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    First Thoughts on Playstation Now for the PS Vita

    I'd be lying if I told you I haven't been waiting for this. The idea of renting games from the network has intrigued me since it was first announced. It doesn't interest me much on my PS3 or PS4, but I was ecstatic to be able to play PS3 games on my Vita, and on the go. So now the app has been released, and while it still remains in beta, I do have a few words to say about it.

    Does it work?  Obviously, this is probably the first question on most peoples mind, and I'm happy to report, yes it does. Quite well too, though this will totally depend on your internet connection. Unlike the consoles which can be wired if needed, the PS Vita, being strictly wireless, requires you to have pretty decent wifi. I consider my connection to be pretty decent, and even then there were a few times quality dropped, but the games were definitely still playable.
        It took me a while to choose a game to test the service out, but I finally decided on Saints Row IV for my first trial run. Being such a large, action heavy game, I was a bit worried on how well it would stream. To my surprise, it worked very well(well, except in my bathroom...). I did experience some stutter or slowdown at times, and I did lose my connection once or twice, but it did work better than I ever expected. Not to mention it looked absolutely great on the Vita's screen, well, when the connection was good at least. While it wasn't HD, it was good enough to notice and appreciate. The app does not allow you to take screen shots, or I'd gladly show you what I mean. I played for several hours with no trouble at all, and I must say, it felt quite nice all around. Controls? Well, we'll get to that in due time.
        For my next test I wanted to try something where speed, timing, and no lag were extremely important. Obviously Ultra Street Fighter IV was the perfect choice. Being a huge fan of the series, well, since forever, I doubted it could hold up frame to frame while streaming. Now, it did work, but I would never recommend playing it like this, at least for right now.  As I expected, there seemed to be a slight delay between button presses and actions. I could still play it, but wouldn't dare try playing online competitively yet using the service. This is probably going to be true for almost any fighting game. Still, I can't tell you how great it was playing this game on my Vita, just seeing it on the system brought a tear to my eye. Again, the Vita's screen really shows off the beauty of these games. This selection was a tad bit more iffy on control issues, but like I said, we'll get to that. Patience.
       All in all, PS Now on the PS Vita works better than one would think. Though, I do have pretty great internet service, so your experience may differ. With a little work and adjustments, this could end up being a fabulous service for us fans. But, it does need work.

    Missing buttons! See, told you we'd get here. With some games, it won't really matter, but others, it will be quite noticeable. The Vita is missing 4 buttons, more specifically, L2, R2, L3, and R3. These are mapped to the corners of the touch screen. There are a few options to remap them to the back touch panel or mix them up on both touch interfaces. For the most part it works, but with games like Street Fighter, it kind of sucks. I was still able to play, but it was rough at times, and it definitely effects the way you perform. If you played Tekken X Street Fighter for the Vita, you know exactly what I'm talking about. There were also a few times I could not get the back touch panel to respond, leaving my car just sitting in the middle of traffic getting tore up by the cops. Other than that, everything I tried out feels right on. Saints Row played like a gem(besides that touch panel issue), and I was quite happy with the response of both buttons and analogs. If anything, some of these PS Now rentals will put that much requested, barely used, second analog to good use.
        The thing is, this was something that was expected. It's not like we didn't know the lack of 4 buttons on the Vita compared to the console controllers. So I can't really complain about it, just know, certain games will be effected more by this.

    Games and Prices As of now, there are 170 games offered. These range from Sega classics to Killzone 3 to Skullgirls. I'm sure the number offered will continue to increase, though I don't know at what rate. The problem I have right now is that I own most of these. A large number of them were offered free on PS+, so anybody subscribed will have them too. Why can't I just stream those for free then? If I own, say, Just Cause 2(which I do), why do I have to rent it to play it on my Vita? Shouldn't it be able to just recognize I have it and offer it automatically. It would have been a great feature, as paying for a game you already own just to play it on your Vita is a lot to ask.
        Now for my major complaint about the service, pricing. We are talking $2-$6 for a 4 hour rental, $6-$10 for 7 days, $8-$20 for 30 days, and $15-$40 for 90 days. Now, if that sounds a little ridiculous to you, don't worry, because it is. Some of the higher prices, you might as well just buy the game, and the 4 hour rental, what's the point? Why not just offer an hour to try the game out for free? This is one issue that definitely needs adjusting.
        This is a beta though, so perhaps things are just being worked out and may change in a future update. As for now though, I really think it is going to hurt the reception of this service. I, myself, really had to decide what I was going to spend my hard earned cash on, and for how long I wanted to try it for.

        This is something I have been waiting to try for a long time. I must say, I'm quite happy with PS Now overall. Opening up an entirely new game library for Vita owners to experience(since we were denied PS2 games...), the service has a lot to offer. There are problems, specifically pricing and ignoring our already purchased games, but these things can easily be fixed in the future. I definitely see a lot of potential in this service, but only if Sony is willing to work with us on pricing. These are older games now, maybe not by much, but they are "last gen". Expecting us to pay top dollar just to rent is insane, they are going to have to accept that. They may even have to take a loss when it comes to the pricing. Only time will tell. In the mean time, let me know what you are playing!      

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    Item Reviewed: First Thoughts on Playstation Now for the PS Vita Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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