PS Vita cross-platform gaming overview

As non-game-related reasons to buy a PlayStation Vita go, the various forms of connectivity between the handheld and the PS3 are some of the more interesting. Ideally, the features could put console and handheld gaming on equal footing, blurring the lines between the two and adding new dimensions to both.

At present, though, only a handful of games actually support cross-platform play, and figuring out which games support which features (and how well) can be difficult. To cut through the fog, we’ve pulled together the games that wear cross-play on their sleeves, put them through their paces and found out exactly what they can do. Our findings are as follows:

Direct multiplayer

As of this writing, a handful of titles claim to include cross-platform play, but only two seem to actually offer direct multiplayer between PS3s and Vitas: WipeOut 2048, and pool sim Hustle Kings. Of those two, WipeOut’s the only one that makes it easy, presenting players with a clear cross-play option that lets them challenge PS3 owners on Wipeout HD Fury’s tracks.

Hustle Kings is a little more complicated; cross-platform game invites don’t seem to work, and meeting up with a friend online means the PS3 player has to set up a game room, after which the Vita player can pick it from the list of available rooms. It’s kludgy, but once you’re in, the action works well enough, albeit with noticeable lag (which isn’t a huge deal, considering the game is turn-based). And because the game switches over to the opponent’s view when it’s not your turn to shoot, it’s kind of fun to be able to control the view on one system using the other (of course, you’ll only be able to benefit from that if you’re playing both versions in the same room).

Both titles are also part of a cool promotion Sony’s running: those who buy one version of Hustle Kings automatically get the other for free. Also, buying WipeOut 2048, along with the PS3 versions of WipeOut HD and its Fury DLC, will get you free access to the Vita versions of WipeOut HD and Fury when they become available sometime this spring.

That offer also applies to two other games that, as of this writing, are both Europe-only: Top Darts and MotorStorm RC. While those two games are frequently mentioned in conjunction with cross-platform play, however, neither actually seems to support the feature – at least not yet. While the Vita version of Top Darts has an online multiplayer mode, the PS3 version doesn’t. Neither, for that matter, does the Vita version of MotorStorm RC.

Above: Still pretty fun, but lonely

Trading UGC

Outside of the four mentioned above, one other game advertises support for cross-platform play right on the back of its box: ModNation Racers: Road Trip. If you’re expecting to jump online to challenge established PS3 players, though, don’t. Not only is there no direct cross-platform play, there’s no online racing, period.

However, MR:RT does enable players to jump online to download and upload custom characters, karts and tracks made with either the PSV or the PS3, so if you’re a fan of a particular track (or just want to download one you made on the PS3 version), you can. (Again, though, being unable to show your stuff off in online games kind of diminishes the appeal.) Hopefully we’ll see the same feature in LittleBigPlanet when it hits the Vita later this year.

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