"Bring out yer dead!"
"That'll be nine pence."
"I'm not dead!"
"'Ere, he says he's not dead."
"Yes he is!"
"Well, he will be soon! He's very ill."
"I'm getting better!"
"I can't take him like that, it's against regulations."
"Well, can you hang around for a couple of minutes? He won't be long."
"I think I'll go for a walk..."
"You're not fooling anyone, you know!"
Contrary to what you may have heard, the Vita's not dead just yet. Read these reviews, then come back on Thursday. (Or just whack it now and put it on the cart. Whatever works.)
|Not a game known for its good taste.|
The Vita struggles admirably to keep up with the chaos, but occasionally fails, resulting in crashes at the worst possible moments. If the Vita freezes halfway through a lengthy mission, congratulations! You get to do it all over again! [EDIT: It's not quite that severe. The game saves your progress periodically, but if there's a crash, you'll have to wait for the minute it takes to return to the title screen.] Even when the system can keep from messing its pants, it can't match the performance of the Playstation 3 version, with a lower frame rate and enemies that burst into a resource-friendly spray of blood after they've been killed. So the Vita isn't the ideal way to play Borderlands 2, but considering its high demands and the system's limitations, it's impressive that Iron Galaxy got the game running at all.
LUMINES ELECTRONIC SYMPHONY
|Why settle for an ordinary bonus?|
That's a shame, because Electronic Symphony is every bit as hypnotic as previous games in the series, with the added bonus of slick new special effects. Drumming the back of the Vita in time with the music will also reward you with power ups that can clear away dangerously high stacks of blocks. It's one of the rare uses of the system's back touch panel that won't make you resent the dreadful thing's existence!
The only issue with Electronic Symphony is an unfortunate constant in Lumines games. Some of the musical selections are more irritating than entrancing, particularly The Chemical Brothers' Hey Boy Hey Girl. (This is popular why, exactly?) The puzzle piece designs are also more distracting now that they're animated, but hey, there are worse things you can do with five bucks.
DEAD OR ALIVE 5+
|You can count on it.|
Luckily, Dead or Alive 5+ gets everything else right, and is one of the better fighting games in a library packed to the gills with them. You want the smooth, graceful action that's been a trademark of the DOA series from the very beginning? It's here. You want amazing graphics that nearly rival what you'll find in the home versions? You've got it. You want access to Virtua Fighter stars Sara, Akira, and Pai? Of course you do, and Dead or Alive 5+ gives them to you without the hassle of unlocking them in the story mode first. The only things you won't be getting are the upgrades from Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate and Dead or Alive 5 Final Round, which is only bad news if you're eager to pay for more superfluous downloadable content. If you want swimsuits, buy a copy of Sports Illustrated.
GUILTY GEAR XX ACCENT CORE PLUS R
|You'd need a miracle to pull me away|
from Dead or Alive 5+.
So it goes with the latest Guilty Gear installment. Despite the superfluous subtitle (you guys lost me at "Accent"), it doesn't seem like much has changed since the fourteen year old Dreamcast game. You've got the same cast, with a handful of newbies continuing the Guilty Gear tradition of extreme weirdness, the same screaming heavy metal riffs, and even the same aspect ratio, with dark bars covering the edges of the Vita's widescreen display. I guess I didn't need all those extra pixels anyway! The bottom line is that it's business as usual for the Guilty Gear series, with little that will turn off fans or inspire detractors to give it another chance.
TOUCH MY KATAMARI
|They see me rollin'...|
It may just be more Katamari Damacy (and it's not even one of the better entries in the series), but there's a peculiar comfort in having this game wherever you go. It's not the first Katamari game on a handheld, but it's a more pleasant experience than Me and My Katamari thanks to the Vita's dual analog sticks and a significant reduction in load times. The PSP game would grind to a halt at certain points in your ball's growth, but on the Vita, you're free to scoop up everything from the tiniest crumbs to the tallest buildings without jarring pauses in the action. This makes annoyances like overly difficult level goals and, uh, the king's skintight gold lamé pants a little easier to swallow.
ODDWORLD: STRANGER'S WRATH HD
|Few games capture that wild west feel|
like Stranger's Wrath.
|Just one of many officious pricks you'll|
meet in your adventure.
|Get bent, you commie throw rug.|
|Hey king, have you ever considered a cup?|
(special thanks to IMDB for the Monty Python quotes)