Dual sticks!

Next week sees the debut of Sony's latest handheld gaming system, the PS Vita. Normally I like to have a full ink-and-paper review for each of these new gaming systems, but after spending a few days with my review unit I realized that I already wrote a review of the Vita. Last year, in fact.

Granted, at the time it was actually a review of the Nintendo 3DS, but if you take this article and substitute "Vita" in place of "3DS" where necessary, the whole thing is still pretty accurate.

Hit the jump for explanatory text.

See, I like the Vita, at least in theory. Technologically it's a very impressive piece of hardware. The screen rivals all but the most expensive high-definition televisions, the battery life is on par with my iPhone and the graphics this thing is capable of putting out are just shy of what you might see on the PlayStation 3. There's no doubt that it's the most powerful handheld gaming device on the market, but what's a gaming machine without any quality games?

Alright, maybe that's a bit unfair. The Vita launch line-up isn't necessarily bad — the new Lumines is an excellent addition to the series, and Uncharted: Golden Abyss handily lives up to the quality standards set by its predecessors — but nothing available for the system (now or in the foreseeable future) serves as a convincing argument for why any of you ought to shell out $300.

To wit: The Vita has its own iteration of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. If you'll recall, my affection for that game borders on the romantic, and yet I just can't get excited about what is essentially a rehashed product. Those two titles I mentioned above? Both are good, but both have also been done better on other platforms. The Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of Lumines Live was more comprehensive and better looking than the Vita game, and the recent Uncharted 3 offers far more to see and do than its handheld counterpart.

Don't get me wrong: I don't want to talk anyone out of buying a Vita. If you have $300 burning a hole in your pocket and desperately need a way to punch Spider-Man while riding Tri-Met, then by all means, pick one up. However, those of you with a better use for that money shouldn't feel bad about holding off on this purchase.

I have optimistic faith that Sony learned its lesson with the original PSP and will eventually fill the Vita's library with worthwhile, quality titles, but that's at least a few months off. Hopefully by that time the handheld will also have received a price drop. So just hang on to your money. Maybe buy a puppy for your significant other. By the time that pooch loses its adorable, clumsy, infantile qualities, Sony should have its act together.