Console Challenge, Day 26: Top 7 best Playstation Vita games!

Vita means Life
-every Vita fan, always.

 

 

We are now in the final week of June and our Console Challenge countdown of craziness is about to reach its ultimate and irresistible culmination! The editor side of me is breathing a preliminary sigh of relief whilst the reader in me is facing an impending date of disappointment. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through these top 7’s and I hope you have too.

Today, I am positively enthused to re-present to the world the Over-Caffeinated Nostalgia Mage who has been on holiday for a bit of time but whose fingerprint is literally everywhere you look. That’s right, the OCN Mage, whose secret identity is Geddy of @nostalgiatriggr and nostalgiatrigger.com, was crucial in TWRM surviving the crisis that occurred here not long ago when our WordPress theme got screwed up! Geddy swooped in, like so many seagulls, and snatched the opportunity to be of assistance from my clumsy little child-like hand. He helped us with some custom coding to get TWRM the look it is emblazoned with to this very day, and that blew my mind that he would go so far to help us out. Charity like that isn’t forgotten, and also that’s the best thing about putting together a team: everyone can bring their own specialties to the table.

Forever a mage (and more importantly forever in my well-red heart), here’s Geddy with his nostalgia-triggering list of the top 7 best games for the PlayStation Vita!

-The Well-Red Mage

 

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nostalgiamage If you were to ask a close friend of yours, “Hello friend, can you tell me your favorite things about the PlayStation Vita?” they might answer back, “the PlayStation Vita, what’s that?”

Now at this point, you probably just woke up in cold sweat even dreaming about this nightmarish scenario, because it would obviously mean you need to find a new friend, and the line at the friend store is always unreasonably long and you don’t have the spare time to build another one out of parts from your Spare Friend Parts bin.

Well I’m here to shock you, presumed fan and inhabitant of Vita Island: the PlayStation Vita has a long, checkered history, one that we fans commonly look past. Sadly, no part of the Vita timeline truly enjoyed an appreciation by the mainstream audience.

You’re probably familiar with the Console Challenge, an ongoing daily challenge wherein Mages (And non-mage contributors! -Red) from these parts discuss their favorite seven games from a different console. Well, thank goodness I was among those Magey ranks, because the first draft of the console schedule lacked the PlayStation Vita entirely! Luckily for those of us who remember this incredible system, I was able to strong-arm (ask nicely) the Well-Red Mage himself into being forced to (voluntarily, and in a very supportive manner) add it to the challenge list!

While sad but true, an expensive buy-in cost of the PlayStation Vita paired with overpriced proprietary memory cards did doom the console from the start. But, there were and still are terrific games being released for the console, and a lot of them exclusives! While I only have been into the Vita scene for about three years, I have put together what I consider to be the highlights of the system. Seasoned Vita fans may notice the absence of some heavy-hitters on the console, but then isn’t that the point of an opinion-piece in the first place?

Most of these games are still easily obtainable too, either digitally or physically for dirt cheap. So let’s talk best PlayStation Vita games, through the eyes of yours truly!

 

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#7. Dragon’s Crown

This was the first game I picked up on the console, as I was intrigued by the artwork alone. What do you get when you combine a 2D brawler with a Diablo-style loot system? Evidently, Dragon’s Crown. The over-the-top disproportioned character designs paired with frantic battles and boss fights get the blood pumping. The frenzy of online multiplayer makes Dragon’s Crown one to revisit time and time again, changing characters and thus fighting styles in the process. The online scene is even still active, albeit trickling down, but the updated version Dragon’s Crown Pro is currently the place to be if you’re an owner of a PlayStation 4.

 

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#6. Lumines

Do you like hectic Tetris-like puzzlers? Do you like electronic music? Look no further than Lumines! While other iterations of the game are available on other consoles, it’s right at home on the Vita. A seemingly simple Tetris-clone at first, it suddenly becomes evident as the BPM increases and the rows of blocks stack up that a strategy must be developed, and fast. The first time playing this game, I got so caught up in the well-mixed soundtrack and the strobe lights that over an hour passed on a single play. My body felt like it had just been at a rave. Play it in the dark and with noise-canceling headphones for the ultimate experience!

 

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#5. Hatsune Miku – Project Diva F 2nd

Sticking to the rhythm game genre, we have what was one of my top games I played in 2017 – Hatsune Miku – Project Diva F 2nd! Whew, what a mouthful, that title.

It’s not unlike any other rhythm games out there as far as controls go (although there is no required touch-screen use which was important to me), but where HMPDF2 (jeez!) goes above and beyond is in the polish. You play through songs on four difficulties, each one playing out as an actual concert mixed with a psychedelic music video, aiming for high scores, and unlocking costumes and items that you can use to decorate the rooms of all your Divas. This adds a surprising amount of content and overall replayability.  Now, I don’t consider myself a fan of anime or J-Pop necessarily, or, at least I didn’t before playing this game. But it sucked me in and kept me at it for almost 30 combined hours before I decided to call it quits. If you need any convincing to jump into the mania of a Hatsune Miku game, watch a gameplay video.

 

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#4. Ys: Memories of Celceta

I picked this up at complete random on an Amazon sale. Maybe it was ad tracking, or someone is spying on me, but about two months before I got a Vita, I found this on my recommended list for $8, and I picked it up. To this day, I don’t know why I did, but I’m glad it worked out that way. Ys: Memories in Celceta is what made me a huge fan of the Ys franchise, which truth be told does not get a lot of exposure in the West.

What separates Ys: Memories of Celceta from other games in the action-RPG genre is that it takes your typical ARPG elements – beating up bad guys, fighting bosses, and finding treasures – and dials the speed and adrenaline up to a thousand. This is a fast-paced action-packed title that will keep you playing for hours! You assume the role of several different characters who can be swapped out, all with differing attack styles and specials.

Worth noting is that the story is fairly light, as is the case with most Ys entries, leaving you playing the game and annihilating bosses and creatures, all while uncovering the Great Forest of Celceta.

 

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#3. LittleBigPlanet

While not a console exclusive by any means, the Vita version of LittleBigPlanet was an adorable foray into the 2D puzzle platformer genre that kept me interested from start to finish. Sporting a gorgeous pseudo-realistic appearance, unlockable mini-games, and even the ability to play co-op multiplayer, controlling your little Sackboy through each world is both satisfying and engaging. It uses many of the features unique to the Vita in ways that make sense and aren’t forced. In fact, in this sense, it has a lot with the next entry on my list…

 

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#2. Tearaway

Tearaway is one of those exclusives that demonstrates every unique feature of a console, yet it manages to do so without using said features as a crutch or at any point jeopardizing the fun factor. The simple “paper-based” environment is interacted with using both the front and rear touch-screen while you guide “the You” character through gorgeous worlds of 3D platforming and puzzle adventure. This is the kind of game that you finish and are truly sad that it’s time to move on.

 

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#1. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana

What’s this!? Another Ys game on a top 7 list!? I know, I know, but hear me out. Ys VIIIsomehow, was able to do everything that Memories of Celceta did, but even better. Personally, I felt it fair to include both, as the overall feeling while playing each game is entirely different. While Memories of Celceta focused on the gameplay first and foremost, Ys VIII has story-telling as its focal point. In my opinion, Ys VIII can be viewed as an evolution of the franchise, as the heartfelt story full of twists and turns suck you in and build an emotional investment. With similar (yet, improved!) fighting mechanics, challenging bosses, gorgeous environments, beautiful cutscenes, and no shortage of heart-pumping music to keep your blood pressure elevated, all of the characters you meet and places you will visit in Ys VIII will stick with you long after you’ve finished it.

It’s a masterpiece of Nihon Falcom and one of my favorite games of all time, on any system. If I can get you to check out anything today, it’s this game.

Word even has it that it’s releasing for the Nintendo Switch… on June 26th, 2018. Hey wait a minute, isn’t that today!?

 

The Over-Caffeinated Nostalgia Mage loves video games, getting nostalgic for the 90s, and his beautiful wife who may or may not be standing right behind him. You can read more words written by him over at his blog Nostalgia Trigger.

 

13 thoughts on “Console Challenge, Day 26: Top 7 best Playstation Vita games!

  1. I bought my Vita to play PS1 Classics. I missed all the Playstation Final Fantasy (and Chrono Cross) games when they originally released so I thought it might be the perfect occasion to play them.

    Three years later and I still haven’t played any of them. I’m too occupied with the monthly PS+ games and a bunch of other cool games I bought at discounted price. Some of my favourites are the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, Gravity Rush, Velocity Ultra and Velocity 2X, Child of Light, Severed, Sonic & All-Starts Racing Transformed, Stealth Inc, Fez, Counter Spy… So many good games on that system, I could continue for a while!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love my Vita, although it mostly gets used as a way to easily play original PSX titles on the go and have some PSP titles as backup. That said my list would probably include: Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, LBP, Tearaway, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Rogue Legacy, Sound Shapes, and Lumines: Electronic Symphony.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great use for it. I’ve been planning a large purchase of a whole buncha PS1 classics that I never had as a young fella, as playing them on the go is really the only way for me these days!

      Also, that’s a solid list! I need to look into Sound Shapes, it’s the only one I haven’t heard of.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. On the top of every other list of best Vita games! 😉

      Truth be told, I do enjoy JRPGs, but I’ve not yet played P4G and wanted this list to be outside the box of the typical games you always see gracing these top lists. There are tons of great games on the Vita in just about all genres (particularly v. novels and dungeon crawlers), and out of the ~30 or so games I’ve completed on the console, these 7 stood out far from the rest.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Like

        1. I was surprised as well – I’d never really played a game like that before (and enjoyed it, at least). I think the loot system is what did it for me. I love me some loot.

          I also bought one of the other Vanillaware games (the remake of Odin Sphere) but haven’t been able to get into it yet. Then of course there’s Muramasa Rebirth which looks like a blend of the aforementioned two!

          Like

          1. I think I’ve got Muramasa as part of PS Plus. Whether I’ll get around to it is a different matter.

            My Vita is my handheld of choice, but I’m going to have to make an effort to get some 3DS games done!

            Like

  3. Yeahhhhhhhh PS VITA! I mean, I mainly use mine to play classic PS1 games, but I DO have a few Vita games and I enjoy them thoroughly! I do want to pick up Ys VIII; sounds like my kind of game :P.

    Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ryan! It’s a great console for playing all those old games. I do wish Nintendo would follow suit and continuously bring their library forward, but they seem to take their sweet time with it unfortunately.

      However, in the case of the Vita, the availability of so many generations of games makes it worth a purchase if only to play the classics. It truly is an amazing handheld, wish it took off more in the west!

      Liked by 1 person

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