persona 4: Golden, Tearaway, Killzone: Mercenary, Gravity Rush, Ys: Memories of Celestia, Rayman: Legends, Muramusa Rebirth, Wipeout 2097, Blazblue Continuum Shift Extend. Oh, and Spyhunter. Spyhunter is an underrated classic.