So here we are at my favourite games for the console. Each one of these is an essential buy for the platform and something I could easily recommend to any gamer, regardless of tastes. So without any further introduction, here are my top 10 favourite Vita games as of the end of 2016:
10. Atelier Totori Plus
A beautiful game by all definitions of the word, Atelier Totori Plus is a turn-based RPG with a heavy focus on alchemy like many games in the series. What sets Totori apart is the emotional story of the main character’s quest to find her mother – in fact, character interactions remain a high point throughout the journey, alongside some fun combat and stunning world-building. Definitely worth checking out whether you’re a fan of the genre or not.
9. Killzone Mercenary
Guerrilla Cambridge’s magnum opus and the Vita’s final massively-budgeted production, Killzone Mercenary is everything I’d hoped it would be and even more. Stunning to look at and much less punishing to control than previous Killzone games – the multi-faceted campaign gives a fantastic level of replay-ability and the addition of botzone multi-player cements the package as a must-own.
8. The Walking Dead: A Telltale game series
A triumph of story-telling, The Walking Dead takes Robert Kirkman’s comic book series as a base to create a layered, fascinating world full of morally grey characters. The beauty is in the decisions to be made – although they have may no long-term bearing on the outcome, you’re forced to make choices where neither is desirable and cope with the consequences which quite often means struggling with the loss of people you’d grown to love. A modern classic.
Media Molecule have a knack for the whimsical and Tearaway is no exception – a cutesy papercraft platformer full of adorable creatures and fantastic world-design. What makes the game so great is the journey – although brief, it’s unforgettable as you travel through snowy mountains as Iota or romp through the desert on the back of a papery pig. The ending message is truly touching and made the experience that much more special.
6. Atelier Meruru Plus
I thought it would be difficult to surpass Totori, but Meruru manages it in just about every way. A new kingdom-building mechanic adds a welcome structure to the gameplay and the additional characters flesh out an already bountiful roster. Combined with the ever-beautiful Arland world, it creates a truly memorable JRPG.
5. WipEout 2048
The final game from the magnificent studio Psygnosis is an absolute masterpiece and a beautiful work to go out on. Despite a framerate cut, the racing feels as fast-paced as ever and even more hectic thanks to wider tracks and a heavier focus on combat. Alongside some beautiful visual design and an incredible variety of content (even more with the DLC), it’s the best racing game on Vita and one of the best in general from recent years.
4. Metal Gear Sold 3: Snake Eater HD
Arguably Hideo Kojima’s greatest gaming achievement, this prequel story focusing on Big Boss shifts the action to the Soviet jungle which provides a lush, memorable setting for the franchise’s signature stealth action. The story returns to the simplicity of previous entries while featuring enough twists and turns to keep it engrossing throughout and some fantastic set-pieces and boss fights top off the experience. Armature’s porting work is to be commended once again as the title runs beautifully on the handheld.
3. Hotline Miami
An ‘indie’ game like no other – a beautiful, visceral achievement of fast-paced 2D shooting action mixed with a gorgeous neon aesthetic; trippy surreal story and some absolutely fantastic pieces of music on the soundtrack. An experience unlike anything else I’ve experienced, the game fits on the Vita like a glove and is truly a fantastic title worth playing by anyone.
The first ‘pure’ visual novel I’ve played might never be topped thanks to its engrossing story of time-travel gone wrong that was the most intense, thrilling and heartbreaking tale that kept me returning until the eventual true ending. The emotional bonds formed with the characters and the development of the lead Okabe ensure you’ll remember the experience long after the credits roll. A masterpiece.
1. DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Unforgettable is the one word I would use to describe DanganRonpa, a murder-mystery visual novel with exploration and investigation elements that is in a league of its own among contemporaries. A fantastic cast anchor the over-arching mystery story and you’ll find your emotions toyed with on more than one occasion as people you grew to love get slaughtered or worse – turn out to be the killer. An experience I’ll always remember and hands-down my favourite game on the Vita.
So there you have it, my 10 favourite games on PlayStation Vita as of the end of 2016, after slogging through the full top 50 as well as 10 PSP and 10 PS1 titles.
I have no doubt that my lists will be substantially different by the end of 2017, purely due to the fact that I’ve a massive backlog of fantastic looking games across all 3 formats that I intend to whittle down over the coming 12 months.
Whether you’ve ever believed it or not, let it never be said that Vita has no games – for my tastes, Vita has too many games and has been my de-facto gaming platform for more than 4 years. Here’s to 2017!