People keep telling me that the PlayStation Vita is dead. Hell, even Sony referred to it as a "legacy platform."
I've said it before and I'll say it again: you're wrong!
Now we're halfway through the year, it's the perfect time to look back at an exceptional six months of handheld gaming. Though we've already covered the Top Ten PS4 games of 2015 so far, I had to combine the 3DS and Wii U to bulk out yesterday's list.
The Vita, conversely, can easily carry one all by itself thanks to a range of exquisite localised Japanese titles, cross-play greats and more. Naturally we've linked to our reviews and the best prices on the internet for your convenience.
Steins;Gate is a true modern classic, not just as a videogame or visual novel, but as a work of fiction and a story for the ages regardless of medium. You owe it to yourself to pick up Steins;Gate, and when you do, buy it on Vita. The new handheld version is the best of the bunch due to its gorgeously crisp screen and built-in convenience features.
Steins;Gate presents a truly captivating and uncompromising storyline with exquisite characters, powerful themes and often heartbreaking choices to make. It's a beautiful, essential thing. - 10/10 review
- Best Vita Price: £19.99
Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines
The Vita's biggest problem is its lack of publicity, which lets any number of exciting games fall by the wayside. Oreshika is the perfect example: a defiantly unique, stunningly beautiful and intricately-designed JRPG that challenges what you'd normally expect from the genre.
Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines is an RPG to sink into and savour. You'll create your own doomed clan over dozens of hours and generations, writing a unique and deeply tragic story as you court Gods, explore dangerous labyrinths, watch your children die and ultimately reclaim your honour. - 8/10 review
Halfway between Magicka and Starship Troopers, Helldivers is a fantastic shooter with hectic co-op and great cross-play features. As a cross-buy title, one purchase lets you play it across PS4 and Vita, picking up your progress and blasting hordes of foes online in a persistent battle for the galaxy.
Come on you apes! You wanna live forever? - 8/10 review
- PSN: £16.99
Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy
Operation Abyss buries a great dungeon crawler beneath obtuse mechanics and an atrocious interface. Thankfully the story and the sensational dungeon design makes it well worth excavating.
There may be less convoluted and more accessible dungeon crawlers on the market, but if you're a seasoned genre veteran craving something more involved, Operation Abyss has the deadly depth you're looking for. - Review
- Best Vita Price: £27.95
OlliOlli 2: Welcome To Olliwood
This skateboarding sequel ups the ante in every department, delivering addictive gameplay, great visuals and new tricks. Mechanically polished and fun through and through, it's perfectly suited to the Vita's sensational screen and 'pick up and play' sessions.
Oh, and it's cross-buy too.
- PSN: £9.99
Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed
Hyperdimension Neptunia U is a superb tie-in, a saucy parody and most importantly a satisfying handheld brawler in its own right. It's rare to see great spinoffs of fanservice-heavy series -- indeed, they're usually atrocious -- but Neptunia U bucks the trend in all the right ways and benefits from surprisingly great writing that lovingly skewers games journalism in the process. - 8/10 review
- Best Vita Price: £28.99
J-Stars Victory VS+
J-Stars Victory VS+ is a crossover for the ages and a delightfully mad brawler in its own right. A few shortcomings are overshadowed by the attention to detail, great cast, riotous combat and the big silly grin it will leave on your face. - 8/10 review
Though it's available on PS4, Bandai Namco also brought the full game to Vita, which proves to be a great platform for its short yet insane battles. Its enormous and compelling list of modes, not to mention story campaigns, makes for a worthwhile handheld purchase.
- Best Vita Price: £22.00
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 is an excellent remake, retaining the quirky parody story of the original Hyperdimension Neptunia while bringing everything else up to date. Enhanced combat, visuals and gameplay systems make for a great portable RPG, while the short dungeons work better on Vita than they ever did on PS3. - 8/10 review
Compile Heart really proved their mettle with this one, revamping their flawed original game into a seriously great JRPG that's custom-designed to excel on a handheld format. It's gorgeous, hilarious and... well, obviously fanservicey. But hey, when I'm a fan of something, I like to be serviced. The sequel was capable, but sadly lacked much of the humour and character of the first.
Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition
Is it cheating to include a classic multiplatform shooter on this list? The Megaton Edition finally made its way to Vita with bags of content and smoothed-out graphics, matching the Steam price rather than gouging us silly.
Come get some! - 8/10 review
- PSN: £7.99
Last but not least we have a port of a legendary platformer. A little like Spelunky by way of Dark Souls, this extraordinarily brutal yet rewarding experience is well worth a look over the slow summer months.
- PSN: £11.99
Not bad for a "legacy platform," eh? Let us know what you've been playing in the comments!