I have been playing a lot on my Steam Deck and recently the game I have been playing on said Steam Deck is Persona 5 Royal. I had many false starts with Persona 5 but finally committed to playing it. I am so glad I pushed through the initial start of the game (P5R does a lot to streamline the beginning compared to the original release).
Atlus has released Persona 4 Golden on Steam as well and I had to pick that up. If it weren’t for me searching for a real deep RPG back in the day to play on my PSVita I, to this day, never would have considered playing any Persona game.
And that got me to thinking, what is it like playing on the Vita in 2023? Technology has come a long way since the PSVita’s launch on December 17. 2011.
I bought mine on launch day, naturally. I was a huge fan of the PSP and owned a PSP-1001 and PSP-3001. Absolutely loved that handheld console and as such I knew I’d love the Vita.
I still have PSVita PCH1001 that I bought on launch day in 2011. Complete with all my games and, thankfully, all my saves all contained on my 32GB PSVita memory card.
I pulled it out of storage and plugged it in. I had forgotten what it was like to charge devices back then. There was no quick charging and since my PSVita had been sitting for quite some time, it was dead. I mean dead. It took the power adapter almost half an hour just to get the charge to a point where it would allow me to turn the unit on.
I had to go through setup and sign in to my PSN account again since none of those settings were saved as the battery was so dead.
But then I was punched by nostalgia right in the face. After I picked my jaw up off the floor I swiped down on the lock screen and was greeted with my home screen as it was when I had put my PSVita away. Going through all the games that I still had installed was quite a trip.
You see, the Vita was first and foremost where I went to play RPGs on the road. This included a bunch of PS1 officially emulated games including Origins (FFI and FFII), Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy Tactics, Legend of Dragoon and Chrono Cross. I also had/have Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD. All those were collected in one bubble sub-menu.
In another bubble I have all my other main games including Akiba’s Trip, MLB 15 The Show, PlayStation All-Stars (criminally underrated Smash Bros competitor), Flow, Resogun, Retro City Rampage, Pixel Junk Shooter Ultimate, Zen Pinball 2 and of course Persona 4 Golden. I’m not actually sure why Persona 4 Golden isn’t in the RPG bubble but anyway it is what it is.
Looking at Persona 4 Golden’s history, the last trophy I earned was way back in 2016. So this Vita has been sitting around for quite some time. I am not sure where my P4G game card wandered off to. Actually, I think it’s still plugging into my PSTV which is packed away somewhere. In an effort to fire the game up I decided I would just buy it on the PlayStation Store. I had no idea how much of a chore that would be today.
You can search the whole PSVita store still and the games are all still there. You can buy them as well. The catch is it will no longer automatically add funds to buy a game, you had to do that manually, online, in a web browser, on your computer. So that was a bit tedious. So then I thought, OK so, I’ll just purchase it directly on the PlayStation store since I’m already here. Uh, nope. You can’t access the PSVita’s store anywhere but on the PSVita itself. So back to the PSVita and I successfully purchased P4G.
Persona 4 Golden is a 3.1GB download. This doesn’t seem like a lot today. Indeed I can download 3.1GB on my current internet connection in mere seconds. But the PSVita was released back in the days of 802.11B/G/N WIFI. It took over an hour to download that 3.1GB of data on to the portable console. That was painful.
But Persona 4 Golden was now downloaded! I fired the game up and sure enough, my old game and my game plus data was all there.
One of the things that let the PSP down a bit was it’s joystick. it was not a traditional one as it slid rather than angled and it never felt great to me. The PSVita’s sticks are small but mighty. And the console itself feels really good in hand. Your fingers just naturally go directly to the controls. And after using the Steam Deck for quite a while, it is refreshing to play on something that is so light.
So I suppose the only thing that really holds the PSVita back at this point is the lack of new games released for it. Like total lack. There hasn’t been a new PSVita game in quite a few years. I do have to say it has an extensive emulation catalog for the original PlayStation and PlayStation Portable. That makes the PSVita a great way to play a lot of older games in a portable fashion.
I highly recommend picking up a used one to do just that. It’s a great mobile console that has access to a large catalog of great games.