Top Picks – Best Reasons to Pick Up the PS Vita

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Just as a disclaimer, this is probably one of my messiest and most informal Top Picks lists I’ll ever do because I just couldn’t really find a good way to construct the list. What this list ultimately boils down to is a list of personal reasons I want to get a PS Vita, whether they’re functions or specific games. It’s more or less an excuse to share with the world why this one person interested in a Vita, and if some of these reasons coincide with any of you then that’s great!

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Access to the Playstation Network

Sony’s online service offers a lot of neat features from cloud saving, video streaming, and online multi-player. However, the biggest draw for me is the Playstation Store, namely the ability to play old Playstation games of yore. High on my wishlist is Suikoden 2, which is a fantastic little-known JRPG released back in 1999 and features a deep story with over 100 characters. At least, that’s what I’m told because I’ve actually never beaten the game, but that’s what the PSN is for! Next on my list would be Final Fantasy IX and Chrono Cross, which are beautiful JRPGs that I’ve actually beaten but would love to replay. Seriously, they just do not make JRPGs like they used to.

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Not Region Locked

This is a godsend for anyone cries every night because of all the Japan-only exclusives that will never see light in the West. It honestly amazes me that certain games like Senran Kagura and Akiba’S Trip can cross the shores with such ease and yet some sit in Japanese purgatory forever. Well, I guess it’s because they’re niche games, which definitely applies to my wanted games: Nisekoi Yomeiri!? and Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata. They’re both slice of life visual novels, which more or less means they’ll never be localized, but with the region-free PS Vita and little Japanese know-how, these games and more are just a hop, skip, and a Japanese PSN account away. Or you can just import those games, too.

The Games

It’s not a secret that the Vita library outside of Japan is incredibly sparse and really cannot compete with the 3DS at all, but there are some little gems that stick out, as long as you have the right taste for them. What I like about handheld console is that the gaming experience doesn’t need to be big, meaty things to be enjoyable. The luxury of portability lets me pick it up, lay in bed, and play for however long or short I feel like it without having to go out into the living room and turn on a bunch of machinery.

Here are a couple of games for the Sony handheld that get my fingers itching for action, two of which aren’t even out yet!

htoL #NiQ: Hotaru no Nikki

Besides its ridiculous title, Hotaru no Nikki (lit. Firefly Diary) has a lot going for it in terms of art style and gameplay. This platforming exploration game centers around a young girl named Mion and the firefly Hotaru who must work together to escape a desolate mangle of ruins and rubble. Ambient, minimalist music and a faded color palette embody the solemn tone of the game, creating a beautiful, curious, and engrossing atmosphere.

Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax

What you may see as a money-grabbing attempt at a fighting game featuring popular anime characters, I see as a money-grabbing attempt at a fighting game featuring popular anime characters. That doesn’t mean I won’t buy it. Outside of what seems like a fairly deep battle system reminiscent of the recent Persona 4 Arena series, there’s also a story mode. How can I resist seeing some of my favorite anime characters of all time, like Shizuo from Durarara!! and Misaka from Raildex, interacting together? Plus, there are some less-known favorites like Selvaria from Valkyria Chronicles and Kino from Kino no Tabi.

Persona 4: Dancing All the Night

Speaking of game companies indiscriminately squeezing our wallets, here’s another game from the franchise that just won’t die. I love Persona 4, and I love rhythm games like Elite Beat Agents and Daigasso Band Bros., so this game is a no-brainer really. The remixed music showcased during the 30-hour Persona livestream event was amazing, as if it were possible for Shoji Meguro’s compositions to sound any better, and the straw that broke the camel’s back was the reveal of Naoto as a playable character. If you think about it, the entire premise for this game is completely absurd. Persona 4 is a mostly serious game, and yet here everyone is, dancing like fools. Makes me wonder if there’s going to be some sort of strange story mode to accompany this strange new title from the soon-to-be rich folks at Atlus.

B.W.

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