A year and a half late, three years removed from discovering the PS3 original and now priced at only £7.95, I felt it was high time that I bought Valkyria Chronicles 2. SEGA's strategy RPG is one of a handful of home console franchises that have seen my interest wane with a move to portable devices. It seems I wasn't alone in being hesitant to follow VC across to the PSP, as poor sales in the West ensured that the third entry has been confined to Japan. This shift to the PSP certainly made sense for the Japanese market, where the 3DS/DS and PSP reign supreme, but over here it served only to kill off what was already a niche series.
Like Valkyria Chronicles, Metal Gear Solid has gone the portable route in recent years, but it fared much better than VC outside of Japan. Portable Ops and Peace Walker, and to a lesser extent the Acid spin-offs, were critically acclaimed and relatively well received at retail. However, as much as I enjoyed Portable Ops I was still unwilling to commit to Peace Walker. I was reluctant to invest substantial time in a game and narrative that I felt was somewhat wasted on a portable device, a reluctance that outweighed my devotion to the series. I never got beyond the opening sixty minutes, despite three separate attempts over the course of a year and a half. Fortunately, the MGS HD Collection has come to the rescue, allowing me to enjoy the experience on a 42” screen as opposed to 4.3”.
Western developed series have also passed me by. I completely ignored Syphon Filter's rebirth on the PSP, despite it being one of my favourite series on the PS1. I enjoyed God of War: Chains of Olympus, but not enough to shell-out for Ghost of Sparta and although I consider Resistance to be one the most overlooked and underrated first person shooters of this generation, I never entertained following it over to the PSP.
There are of course exceptions. I’m still thoroughly enjoying Resident Evil Revelations which, along with the addition of the Circle Pad Pro feels perfectly at home on the 3DS. The 3D effects are well integrated and the episodic structure, designed for short-burst sessions, really suits the story. With the Final Fantasy series, Square Enix has done an exemplary job of creating must-play portable titles made exclusively for those platforms, or older ports that lend themselves to handheld gaming. Final Fantasy aside, Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together was one of my favourite games of 2011 and served to remind me that seven years on, the PSP remains an impressive bit of kit.
Despite a reluctance to indulge in portable gaming, I continue to invest in the hardware. I added a 3DS to my collection not two months ago, and I'm still mulling a Vita purchase at or near launch. I need little encouragement to give my old portables the occasional prod while my retro home consoles, with their tangled wires and varying screen requirements, continue to gather dust.
With Golden Abyss, Uncharted is the latest in a line of beloved franchises to go portable. Fortunately, it will not come at the expense of a home console entry and, like Peace Walker before it, I'm rather eager to give it a go. It is the main reason why I am still considering buying a Vita, even if past history suggests that I might not give it the time I'm sure it deserves.