The Best Vita Games of 2015

Viva la Vita.

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We're not going to lie: competition in this category wasn't stiff. Sony's red-headed handheld had a bit of a lackluster year, especially in terms of big new releases, and as much as we believe PlayStation Vita is chronically underrated, we can't pretend its 2015 lineup left us overwhelmed with options. That said, we did find five diamonds among all the rough. Each of these games did something special enough to warrant a little end of year recognition, whether it was delivering silly rhythmic joy or simply standing out from all the other JRPGs on the platform.

With its inviting, painterly aesthetic and distinctive hereditary system--which allows players to spawn generation after generation of demon-fighting family members--Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines managed to distinguish itself from the veritable horde of turn-based Japanese RPGs that call Vita home. Instead of simply leveling up a predetermined party, players actually manage an entire clan over the course of several in-game lifetimes, teaching inexperienced youths to fight, disciplining rebellious adolescents when necessary, and guiding hardened adults into glorious battle. Turning combat into a family affair made for an oddly compelling twist on an already beloved formula, which in turn made Oreshika one of Vita's most memorable experiences this year.

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While Lost Dimension couldn't quite muster the unusual appeal of Oreshika's hereditary hook, it still managed to join the notable JRPG club by offering its own unique twist: Within your 11-character party lurks a traitor, and it's up to you to flush them out by any means necessary. For the most part, Lost Dimension sticks to standard JRPG conventions, but forcing players to consider the true allegiance of every character actually elevated both the combat and presentation--as well as the overall experience--above an army of samey games. We only hope developer Lancarse includes this same dastardly setup in a slightly more well-rounded sequel.

Shifting genres but not regions, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls attached a super cool subtitle to an intriguing third-person action spin-off of the popular Danganronpa series. Though some of its action-oriented mechanics felt a little clumsy, its moody soundtrack created an unforgettable atmosphere as Ultra Despair Girl's tale of murder, mystery, and intrigue unfolded across a series of clever puzzles. Fans of the universe should be floored by the story execution, and even newcomers will likely find themselves hooked if they can see past the mediocre shooting and dive deep into borderline disturbing youth rebellion narrative.

Of course, if you need a palate cleanser after all the child-on-adult murder action, there's always the ultra-charming Persona 4: Dancing All Night. The game unfortunately fails on several fronts--the narrative feels unfulfilling, the chaotic visuals occasionally hinder gameplay, the music selection falls a bit short--but it's hard not to love a narrative-driven rhythm game featuring the biggest stars of the Persona universe. We're happy just knowing it exists, and we figured Game of the Year might be a good time to remind you too.

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Finally we have OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood, which not only won our hearts with a terrible pun but also impressed us with its super stylish side-scrolling approach to skateboarding. Where Tony Hawk 5 disappoints in every way imaginable, this game succeeds: a deep bag of tricks, an addicting scoring system, and a rapid pace that'll keep you playing far longer than you intended. While we do wish the game had done more to distinguish itself from the original, OlliOlli2 is still the most enjoyable arcadey skating game since, well, the early Tony Hawk titles.

Vita's 2016 is already looking brighter thanks some big announcements at this year's PlayStation Experience, but these five titles were brave enough to keep the torch lit and give the Vita faithful something to celebrate in 2015. For that--and for their one-of-a-kind hooks--we salute them.

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Avatar image for Lhomity
Lhomity

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Great Vita games GameSpot missed:
Superbeat Xonic
Steins;Gate
htoL NiQ: The Firefly Diary
Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy
Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart
Flame Over
Magical Beat
Baboon!
Fat Princess: Piece of Cake
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space
Atelier Ayesha Plus
Corpse Party: Blood Drive

Review more Vita games please, GS.

Special mention:
Dungeon Travelers 2 (For the insane post-game content)

Best imports:
Tokyo Xanadu (best import of the year, by far)
IA/VT Colorful (2nd best import of the year)
Digimon World: Cyber Sleuth (English release in 2016)
Net High
God Eater: Resurrection
Yomawari
Raishi

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itchyflop

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If your looking for some great vita games. read some of the quality comments below from other gamers telling you the best games to buy rather than this list, thanks all :)

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deactivated-578f2053b4a13

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Here's what I'm really looking forward to on Vita: a jailbreak, so we can play Mame and a ton of great SNES, Genesis, Sega CD, 32X, TurboGrafx and Scummvm games. Won't that rule? The Vita would be a better emulation device than the crap Chinese brands.

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Daian

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Such a shame Sony gave up on it ridiculously quickly, Vita is so much better than the crappy 3DS in terms of hardware, no big games for it whatsoever these days.

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Alderic

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There were a ton of good vita games in 2015.. It's almost like you avoided them and picked garbage just to make the system look bad.

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HarlemStruggle

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2016 will be the year I buy a VITA from one of you bastards that just complain about it all day.

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Silverline62

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I don't even think the vita will be around in 2017, next year sure there might be a few indie titles still.

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deactivated-578f2053b4a13

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All those games are import crap.

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DETfaninATL

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I call mine the PSpaperweight now......

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chad28_69

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Edited By chad28_69

I don't own neither 3DS or Vita, but Vita 2015 Games (according to GameSpot Top 5) is, IMO, a lot better than 3DS one.

Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines looks awesome.

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Silverline62

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Edited By Silverline62

@chad28_69: Nah, 3DS had tons of quality RPGs. Vita only had oreshika....oh and indie games that you can play pretty much anywhere else.

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ajzoot

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Vita is such an amazing piece of hardware. I remember playing for the first time and being absolutely floored by how incredible and smooth everything was... I never saw this coming...

This list looks like a roundup of hidden gems during a Steam weeklong sale than a consoles potential GOTY list.

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abHS4L88

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At this point, you can't be a satisfied Vita owner if you don't like Japanese games. Finally got started on Persona 4 Dancing All Night. Being a dancer and loving rhythm games as well as visual novel type games, this is exactly up my alley.

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HarlemStruggle

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i have like 40 VITA games digitally through PS Plus and still can't justify the VITA. I wish it was just $200 and included the 64GB memory cards

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itchyflop

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Edited By itchyflop

@harlemstruggle: and they cant justify the price of the memory cards either, i payed full price on release of the vita, uncharted was great fun, didnt play it for a couple of years then, revisited it and spent a few quid on some of the better titles such as borderlands, most wanted, and bought a few i should have back then like wipeout and unit 13. Its great on away from home, would i pay £399 again though or buy a decent lap top.

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HarlemStruggle

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@itchyflop: my issue is, I know i want/need a 64GB and that alone is $90 or more. I'm sure once i get a VITA i will love it, but i am buying VITA almost equally for remote play as I am for the Games.

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itchyflop

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Edited By itchyflop

@harlemstruggle:

Having a ps4 and ps vita, i can tell you the remote play works but sometimes it sucks because the vita has no L2 or R2 buttons, they replace them with the rear touch pad as im sure you know, this isnt great usually and is unresponsive or too responsive.

There are no analogue stick "click" R3 L3 buttons on the vita, the "clicking" analogue sticks you may need, for example the torch on last of us is R3 on the ps4,

Sometimes. the screen though great on the vita can be really difficult to play on as there is a lot more visually going on, on the ps4.

On its own the vita is in my opinion worth it, if you can get the software at a more reasonable price, some great deals now. The memory cards unfortunately are stupid prices.

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HarlemStruggle

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@itchyflop: the VITA with a 64GB(at least a 16GB should be standard) is worth $200 to me, people bitch about how sucky and lame their VITA's are but no one selling them for cheap at least for the past 3 months I've been looking lol hypocrites

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JoshRMeyer

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@harlemstruggle: I finally bought one last night.. $200 with borderlands 2 and an 8gb card. I'm hoping those cards drop in price like the microsd cards have lately.

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HarlemStruggle

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Edited By HarlemStruggle

@joshrmeyer: I bought mine last week! Bought the 1001 OLED from a rich 11 yr old down the street for $80 with 4GB mem card with Unit 13, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, and Call of Duty: Declassified, and a 64GB from Ebay for $84

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itchyflop

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Edited By itchyflop

@harlemstruggle: lol, to be fair Sony were promising great things and with uncharted being on release looking so good it set the standard, not very much arrived after it seemed, however there are some great titles now, nfs most wanted in particular is worth every penny (having had it on ps3 also and never finished it), the vita does its job very nicely on an airplane.

i dunno why the stigma stuck, i must admit i didn't give it time in the "dark" years where it only seemed indie games were arriving but then i played hotline Miami on the ps4 didn't like it and then played it on the vita and loved it on vacation and it rekindled me to the vita.

The software i believe is still too overpriced, even ps4/3 older titles are cheaper than their vita cousins.

In uk the vita's are around £99.

just bought borderlands 2, kill zone, mgs hd, god of war hd and wrc 4 (which is better than 5), assassins creed, sonic team racing at a good price to broaden my gaming habit when im away, just shows at the right price u get true good quality gaming on the go, not streamed that rarely works, oh and bastion for free on ps+.

maybe you could buy one of the vita's off the people bitching for a knock down price :)

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HarlemStruggle

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Edited By HarlemStruggle

@itchyflop: Its just a matter of time before i pounce and get one, thanks man, i agree, and although PC has a lot of the games VITA has, it is the best portable game console available if you don't prefer the 3DS library. Buying a console with almost the entire library released is never a bad idea.

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itchyflop

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Edited By itchyflop

@harlemstruggle: if the nividea worked i would have one of those but after trial of it at a show it suffers from wi fi lag just as bad as the other competing models. Locally its fine but with the vita i have the option of playing offline and having both digital and physical games can be so much cheaper.

As an example i had a look at sonic team racing on the iPhone 6 , not great at all with touch screen controls, (im not buying it for £20 on the ps4) so i bought it for £3 on vita from play-station store and im pleasantly surprised, its no Mario kart lol but its good to play on the vita and its not bad at all, i didn't think id warm to it, its actually quite challenging.

To be fair i haven't ruled out the ds, it has a lot to offer and i know from experience Nintendo make some really fun and different software, especially if you have more than one player with the same hardware.

My advice is maybe buy one in the jan sales and purchase resident evil 2, that in my opinion is the best looking game so far on the vita, and if your like me (old!!!) its great nostalgia too, infact resi 5 on the ps3 was so good looking and fun to play. ha i can remember the bad acting in the 1st one on ps1, the dreamcast (veronica) version was scary !!!

have a great Christmas bro :)

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Gaming-Planet

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Thought the Vita was dead.

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deactivated-578f2053b4a13

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@Gaming-Planet: it is.

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GmanSach

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I'm really happy that Bastion came to this system.

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Orontes13

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Oreshika is the best game of the lot by far. I am pretty sure most of the 86% that did not vote for it never even heard of it or played it.

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uncle5555

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@Orontes13: After playing dancing all night, I know that isn't the best vita game of the year, unless you seriously love rhythm games. Danganronpa was ok, but could have been better from what I played of it.

Lost Dimension, I can't comment on, it's sitting a few feet from me, just haven't played it, so yeah Oreshika was the best one on this list.

My question though, were those the ONLY vita games released this year? If so, wow (why no EDF 2, btw...I just looked at my collection, where's Toukiden and Corpse Party)

These choices suck....

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Stefarno1988

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How did the fantastic Steins;Gate not make this list?

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ishsgames

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ah sure am glad i went with N3DS in September. Pokemon, Zelda, Bravely Default, Xenoblade :). My feeling and preference....calm down ^.^

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HarlemStruggle

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@ishsgames: you spent close to $500 for all that though. Nintendo Systems and games cost a lot.

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ishsgames

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Edited By ishsgames

@harlemstruggle: not even close. I don't spend money blindly. I make sure to get the best bang for the buck while getting a quality product in mint condition. In total, I have only spent $315 lol.

I also got lucky and got the N3ds XL with the IPS display and "good" buttons on the first try. Idk why but around half the models of the N3ds XL are shit8y TN displays and have these ugly flat buttons.

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HarlemStruggle

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Edited By HarlemStruggle

@ishsgames: ok, i'm not saying you're wrong, I bought my Wii U and the 10 best games at one time, I spent like $600. I think it is worth it. but I'm just saying $315 for 4 games isn't exactly a good deal. I don't play Pokemon, Monster Hunter, Animal Crossing and don't prefer strategy RPG's so 3DS's library is childish and uninteresting to me, getting better though.

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abHS4L88

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@harlemstruggle:

They're very much worth it though soooo yeah.

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Redblaze27

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A game that you gave a 5/10 is GOTY material to you?

lol, okay

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KifflamKifflam

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@Redblaze27: That's just one reviewer's opinion on Gamespot. And this is GOTY material for the Vita after all.

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Basinboy

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Edited By Basinboy

Poor Vita. You deserved to be treated better by Sony.

*looks at current prices of memory cards

MOTHAF*CKER!!

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zyxahn

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I never got rid of my Vita. I have Tales and Dragon's Crown. The rest are PSP or PS1 classics.

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biglee424

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I think I own a vita .. it must be in a drawer somewhere

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benleslie5

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benleslie5  Moderator

I really enjoyed Persona 4 Dancing All Night, I found the game more addictive on both Hard and All Night mode for Free Dance

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logicalfrank

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Love my Vita but the only one of these I've played is Olli Olli... On 3DS. I will keep playing the numerous great indie games that have made their way to the platform but it's really too bad the system never really panned out as a unique platform in its own right.

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deactivated-578f2053b4a13

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Dont forget Bastion just released on the Vita. Even though it's 4 and a half years old, it should be a contender.

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Xristophoros

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ouch, rough year indeed. even the wii u had a far stronger year than the vita and there were only three games worth owning on that platform.

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abHS4L88

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@Xristophoros: Try checking out the eShop

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deactivated-578f2053b4a13

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I vote Tomba 2 as best Vita game in 2015. : )

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