With the recent news that the servers for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and PS Vita are closing down, there comes with it a lot of questions. What happens to the games I have digitally? What about the games that don’t have physical releases? Does this mean we won’t get a Vita 2?
While we don’t know the answer to the third question, we do have a rough idea of the others. The PlayStation Vita servers will shut down for good on the 27th of August and with that, an entire generation of gaming comes crumbling down alongside it. This is something you want to be cognizant of in advance.
Lasting mere months under a decade, the Vita was a diamond in the rough as a handheld machine. There were a surprising amount of decent exclusives and, for most gamers, this was a way of accessing the Japanese market with tons of visual novels and RPGs.
Though its sales weren’t impeccable, it had a solid, cult-like following of gamers clamouring for new games on the store. This shutdown means the hard work of thousands of teams goes up in smoke and so too do your chances to play what they’ve worked on.
For those unlucky enough to get physical releases, this is the end of the line. For this reason, I thought I’d take you through a few classic titles you should get before they’re gone. Though some of these can be accessed through other means, every game on here deserves to be here as playing them on PS Vita is possibly the best way to play them.
A quick preamble, some of these did get limited releases in the Asian market but the barriers of entry for importing means your likelihood of playing them is still very low. If the physical release is in such small numbers, it’s worth picking up digitally anyway.
Finally, you can still play games you’ve bought but you lose the chance to buy any more on the 27th. Happy hunting!
9 Digital Only PS Vita Games to Play Before the Servers Close
While you can technically get this by importing a copy from Asia, the likelihood of that happening is fairly slim. For this reason, I think it’s justified to include the best possible version of Soul Sacrifice you can buy.
Whilst the standard edition might still be easy to find, Delta is a game you must pick up. At its core, it’s a bloody, brutal RPG with the ambition of some console games at the time. Delta merely adds more content to what you can already find in the base edition.
PlayStation has a history of lovely, musical handheld games. From the addictive rhythm of Patapon to the smile-inducing romp of LocoRoco, it’s clear this was a focus early on. Sound Shapes is no different, having you play a platformer whilst making some chill beats.
As you move through each level, you collect items that add to the soundtrack around you. This means you are actively a part of each sound as it grows more and more. The music certainly grew on me.
Super Stardust Delta
Sometimes, when you play PS Vita, you’re simply looking for a fun arcadey challenge. Super Stardust Delta has this in spades. Although it looks quite simple, it’s surprisingly engrossing using pounding movement, motion controls and an interesting use of the touchpad.
It’s just gimmicky enough to show off the Vita a little without becoming obnoxious. Its gimmicks are also entirely optional, meaning you can passively play it when you’re wasting away the time.
I’m cheating a little bit here as this did get a limited release at just 3000 copies and a release on PS4. This being said, getting your hands on a copy is more expensive than the Vita itself – not something most will do. For the fraction of that price that a digital copy will cost you, it’s well worth it.
Severed gets in here for its sheer uniqueness. Where other games nail things you’ve played before, Severed offers an experience that works best on Vita technology. It’s one part Metroidvania, one part Fruit Ninja, as hectic as that seems. You rush through areas tactically swiping the screen to destroy everything in your way.
If you have the energy for it, it’s quite a lot of fun and will certainly point out how unique the Vita really is. Although it came to PS4 at a later date, the Vita is where Severed truly shines. Don’t miss out!
Backwards Compatibile Titles
The PS Vita also became a really solid emulation machine later in its life through PSP and PS1 titles on the store. Don’t let this go to waste. At a reasonable price and offering a real part of gaming history, I’d advise looking through the often overlooked retro titles on the store.
You might be pleasantly surprised. The selection isn’t huge but it’s varied enough to offer something to most players. Not only this, the chance to stroll through gaming history is one that will be just a little harder when servers close in August.
Persona 3 Portable
I’m going to be honest, for the first 3 months or so I owned a PS Vita, it became my Persona 4 Golden machine exclusively. To be even more honest, it’s half the reason I bought it. If you’re anything like me, Persona 3 Portable is a must-buy before the stores close.
This often doesn’t get the love it really deserves so consider this entry a cheat entry. Just play it already. With an excellent story and a great cast, it’s hard to stay away. The PSP version of the game is considered by many to be the greatest way to play it. That’s a hard thing to miss out on.
Available in the PS1 classics section, Tomb Raider is an essential choice for many. With its tanky controls, wild boss fights and dual pistols, the Tomb Raider franchise has always been iconic. Being somewhat of a PlayStation right of passage, this is a must-play if you have the time and money.
If you aren’t a huge fan of the controls, the Vita version likely won’t sway you, but if you can stomach them this is an excellent choice.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
In a very strange choice, the MGS HD collection on Vita did not come with Peace Walker, as the other editions did. This means the cost to own all three games is a little higher on this little handheld. With the PlayStation controls and the way you can crawl up nice and cozy with the Vita, it’s well worth playing on here.
Often cited as the greatest PSP game of all time, with its fantastic stealth and engrossing story, it’s easy to see why. This is made even better with a blanket and some earphones.
Vagrant Story’s Story is a bit of a sad one. Although it blew people away on its release, it never really stood up to Final Fantasy, its flashier older brother. For what it lacked in polish, it made up for in genuine charm and RPG innovation. If you’re looking for an excellent RPG to whisk you away for 100 hours, look at Persona 4 Golden.
Then after you’ve finished that, come check out Vagrant Story. I can promise it’s worth your time. You might want to come and have a look at what many missed all those years ago.
It’s hard to think of where the modern horror landscape would be without Silent Hill. It grabbed a little bit from horror games before it and injected intelligence, empathy, compassion. It takes an unquestionable look at both the psyche of the characters and the player itself.
Just as it came from the footsteps before, everything has come from the footsteps of Silent Hill. I know this seems pretentious but it really is that good and it only got better with its sequel. Without Shattered Memories available from the store, this is the only way to play Silent Hill digitally on PlayStation.
We’ve already mentioned it once already, why not mention it three more times. Patapon is a great little game from the PSP era and well worth remembering. It’s a rhythmic strategy/music game where you fight armies with your own. It’s also way better than that sounds.
It really uses its minimalist style to great effect, looking striking and sharp almost 15 years after its initial release. You’ll often find yourself rocking back and forth internally cheering as you take down insurmountable enemies with nothing but a small group of cheeky Patapon creatures. Pata Pata Pata Pon!
And with that, you have a nice mix of Vita original games and old retro classics to tide you over after the servers close and part of PlayStation history crumbles with it. The games might not make you feel like you did way back when but they should provide that cathartic pain of nostalgia PlayStation are so good at providing.