There was a time, many years ago, when handheld console-style RPGs were scarce. That is, handheld console-style RPGs with 3D visuals and a style that companies like Square Enix are known for. Let’s go back four years to 2010. The PSP and Nintendo DS are going strong in the handheld market, and Mobile was just getting its gaming groove started. Square Enix was developing for all three platforms, but they pulled something out of their development team that no one was expecting, Chaos Rings.
Chaos Rings was announced as a Mobile-only title that looked and played like a console-style RPG. Not only that, but Chaos Rings featured what was said as a lengthy story, had full 3D visuals that were right on par with the PSP and DS, and it was offered as an exclusive, whereas Square Enix hadn’t made any brand-new RPGs for those other two consoles at that time. Not to mention that the art designer of Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and X worked on the game. This was a huge deal for the industry. Many fans of the PSP and DS weren’t too happy about “phones” getting a brand-new turn-based RPG from Square Enix. Yet it happened.
Not only did Mobile get Chaos Rings, but it also got Chaos Rings II, and Chaos Rings Omega, a sequel and prequel to that original game. Handheld gamers quickly became jealous of this, as it offered competent visuals and that console feel on smartphones. It was something no one expected to ever leave Mobile. At least until last year, when Square Enix ported the game over to the PlayStation Mobile platform, allowing none other than the PlayStation Vita access to the original Chaos Rings. How does the game play on the Vita? Are there any issues? Here is our official review of the PlayStation Mobile title, Chaos Rings.
There are a lot of iconic franchises that go way back to the retro NES and Sega Genesis era of gaming. A lot of franchises began in this era, resulting in huge popularity and games into this generation as well. To name a few, I could say Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Phantasy Star, Castlevania. There are so many different franchises that have helped to shape gaming over the years, whether they shaped it from the beginning or something big came along later.
Among these franchises are franchises like Super Mario Bros that has constantly tried new genres with their games. Along with Mario is the blue hedgehog known as Sonic. Sonic was huge ever since Sonic the Hedgehog released on the Sega Genesis. Even that game is available on many platforms, including iOS and the Vita (through Sega Genesis Collection). But Sonic has also done a lot of experimentation with different genres, from platforming to RPGs to racing.
Sonic has gone into the racing genre pretty deep in this gen with Sonic All-Stars Racing. However, that is not the first handheld Sonic game that included racing gameplay. The PlayStation Portable had two racing games in the Sonic franchise. Whether Sega was testing waters or not, these two games had a unique style of gameplay that both appeased casual racing fans as well as classic Sonic fans. It just so happens that it’s playable on the PS Vita. Here is our official review of the PlayStation Portable game, Sonic Rivals.
The library of apps available on the PlayStation Vita is slowly growing. Not even a few months ago, apps in the form of streaming services really kicked off. While the Vita had access to the Netflix service more than year before then, developers finally brought many of the other services to the system. This included a lot of major hitters, most notably Hulu Plus, Crackle, Crunchy Roll, and Redbox Instant. This brought the Vita up to the same speed as the PlayStation 3, as far as these services go.
Last week, we brought you our official coverage of the Netflix app, which overall was a pretty good app. While this has been out for awhile, we definitely need to check out the other services. Every service has its own fanbase. The hardcore anime fans go to Crunchy Roll. Movie-goers head straight to Netfllix and Redbox Instant. Where do people go when they want to watch TV Shows? Those people go straight to Hulu Plus.
Hulu Plus is the streaming service, bringing new TV to all who want to fight them. With the same cost as Netflix, it is a highly-watched service. So, how does the service stack up on the PS Vita? Let’s find out. Here is our official review of the Hulu Plus app.
We are making a small announcement today, as we have been suggested an idea for our site that had never even begun to cross our staff’s minds before. A Donate Button. I know it’s tricky business to put that up there and ask for money. That’s definitely tricky business. However, there is an explanation for why we are on this in the first place.
It”s not question that this website is a big expense. As of right now, we don’t have strong enough relations with developers for review codes or game codes for giveaways. Importing new hardware. Yet, we have been having giveaways, and we make lots of reviews, not to mention the price for making this place free of having advertisements thrown all over the place. All of that has been coming out of pocket.
So, here’s the deal. We’ve put a Donate Button on the side of the page, just below the embedded version of our Twitter Feed. If you’d like to give a little back to us, feel free to click it. You can give as little as a single dollar, if you’d like. We’ve set it up so you can put any dollar amount that you want. After all, every little bit counts with our expenses of keeping this site running as well as game codes for our giveaways and all of the games we’ve been amassing for all of our reviews.
If you do choose to help us along, you may choose to do that donation via PayPal, or a Credit/Bank Card (there is a link towards the bottom of the Donation page for that). Though to make note, we don’t expect you all to donate. We’re not expecting to have everyone give back to us. We are simply putting it out there in case there is someone, like the person who contacted us earlier today, whom is interested in helping us along.
Be well, everyone, and we’ll have a new review for you tomorrow!
It’s been a whole month since our last LEGO game review, so it’s definitely about time we talk about another LEGO game on the PlayStation Vita. It just so happens that another LEGO game recently released on the Vita, as well as every other system around, thanks to a certain movie’s release. This is perfect for the timing of what seems to be a monthly review on a LEGO game.
Among all of the LEGO games on the Vita, there is an equal quantity of criticism and complaints about how TT Games is making their handheld games. Ever since they made LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril, there is an increase in negative attitudes towards TT Games, regarding not only the PlayStation Vita but also the Nintendo 3DS. This is mostly due to the fact that it doesn’t play like the game does on systems like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Negativity out there or not, TT Games is still making and improving their games on the Vita, and that is very apparent as their engines have been expanding and evolving since the Marvel game. Just how much has it been advancing since then? You’re about to find out. Here is our official review of LEGO: The Hobbit for the PlayStation Vita.
If there were a genre of games that I would say you find the most of on the PlayStation Vita, as opposed to any other console, I could not think of many genres. Many of the PlayStation Vita’s games are of various genres also found on other consoles. RPGs like Persona 4 Golden, Conception II, and Final Fantasy X. First person shooters like Call of Duty and Resistance. Racing games like Need for Speed and Sonic All-Stars Racing. Fighting games like Street Fighter x Tekken and PlayStation All-Stars. But there is one genre that I would agree that Vita has a lot of that most other systems don’t, Hunting and Raiding.
To define the genre of Hunting/Raiding games isn’t very easy. In essence, it is the genre that games like Monster Hunter started, where you are sent into a dungeon on a timed mission to defeat enemies or enemies and a boss and to collect materials and weapons as you lay the smackdown, normally with huge weapons that it doesn’t seem possible to carry and use. It’s hard to define the genre because so many people think of it differently. Some call them Action RPGs. Others say they’re Action titles. The worst part? Even big companies call them different things.
The Vita has been home to many titles like this, as have the 3DS and PSP. However, the Vita is home to a lot of them. Monster Hunter began this genre and the Vita is getting a Monster Hunter game before too long, but there are other options. Ragnarok Odyssey. Toukiden: The Age of Demons. God Eater 2 in Japan. Soul Sacrifice. There are a lot of different Hunting/Raiding games available and Ragnarok Odyssey has recently been advanced and released in the form of its new form. This is our official review of Ragnarok Odyssey Ace for the PlayStation Vita.
The PlayStation Vita’s list of apps is slowly growing. Alongside, the equally-growing list of apps available through PlayStation Mobile, the Vita has access to default apps like Mail and Calendar, to many other apps via the PlayStation Store, like Flickr, Facebook, LiveTweet, Hulu Plus, and more. The app library is slowly growing, and there are a lot of popular services now available on the system. From social media to media streaming services, there is a lot of non-gaming ways to enjoy a PlayStation Vita.
One area of applications that we have no gone in-depth to review yet is a notable one: media streaming. There are many different services around that allow you to stream music and movies. If you recall, we had made a review for the Crunchy Roll, an anime-specific streaming service, which did pretty well on the Vita. However, there are many others out there, and many are much more popular. Red Box Instant. Hulu Plus. Netflix.
If we had to choose one that had to be the most popular and had the most content, Netflix would be our choice. Netflix doesn’t have incredibly recent material (though it does have movies as recent as Insidious: Chapter 2), but it has an immense amount of content you can enjoy. So, how does Netflix stack up on the PS Vita? Here is our official review of the Netflix app for the PlayStation Vita.
When we first made the decision to divide the Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster Collection into two separate reviews, we were worried there would be too much time in between the two reviews. We worried that there would be weeks, or even over a month of time between the time we posted the review for Final Fantasy X to the review for Final Fantasy X-2. Two weeks is definitely a good bit of time, but we didn’t have as much time between the reviews as we feared.
As we jump into this review, one has to remember that these are two separate games, though they are part of the same collection. You cannot buy Final Fantasy X HD Remaster without Final Fantasy X-2 HD Remaster. Vice-versa, you cannot get Final Fantasy X-2 without Final Fantasy X, with the exception of the three winners of our Final Fantasy X-2 contest from a month ago. They are the same, though they are separate games.
That is also a reason why we needed to review the games separately. If you review a collection together, it may not give the viewer an accurate depiction of the game’s worth. Throw an outstanding game with a horrible game and the outstanding game could easily outweigh and move the score to a higher score than you would give if it were just the other game. It is true here. Final Fantasy X-2 will not get the same score that Final Fantasy X achieved. As for why, here is our official review for Final Fantasy X-2 HD Remaster.
There are many genres of games where you really don’t see very many games for, at least in the United States. Think about some game genres that you don’t see hardly any of. We see a lot of different games for popular genres. You see Role-Playing Games like Final Fantasy and , Shooting games like Call of Duty, platformers like Rayman and Mega Man. Even rhythm games are starting to become more mainstream overall, due to the success of franchises like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. On the Vita, many popular franchises are seeing new light, but there are also some genres that you don’t see often on any platform, let alone on the Vita.
One such genre is the Dating Simulation genre. This is actually a very popular genre in Japan, but due to the nature of some of these games, they are kept in the Japan and Asia regions, never reaching the shores of the United States, Canada, Europe, and other countries in the North America and PAL regions. Not all of them are made like that, though, and a few of them have crossed the borders, offering a unique experience of relationship-building and winning the hearts of characters from within the game.
Last week, PlayStation Mobile updated with a decent amount of new games, available for download on the PS Vita (and PlayStation-certified Android devices). Among them was a game that this reviewer downloaded simply because the title was hilarious and I could tell there would be hilarity ensuing within the game, itself. A dating simulation game, one of the Vita’s first (outside of relationship-building in games like Persona 4 Golden) of the genre, we have played it and played it. Here is our official review of the PlayStation Mobile game, Don’t Die Dateless, Dummy!
Last month, we were finally able to do one of the biggest projects for our site and community since the creation of the site: a giveaway. We amassed a few codes and had giveaways for the US version of Final Fantasy X-2 HD Remaster. It came and went with a lot of activity and entries. There were over 100 entries in that contest, which was much higher than I was expecting.
Due to the success of that giveaway, we have decided to try to have game giveaways every month. Now that we are nearly to the mid-way point of April 2014, we have collected a game code we are going to give away. This will be a game we have reviewed before. The Indie game, flOw.
We are going to have the giveaway on April 09, 2014, three days from today. The code will also be US Region, and will be good to redeem the PS Vita, PS3, and PS4 versions of the game, thanks to Cross-Buy.
If you’d like to enter this giveaway, send us a Tweet at @vitareviews , or comment on this article. Good luck to all, and do note that not all of our giveaways will be for the US Region. We will have EU giveaways in future months.