One thing I’ve noticed late­ly has been quite a bit of doubt being cast towards Sony’s hand­held con­sole.  While the PlaySta­tion Vita real­ly could be doing quite a bit bet­ter in terms of sales for the device, it’s been treat­ing me quite well.  Right now, I’m in the midst of play­ing not one, but two games for the portable con­sole that I have been very much enjoy­ing.  In this ses­sion, I’d like to ram­ble a bit about my impres­sions, so far, of the two Vita games that have me hooked. 

Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward -

Ear­li­er this year, I decid­ed that I should heed the advice of sev­er­al respect­ed indi­vid­u­als and give Nine Hours, Nine Per­sons, Nine Doors a try.  When I first start­ed the game, it was a bit slow going.  I’m not sure what I was expect­ing from the game, I’d done very lit­tle research oth­er than con­firm­ing the high review scores it had received, but it was unlike any­thing I had played before.

After spend­ing some time with the game, its hooks final­ly sunk into me and did not let go until I’d seen every end­ing.  Thus far, I seem to be fol­low­ing a sim­i­lar pat­tern with Virtue’s Last Reward.  I’ve near­ly fin­ished one play-through of the visu­al nov­el game and it’s look­ing like I’ve got­ten one of the more bleak out­comes the game has to offer.  While this doesn’t sur­prise me ter­ri­bly, it has made my progress slow a bit.  I can always tell when some­thing is los­ing my inter­est a bit when I remove it from its respec­tive con­sole for anoth­er title and this has hap­pened with this game.

That’s not to say, for the record, that I haven’t been enjoy­ing the game.  The puz­zles are chal­leng­ing when you are try­ing to solve them and reward­ing upon com­ple­tion.  I haven’t resort­ed to switch­ing over to easy mode just yet, but I also have offi­cial­ly missed one of the gold­en fold­ers in one of the puz­zle rooms.  One time I acci­den­tal­ly guessed the cor­rect answer to a puz­zle and I just felt ter­ri­ble.  It real­ly felt, to me at least, like I had cheat­ed in some way.  I was try­ing to fail the puz­zle on pur­pose so I could just move on and find the clue that would lead to the answer, but it real­ly caught me off guard when it said that I had solved it.

The char­ac­ters are inter­est­ing and I can’t wait to learn all about the secrets those folks have in store for me as I unlock new end­ings.  I’ve very much enjoyed the ref­er­ences to Nine Hours, Nine Per­sons, Nine Doors and I’m look­ing for­ward to how those threads will end up pan­ning out.  The OLED screen on the Vita is gor­geous and makes the art of this game real­ly pop.  Over­all, I’ve been enjoy­ing the game quite a bit.


Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation -

Each year, on black fri­day, I always head out to Best Buy and pur­chase the new Assassin’s Creed game for that year.  Why?  Because for the last two years, it’s been dis­count­ed almost by half on that day.  With all the hype sur­round­ing the new game in the series, I still want­ed to wait for the sale, but was jon­s­ing for an Assassin’s Creed fix.  To sati­ate this urge, I went out and picked up the new Vita title Assassin’s Creed III: Lib­er­a­tion.

While I nev­er base a pur­chase com­plete­ly on reviews online, as you nev­er should either, I did glance at them and noticed that opin­ions seemed to be split.  I shrugged these off and picked up the game and I’m still yet to be dis­ap­point­ed.  There are quite a few things that this game man­ages to pull off in a way that makes it feel like a con­sole-qual­i­ty title.

The graph­i­cal capa­bil­i­ties of the Vita allow this game to look pret­ty darn good.  When you get up close to things, the dif­fer­ence shines though just a bit, but over­all every­thing looks good.  One thing I did notice was that some­thing about the voic­es occa­sion­al­ly doesn’t sound quite right.  The music could also be a bit more pow­er­ful, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard thus far.

One of the big new things with this game, not seen in any oth­er title in the series, are the per­sonas of the main char­ac­ter Ave­line.  She can change clothes in from time to time, hang­ing the per­cep­tion of those around her and giv­ing her dif­fer­ent advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages.  So far in the game, I’ve real­ly enjoyed how this has been put into prac­tice.  I’ve active­ly gone and changed my clothes to give me a bet­ter advan­tage in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions.  The part I’ve dis­liked about this fea­ture so far has been the added chores that come along with this sys­tem.  Each per­sona has their own noto­ri­ety and has to be man­aged indi­vid­u­al­ly.  While they had the right idea about let­ting any per­sona reduce the noto­ri­ety of any per­sona, it’s a bit too dif­fi­cult to reduce and it seems like guards start rec­og­niz­ing you a lot more quick­ly than in pre­vi­ous games.

The move­ment in this game is prob­a­bly among the most flu­id I’ve expe­ri­enced in a game from this series.  It real­ly feels like I’m run­ning through the envi­ron­ments seam­less­ly and quick­ly.  The com­bat also feels just as flu­id and fun as it has since the sec­ond game.  The tar­get­ing sys­tem has giv­en me a bit of trou­ble though, and it’s been dif­fi­cult to try aim­ing a gun at an oppo­nent.  With all this in mind, the game has its flaws, but it hasn’t detract­ed enough from the total expe­ri­ence enough to make me dis­p­like the game just yet.


Closing Thoughts -

I can under­stand that the Vita has seen some pret­ty lack­lus­ter sales fig­ures so far, but there are some good games releas­ing for it.  These two are just the begin­ning of a hol­i­day sea­son that’s look­ing pret­ty excit­ing for the hand­held.  I might find myself a lit­tle pre­oc­cu­pied with a cer­tain new home con­sole to pay it much atten­tion, but I do still have a com­mute that has been much more enter­tain­ing because of that lit­tle device.

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