Nintendo may have done its best to spoil Sony's party by announcing that Monster Hunter would be coming to the 3DS, but the air of celebration continues around the Vita. 31 games for the handheld made an appearance at the Tokyo Game Show, and - Monster Hunter aside - it was the biggest pull of the event.
With no firm word of a release date outside of Japan and no region locking for the console's software, there is of course a huge temptation to import Sony's Vita when it comes out in the East on 17th December. 26 games launching alongside the handheld ensure that, unlike this year's 3DS launch, there will be a wealth of options when it comes to picking up games.
Sony's first-party games provide the obvious highlights - and Uncharted: Golden Abyss is as close to an essential purchase as there is for the Vita, both a technical marvel that's perfect for showcasing the console's power as well as an extension of one of this generation's best-loved series.
Third-party support is strong and varied. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is arguably the pick of the bunch, wisely leaning heavily on the connectivity of the handheld to tap into the game's rich sense of community. Elsewhere, Namco upholds the tradition of releasing a Ridge Racer at launch, while Ubisoft upholds its own less noble tradition of shovelling Gameloft ports onto new handhelds with the poor Dark Quest: Alliance.
Power Smash 4
A pleasant surprise from Sega, Power Smash 4 (or Virtua Tennis 4, as it'll be known when it leaves Japan) manages to do much more than simply port over the well-worn arcade template to the Vita.
Touch-screen controls have been well thought through, with prods and swipes firing off appropriate shots and volleys. It's the mini-games that benefit the most, and Sega's clearly had much fun exploring the further reaches of the Vita's many control schemes. One game switches to a first-person perspective, the gyro being used to navigate and track incoming balls, while another takes a top-down perspective and allows two players to face off on one Vita.
It all looks remarkably handsome to boot, the robust visuals translating well to that crisp, crisp screen. And of course, if you do want that well-worn arcade template unadulterated by touch controls, it's still all there for the taking.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
Here's one game that lives up to the promise of PS3 games playable on the move - in most regards at least. Capcom's feature-complete port of its comic-book brawler is an impressive feat, and while a little fidelity's lost in the translation, everything else is present and correct.
Indeed, Marvel vs. Capcom's combo-heavy fighting is arguably a better fit for handheld than some of the more complex games in the genre. The three-button fist-play ports well to the diminutive face buttons, and the Vita's d-pad will make an equally accommodating home. Should that all be a bit much there's always the touch-pad shortcuts which work in a similar fashion to Street Fighter IV's recent handheld outings.
The Vita's biggest boon to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is what its connectivity brings to such a social fighter, a fact heavily alluded to by Yoshinori Ono as he revealed the game, even if precise details aren't yet forthcoming.
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