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.