With 2016 at a close and 2017 kicking off, I decided to look back over the best thing I’ve played on my Vita since I bought it. I’ve been an owner since December 2012 thanks to getting a LittleBigPlanet bundle for my birthday that year and it’s pretty much been my main console ever since.
I’ve been planning to make one of these lists for quite some time, but due to uncertainty of the Vita’s future I always figured I would hold off to be able to play more games and maybe get a final list in close to the end of the console’s life. But with 2017 having a full slate of releases that may even extend into 2018, I figured now was as good a time as any (as I can make a new list at the start of 2018!)
Please bear in mind – this list is only comprised of games I’ve played. I have a backlog like you wouldn’t believe of PS1; PSP and PS Vita games that I’m hoping to whittle down throughout 2017, though with the rate releases are continuing to come out I’m not sure I’ll ever be finished!
So without further ado, here is the first part of my list, games 50-31:
50. Ridge Racer
Despite being everything the reviews made it out to be (a poor effort lacking any content), Ridge Racer on Vita still has redeeming qualities that make me love it. The fast-paced arcade drifting is still there and with all the DLC packs installed there’s enough content to keep you coming back to it – for the right price, it’s an absolute blast.
49. Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment
A little more grindy than I would have liked, the game is still an impressive feat on the handheld packed full of content; a lively game world; interesting pseudo-MMO combat and a relationship system with each of the heroines.
48. Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation
A bold, ambitious game that almost comes apart from being too much for Vita and sadly skimps on story, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation nevertheless provides some solid portable stealth action in a beautiful open world that’s worth experiencing.
47. Civilization Revolution 2 Plus
The perfect franchise for handhelds. While Civilization Revoution loses points for dumbing down its systems to make it more accessible, it’s still an impressively addictive title that allows you to play world domination on the go through engrossing turn-based combat and resource gathering.
A game I initially failed to understand when played on PC that I fell in love with on Vita, not least thanks to some amazing porting efforts from Blitworks. A fun action-RPG with impressive depth to many of the combat systems and a thoughtful story, definitely something worth checking out.
45. DanganRonpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls
While not reaching the highs of the other titles in the series thanks to a slightly disappointing story, DanganRonpa Another Episode makes up for its shortcomings with a beautiful world to explore; eerie tone throughout and experimental third-person shooter/puzzle hybrid gameplay, as well as some beautiful character interaction between Komaru and Toko.
44. Demon Gaze
First-person DRPG’s aren’t something I ever thought would appeal to me, but Demon Gaze eased me well into the genre with its forgiving difficulty; likable cast of characters; fun gameplay systems and intriguing world to explore. I sincerely hope the sequel finds its way over here in the future.
43. Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen
A janky third-person stealth-action game that manages to overcome any technical shortcomings thanks to some great game design and legitimately fun sandbox gameplay elements. An impressive launch title for the system that still holds up well to this day.
42. Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD
The ex-Xbox exclusive sequel to the storied Oddworld franchise switches things up from platformer to third person shooter and is all the better for it, providing a beautiful world to explore alongside compelling new gameplay ideas unlike those found in many of its contemporaries.
41. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;birth 2: Sister’s Generation
The most fleshed-out Nepunia title I’ve played on Vita, the game adds new characters; locations and multiple endings to the blueprint of the previous game and is all the better for it, providing an enjoyable JRPG experience that is also the perfect entry point for newcomers.
40. Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
Better than its sequels thanks to a more focused design and better platforming challenges, Sly Cooper feels right at home on the Vita thanks to a solid porting job from Sanzaru Games, providing a great stealth-action platformer on the go.
39. Borderlands 2
Technical issues almost hold it back, but Borderlands 2 is such an enormous, engrossing game that it’s well worth experiencing on Vita even with the framerate hiccups and missing content. An amusing story; an abundance of loot and some challenging shooting arenas means you’ll be occupied for a long time with this one.
38. Gundam Breaker 3
Further taking its prequel’s blueprint and improving on it to provide an action-shooter with a heavy emphasis on loot and customization, the game provided a welcome distraction in a sea of 2016’s RPG’s for some enjoyably fun shooting action.
37. Earth Defence Force 2017 Portable
EDF is one of those series that either clicks for you or not – but if you can get into it, the progression of mindlessly shooting alien invaders to level up and gain new weapons is insanely fun. Well-designed; full of content and perfect for killing time on long trips or grinding some levels while watching TV.
The absolute phenomenon makes the transition to handheld surprisingly well and is my personal favourite way to play it due to being able to complete a bit more of my worlds anywhere I go. The game is as good as you make it – although constant updates and DLC have ensured that you’ll always have new tools to expand as far as your imagination can take you.
35. Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando HD
Taking everything that was wrong with the first game and improving upon it in almost every aspect, Ratchet & Clank 2 follows the titular duo’s continued adventures through the galaxy with new weapons; new enemies and new environments and is a whole lot of fun.
34. Jak 3 HD
While Jak II pulled the main characters out of the whimsical world of the first game and into the dark and gritty Haven City, Jak III plonks them in the desert and attempts to return to many of the design sensibilities of the original game. Vast and teaming with content, the port isn’t without its problems but is still an absolutely fantastic game to have with you on the go.
33. Atelier Ayesha Plus
The beginning of the Dusk trilogy starts much stronger than Atelier Rorona, thanks to a likable main character; her emotional quest and some streamlined alchemy systems. The game shows the beginnings of Gust’s experiments with combat and – although not perfect – is an extremely enjoyable turn-based JRPG on Vita.
32. Cel Damage HD
An absolutely manic car combat game with a beautiful Saturday-morning-cartoon aesthetic, sadly mostly overlooked by the masses yet provides some incredibly hectic fun of smashing other cars with hilarious weapons that just can’t be matched on handhelds. Well worth a shot.
31. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty HD
Hideo Kojima’s follow up to the critically-acclaimed masterpiece Metal Gear Solid is more tonally inconsistent and features a rambling story, but makes up for this with some amazing gameplay improvements; consistently impressive boss design and a gorgeously realized world. Armature’s perfection in the porting process makes this classic well worth revisiting.
To be continued…