It’s always a dilemma for people like me who owns both Vita and 3DS XL for which version of a game to get. Ok some will suggest “Why not get both?”, even if both version offers exclusive contents it’s still not a valid reason to get two versions of the same game and besides it’s not practical. Example is when Zero Escape came out few years ago, good thing is that I saw some articles, few videos and forum topics about the comparison of the two version (Vita and 3DS) that helped me decide. I ended up picking the 3DS version and I’m glad I did, not that the Vita version is less good but because it caters some elements that I think will best serve the way I play the game and besides I have the 999 on the DS so I guess that’s another reason to choose that version. I really want to get my hands on One Piece: Unlimited World Red I’ve been looking around the net and can’t find any clear comparison for this game on the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS so I decided to get both and make my own comparison article. I love the One Piece series but lose track of it after getting busy with my family. A lot of characters added in the world of One Piece that I missed which is not a problem to this Bandai-Namco’s new installment. This time it has its own original story but I still suggest for those who are new to the franchise to check the past manga or anime which I’ll also consider doing as well. Maybe I need a weekend of One Piece marathon, watch it with my 4 year old daughter. A good time to introduce her to the Straw-hat crew. I love that developer Ganbarion made a Monster Hunter(esque) kind of game but as expected not as deep as MH but still have lots of content to satisfy your cravings while waiting for MH4 release. I haven’t played the previous OP games so I can’t compare that to this one. It’s not an over-the-top hack-n-slash game like the Pirate Warrior series but more of an action RPG combined with hunter-gatherer simulation on the side. I find that the latter part is more of an afterthought than a requirement. ‘Nuf said. I know that most of you would like to know the difference between the games Nintendo 3Ds/XL versus the PS Vita version and as much as possible I don’t wan’t to stir-up a fanboy argument on which version is superior. There are definitely pros and cons on both version. Without making this introduction stupidly long – here’s my comparison.
Most of us (let’s face it) will ask the question “Which version has the superior graphics?”. For starters I can say that they almost have the same graphics. Why almost? why not precisely? Here’s the thing. The 3Ds XL version regarding assets like 3D models, textures, shadows and frame-rate are basically the same game. The text are the same, the animation cut-scenes are the same, the background music is the same, no doubt it’s the same awesome game. I’m happy to inform you that they didn’t make the 3DS/XL version any less beautiful than the Vita version. Graphics on both system is packed with eye-candy, cel-shaded awesomeness!!!
Some of you might hate me on this one but I’ll say it anyway. The resolution on the 3DS XL is a bit mushy. Don’t get me wrong it’s not mush unplayable but just a bit blurry at times, frame-rate is running fine maybe it’s due to the up-scaled screen size of the 3DS XL? I’m not sure but the thing is it’s not the case when I played Resident Evil: Revelations and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate – these games are very much crisper and sharper tone to it compare to OP:UWR 3ds version. It’s a big shame that they didn’t incorporate the stereoscopic capability of the 3DS here that might solve the depth issue when exploring the stages. Unlike some 3DS owner I love playing games in full 3D. The Vita version on its bright AMOLED screen looks crisper compared to the 3DS version with its native sharper resolution. It also looks way brighter thanks to the AMOLED screen of the Vita. I can’t say anything on the newer Vita Slim ’cause I don’t have one.
Some people will complain on the 3DS’s lack of the 2nd analog stick but for me it’s not an issue. It might be a bit awkward to use your right thumb for the touchscreen’s virtual d-pad to control the camera, serving as the 2nd analog stick but you’ll get used to it somehow. The Vita’s dual analog stick is definitely the ideal way to play this kind of game but with the help of the Circle Pad Pro XL/LL on my 3DS XL I can say that the controls are very much the same. Note that the Vita’s analog sticks are a bit placed too close at the bottom of the console that made my thumb feel uneasy on some point but not that big-a-deal. Another thing is that the angle of the camera on the 3DS is a bit tighter compare to the Vita version.
I’ve mention that the 3DS version has less sharper graphics compare to the Vita version and it becomes an issue when exploring the stages which makes the corners and turns indistinguishable but this all goes away thanks to the 3DS’s 2nd screen which caters the map, menus and virtual d-pad for camera control. It’s a breeze to play seamlessly because you don’t have to press the start button over and over just to show the map. On the Vita version you have to go out of game play just to view the map which I find troublesome specially if you’re in the middle of the action and don’t wanna ruin your momentum. It also messes up your sense of direction, somehow when you point the character on a direction you wanna go, your placement on the map will not update accurately which is a bit weird. I don’t know why they did’t incorporate a transparent overlay of the map on screen while playing same thing in Monster Hunter.
I’m not really that concern about online play on handhelds if I want online play I’ll let the big brother consoles handle it. It’s nice to know that the Vita version has trophies and the 3DS version has street pass features and leader-boards. Both have the same playable characters and both have the free DLC “Red Quest”. I haven’t run through Coliseum mode that much but on what I’ve seen on reviews the Vita version is much better on this aspect but not a major deal breaker for me.
Now that I’ve laid down all the pros and cons of the Vita and 3DS version I’ve concluded that both systems are capable of producing top quality games and the One Piece: Unlimited World Red is no exception. At the end of the day it all boils down to what your needs are – Dual screen or dual analog stick? Seamless game-play but with standard definition visuals and lack of 2nd analog stick (unless you own a Circle Pad Pro) versus HD visuals but with confusing mapping system? Sony or Nintendo? It’s never about the brand it’s how games are treated and delivered to the gamer – that’s more important. Now I’m spending more time on the 3DS version because of the seamless game-play without pressing the Start button just to look at the map. As I’ve mentioned earlier I’m truly disappointed that the developer didn’t include 3D stereoscopic functionality on the game. The Vita’s beautiful crisp vivid screen will be a deal breaker for most of us and if you don’t mind pausing the game just to view the map and menu then this one’s for you.