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PS Vita Rooms: Our day in Manchester

We recently took a trip to Manchester, where we visited the launch party of Sony’s Vita Rooms event and got our hands on their upcoming handheld; the PS Vita.  Despite having the voice of  Tim Westwood damaging our ear drums through the speakers for the entire night, we did our best to play what we could of the games on show and share our opinions with you. You can read what we thought below.

Escape Plan With a touch screen and rear touch pad amongst the Vita’s many features, it’s probably no surprise that one of the machine’s first games makes heavy use of both of these, but Escape Plan isn’t the mini game collection you’d expect from a device like this. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, pitting players against unique and clever puzzles, as one of the game’s two main characters; Lil and Laarg.

The first thing you’ll notice about Escape Plan is its unique visual style that, despite its black and white colour scheme, does the Vita’s stunning display more justice than most other titles on offer.

As the name suggests, Lil and Laarg must escape danger and they need the player’s help to get past a range of traps and obstacles that otherwise prevent them from reaching the next room. You’ll overcome these problems by doing either one of two things; tapping the touch screen or trapping the rear touch pad. This will allow you to move your character and interact with the environment in different ways. For instance, one of the game’s most basic puzzles had us pushing obstacles out of Lil’s path as he walked through the room.

With a simple control scheme and dark colour palette, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Escape Plan is a dull game, but this isn’t the case at all. The game shines through its smart puzzles and interesting level design, which will both have you coming back for more. If you’re a fan of puzzle games or just want something a bit different, then Escape Plan is definitely one to watch.

Motorstorm RC I’ve been a fan of the Motorstorm series ever since the first game and the racing genre as a whole is something that appeals to me. Especially when it also includes large amounts of destruction and an aggressive, competitive edge. Despite this, I didn’t know what to think when I first saw the announcement for Motorstorm RC. On one hand, I’ve loved every game in the series to date, but on the other hand I wasn’t sure if Evolution Studious could make the switch to RC cars successfully, whilst still retaining the frantic action that made the previous games so much fun.

Although it’s been given the Motorstorm name, Motorstorm RC is more like a Micro Machines game that takes place outside. And in the mud. It’s great mud though and the highly detailed textures of the environments are crystal clear on the Vita’s OLED screen, making the game a pleasure to look at.

Unfortunately though, its settings are really the only thing that Motorstorm RC shares with its brother. The ability to take the lead by smashing your opponents off cliffs has been stripped from this installment, in favour of a more classic, time based approach to winning races. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with this, the desire for some simple racing in a contained environment is one that can be satisfied elsewhere, for a much lower price. Assuming it isn’t released for 69p, of course.

The huge, fun races of Motorstorm just aren’t that huge, or that fun, when the virtual cars you’re racing resemble something not much bigger than your foot. But ultimately, Motorstorm RC is proof that smart phone apps are true contenders in the handheld gaming market.

Super Stardust Delta Super Stardust Delta follows on from Super Stardust HD and Super Stardust Portable, the previous PSN titles in the series and if you’ve not played a Super Stardust game before, then there’s a good chance that you’ll have played something like it. It’s a typical, space-themed, twin stick shooter.

The player controls a small fighter ship that can move in any direction around a shield surrounding a planet, whilst simultaneously shooting at rocks, meteors and enemies in order to score as many points as possible.

The left analogue stick controls spaceship movement, whilst the right stick controls your weapons and allows you to shoot in any direction. This control scheme, although simple, is perfect for the game’s high paced action and increasing difficulty, just as it has been in the past.

The simple gameplay mechanics make this the perfect travelling game and the title’s addictive formula makes this a must have for anybody, as you’ll probably spend more time playing it than anything else, even if that is through 10 minute sessions on your way to work.

Wipeout 2048 Wipeout has been a strong IP ever since the release of the first game on the original PlayStation and it’s appeared on every Sony console since, so its only right that the next game in the series comes in the form of a PS Vita launch title.

The game plays much like previous handheld entries in the franchise, but it also includes a few new additions too. Just like before, players race anti gravity ships on a range of futuristic courses, whilst trying to hit boost pads to gain an advantage and collect offensive and defensive pick ups along the way.

As well as adopting the franchise’s classic control scheme, Wipeout 2048 gives players the option to steer their ship with the Vita’s tilt controls. During my time with the game, I found this to work extremely well and I was instantly comfortable with the control scheme, thanks to how responsive the machine’s tilt controls are.

Another new addition to the franchise is cross platform play, which allows owners of a PS Vita and a copy of Wipeout 2048 to go up against a PS3 gamer playing Wipeout HD.  Of course, you’ll need to choose a track that appears on both titles, but this shouldn’t be a problem as they share a fairly large number of locations.

The most impressive thing about the game is how stunning it looks and how well it runs. The environments and ships are amazingly detailed and the colourful tracks look better than ever before on the Vita’s OLED screen. Not only does the game look amazing, but it runs at a constant 30fps, making for an incredibly smooth experience, more akin to that of a home console than a handheld device.

Wipeout 2048 is by far the best game I played at the event and is a must have for anybody looking to purchase a Vita when it releases next month. Whether you’re a fan of the franchise or not, the game is set to provide a truly unmissable experience.

You can keep an eye on our latest Vita news, reviews and previews by clicking the image on the right or going here to visit our PS Vita launch centre.

The console launches in the UK on February 22nd and you can pre-order either the Wi-Fi or 3G model, along with any of the titles set to launch alongside the device, from ShopTo by clicking here.

Edited On 20 Jan, 2012

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