Not since the original Wii, has there been a platform that was so “undead” like the PlayStation Vita; a system that was in this weird purgatory where it was considered a critical success among the masses, and yet was still regarded as a commercial failure. Still, we can only hope that the handheld can host a couple more game collections that could use the portable treatment, poetically giving them, and the Vita, a second chance at a new life.
Here are some properties that could use the travel package treatment, considering the potential choice-cuts that’re available for a bundled release.
The one issue that the Vita inherited from the PSP was its lack of exclusive properties that made carrying one around worth the investment. Not to say that Sony’s pocket systems never had any killer apps of their own, and a prime example of that was Japan Studio’s Patapon, a rhythm-based real-time strategy game that had you time your beats for some beat-downs.
Timing different combinations to the tune of a jungle drum, players would guide a growing tribe of savages to victory as they would challenge rival tribes for land and posterity in order to regain the honor they once had for their Patapon heritage. Patapon became popular enough to spawn two more sequels with its surprisingly deep and quirky gameplay, and it wasn’t long before the trilogy was considered to be a cult-classic among PlayStation fans, and voyeurs alike.
Strangely enough, two of the three games never saw a Vita port, which was a shame considering how brilliant the touch-screen interface could be for a reimagined control scheme. Then there’s the upcoming remaster of the collection that’s slated to release for the PS4 later this year; a Vita version of that collection with a Cross-Save feature for its console counterpart would make all the sense in the world for Sony to follow through with -- like, an absolute no-brainer even.
Before they were known for their games about sexy, violent Witches, or pulpy action, pen-and-ink brawlers, Platinum went by another name, one that wasn’t simply just another rose, but a Clover instead.
The original Capcom-owned studio helped usher in modern day classics that’re still cherished to this day; classics like Viewtiful Joe, Okami, and God Hand were titles that truly embodied the creative spirit that the team went on to brand themselves with. As acclaimed as the lineup of software is however, they’re admittedly still niche games that are arguably considered to be sleeper-hits than runaway ones, making them all the more ripe for re-releases on an interface that they’re already familiar with.
It’s no secret that the Vita’s touch control options aren’t the most popular among its features, but the potential they hold for the unique dynamics of the Clover trio is something shouldn’t be ignored. Think back to the Wii port of Okami; the transition it made to motion-controls was subtle enough to be fresh without overpowering the purity of the gameplay, it was a move that influenced many to consider the Wii version of the game to be the definitive one.
Speculation aside though, these experiences are one that rightfully deserve another release on hardware that can do them justice, and I can’t think of a better way to do it then to include them all in a budget assortment.
I don’t know if you guys heard, but 3D platformers are back in style -- like, gamers are straight HOT for these free-roaming scavenger hunt experiences right now. In all the excitement for this nostalgic renaissance though, one particular gem seems to be glossed over by the fact that it wasn’t on the Nintendo 64; Japan Studio’s Ape Escape had you scrambling through dozens of worlds to nab the eponymous simians themselves in a weird, but enjoyable series of collectathon games.
When Ape Escape: On the Loose was first release at the PSP’s launch, critics found the revival to be too ambitious, as it suffered from the limitations that it had with the PlayStation Portable’s button layout and single-stick control, which doomed any possibility for the underrated sequels to get another revision themselves on the new handheld system. The Vita is the new opportunity that franchise needs to return from obscurity; I mean do you guys remember what the last Ape Escape game was that released? Ape Escape Move…a party game focused around the troubled motion-control peripheral, it didn’t even get a physical release in the states.
All Sony needs to do is to get Vita remaster of Ape Escape: On the Loose, and Ape Escape 2-3 from the PlayStation 2 onto one loaded cartridge, and they’ll be able to cash in on the platformer fever with a series that rightfully deserves the prestige that the genre is currently enjoying from the public.
It’s strange that the world we live is one where we’re being treated to RPGs that are starting to get a sequel count in the double digits (Persona is HALF-way there!) and yet there are plenty of other properties that only have a handful of titles to their name.
The Parasite Eve series is such a franchise, and while it hasn’t exactly been ignored by Square, the publisher has done a crap-job at reviving the series by shoveling the originals over to PSOne Classics on the PlayStation Network as a shallow attempt to generate excitement for the release of the third entry at the time, The 3rd Birthday.
The science-fiction horror story of Aya Brea is one that deserves to be told again with an upscaled production effort that would fit right at home on the PS Vita. The mechanics of the game’s combat mechanics and stage design are ideal for a “pick up ‘n play anytime” setup that can be alternated between each other like epic chapters to a grand story. Complete the arrangement with additional content, and some behind-the-scenes access to the development of the three titles, and you’ve got a prospect that’s already exciting in concept alone!
It’s a surprise that Square hasn’t already released a collection like this after continued support of the platform with releases like Dragon Quest Builders and World of Final Fantasy, a Parasite Eve collection could be just the thing to push owners to charge the sleek Sony handheld once again.
I find it strange that Nintendo is the first brand that people think of whenever the topic of weird games come up, especially when Sony has been open to the idea of a game about surviving in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo as a Pomeranian.
The What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord? series (part of the The Yū-Nama series) is a prime example, as they focused on the premise role-reversing the traditional fantasy setup where players take the action of a villain who is trying to defend the safety of his lair from the onslaught of adventure heroes who line up in droves to challenge your domain. The strategical nuance is reminiscent of a tower-defense style of game, only you’re given way more liberty in you arsenal to defend the Demon Lord from the defeat of a noble champion with charming tools and traps made to specifically counter distinctive hero-types and powers.
The games never really got a fair break, as they were release late in the PSP’s life cycle with some potential legal conflicts over their original names that they projected to release with, and a rushed port of the third entry hastily dropped on the PlayStation Network with little to no fanfare. Hell, don’t even get me started on the silent treatment the upcoming VR spinoff of the series is getting.
The initial two "Badman" games and No Heroes Allowed, with some of the Yu-Nama puzzle mobile games sprinkled in what could be the niche RPG equivalent of Super Mario All Stars that we never knew that we wanted, yet still deserve to have, and there’s no better system to accommodate the wacky collection that the PlayStation Vita.
The odds of a major title landing on the little handheld in 2017 is slim, but that doesn’t mean that the Vita should be ignored.
There are so many games with collections, like God of War, and Ratchet and Clank that can have plenty of games to arrange into a budget-minded package made to rekindle the same magic that they did when they first came out. The Vita can do so much more, but for now, I’d be happy with the idea of taking some of these potential collections with me on my next flight or road trip on a portable system that doesn’t get enough credit for how awesome it is.