The 15 best games for the PlayStation Vita
For a while there was this awful rumour going around that there were no good games for the PlayStation Vita. It’s not quite true and I’ve been able to think of at least fifteen classics. Now seven years old, the Vita is an underrated system with a library full of hidden gems.
1. Persona 4: Golden
An innovative JRPG where you play as a group of high-schoolers who solve mysteries. If you only ever play one game on the Vita then you should play Persona 4 Golden. Full review.
Originally released on PlayStation 2, the ‘Golden’ enhancement on Vita includes many improvements that ensure it’s the definitive version of this RPG classic.
2. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
You might be thinking that the ‘best games on PlayStation Vita’ list would also work if you did a find-and-replace on the word ‘Vita’ and swapped it to ‘PlayStation 2’.
But here’s the thing, Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3 are two of the best games ever made, and the Vita is in my opinion the absolute best way to enjoy them. Not only do you have the cinematic quality and attention to detail associated with two of the PS2’s biggest releases, but the crisp fidelity and enhanced controls afforded by the PlayStation Vita. Oh, and thanks to the sleep button you’ve finally got a handy way to pause those thirty minute cutscenes.
3. Muramasa: Rebirth
See, there’s also a Wii game on the list. Specifically an obscure Wii classic that had an *ahem* ‘rebirth’ on the PlayStation Vita. The main enhancements to Vanillaware’s classic comes in the form of DLC, and I’d highly recommend the four ‘Genroku Legends’ that collectively almost double the total amount of content offered by the game. Otherwise, the draw to Muramasa remains intact – intense hack and slash combat combined with a stunning art direction that truly makes the most of the Vita’s impressive screen.
A visual novel that tells the story of a mad scientist who uses his microwave to send text messages back in time. You have some control over his phone, giving a limited degree of interactivity, but for the most part your PS Vita will be transformed into a rather excellent book. Steins;Gate is all about story, and it delivers a great story.
5. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Whilst frequently placed in the visual novel category, Danganronpa has enough exploration and requirement for player input to earn a position in the ‘game’ section over the ‘book’ section in the library. If the library had a game section.
Your main goal is to solve murders after you’re thrust into a deadly survival game ran by an evil bear. There’s a fun mix of finding clues, piecing together evidence and chatting with your fellow captives, although the experience is really driven by the high-stakes drama of the plot.
The game now has two sequels that are also available on PS Vita.
6. Wipeout 2048
The first Western game on our list is a title deserving of several awards including ‘Best Launch Game for the Vita’, ‘Best Racing Game for the Vita, and err, ‘Best Wipeout game for the Vita’. Okay, that last one was a given, but following on from two excellent titles for PSP, Sony’s handheld wouldn’t have been quite the same without a Wipeout game.
2048 is notable for being set nearer in the future than previous games in the series. As a result the tracks have a less abstract feel to them, and a couple are even ‘prequels’ to courses found in the later titles.
7. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X
Alongside the visual novel, the music rhythm genre really had a chance to shine on the Vita. Out of these games Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X stands out as the best. In this game you have to press buttons quickly in time with the music, and to be honest with you I’m still wondering exactly what it is about this process that’s so damn fun. Maybe it’s simply the amazing music, either that or it’s the option to dress up the characters and take photos of them? Keep up the good work Japan.
8. Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir
Pronounced Leef-thrahss-eer if you were wondering, Odin Sphere is not only another enhanced release of a PlayStation 2 game, but another updated version of a Vanillaware classic. Released in 2007 for PS2, and 2016 for Vita, part of what makes Odin Sphere the best-kept secret for both consoles is how unbelievably late it arrived to the party. As well as new content the game’s mechanics have been reworked to further refine the experience.
9. Ys: Memories of Celceta
Of all the RPGs on this list, none have a less-epic premise than Ys: Memories of Celceta. In this game you are tasked with mapping out a forest in and regaining your memories because you have amnesia. Looking past this and you’ll find one of the best Ys games there is – an immensely fun and fast paced action RPG where you charge across a forest and smash anything in your path to bits with a sword.
10. Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Back when the Vita first launched many of Sony’s biggest names made their was to the handheld in one format or another, with varying degrees of success. Uncharted: Golden Abyss stands out as one of the more accomplished endeavours and whilst it didn’t quite match the cinematic highs of Uncharted 2 or 3, it’s still a pleasant game that captures a lot of what makes the original Uncharted game great in its own right.
11. Persona 4: Dancing All Night
If the ‘dancing’ genre itself doesn’t convince you then I’m sure that the fact this game is specifically designed for people who already LOVE Persona 4 will. All the hit songs, all your fave characters and even a story that isn’t half bad. I know you don’t believe me on this, so play Persona 4 Dancing All Night and prepare to be proved wrong.
Following on from this TWO more (oh yes that’s right) Persona dancing games are still on their way to the Vita.
If one game did actually deliver on the console-quality-on-a-handheld promise then it would be Tearaway – a 3D platformer notable for including mechanics based around the Vita’s gimmicky features and making them seem, well, not too gimmicky.
Aside from this it featured a unique art direction and attention to detail in its level design that would have felt more at home on the PS4, where it was subsequently ported.
13. Gravity Rush
Another game that didn’t really get the recognition it deserved until it was ported onto the more popular PS4. Which is a shame really, as Gravity Rush did a great job of implementing open world game design in a way that feels specifically tailored for the handheld (even though ironically the game was initially developed for the PS3).
This is coupled with a unique gravity-modifying mechanic that ensures exploring the game’s world is a lot of fun. Plus its subtle use of the PS Vita’s gyroscope for precision aiming works… surprisingly well.
14. VA-11 HALL-A
The newest game on the list – VA-11 HALL-A (pronounced Valhalla if you were wondering) is a story driven game where you play as a bartender. This is one of many great indie games available on the Vita including Shovel Knight, Undertale and Fez, however whilst these are equally enjoyable on other platforms, VA-11 HALL-A gets a special mention because of how much better suited it is to the handheld over a desktop computer.
15. Final Fantasy X/X2 HD
The PS Vita is an excellent option for playing two of the best 3D entries in the Final Fantasy series – X and its direct sequel X2 (ten two… still love that name). Yes, these games have been ported left right and center since their original release on PS2, but again feel better than ever in a portable format.
Tags: Danganronpa, danganronpa: trigger happy havoc, final fantasy x, Final Fantasy X/X2 HD, Final Fantasy X2, Gravity Rush, Hatsune Miku, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA X, metal gear solid, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Muramasa, Muramasa rebirth, Odin Sphere, Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir, persona 4, Persona 4: Dancing All Night, Persona 4: Golden, PlatStation, PlayStation Vita, ps vita, Steins;Gate, Tearaway, uncharted, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, VA-11 HALL-A, vita, Wipeout, Wipeout 2048, ys, Ys: Memories of Celceta
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