Our brief impressions of Virtua Tennis 4, Ridge Racer, and Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3.
There are so many Vita games hitting stores at launch that we just can't deliver reviews for all of them. What we can do, though, is give our quick verdicts on as many as we've been able to get our hands on.
A new console is nothing without a Ridge Racer game, and after the success of the series on PSP the powerslide-friendly racer seems like the perfect fit for PS Vita. It was a very sad moment, then, when I had my first lap in Ridge Racer on Vita. I was willing to overlook the lack of content - I just wanted a well-made arcade racer that felt like Ridge Racer should - but the slow and inconsistent frame rate make this a massive disappointment.
You can partially overcome this and settle in to the familiar Ridge Racer groove, and appreciate the slick menu design and impressive online features - both in terms of competing in races online and going for fastest laps. And yes, given its low RRP and smattering of free DLC for early adopters, the game will soon feel like less of a damp squib, but this is a game for the most powerful gaming handheld ever released. Given the way it runs I'd rather stick with either of the brilliant games that graced the original PSP.
And that is the rub. On the PSP Ridge Racer made the new handheld instantly desirable. On Vita Ridge Racer gives the impression that the hardware isn't up to the job.
Should you buy it?
Even at a budget price and with the promise of free DLC, I can't recommend Ridge Racer.
Virtua Tennis 4
This is one of the surprises of the Vita launch line-up. I expected it would offer a perfectly competent and fun game of tennis, but SEGA has done an excellent job in porting it to the Vita. Visually it's up there with the best available for the handheld, the load times are short, and there's a plethora of online and offline game modes.
Exhibition matches and mini-games are available if you want to play for a few minutes, but the World Tour is there if you want to sink your teeth into something meatier. You can even use the Vita's camera to take a picture of your face and map it onto your custom character - although be warned that the results may not be pretty.
What's more, this isn't just a standard port with little to no effort put in. Exclusive to the Vita version are a collection of mini-games that take advantage of the system's control options. One mode lets you play from a first-person perspective, with your view determined by how you hold the Vita; another mode lets two people play on the same screen, with an overhead game of tennis being played using finger swipes.
Should you buy it?
Compared to the likes of Uncharted Golden Abyss and WipEout 2048, Virtua Tennis 4 might seem less exciting, but it's one of the most impressive launch titles for the Vita.
Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3
Capcom's chaotic fighter looks great on home consoles and it's only been marginally scaled back on Vita. Character models and backgrounds both look brilliant on the vibrant Vita screen, and importantly the game runs at a smooth frame rate. If you played the 360/PS3 version a lot you'll probably notice that the backgrounds have had detail removed, but it's often lost behind the combat anyway. Technically then, the Vita has done a great job handling Capcom's MT Framework engine.
UMvC3 has all the game modes you'd expect, including online multiplayer that works very well indeed. The main problem with the port comes from the loading times. While Capcom's game is far from the worst offender of the Vita launch line-up, the substantial waits between menu screens is what really spoils the package here.
As with the 3DS version of Super Street Fighter IV, MvC3 on Vita lets you access your character's best moves by simply pressing the touch screen - it's a good idea if you're a complete novice, and thankfully can be filtered out of online matches. You can also share replays over WiFi and, quite bizarrely, use the Vita as a controller for the PS3 version of the game.
Should you buy it?
If you want a game that really shows off the vibrancy of the Vita's screen, this is a great choice. Without the multiplayer immediacy of the home console games, longevity here is going to come down to online play. As a bonus for PS3 owners, if you've already bought the DLC for Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3, you can import that into the Vita game at no extra charge.
Our full PS Vita reviews
- ModNation Racers: Road Trip
- Little Deviants
- Uncharted Golden Abyss
- WipEout 2048
- FIFA Football
- Rayman Origins
- Touch My Katamari
PS Vita launches in the UK on February 22 and can be yours for as little as £210 with a free 8GB memory card from Amazon.co.uk. Add a selected game - Virtua Tennis 4 is included - for only £15.