Vita's launch games: The good, bad and quite interesting

Hands-on: Highlights, lowlights and intriguing experiments...

The promise of the Playstation Vita cannot help but get the mind racing, not least about the advert for popular nineties spread Vitalite.

Can its games support its impressive technology and hefty pricetag, however? CVG has been having a play with a selection of Vita's launch titles and have this to say for ourselves:

Surefire winners

Uncharted: Golden Abyss


Nathan Drake is top of the Vita tree: with a fresh leading lady called Chase, a drug-running hardnut called Guerro and the full Uncharted gamut of burning buildings and enemy grunts scurrying towards you. The pipes breaking as you climb over them, the floors collapsing and the frequent mutters of 'Oh crap' underline that this is an authentic Nate experience, and the game's design seems uncompromised by its new status as a handheld. Even the loading icon of a revolving antiquity in the bottom right hand corner of the screen makes you feel at home.

We played a gameplay demo once as we would a PS3 game, and then again using the touch-screen and it's clear that drawing Nate's climbing path with a dragged finger isn't nearly as much fun as tapping buttons.
Sniping, meanwhile, was fantastic - letting you physically aim by moving the Vita and dialling in your scopes with a touch-screen slider. Slicing cloth barriers with a machete with swipes of the finger, however, did strike as being a tad unnecessary. So overall it's unlikely that existing Uncharted enthusiasts will want to ditch the traditional controls, but this remains an intriguing and authentic addition to Drake's adventures.

Resistance: Burning Skies


There's something strange about playing a handheld shooter on twin thumbsticks. The first few seconds are oddly unnatural (Twin sticks, when I'm not on my sofa? What new devilry is this?) - but then you're so busy dispatching Chimera in the accustomed fashion that the thought never strikes you again. Burning Skies posits you as a New York firefighter, defending the city that never sleeps from the alien menace just after the events of the original Resistance game.

Touchscreen fun and games arrive with your weapons' alternate fire: if you, say, drag your finger over a huddle of enemies then they'll all be targeted and exposed to a simultaneous and painful death. Likewise, melee assaults come through a tap of an on-screen image - and will result in various axe-wounds to Chimera necks. The paths of grenades, meanwhile, are guided by you dragging and dropping them into areas that you think could do with more flame and fried alien flesh.

There's a real fear of studios over-developing games for Vita, sticking in functions for the sake of the technology, but Burning Skies genuinely seems to be making the most of Sony's new toy.

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