I've had the opening cinematic to Persona 4 Golden for the PlayStation Vita playing endlessly on the 46-inch television in my office all night long. If you find that exciting, the Sony's PlayStation TV just might be for you.
The PlayStation TV can play television shows and movies from a small number of streaming services. It has the ability to Remote Play PlayStation 4 games over a local network, which is very nice. But the reason I was excited about the PlayStation TV was the ability to play Vita and PSP games, and when I say Vita and PSP games, I'm talking about all of the wonderful games that have made portable PlayStation platforms a haven for Japanese role-playing goodness over the past decade.
The official list of PSP and Vita games compatible with the PlayStation TV isn't all JRPGs, of course. You've got smaller big-name games like Telltale's The Walking Dead series, indie hits like The Swapper and Stealth, Inc., which I'm quite fond of. Sony shipped the review unit to me with a copy of MLB 14: The Show for the Vita, which works just fine on the PSTV, despite some prompts asking players to swipe instead of pressing start.
It's a nice selection of games. Not a complete selection, especially in the case of the Vita, whose touch and camera features don't translate well to a screen-less box, but nice nonetheless.
But as a fan of Japanese role-playing, strategy and even fighting games, this little box is just the best. The Japanese titles that companies like Atlus, Aksys, Tecmo Koei and NIS America have been quietly publishing over here for the past several years? Since none have relied too heavily on the Vita's extra features, just about all of them are compatible with the TV.
It's glorious, especially for me, who hasn't been able to keep a regular Vita in his presence for more than a couple of hours since the portable came out. It just walks away while I'm not looking. The PlayStation TV is my prisoner and cannot escape.
So I've loaded the 16GB memory card Sony provided with the unit with some of my favourites from three different platforms.
That's right, if it has a cute anime girl as the icon, I own it.
Playing Vita Games
Just purchase or download a compatible Vita game from your downloads list in the PlayStation Store, and you're good to go. One warning though -- games you've purchased previously that are not compatible with the PlayStation TV will not tell you so. For example, I downloaded Tearaway, the most Vita feature-reliant game I know.
A gigabyte and change of bandwidth later, I had the game on my PlayStation TV. I just couldn't start it.
When in doubt, consult the list. Save yourself some download time.
Vita games that are compatible with the PlayStation TV however, run like a dream. No slowdown, no stuttering -- it's the same internals, so why would there be?
You'll get a little bit of blurriness around the edges, as one would expect from games made for a small screen going large, but with few exceptions it was barely noticeable.
Playing PSP Games
Same deal as the Vita games. Purchase or download, they install and you're good to go. Of course PSP games are made for an even lower resolution screen, and while 2D titles look quite lovely, some of the PSP's 3D games get awfully jaggy when blown up.
These Black Rock Shooter screens don't look too bad compressed to page size here, but expand them and the jagged edges will lacerate your retinas.
That doesn't mean 3D PSP games are unplayable -- they run incredibly smoothly on the PlayStation TV. Just be prepared to get a more intimate look at some of those polygons.
Playing PS One Classics
There really was only one game I was going to use to test Classics on the PlayStation TV.
Talk about your jaggies, but who cares about graphical imperfections when you're playing one of the most perfect role-playing games on the planet? Chrono Trigger will always be first in my heart, but Chrono Cross is my jam.
The PlayStation TV can play any PS One classic the Vita can play -- again, check the list. The unit plays they as well as the Vita, of course.
Playing PlayStation Mobile Games
You can do that too, I guess.
If you're into that sort of thing.
The some the PlayStation TV will be a PlayStation 4 Remote Play console. For others -- very few others, I'd imagine -- it will be a streaming video platform. For me, the PlayStation TV is a $150 device that lets me play Persona 4 Golden, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky and Chrono Cross on my television with one box. How can I not love that device?