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PlayStation Vita Holiday Buyer’s Guide

 PlayStation Vita Holiday Buyer’s Guide

Downloads

PlayStation Plus 

While PlayStation Plus may not have had the best beginnings, Sony has changed that over the past year. The service originated on the PS3, and starting last month, made it’s way onto the Vita. Membership costs  just $17.99 every three months, or $49.99 a year, and will provide all kinds of benefits for your Vita. If you’re already familiar with the rewards on the PS3, you’ll now get the same benefits for your new handheld. The most important reward of all? Free games. Check the list below for the first batch of games Sony let loose for paid members. It’s worth noting that you can only keep these games as long as your a Plus member, but new titles will be cycled in over time. Currently available for free are the following.

  • Uncharted: Golden Abyss
  • Gravity Rush
  • WipEout 2048
  • Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack
  • Jet Set Radio
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
All of the games listed are worth trying out, especially Gravity Rush and Mutant Blobs. The offering gives Vita owners a wide array of titles from the past year, providing a cross-section of what the system has to offer.

Sound Shapes

If there’s one game that utilizes the unique features of the Vita, in the most natural way, it’s Sound Shapes. From the creator of Everyday Shooter, Sound Shapes is best described as a “musical platformer.” Many well known musicians, including Deadmou5 and the Superbrothers, contributed tracks which themselves have levels designed around them. At it’s core, you jump around as a formless blob, collecting musical notes to finish levels, and adding to the background music as you go. But, in addition to looking and sounding fantastic, it allows you to create your own levels, a feature that fully utilizes the rear touch screen of the Vita. For more information, check out our review hereSound Shapes can be purchased from the PlayStation Store for $14.99.

 When Vikings Attack

When the game first released, I wrote a review of When Vikings Attack, centering around the PS3 version. While the experience was fun, I found many of the core design elements would function better on a handheld device. After putting a good bit of time into the Vita version, I still hold that belief. The single-player campaign may not be as robust as it could have been, but the multiplayer makes up for this. Online matches are quick, easy, and a hell of a good time. From my own experience recently, there is still a decent sized community playing Vikings online, and it’s even more fun if you have friends to play along. For $9.99, you’d be hard pressed to find a better multiplayer experience on the Vita.

Gear

Memory Cards, Memory Cards, Memory Cards

Especially if you have any interest in the downloadable content mentioned earlier, you’re going to need storage. Keep in mind that larger games can easily take up around 3.5 GB, so that bundle memory card could get full real quick. Unfortunately, you have to buy Sony’s proprietary Micro SD cards, and they are pretty expensive. Your options are as follows.

  • 4GB – $19.99
  • 8GB – $29.99
  • 16GB – $59.99
  • 32GB – $99.99

The good news is, you can find places that are selling below the MSRP. Checking for the usual deals on sites like Amazon.com can shave a few dollars off these prices. It’s just one of those things that, if you want to get the most out of your Vita, you’re going to need a lot of storage. How much, depends on your interests.

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