(thumbnail photography by Nary Fam)
The PlayStation Vita is a home for many different types of games. However, the handheld is mostly known for having a slew of visual novel and Japanese role-playing games. These types of games often feature enthralling stories. Since I’m a huge fan of the PS Vita, I decided to make a list of my favorite stories I’ve experienced on the portable device.
The Caligula Effect
I was pretty excited to get my hands on The Caligula Effect. It’s an exclusive PlayStation Vita game that’s an Atlus-published JRPG which includes a story led by Persona series veteran Tadashi Satomi (Persona, Persona 2: Innocent Sin, and Persona 2: Eternal Punishment) — so this game pretty much had my name written all over it.
The Caligula Effect has a unique story, to say the least. It’s about a group of students who are trying to escape from a virtual world called Mobius. What’s interesting is the world is designed to be the perfect place to live, but these students just aren’t satisfied, which I personally thought made for a really interesting dialog. The world is run by a virtual pop-star named ‘?’ (pronounced Myoo), along with her group of evil music producers and an army of Digiheads. Overall, there’s a lot of dark themes and enthralling story pieces that I was constantly engaged in.
The Walking Dead Seasons One & Two
Telltale’s The Walking Dead is one of the most critically praised games in recent years. Thanks to Sony, this gem was added to the PlayStation Vita’s library. While the title did have some issues running on the handheld, it was certainly still playable. It also featured a separate trophy list — therefore added another platinum to my trophy collection.
In the first season, you play as Lee Everett when all hell breaks loose; it’s up to you to protect your group from flesh-eating walkers — among other things — The Walking Dead is a truly remarkable game. In fact, it’s more than a that, it’s an experience that will not be forgotten.
The Walking Dead Season 2 also made its way to the PS Vita and featured seamless transition from touch-screen controls to button controls.
Actual Sunlight is a game that might leave you feeling sad and depressed. But I think there’s something special about a game that is capable of invoking such feelings. This short indie title covers depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide extremely well. Throughout the game you’re trying your hardest to like the main character but he continues to point out all of his flaws which slowly leads you into thinking “wait, this guy is just a douchebag”. Yet, you feel for him every step of the way. No one is perfect, so the main protagonist is easy to relate to. We all think horrible things that we are too afraid to say out loud. I commend the one-man studio (Will O’Neill?) who wasn’t afraid to say what many of us think on a daily.
If you’re in need of a good cry, Actual Sunlight may be able to help you with that. Also, the game was available for free with a PlayStation Plus subscription a while back, so it may be in your download queue!
Persona 4: Golden
I took a leap of faith when purchasing Persona 4: Golden for PS Vita. I wasn’t too JRPG savvy at the time, but after jumping into Persona 4: Golden, I was instantly in love. From its charming characters to its phenomenal take on turned based strategy, I got lost in countless hours of Persona dueling madness. Not to mention the hours lost building character relationships and taking part in the daily duties of my character. This game opened me up to the genre and now Japanese role-playing games are another big passion of mine.
The entire game I couldn’t quite figure who was behind all of the bizarre murders taking place Inaba. Gathering the group around a table and having long discussions about who we think the killer could be are some of my favorite memories with any game. It is truly a one of a kind game — if you own a Vita and have not played Persona 4: Golden yet, do yourself a favor and play it. Persona 5 is also a great game to check out on PlayStation 4 if you’re not a fan of handheld gaming.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Uncharted: Golden Abyss set the bar for what mobile games were capable of at the time. As one of the Vita’s signature launch titles, Golden Abyss looks absolutely stunning. Sony’s Bend Studio somehow managed to give Golden Abyss its own individual flavor without changing Uncharted’s core mechanics. Drake and Sully return and continue their witty banter we are used to. The writing is well done, and the game actually implements treasure hunting elements we had never seen in the series before.
Your goal is to uncover the dark secret behind the massacre of a Spanish expedition to Central America 400 years ago. Doing so will require a ton of mass murder sprees from Nathan Drake. Don’t worry Nate, you’re too darn handsome not to love. In short, Golden Abyss is a grand adventure in the palm of your hands, full of treasures, parkour, puzzles, and of course, an interesting dialogue.
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