Join members of El33tonline as we release our lists of the very Best Games of 2013, including our own personal lists and round-ups of the best games on each platform.
Here is Tom’s list of the top ten PS Vita games of 2013.
The PS Vita’s line-up this year doesn’t compare favourably to its console counterparts in terms of the number and variety of blockbuster titles released for the system during 2013. The good news for current and future PS Vita owners, however, is that the handheld had a great year with regards to smaller, downloadable titles such as Hotline Miami, LIMBO and Thomas Was Alone. The PS Vita also received excellent ports of some of the best games of the year, most notably Rayman Legends and Dragon’s Crown.
While there aren’t too many PS Vita exclusives that we know of headed our way next year, the handheld should pick up steam as its status as a powerful companion device to the PlayStation 4 gains traction and more developers jump on board, and sales improve as a direct consequence of this perception shift.
Without further ado, here are my top ten PS Vita games of 2013:
This PlayStation Network classic originally released for PlayStation 3 in 2009 looks absolutely stunning on the PS Vita’s OLED display. There are two control schemes to choose from and you only need to tilt the handheld slightly to steer your trail of petals if you opt for motion controls.
Flower is one of the most tranquil and Zen-inducing experiences I’ve had on the PS Vita, and once you’ve got to grips with the controls you really do feel at one with the beautiful landscapes that define thatgamecompany’s second PlayStation exclusive.
If you’re looking for an absorbing and challenging MetroidVania type game for your PS Vita then look no further than Guacamelee! from Canadian developer DrinkBox Studios. You play as the Mexican agave-farmer-turned-luchadore Juan Aguacate who must save the girl he loves from the evil clutches of the Charro skeleton, Carlos Calaca.
Featuring equal parts action, platforming and puzzle solving, Guacamelee! delights in referencing classic franchises such as Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda, and supports Cross-Buy and Cross-Save with the PS3 version.
8.) Muramasa Rebirth
Muramasa Rebirth is the first of two Vanillaware titles on my top ten list. What makes this game special is its exotic feudal Japan setting featuring a fully fleshed out story and eye-popping visuals filled with intricate animations and details such as dragonflies buzzing overhead or a field of wheat swaying in the breeze.
This game is also a technical showcase for the PS Vita as load times are lightning fast and even the busiest action scenes run at a speedy framerate.
7.) Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time on PS Vita may only run at half the frame rate of its PS3 counterpart but this doesn’t take anything away from one of the most memorable action platformers of the year. This game proves that variety is indeed the spice of life as you travel between different time periods and meet up with Sly’s surprisingly diverse ancestors.
Featuring impressively varied gameplay and some genuine chuckles over the course of its adventure, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is easy to recommend for all age groups.
6.) Soul Sacrifice
When I think of co-op focused action RPGs like Monster Hunter I assume that not much attention will be paid to story, but in Soul Sacrifice’s case nothing could be further from the truth. I was thoroughly engaged by this PS Vita exclusive’s slowly unravelling narrative of redemption and betrayal, told through a striking novelistic format, and the game also impresses with its original take on co-op monster slaying.
A number of new quests, items and enemies have been introduced into the game via free downloadable content and updates so there’s never been a better time to set aside a few dozen hours and lose yourself in this absorbing tale. Soul Sacrifice was also a PlayStation Plus freebie in North America recently so you can count on the game’s multiplayer lobbies being packed over the holidays.
5.) Killzone: Mercenary
Killzone: Mercenary is arguably the most well-rounded PS Vita game of the year, featuring amazing visuals, solid gameplay and deep singleplayer and multiplayer modes. Guerrilla Cambridge has done a fantastic job of building on the foundations laid by the two Killzone games on PS3 to craft a compelling portable experience boasting some of the best technology yet seen on PS Vita.
If I had to single out one element of Killzone: Mercenary that impressed me the most it would be its massive range of weapons, armour, grenades and VAN-Guard abilities that provide you with an excellent incentive to keep on playing and earn more money in the game’s offline and online modes.
4.) Dragon’s Crown
There aren’t too many side-scrolling beat ‘em ups being released these days and even if there were, it’s unlikely they’d display the panache and artistic brilliance of Vanillaware’s labour of love, Dragon’s Crown. Part action RPG, part beat ‘em up, this game boasts a unique fantasy setting and smooth co-op play whether playing with friends locally or with strangers online.
Dragon’s Crown also features a very rewarding character progression system so don’t be surprised if you’re raring to play through the game multiple times using different characters in order to unlock each class’ unique abilities and weapons.
Whoever would have guessed that LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule’s second intellectual property would be just as brilliant as its first? Tearaway isn’t the longest game you’ll play on PS Vita this year but it’s likely to be the most innovative. Featuring a gorgeous papercraft inspired world that springs to life around you and some ingenious uses of the handheld’s wide range of inputs, this game is the most tactile experience I’ve ever enjoyed on a portable platform.
2.) Rayman Legends
Creating a follow-up to a successful platformer like Rayman Origins is never easy but Ubisoft Montpellier certainly seems to have grabbed the bull by the horns to craft one of the finest 2D platformers of the last decade. The PS Vita port of Rayman Legends was originally missing all the Invasion levels from the other versions but thankfully a recent patch has rectified this omission.
Rayman Legends is one of those rare platformers that plasters a smile across your face with virtually every level you play through, and its charming musical levels and touch-based challenges help to distinguish it in a crowded genre.
1.) Persona 4 Golden
If you’d like to pick a single PS Vita game to keep you busy during the holidays then Persona 4 Golden is your best bet. This enhanced version of the classic PlayStation 2 RPG from 2008 may not feature an optional female protagonist like Persona 3 Portable did, but it’s nevertheless the definitive version of the game thanks to a host of new features including a new character named Marie.
Whether it’s addictive dungeon crawling you’re after or you merely want to explore the social aspect of Persona 4 Golden, this game has a vast amount of content and plenty of replayability if you’re keen to max out every Social Link and comb every floor of every dungeon.
What do you think of Tom’s top ten list of PS Vita games for 2013? Which PS Vita games would make it into your list?