There are a few notable facts about the PlayStation Vita we should get out of the way quickly:
●Positives: Nothing stops this from being the pre-eminent portable gaming device right now. A gorgeous (and gigantic) OLED screen and dual analog sticks provide the best gaming there is. More than two-dozen games are available at launch, with many more accessible online for download, making this a robust competitor to the Nintendo 3DS.
●Negatives: It's a pricey piece of equipment at almost $300, and this is before you've bought your first game. Though portable, it's not exactly discreet in size, and the touch-screen features for most of the launch games aren't as refined as one would hope. Many may wonder if the age of mobile gaming on iPhones and tablets makes hardware like this unnecessary.
The best launch-day title for the Vita by far. The game is a blend of the FIFA 11 and FIFA 12 console versions, and only die-hard fans of the franchise will notice the flaws. Tons of game modes (both online and off) and excellent controls make the world's most popular sport an excellent travel buddy when you want to hit the pitch for some soccer action.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
The franchise has perhaps too much pressure heaped on it, and because of that, Golden Abyss falls a bit short of expectations. This is what happens when you have a golden goose like Uncharted -- the burden of success is almost too high. The game serves as a prequel, and pulls it off well until the dialogue gets cliched and predictable. Touch-screen controls are cumbersome and interfere with the flow too often, leaving you wanting more gunfights. Nathan Drake has had better times uncovering hidden treasure, but this is your best bet for adventure on the Vita thus far.
Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
It's unfortunate that World Invitational plays like a port of previous Hot Shots Golf games. Other than a few Vita-enhanced aspects such as touch-screen controls, you won't encounter anything you haven't seen before. But what makes this game perfect for Vita is that the franchise never should have been on a console anyway; from the outset it feels built specifically for a portable gaming system. Brief contests on a variety of imaginatively designed courses make for an enjoyable stroll across the links.
Sadly, we've seen much of Wipeout 2048 before -- nearly all of its content is available in past Wipeout games. The game features some decent uses of the Vita's touch-screen and tilt capabilities, but long load times and a rough initial learning curve may turn back some players. This isn't a bland racing experience; just don't look for Vita-inspired innovation.