Yesterday, we posted some reviews and capsule impressions on about half of the PlayStation Vita’s launch lineup. As you might have noticed, it was a pretty Sony CEA-centric half. Today, the embargo has lifted for pretty much everything else. Some other reviews and posts will go live as embargos lift, but in the meantime, here are our not-quite-reviews of a lot of third-party Vita games.
Army Corps of Hell
It’s not the Pikmin game we want… but maybe it’s the Pikmin game we deserve. Army Corps may wear the Square Enix name and make you want to bang your head and make devil horns with your fingers, but make no mistake: This is a game designed very much in the spirit of Nintendo’s RTS classics for GameCube (thanks in large part to sharing key creative personnel). Still, despite the similarity of play mechanics — you’re a dude who controls dozens of little minions divided into three different classes with distinct abilities, and you attack foes by chucking your servants at them — don’t go thinking this is just Pikmin with a Satan-colored coat of paint. It’s a far more linear kind of experience than its inspiration, more akin to a time attack or boss rush than Pikmin’s leisurely exploration was. That doesn’t make it bad; merely different. We’re still working on our full review of the game, but if you can stomach its rather high price tag it’s definitely one of the most notable and entertaining selections of the Vita launch lineup.
Gameloft’s Asphalt Injection brings the charms of simple iOS racing series to Vita at a much higher price point than the App Store. It’s true that Asphalt controls well on Sony’s new portable, and offers fun touch control schemes that take advantage of the Vita’s many features. But on the visual front, Asphalt injects little effort — presenting a bland set of environments, cars, and game mechanics. It’s still a fun game to play, but the lack of worthwhile visuals makes the $29.99 price tag a questionable purchase.
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II Extend
BlazBlue serves as a fine 2D portable fighting game alternative to Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom. Consider this the “definitive” version of Continuum Shift — which has already undergone its fair share of re-releases. Learning the intricacies of 19 characters (plus new ones like weirdo puppeteer Rellius Clover) across 11 modes (including cross-platform play and a crazy hard “Unlimited Mars” mode from the arcade version) will likely keep you busy. The option to use touch controls exists, but it feels like a complete afterthought or a feature-by-obligation — you’ll just want to stay with using analog sticks and buttons. While diehard fans who have every previous version will notice how this one doesn’t add a whole lot new, it’s still a great to have a damn good (and gorgeous) 2D fighting game for the system.
Dungeon Hunter Alliance
Looking for a great co-op RPG experience on your Vita? Well… keep looking. Dungeon Hunter isn’t a terrible game, but it’s not particularly good, either. It certainly does nothing to show off the capabilities of your shiny new Vita; the game is a recycled port of a smartphone game, and its visuals look decidedly sub-par for a PSP, let alone Vita. Despite its smudgy textures and blocky characters, it chugs in places, and its teensy-tiny screen font is basically an exercise in eyestrain. For those desperate to do some loot-grinding on Vita, it’s a quick fix, but we’d rather save our pennies for a rainy day in the hopes that the rain will bring a PSN port of Torchlight or something.