Criminal Girls 2, Censorship and AO East vs. West

As a fan of JRPGs and other niche Japanese games, I always find ratings standards differences between the U.S., Europe and Japan laughable.  Take Criminal Girls 2 as a perfect example.

As with the first in the series, Criminal Girls: Invite Only, “Punishment” will be framed as “Motivation,” and other terminology changes from the first game will also apply here … This reduces the power distance between the player character and the girls in the Reformation Program and makes the activities of the game more consensual.

… and …

Some of this [no Motivation Scene Dialogue]  could cause an issue with power distance, or perceived consent of the activities of the game.

I give NIS America kudos for taking the time to spell out exactly what is being censored, but I disagree with censorship.  Let’s let the consumer decide, and if an anime based JRPG influenced game is really worthy of an AO rating in the U.S., something is very wrong. Violence is always condoned over sexual themes.

Just compare the newest Doom (hint – violence link) to the first Criminal Girls title (hint – sexual themes) to drive the point home …


Is E3 Still Relevant?

Monday night my boys and I watched the Sony E3 press conference via live streaming over the PS4. I came pretty close to skipping the event in favor of watching whatever Andrew Zimmern was going to digest next in the newest Bizarre Foods. Ultimately the boys were so excited over E3, I decided to watch.

Of course there was a time when I was equally excited, and dare I say enthralled with everything E3 related. Getting “press” credentials when E3 visited ATL for a couple of years in the 90s was certainly a highlight. Back in those days I eagerly awaited each tidbit of news, and wrote countless diatribes on the state of the industry, discussed the next big game, and so on and so forth. E3 was an important part of my gaming life, usenet was a popular means of communication and the web as we know it today was very much in its infancy.

These days, while gaming is still an important part of my life, it is certainly not as consuming, and as I mentioned in the opening, I came pretty close to picking watching the consumption of the latest cow balls dish, over Sony’s E3 press conference. I guess that says a lot about the relevance of E3 to this older gamer. Besides, it’s easy enough to follow E3 news and trends; thanks to the rise of social media, you do not even have to be there to be there.

During this year’s long PlayStation advertisement, err, press conference had a few things that stood out …

Gran Turismo. I was bitterly disappointed that we learned nothing about the next title. Surely it has to be in development.

Vita. I have written enough about Sony screwing the pooch and completely missing the mark with their wonderful gaming system. Disappointing does even begin to describe my feelings.

Final Fantasy VII Remake (Square Enix). As soon as the video started, I told my boys to watch for the crowd go ape shit. I’m really looking forward to this one, but Square Enix has to be in a no win situation. This is the game that all FF VII fans want, so it can never live up to expectations. No matter which direction the game takes (remake, reimaging, same script with updated graphics and similar gameplay to the original PSOne title) some faction of the FF VII fan base will fume over Square Enix messing up their beloved title.

Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games). This new IP looks very promising. I like the concept; a nice mixture of low tech and high tech concepts. One of my first thoughts was that Horizon was Gamma World ish … maybe not exactly, but robotic dinosaurs based in a future earth setting looks solid enough to me.

Dreams (Media Molecule’s). Who knows which direction MM will take their next sandbox game, but I can only imagine that it will be a great creative outlet for fans that were disappointed with the last LittleBigPlanet.

No Man’s Sky (Hello Games). Fantastic infinite universe concept, that pays homage to Elite (at least the version on the C64 that I loved ages ago). I can see this title getting dismissed due to poor, or at least inferior graphics. Similar to RPGs, I love concepts where I can take my time exploring a well-crafted gaming universe; I just can never find enough time to sink my teeth into these types of games

Uncharted 4. Good clean fun for the whole family. It is hard for me to say “system seller” because I think die-hard fans of the Uncharted franchise would pick up a PS4 sooner or later. The real trick is getting someone sitting on the sidelines of this gaming generation to take interest, and buy a PS4 in 2016 just to play this Sony Exclusive.

I’ll wrap things up by mentioning PlayStation Vue. The concept of a la cart is very appealing, but even with PS+ discounts, I think the pricing could be high. While I have a gazillion channels with Charter, I truly only watch a select few, but the problem is the wide variety: Fox Sports 1 and 2, ESPN, NFL and NFL Red Zone, NBC Sports (for Formula One and soccer), Discovery, History Channel, Travel Channel (Bizarre Foods), and during football season, whichever channel offers up the Falcons, Georgia Bulldogs and Texas Longhorns. Even if everything I want to watch is offered, I doubt a la cart pricing will work for me.


EA Continues to Hose the Vita

In a move that was neither surprising or unexpected, EA tossed aside the Vita. Disappointing move …

The poor Vita is a victim of poor timing (rise of $0.99 mobile games), awfull marketing by Sony, and a colossal blunder – anti piracy memory card prices are the Vita’s boat anchor. I love the Vita, but Sony never gave it a fighting chance, so why should EA or any other publisher?


PS4 Day One (Reinventing The Vita)

The wait was long, but once the UPS guy arrived a little after 2PM, the unboxing begun. I’m not going to upload pictures or video, or give impressions of the packaging, system or Dual Shock 4; plenty of that to be found on YouTube and elsewhere.

Sony decided to include a threefold day-one pack-in for early PS4 adopters: one free month of PS+, one free month of Music Unlimited, and a $10 PSN voucher. It was nice getting the vouchers for 1 month of PS+ and Music Unlimited, but since I already subscribe to both, and Sony’s official’ish PlayStation blog said they don’t stack, they are not much use to me. I understand Sony wants to help hook new subscribers, but a +1 month add-on for current Sony services subscribers would have been very well received. I did appreciate the $10 PSN voucher; that was a very nice throw-in by the Sony brass.

My TV has two HDMI ports; I forgot that the one not reserved for my PS3 is used for cable. So for now, I have to manually switch my PS3 and brand spanking new PS4. I have a Portta 3:1 HDMI Switcher from Amazon and an extra 6 ft. HDMI cable via Amazon; both are scheduled to arrive on Tuesday and only set me back an additional $15.25 including tax.

Before I could jump into any of that Greatness that Sony promised the whole damn lot of us, I had to download the firmware update. ~53 minutes to download, which as I understand it, was lucky for me because a lot of users were having problems getting the update file to download. So I switched over to the U.S. vs. Scotland friendly, putting Greatness on-hold until my new PS4 system could do its thing.

I should add that my internet connection is wireless, not overly fast, and not too terribly slow. I have noticed that my PS3 always seems to download a little faster than my kids’ PS3, but that could be proximity to the wireless router. At any rate, I don’t have a base point to compare my ~53 minutes download against; would love for someone to post their experience with their firmware download time.

PSN Goes Down
After getting my firmware updated, it was time to hook up my jcalvert PSN account to my new PS4. No go. Errors, timeouts, you name it. The PSN was hosed. Sony should be embarrassed and appalled. Apparently the final folks at PlayStation network services were not actually expecting the volume and onslaught of the new PS4 traffic to impact their now paid for (via PS+ online experience) server farm. Funny since the day-one patch was pretty much mandatory. It took ~3-4 hours to actually get my PSN info setup; ouch.

PS+ Resogun and Contrast
Once I got connected, I quickly jumped into the Store to pick up my free games. There was also some DLC for another game – Warframe or some such. I haven’t read anything about this one, but it looks like a free to play title. It may or may not be a beta, but still something else free to mess around with (as if I have time).

I started the download process for Resogun and Contrast, then left the store to start some gaming fun …

FIFA 14 and Need For Speed: Rivals
My boys and I actually played these games before getting our PSN info setup on the PS4; we just couldn’t wait. I’m going to save any serious impressions for latter … I want to get in some gaming this morning!

I took a spin with Need For Speed first. My oldest son and I took turns doing the racer and cop tutorials, which opened up the wider game. My oldest son and I each earned a trophy; the trophies did sync correctly to our accounts, once we were able to get our PSN info sorted out correctly.

My son and I both had the same observation – there is a lot going on at one time, and it gets confusing on what missing you are doing. This was especially apparent once I was on the PSN. Connected to a group of 8 (I think) gamers, and trying to do race missions while a human cop is doing their own copy missions was fun but disconcerting trying to figure out what I was actually supposed to be doing. If there is a way to connect to a group of friends, this one could be a lot of fun.

I didn’t dive into it deeply to see how Music Unlimited is integrated with the PS4, but it was nice being able to stream some playlist instead of listening to the Need For Speed default music.

I watched my 11 year old and 6 year old play FIFA 14. On the surface it looks like the same game as the PS3 version, only it is more polished. I’ll play some this morning and see if I can carry over some of my PS3 FIFA 14 info.

My one observation was that it was neat seeing real people in the crowd. This may sound stupid, but everyone watching thought it actually added to the game atmosphere.

At some point while we were doing something else on the PS4 – either poking around, deciding what to play next, or setting up our PSN accounts, I received notice that Resogun was ready to install and that a FIFA 14 patch had been downloaded.

Music Unlimited
I mentioned playing my Music Unlimited playlist while playing Need For Speed. Last November, Sony ran a PS+ special. 1 year of Music Unlimited for $12; this was an exceptional deal. I have been debating renewing my subscription, but not at the full price. Last week I received some sort of sale offer; I was able to stack another 3 months for $3. So I am good for another few months.

Because of current MP3 and media server limitations with the PS4, Music Unlimited may become a must have service, which is probably part of Sony’s strategy. See how many folks they can pull in as new subscribers.

Remote Play
I’m only going to touch on this briefly … want to get back to PS4 gaming goodness. I have posted in the past about the black magic associated with Remote Play. It never really worked well for me on the PS3 with my PSP or Vita; it was an interesting concept, but there was always too much lag or my PS3 would randomly turn on or off. It looks like Remote Play is purpose built into the PS4 with the Vita, so hopefully this time is the real deal.

Getting Remote Play up and running was a snap. My Vita already had the PS4 Link app via the most recent firmware update. The PS4 (or Vita – I can’t remember which one) provides step-by-step instructions. Once I entered a code on my Vita, I was connected to my PS4. This whole setup process took all of 2-3 minutes.

It was an amazing experience listening to my Van Halen playlist, on my Vita (via my PS4) while playing Need for Speed. I’ll have to play around some to see if I am better off playing music directly from my Vita or streaming from the PS4 during Remote Play.

When playing Need For Speed, it was hard to keep up with what was going on, which wasn’t any different than my PS4 experience. There were some slight framerate issues here and there, but nothing really game breaking. The controls were awkward controls, but manageable. The rear touch pad was used to accept missions, while the shoulder buttons were used for acceleration and braking. I would have rather used the right analog stick; maybe there is an option to change controls, but in my limited time, I didn’t see where controls could be mapped differently.

Think about this for a minute. Remote Play of Need For Speed, while online playing other PS4 gamers, so of which may have also been using their Vitas, while streaming Music Unlimited. That is balls out cool with tons of possibilities.

Nightcap Resogun (via Remote Play)
As a final night cap, from the comforts of the bed room, while my better half was fast asleep, I connected to the PS4 and played Resogun. Minimal slowdown, but I was really too tired to beat the final boss. I know, excuses, excuses.

The new PS4 trophy system was nice enough to show me that my “How do I stop this thing?!” (Kill 50 enemies with one boost) was ‘ultra rare’ at the time it was earned, but is now ‘very rare.’

What’s Next?
For starters, I haven’t opened Killzone or Assassin’s Creed. My 15-year old and 11-year old boys are dying to play both, but my wife and I are usually pretty restrictive when it comes to games where people kill people, but that is a story for another day. So I need to check out both games and besides playing for my own benefit, I need to do the parental guidance thing.

I have only barely touched Need for Speed; same for FIFA and Resogun. Haven’t look at Contrast, and I should be able to get Flower and Soundshapes for free, since I have previously purchased each. Same for flow, once it is released.

Thanks to the PSN problems, I didn’t really have time to dive into any of the new PS4 features, so between gaming, and today’s slate of college football, I’m sure I will be doing some of that as well. I also play to explore Remote Play more over the weekend so see what sort of limitations and boundaries are in place.

Greatness Awaits …


Speaking of JRPGs (Atelier Rorona – Vita)

After just throwing up a link for Neptunia on the Vita, now we get Atelier Rorona for the Vita:

Gust just published a new batch of information, screenshots and artwork of New Atelier Rorona The Origin Story: The Alchemist of Arland, which is the upcoming PS3 and PS Vita remake of the classic JRPG Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland and will hit the Japanese shelves on November the 21st.

It’s not as if I have every finished one of these fetch, mix and match some potions, etc. type games, but I like to pretend that I am much younger and have time for such indulgences. Of course I am not, but I digress …


FIFA 14 Legacy Edition – Reinventing Roster Updates (Vita)

Apparently FIFA 14 Legacy Edition is just that, a Legacy Edition to last year’s FIFA 13, which was nothing more than a roster update of the original FIFA Soccer which was released when the Vita launched way back when, circa Valentine’s Day 2012.

At least EA had the balls to let us know this one was nothing more than some updated kits and roster revisions; so glad I waited and didn’t preorder.

Rather sad really; I wanted a solid soccer game for my Vita, but held off on the original FIFA Soccer (metacritic rating of 79% out of 45 critic reviews). I thought that maybe EA was rushed, and would do a better version next year. Obviously I was mistaken.

EA treated FIFA 13 (metacritic score of 57% out of 9 critic reviews) even more poorly than FIFA Soccer by not even bothering to offer some hit of an update.

And so FIFA 14 Legacy Edition enters the fray; too bad it will make a ton of cash off of unsuspecting consumers. Maybe I will eventually pick up one of the three Vita FIFAs on the cheap, but for now, I am moving on to other endeavors.


Vita Sunday Brunch

Lots of random stuff, most centered around Gamescom 2012 news and announcements, so let’s get started straight away …

PSOne Compatibility in Sight
Finally! The long awaited feature to play PSOne games on our Vita is almost launched. No idea what took so long, but hopefully Sony pulls this off without a hitch.

Why play 15+ year old games on the Vita? Why not – there are a ton of classics just waiting to be found and enjoyed. As part of the launch, it would be nice if Sony features some sort of PSN PSOne sale to coincide with the firmware update, and certainly throwing in a couple of classics as part of the PS+ update would be appreciated.

Vita Gets PS+
Speaking of PS+, the Vita finally gets some love.

We will also deliver PlayStation Plus, which is currently available for PS3 users, to PS Vita users this year. By purchasing a membership to PlayStation Plus, PS Vita users will be able to enjoy various services which will become available exclusively for members.

I really expected Sony to push PS+ as part of E3, but they waited until Gamescon to final admit they have a wonderful system that needs some TLC. Depending on how they position PS+ for the Vita (hopefully not just the “services” part), Sony should have a compelling offering on their hands. Even if Sony only provides occasional PSOne, PSP, and minis (OK, I don’t really care about the Minis), PS+ on the Vita should be well received.

If nothing else, precious memory card space could be freed up by transferring occasionally played game saves to the Cloud Game Save service.

I love the stylistic look of Tearaway; fantastic looking game.

Hopefully this one progresses nicely, and the Vita’s features do not get in the way of the fun or come across as mere gimmicks.

Gravity Rush DLC Articles
I’m not very far into Gravity Rush, but at some point I intend to pick up the Maid Pack and Special Forces Pack DLC. One of these days. At any rate, I thought the reviewer did a good job of providing some decent commentary on the merits of the DLC.

COD: Black Ops Declassified
I’m not a fan of military shooters so I don’t intend to pick up COD: Black Ops Declassified. According to EDGE, it looks to be a train-wreck, while the official’ish Sony Blog makes it sound spectacular. Unless the release is delayed, I see this one falling flat and living COD fans disappointed; not the system seller Sony needs to push the Vita.

Ragnarok Odyssey Gets Delayed
Technically it’s not a delay if a release date was never set for August 21, which was the case at the time of my original pre-order. Amazon now estimated an October 19 arrival date, which may or may not be “official” but certainly this could be too close to the November 20 P4G release.

Ragnarok Odyssey has been on my radar for a while; starved JRPG fans get sort of desperate that way.

Speaking Of JRPGs
Ys Celceta: Sea of Trees [There is no way that title doesn’t get changed in the localization process; assuming the game makes it to NA.] continues to look impressive, but P4G is the real prize and now you can get a preorder bonus. I don’t really care for the skin, but I’m sure some Persona nuts will get all teary eyed over for this one.

Vita Should Go Digital Only?
I don’t think so, but this article from Game Insider makes a case for revamping the Vita to include physical memory, digital only gaming (even though the PSP Go was a miserable failure), and removing 3G support. I disagree with these points, but physical memory is an issue. The article is well written and worth a read.

Cross Buy
Sony looks to be pushing Cross Buy with games like Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault.

Not only will the game feature cross-play and cross-save, but it’s also part of a super-cool promotional offer where anyone who purchases Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault for PS3 via PlayStation Network will be able to download the PS Vita version of the game from PSN at no additional cost and vice versa.

No complaints from this gamer. This approach can only help the Vita. It should be interesting to see if any Third Party partners offer something similar; doubtful, but worth watching.

Happy Sunday!


Sony Sends Mixed Messages with PSP RPGs

OK, it’s not Sony, but maybe it is. I really don’t understand why Sony continues to push the PSP. OK, I do; it’s all about money, finances, and sells opportunities. The PSP has a huge installed base, while the Vita is struggling to get out of Sony’s birth cannel.

I guess what I don’t understand is why can’t Sony assist publishers in making PSP games Vita compliant. Case in point Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time.

Some of the comments say it best. The Vita needs support and by continuing to throw out PSP games that are not day one Vita supported, Sony or Atlus in this case, are really contributing to the failure of the struggling Vita.

So far the Wayfarer of Time has received limited, but decent reviews. I still have my PSP, but it’s time to move on to the Vita, only Sony will not help its own cause.

Thankfully Ragnarok Odyssey for the Vita is due shortly, as in (tentatively according to most retailers including Amazon where I have my preorder) later this month.

XSEED PR suggested that I think of Monster Hunter bosses. Actually, much of the game is very reminiscent of Monster Hunter. The comparison is inevitable with 87 quests ranging from five to 20 minutes apiece, three lives to confront each quest, four-player co-op (local or Wi-Fi), and a large array of unlockable armor sets.

The core gameplay might look familiar, but it takes major inspiration from a very different Capcom franchise: Devil May Cry.

Of course it’s not Monster Hunters … but it should be a decent shot in the arm for Vita RPG fans. I have never been a huge DMC fan; too damn old for all that fancy trigger work. My dexterity is not what it used to be! I’m still anticipating Ragnarok, but according to the official’ish PlayStation Blog, Ragnarok Odyssey may not be out in August, as no “official” release date has been confirmed.

Somewhere between Ragnarok and Persona 4: Golden (P4G), Vita loving RPG fans should become a happy lot. Of course these two releases may not be enough to push the needle, but at least it’s a start. Now, if only Sony would stop putting out mixed message, and provide more PSP-to-Vita support, we could only start living happily ever after!

[Edit Aug. 10:  So apparently Growlanser is now Vita compatible, only Sony hasn’t put it on the PSN Vita store.  Instead, you have to go to the PSN PS3 store to purchase, download, and transfer to your Vita.  Nice one …] 



Portable Gaming – Filling A Niche

I thought this was a great article from Joystick Division, that comments on the merits for dedicated portable gaming systems.

Some complain that the majority of portable games aren’t suited to pick up and play sessions. I’d argue that that isn’t what portable gaming is for anymore. I’m not sure that’s what it was ever for, actually. The market has evolved and, if that’s what you’re looking for, then mobile is absolutely the way to go. But while there are also plenty of quick-fix games available on portable consoles, what I look for in these devices is something that will give me a console experience in the palm of my hands.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. The real question is at what price will portable consoles survive? Are we at a point where the economy is driving slower sales? While everyone doesn’t need a top tier smartphone, I can’t think of anyone I know that doesn’t have some sort of smartphone, even an older generation one just used for taking calls on the go.

Portable gaming is different – it is a luxury, and as more and more casual gamers (even my wife plays games on her Razor and Kindle Fire) join the ranks of gaming, a $29-49 game is going to be a tougher and tougher sale. You can’t compare any of these casual experiences to something offered on the Vita or 3DS, be it a Mario or Uncharted title, but there is a price to pay for a quality portable gaming experience.

It should be really interesting to see how things play out with Nintendo and Sony over the next 9-18 months.


Vita Unfiltered

Let’s get this out of the way – some of the links in this post are not safe for work. When I say “unfiltered” in the title, I am really saying uncensored. As in, (in uncensored mode) has some potentially interesting PS Vita wallpapers.

In the last couple of weeks I have been giving my Vita a lot of attention, and naturally I decided to spruce up the backgrounds with some decent wallpaper.

First things first, outside of the various tips you can find, I learned a neat trick that may not be documented; at least it may not be all that obvious. When you create a new Vita page, you should set the color of your page first, and then apply your photo. If you plan accordingly, you can do some neat tricks. So for example, if you are planning to apply a Hyperdimension Neptunia photo wallpaper, you can provide your Vita with nice smooth transition as you navigate to your other open apps (their background colors will match what you just selected).

While the girls of Hyperdimension Neptunia are fun to look at, I’m in love (in a totally natural, virtual sort of way) with Erio Towa from Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko. I’ll have to post my figure collection one of these days …

960×544 – How to Make a Perfect Vita Wallpaper
I’m not much of a graphics artist, so after some searching, I found this great Vita Background Generator tool, which allows you to do sorts of magic with any image that you want to put on your Vita.

I have a great (and I might add not too inappropriate) Erio Towa theme going – a cool lock screen, along with several backgrounds, including a custom a custom split three ways image via the Vita Background Generator tool.

As stupid as it sounds, my Vita is 10x neater with my custom Erio Towa theme (thanks to 6 Erio screens). Maybe one of these days, Sony will actually offer up true Vita themes, but until them, you can get creative and all that jazz.


Vita Japanese Sales

The total numbers look ridiculously low. Hopefully as the comments speculate, these are just physical sales and do not include PSN digital sales.

It will be interesting to see some similar numbers for the US, and a sales comparison between the early days of the 3DS, which didn’t enjoy a boost in success until the heavy hitters (i.e. Mario, Zelda, etc.) were unleashed upon the system.

Is a price drop needed? Or is it just a matter of better software that captures the interest of Japanese (and US) Vita owners?

The system is expensive, but I’m not sure that a price drop is required. Instead, if I were making decisions for Sony, I would solve memory card price backlash by including a 4GB card with every Vita system. While 4GB is much too low, at least it allows gamers to get started with PSN purchases. A pack-in PSN voucher for a $15 PSN exclusive game along with a pick of a PSP title would also be an easy way for Sony to provide value, without breaking their budget.

Of course Sony can do some simple things to help spur on the Vita. Push Cross Play functionality, finally providing PSOne compatibility, and really see what they can do with Remote Play.

Getting quality games out the door would also help. Just saying.


Vita RPGs Release Dates Torturously Slow

For RPG fans, the PSP was a godsend, with a huge variety of classics, lots of Final Fantasy (FF) options, and plenty of newer high quality RPG titles to explore. Not so much with the Vita, however at the 5+ month mark, it should be noted that the Vita is still in its early days.

Of course the Vita has the ability to play some PSP RPGs that are offered via PSN, but where do Vita owners that want new RPG experiences, and I might add Trophies, turn?

With the announcement that FF X HD is miles away, it looks like Xseed’s Ragnarok Odyssey, with an August 21 release, is the closest Vita RPG loving fans are going to get to RPG drought relief. I have had Ragnarok Odyssey on preorder for a while, so hopefully it is decent.

On the Japanese import front, Ys Celceta: Sea of Trees, is being release September 27. There is no word on this one receiving US localization support, but if it does, hopefully the name will be changed to something a little more Western’ish.

Despite the outcry from fans that Atlus is forcibly (via software) region locking Persona 4, it is still rapidly approaching an October release.

Of course RPG fans can always pick up fan-favorite Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention, which is a completely different than normal RPG fare. Disgaea is turn based, over the top, entertaining, and has layers of depth upon layers of depth. Something like that.

To be honest, I have only just touched the surface. While the game is entertaining, amusing may be a better description, I don’t usually have the time commitment required to go in deep for my Vita sessions. One of these days I will have to check out the GPS Mode and see what sort of trinkets the developers embedded for 3GS Vita Disgaea play on the go.


Madden 13 – EA Skimps On Vita Release

A few weeks ago I wrote about my disappointment in EA not supporting Cross Play Madden franchise saves; I know take a number, and go to the back of the bus. The problem here is that we are in a classic chicken and egg dilemma. Without strong sales numbers, EA will not invest in the Madden Vita franchise, and without solid features, gamers may decide to take a pass on the Vita version.

While I’m still very much on the fence about purchasing Madden for the Vita, I have (as usual) taken the plunge on a PS3 Madden 13 preorder. When it comes to the Vita, articles like this one cause me pause:

But from my conversation with Baker this week, I got the sense that Electronic Arts may be unwilling at this point to extend that investment to the Vita. Tiburon is heavily focused on delivering innovation in Madden’s console versions, and “there’s just no way,” Baker told me, for the handheld game to “keep total lockstep” with them.

“Unless you’re gonna throw, like, a tremendous amount of resources at (the handheld version) and try to keep them in sync,” he said, “it’s just not a realistic possibility at this point.”

It is great that the Vita is receiving a Madden 12.5 release, which will be the best version of Madden 12, but in the end, the Vita release is still best version of last year’s game. EA’s Vita Madden maiden voyage could be so much more if only EA was willing to take a little financial risk (easy for me to say) and properly invest in the franchise.

I could understand some of the physics constraints, or maybe even some franchise mode limitations, but I have to believe that with a proper budget and willingness on the part of EA to push the Vita forward, Madden could be a potential system seller for Sony’s fledgling handheld wonder. I also understand the pressure to have a Madden on the Vita, but shouldn’t it be done the right way? Even if that means delaying the release, skipping a year, or Sony providing some sort of R&D assistance. If there has to be an August release, God forbid going the FIFA route and just titling the first Vita release with a simple Madden moniker.

I’ll probably end up with the Vita version to help get the point across to EA that a proper football title will be supported by the Vita user base, but more importantly, I want to play Madden on the go. Somehow I managed to show some restraint with FIFA; so maybe that will also happen with Madden. Probably not …