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PlayStation Vita review roundup

The PlayStation Vita handheld gaming platform launches this week. So how good is Sony's latest gadget? 

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The controls

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"The Vita hardware makes use of just about every control paradigm used in the gaming world today, from traditional hardware buttons to touch and motion," writes Sam Byford of The Verge. "The physical layout is pretty similar to the PSP, with the four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, and a D-pad joined by a pair of analog sticks, though unlike the PS3 you don't get button functionality by pushing them in." The Vita, Byford adds, "also has an array of motion sensors, including a gyroscope, accelerometer and digital compass, which allows for the same sort of input as the PS3's Sixaxis controller." 

The hidden costs

"Anything downloaded and installed on the Vita must be done with the use of a Vita Memory Card, as the Vita has an undisclosed – but seemingly small – amount of onboard storage," writes the team at CNET. "Vita Memory Cards are even smaller than the game cards, mostly resembling Sony M2 and microSD cards. Vita Memory Cards have become a particularly controversial subject with the Vita, as it's also required to play almost all Vita games and media apps. Even more disheartening is the fact that a Vita Memory Card isn't included in the box." 

The software

Writing at Engadget, Sean Buckley calls the software on the Vita, which is controlled via the touchscreen, "smartphone-esque." Touch is "the name of the game; the menu won't accept any input, save that of your capacitive-friendly digits, Buckley continues. "Blowing off the buttons is a bit of a bold move, but when the touch controls work this well, we really don't mind. Navigation is simple and intuitive – flicking north or south brings you through as many as ten pages of staggered icons, each representing an app, game or feature." 

The conclusion.... 

"The Vita is not a flawless system, but when it comes to the important features that make a handheld gaming console worthwhile, it hits most of the notes," writes Kyle Hilliard of Game Informer. "Incredible graphics, responsive touchscreen and tilt mechanics, and the extra control stick make the Vita one of the most well-rounded handhelds we’ve ever seen. Given its myriad input options, the Vita can satisfy the casual gamer used to playing games with a touchscreen and the much harder to please hardcore gamer who wants full control and amazing graphics." 

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