Vita Launch Line-up • Page 2

The best - and more interesting - of Sony's day one releases.

F1 2011

Given how well Codemasters' F1 games have fared on home consoles, it's a shame to see that its Vita debut looks so regressive. Yes, PS3 visuals on the handheld are something of a myth - even if some of the launch games do make an impressively close approximation - but seeing a game that's graphically well below what Sony Liverpool achieved on the PS2 is a little disheartening.

Still, the content's there, even if the visual quality currently isn't. Having the official license guarantees the best track list in town as well as a mighty fine garage. Handling isn't quite up to the spec of the more recent, retooled game, but it's no disaster, and there's at least an acknowledgement of the Vita's networking capabilities in the multiplayer options.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss

It's no surprise that the best looking game on PS3 would also be the best looking game on Vita, but the brilliance of Uncharted: Golden Abyss's visuals still comes as something of a shock.

Sony Bend has conjured a brilliant imitation of Uncharted's matinee world of dense jungles and stone temples, and the TGS demo - set in a burning house the Drake is trying to escape from - had echoes of the presentation that introduced Uncharted 3 to the world last year.

Sony Bend has also provided an equally convincing simulation of the series' mix of platforming and gunplay. It's fine-tuned to the Vita, introducing gesture based traversal and puzzles that use the touchscreen well. They're sometimes a less than perfect fit, though - touch-screen platforming seems like a fad too far when sticks and buttons are much more adept at the task - but it's not enough to detract from the marvel. Undoubtedly the must have of the Vita's launch line-up.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss footage

Little Deviants

As a collection of mini-games, Bigbig Studio's Little Deviants doesn't set the world on fire - but as a showcase of the Vita's many and varied control schemes it's much more impressive.

AR modes join mini-games that make judicious use of the touchscreen, but it's Little Deviants' use of the rear touchpad that really shines. In a game that's uniquely tactile, a maze is manipulated by poking the touchpad, guiding a ball into a hole by deforming the ground.

Elsewhere it throws up gyro-controlled traversal and a touchpad-enabled shooting gallery - not the most exciting fare, to be honest, but certainly a thorough way to explore the Vita's feature set.

Army Corps of Hell

One of the stranger surprises of TGS, Army Corps of Hell sees Square Enix take on some of Blizzard's darkly comic aesthetic, the result looking not unlike Codemasters' fantasy genre hybrid Overlord.

Army Corps of Hell plays out in a similar fashion, too; you control a towering demon surrounded by his goblin hordes, sending them out to attack enemies with the right analogue stick. Goblins come in three flavours, with wizards, swordsmen and ranged fighters all providing different approaches to the busy combat.

Overlord was itself a take on Pikmin, and what's really interesting about Army Corps of Hell is that its developer, Entersphere, is headed up by Motoi Okamoto, an ex-Nintendo employee who worked on the GameCube's much-loved gardening simulator. Reason enough, for sure, to keep a watchful eye on this one.

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