A long time ago, on a blog post far, far away I wrote about how my beloved PS Vita gets around 2-3 weeks usage every year…
The PS Vita still remains my go-to device for long journeys but that’s about it. I love being able to get lost in Borderlands 2 when I’m stuck in the airport waiting for my delayed flight; or defying the laws of physics in Gravity Rush whilst relaxing on a sun lounger. Other than these moments, my treasured Vita sits patiently in my drawer waiting for next year’s holiday romance to commence.
This has all changed. Nowadays, my PS Vita’s rarely far from grasp; if it’s not in my back pocket, then it’s usually in my hands… or on charge. In fact, all of this changed around five months ago at the turn of the year. Why am I only waiting until now to write about it? Well, I’ve been busy playing on my PS Vita, silly!
Yeah, yeah… Back in January, I finally bit into that bullet and invested in a larger memory stick. When I picked up my Vita back in 2012, I rolled with the 4GB stick. A bad move I guess, but still, it was plenty to get me started. To be fair, I’ve always preferred my games as physical copies, so as I wasn’t really downloading content, 4GB did the job. An added bonus with physical releases is that you get something to look at, whether that be a swanky case or an in-game manual…. well, at least you used to. Back in the day, it was great to be able to sit on the toilet and read through video game manuals and learn how to drop in-game bombs whilst you dropped more figurative bombs.
Ermm… anyway. Moving on.
Now, manuals are virtually nonexistent. Game developers have gone paperless and if you want to read a manual, you’ll have to go online. Not that they’re of any interest to you anyway as they’re usually just control schemes and trademark rulings; No encyclopaedias on enemies or vehicles here! Even so, I still prefer my games physical. It means that they usually save space on a console’s hard drive put more importantly, they’re tradable (dependant on the value you place on them from a personal level of course).
…annnnddddd I’ve rambled. Sorry about that. What I’m getting to is that I had no real need to upgrade my memory card until I bought Borderlands 2. It comes with a hefty amount of DLC, all of which is redeemed via a download code. In all, the game takes up just under 3GB. If you’re not that great with numbers, that right there is the majority of my storage. I’ve racked up well over 50 hours on the handheld masterpiece and show no signs of finishing the game any time soon. As such, I can’t bring myself to part with it, so the logical step was to upgrade my memory card to something with a little more “oomph”.
I bottled it. The phrase “go big or go home” didn’t work out for me, I went small, but sufficient for my needs and then wnet home. After weighing up the 64GB and 32GB sticks, I went with the 16GB instead. At the time there was all the Nintendo Switch hype and I didn’t think that my PS Vita would get enough use if I bought a Switch so I didn’t want to go overboard. Plus, I cannot justify spending nearly £100 on a 64GB stick, and quite frankly, I don’t think Sony can either. We all know they’re money-whores for this type of thing; they did it with their PSP console and they do it with their digital cameras. Anyway, that rant is for another time.
Since my much-needed purchase, I’ve never really left me PS Vita alone. It sees usage almost every day now, albeit for no more than 10-20 minutes per session, but that’s still a hell of a lot more than it was used to. In a way though, that’s what the PS Vita is best at, it’s the perfect companion for commutes and for in my case, standing in the kitchen whilst I wait for the oven to finish browning off my chips (or fries…whatever).
I’ve been able to reinstall some of my previous PSN store purchases too, and with the extra space I now have, I’ve been able to take advantage of some of the store’s sales. Most noticeably of which has been The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy. Honesty, disregarding the occasional go on Gravity Rush, Little Big Planet or Persona 4, Ratchet & Clank is the only game I’ve played on my Vita recently. It’s taken up the majority of my time whilst I’ve been waiting for the microwave to ‘ping’ or when I’ve been stuck in some traffic jam, bumper to bumper.
I mean, I don’t do that. I’ve never done that. It’s wrong to play games whilst driving. Stop it!
*looks around nervously*
Ratchet & Clank 2: Locked and Loaded was probably my favourite game on the Playstation 2. It came out way back in 2003 when I was a charismatic 9-year old so it left quite the impression on me. Being able to play this one, as well as the other two classics on the go really is a childhood dream come true. All in all, the three games take up just over 2GB of space, which is pretty awesome. After everything I’ve downloaded, including the usually-gash PS+ freebies, I’m still left with around 5GB. 16GB seems to have been a great choice for me, I’d have liked the 32GB stick but I just couldn’t warrant spending that amount of money on something I wasn’t 100% sure I’d get the use out of.
At the time, I was also contemplating jailbreaking my console and installing HENkaku. HENkaku, if you’re unaware, is the first ever homebrew enabler for PS Vita and PSTV. It is akin to jailbreaking your iPhone or rooting your Android device. Homebrew are games and other software not officially approved. For example, VitaDoom is a port of the classic game DOOM and mGBA lets you play Gameboy Advance ROMs. I’ll admit that it’s not quite as good as the PSP in terms of what you can do with home-brew, but it’s certainly making traction recently… even if it has taken over five years! The fact that I cracked my old PSP many, many moons ago (we’re talking 7-8 years ago here!) put me off doing it with the PS Vita. The biggest drawback is that you lose all PSN functionality; so no PSN store purchases, no trophies and no abusive messages. Of course, in end I decided against the process and retrieved my chunky PSP from the loft.
I’m steadily building my collection of PS Vita games now. I’m constantly on the prowl for cheap deals both on physical and digital releases. The biggest issue is that for whatever reason, a lot of games seem to hold their value. There are games that are over 4 years old still selling for £30-40 in high street stores, some even online. I’ve had the most of my success on eBay, picking up used copies for cheap so I think I’ll continue to do this. I’ve got my eyes on a few titles, but by all means, if anyone has any recommendations – let me know!!
Back in January, I was so close to pre-ordering a Nintendo Switch. However, since getting my bigger memory card (and it’s not actually THAT big!), I can’t see myself getting a Switch for a long while. I know deep down, that it’ll be one or the other; I just don’t have the time, the dedication or even the desire to play both consoles.
For now though, I’m more than happy with my revitalised PS Vita. If you haven’t got one of these plucky, little consoles, I’d certainly recommend getting yourself one. They’re so much more enjoyable than mobile phone games and are a lot more portable than the Nintendo Switch seems to be. Although games and accessories seem to hold their value like a toddler holding in the contents of their bowels, the consoles themselves don’t. A quick search on eBay has found hundreds of PS Vita for less than £80, most of which come bundled with games too.
It’s a no brainer, seriously.