The PS Vita has been out for a while now so I accept that this review is late, however after having thought that Sony had ruined its launch in Japan and here in the U.K it looks they are finally beginning to turn it around with some good games coming soon and getting announced (Resistance: Burning Skies, Soul Sacrifice etc.) and a potential 20 games being announced at E3. So I thought I would borrow one and see what I thought of it now that there are enough reasons to actually buy one.
The first thing that hit me when I got it was the packaging it comes in, I know it's not really important to the quality of the console but the packaging makes it look less modern, it reminds of something from the nineties. Where the 3DS comes in quite a sleek box and looks modern and cool the Vita comes in this ugly blue box and really doesn't look all that cutting edge, luckily though, things change when you actually get it out.
The console itself is sleek and modern, it's made of plastic but feels solid and well made rather than cheap and nasty, the sticks look small but are perfectly usable and the screen is a really great size. It fits into your hands nicely and the cut outs for your fingers on the back are a good size and are well positioned so you don't have your fingers resting on the rear touchpad.
The problem is as soon you take it out of its box and get over how good it looks you realise that the only thing it comes with is a charger. It has no memory card and you need a memory card to play games on it, did I mention that the memory cards are stupidly expensive as well? Not including one is possibly Sony's biggest mistake with the Vita. Whilst it does seem idiotic that they haven't just used regular SD cards like Nintendo does it would be forgivable if the Vita came with a memory card, but it doesn't.
When you switch it on set up only takes a few minutes, you set the time and date and log into your PSN account and then you're good to go. There is an unnecessary and annoyingly long video that I think is supposed to make the Vita look impressive but really it's just annoying because all you want to do by now is play a game and you can't skip the movie. There is a welcome tutorial, which is totally optional, and that gets you used to things like the touch screen if you aren't already used to using one. Set up is quite simple really but there can be problems if you buy a pre owned one. If you want to use the PSN and someone already has the Vita tied to their account then you'll have to look up online how to format it so that it gets rid of their information and allows you to enter yours. This is annoying and time consuming but thankfully the fix for it is easy, just type it into google and you'll find plenty of websites that explain what to do.
A lot of people don't like the interface but personally I don't see what's wrong with it, it may not be quite as neat and tidy as the PS3's XMB once you have a decent number of games and apps but it is fast and intuitive and it seems to fit well with the overall style of the Vita and I think it's pretty cool for a handheld. Its at least as good the 3DS home screen and there aren't many complaints about that.
All in all, though it does have some glaring flaws like not including a memory card, and some minor niggles such as the potential messiness of the interface and the hideous packaging, as well as the fact that setting up a pre owned one can be time consuming, it is a great console with fantastic potential. Whilst it is overpriced it is gradually getting cheaper and shops like GAME offer good deals if you trade in a 3DS toward it. With some more good games finally coming out for it now is a good time to invest it because it seems like Sony are finally turning it into the great handheld that they promised us it would be.