As surprising as it may sound, I got my hands on a few PlayStation Vita games while the Enthusiast Gaming team was in LA for E3 2018. Leading up to E3 I made a promise to cover any Vita games that were available to play there, which is exactly what I’m doing today! I was able to get my hands on four (but basically three) PS Vita games during my time at E3. Here are my thoughts on each title.
Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight & Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight
The PlayStation Vita may be a legacy platform at this point, but there’s still plenty of awesome indie titles making their way to the handheld. Then, every so often, we get mid-tier AAA games from publishers like Sega/Atlus, Square Enix, and a few others. Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight & Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight are releasing early next year, and just might be the last batch of titles from the Sega/Atlus publishing duo.
Developed by Atlus’ P-Studio, Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight & Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight build upon the PS Vita exclusive predecessor Persona 4: Dancing All Night in cool ways. However, one big thing the titles seem to be lacking is a traditional Persona storyline, which is what Persona 4 Dance featured (and was actually my favorite part of that game). Don’t fret! These two new dancing gems take a different approach with story elements and character interactions. Social links are now a part of the dancing spin-off series. If you’ve played any of the past three mainline Persona titles, then you’re fully aware of what social links have to offer.
Unfortunately, the information on how these social links work is pretty slim. The games are already out in Japan so I’m sure you could find out more info if you dig deep enough. But that’s not really what I want to dive into; let’s talk gameplay! — Haven’t played Persona 4: Dancing All Night? Then I can tell you exactly what you’re getting into. I covered Persona 4 Dance during E3 2015 and had this to say, all of which largely applies to Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight & Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight.
“Persona 4: Dancing All Night was very simple starting off, and the controls were not what I expected. I only used the ‘up, left, and down’ buttons on the left and the ‘triangle, circle, and X’ buttons on the right (that may change further into the game but it did not change in this demo). Symbols will shoot from the middle of the screen and hover over your HUD of six circles. Your goal is to perfectly time your button clicks whenever they float directly over the HUD circles. Like I said, things start off simple, but that quickly changes. I was amazed with just how complicated the game could get with such a simplistic premise, and it was exhilarating! Slide moves and double hits really jacked up the difficulty. Typically, I’m not very good at rhythm games, but this one seriously kicked my ass. But I didn’t want to quit playing!”
Persona Dancing games are chock-full of fan service and incredible music. If you’ve caught yourself tapping along to the beat of the music in Persona 3 and Persona 5 then you’ll probably have a blast playing through these new titles. I’m eager to see how the social link system works in replacement of a traditional storyline. If one thing is certain, it’s that P-Studio knows how to write engaging and charming interactions between its characters; I can’t wait to play through Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight & Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight when they launch next year on PlayStation Vita.
CHASM Just Might Find Success on Vita
CHASM is an indie game that has been a long time coming. I actually played it two years ago at the same E3 event that I did this year, “The Mix”. After jumping into CHASM again recently I can say it’s still easily one of my most anticipated indie releases. I talked with Dan Adelman, one of the CHASM team members — he told me that one of the previous projects he was associated with (Axiom Verge) saw major success on PS Vita even after a year-long delay. This is why they decided to bring CHASM to the PlayStation Vita as well. It was an awesome insight into how even the smallest games on the very small install-base of the Vita can find success in a niche market.
So what it CHASM? Well, let the game’s official description explain:
“Honor-bound to solve the mystery and restore peace to the Kingdom, you embark upon an epic adventure, with deadly battles against cunning monsters, exploration of ancient catacombs and castles, and powerful new equipment hidden at every turn. Though the overall story is the same for all players, your hero’s journey will be unique: each of the rooms has been hand-designed, and behind the scenes Chasm stitches these rooms together into a one-of-a-kind world map that will be your own.”
CHASM is a blast to play and a joyful world to scavenge through. The gameplay hits that nostalgic itch and continues to impress. The art style is gorgeous and features an assortment of varied settings. I would be surprised if CHASM didn’t catch the eye of a ton of retro-gaming fans just like Axiom Verge did. You can look forward to playing CHASM this summer when it launches simultaneously on PS Vita and PS4 (it’s also cross-buy).
- Explore six massive areas procedurally-assembled from hand-crafted rooms
- Enjoy challenging retro gameplay and authentic pixel art (384×216 native res.)
- Battle massive bosses and discover new abilities to reach previously inaccessible areas
- Customize your character by equipping armor, weapons, and spells
- Coming to PS4/Vita and PC (Win/Mac/Linux via Steam and Humble)
CHASM is the perfect style of game I enjoy playing on a handheld. I’m excited to finally get my hands on it when it launches sometime this summer — no official date confirmed but all signs are pointing to an announcement soon.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
The second I got into my demo room for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night the first question I had was “is it still coming to PlayStation Vita?”. The developer re-confirmed that it is in fact still making its way to our favorite handheld, and I’m hoping that never changes.
Just a few weeks ago we received Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon on PS Vita and it was received well by most outlets. In case you missed it, we think it’s one of the best games of the year thus far. So, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night already has a lot to live up to. If you didn’t know, the game is led by former Castlevania series producer Koji Igarashi, and is considered a spiritual successor to the series. Based on what I played, it’s hitting all the right notes.. for the most part.
My one major gripe with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is the art style. It’s just not very appealing. In a world where we’re getting fantastic looking 2D games like Ori and the Blind Forest and Rayman Legends, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night just doesn’t hit the same bar visually in comparison to most recent 2D and 2.5D games. Honestly, I prefer the retro look of Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, and would have loved if Ritual of the Night featured the same art style. But I digress.
“Bloodstained is an exploration-focused, side-scrolling platformer featuring RPG and crafting elements. Koji Igarashi, the namesake of “Igavania”-style games, is leading the project, with Michiru Yamane composing the music and DICO leading the development. The game will be developed for Steam (PC/Mac/Linux), XBOX One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PS Vita. You are Miriam, an orphan scarred by an alchemist’s curse which slowly crystallizes your skin. In order to save yourself, and indeed, all of humanity, you must battle your way through a demon-filled castle summoned by Gebel, your old friend whose body has become more crystal than flesh.”
At the end of the day, gameplay is king, and Ritual of the Night does gameplay splendidly. Explore and collect new weapons, get in heated fights, and take down some seriously tough bosses. I loved trying out all the different weapons I discovered throughout the build I played, all of which had their pros and cons. At the end of my demo, things really started to open up, so I’m excited to see what else the game has to offer. If you love metroidvania games, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be keeping an eye on Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is set to launch sometime this year with no date confirmed. Ritual of the Night was funded on Kickstarter with a campaign originally set for US$500,000. It successfully raised more than $5.5 million from backers, making it the most funded video game crowdfunding campaign on the platform until it was surpassed by Shenmue III shortly after.
There you have it, those are the four PS Vita games I was able to check out during E3 2018. However, there may have been more. I wasn’t able to check out a lot of indie titles and Japanese publisher’s booths. Do you have your eye on any of these games? Do you still play your PS Vita? Leave all your thoughts in the comments section below!