How to get console quality gaming on the go
With more than 2,000 gaming companies, the UK is a gaming giant. In fact, the most successful game of all time, GTA V was made by Scotland’s Rockstar games. Gaming on the latest generation consoles is a pleasant experience. You are treated to stunning graphics, amazing music and richly detailed levels. For instance, it took 1,000 people three years to make GTA V at a cost of more than $250 million.
On the other hand, games made for playing on-the-go tend to have smaller budgets. Plus, portable consoles are limited by battery life. However, there are exceptions. In this post, I will show you the accessories, games and devices for getting a console quality experience on the go.
Smartphones are the most popular devices to game on. We always have them with us, and it means you don’t have to carry another device around to meet your gaming needs. However, there are limitations such as battery life. I have never been a fan of covering the screen while playing. To take your smartphone gaming experience to the next level, here are some accessories I’d recommend.
Matte screen protector - This deflects UV light, thereby making it easier to game outdoors. It also helps to protect the screen from scratches.
Wireless gaming controller - You simply dock your phone in a cradle at the top and use a console sized gaming controller.
Powerbank - A power bank is essential for any handbag or backpack. There are few things more isolating than being stuck somewhere with 0% battery and no power outlets nearby. People will love you for being their saviour when their smartphone has low battery.
The games below have console level graphics and gameplay for iOS and Android smartphones.
N.O.V.A Legacy: This is a sci-fi shoot ‘em up with intense gameplay and vivid graphics.
Modern Combat 5 : Dubbed “Call of Duty for phones” you will be amazed at the level of detail.
GTA Series: Rockstar ported some of their GTA games to mobile. They are bound to provide endless hours of gameplay.
The Walking Dead: For horror fans, this game provides many shocking moments in vivid HD.
Limbo - An award winning platform with a unique take, this is good for casual gaming.
PUBG Mobile - This is as close as you will get to Fortnite on Android… for now.
Riptide GPR -Racing on choppy waters has never been more fun. Get set for a big budget, thrilling experience.
Minecraft - Fans of Minecraft will love to build on the go.
Gaming on portable consoles
If you want a more dedicated experience, there are 3 compelling options.
Nintendo Switch - A home console and portable device in one. Is this the ideal console?
PS Vita - Sony’s ill-fated console has a huge game library, and at a compelling price point too.
GPD Win 2 - What if you take AAA PC games with you on the go?
In my opinion, the Playstation Vita had the worst roll out of any console over the past 20 years. The Playstation Vita was well ahead of its time when it was released in 2010. The dual analogue sticks combined with powerful specs and a game changing design was sure to be a winner right? Well, Sony made the fatal error of requiring a proprietary memory card for storing games. A 32 GB memory card cost about £80 at launch. The Vita alone cost £249 at launch. This turned off a lot of passionate gamers.
The PS Vita is so powerful that Killzone Mercenary - which is regarded as the best PS Vita game by many critics - used a game engine meant for the PS3. The graphics and gameplay are insane. You will spend some time just thinking about how awesome it looks. I am yet to have a similar first person shooter experience on another portable device.
In 2014, Sony released the PS Vita Slim. This was a lighter, thinner version which made it a lot easier to carry the system.
The Playstation Vita is compatible with some PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 titles. This cross compatibility is important for more intense games.
I managed to get a PS Vita in near mint condition for £90. I then spent another £90 on a case, carbon fibre wrap and several games. In comparison, the Nintendo Switch costs £279.99 by itself. A big advantage of the PS Vita is that you can get games relatively cheaply. Memory cards for the system are expensive; therefore, I prefer to buy the physical versions. You can sell and share physical game cartridges, but you can’t do the same with the digital versions.
The PS Vita is small enough to fit in your pocket. I enjoyed playing it on my commutes. After trying out several games on the Vita, here are the ones which I think have home console level graphics and gameplay:
Wipeout 2048 - A fun, sci-fi racing game. The graphics and game physics are insane.
Killzone Mercenary - Widely regarded as one of the best FPS games ever released on any console, this is a must-have if you get a Vita.
Assassin’s Creed III Liberation: Ubisoft brings the console Assassin’s Creed experience to Vita. This game provides many hours of fun gameplay.
Need for Speed Most Wanted: EA ported the full game. This and Wipeout 2048 are the only two racing games worth getting on the Vita.
Tearaway: This is a colourful, well thought of game which is likely to go down well with children. It takes full advantage of the Vita’s back touch panel, camera and dual analogue stick.
Gravity Rush: This game is one of the most beautifully designed games I have ever played. The music, gameplay and storyline is simply breathtaking. Gravity Rush became so popular that its’ developers were ‘forced’ into remastering it for the PS4.
The Nintendo Switch is a portable console you can ‘dock’ for use while at home. This two-for-one factor is very attractive, and the Switch has sold more than 20 million units as of writing.
The 6.2 inch HD screen is a joy to behold. It really draws you into the action. Combined with the Nvidia Custom Tegra Processor and a huge catalogue of AAA titles, this is the portable console to beat. Nintendo have done a fantastic job of attracting big games such as Fifa 19 and Fortnite to the title. This is where Sony failed with the PS Vita. Despite having a console well ahead of its time, Sony failed at attracting the big games to their console early on.
Another area Nintendo have done a good job is making the console highly customisable. You are free to use your own memory cards, unlike the Vita which has insanely expensive proprietary ones. Plus, you can change the colours of the Joy Con, use your own headphones and download games onto the 32 GB of internal storage.
The Nintendo Switch’s popularity means that there is an endless list of accessories available. And judging by the size, you will need a bag just to carry the Nintendo Switch and games around with you.
Saying all this, the Nintendo Switch isn’t perfect. The big size means that you can’t put it in your pocket. If you play AAA titles such as Fortnite, Breath of the Wild and Fifa 19, the battery will die within 3 hours. It takes 3 hours to charge it back to 100%. On the other hand, you can get 5-6 hours of gameplay, and it takes 2 hours to charge from 0-100%.
Another area Nintendo falls short is in the pricing of the Nintendo Switch and games. It costs close to £300, and in many cases, Nintendo switch games cost more than their PS4 and Xbox One counterparts. The success of the Switch means that Nintendo is unlikely to change their pricing strategy anytime soon. Why make less when you can make more? It is worth thinking about if you are budget conscious consumer.
GPD Win 2
The GPD Win 2 is a highly ambitious portable console. In a frame slightly bigger than the Nintendo 3DS, you will find a portable console running Windows 10. You will also find 8 GB of RAM and Intel HD Graphics under the hood.
You can download Steam to the portable console, and this greatly expands the games you can play. Overwatch, Skyrim, World of Warcraft, Portal 1 and others run great on the console. I don’t own one, but had the opportunity to play with it. After a short while you forget that you are playing on a portable console. It runs like a full desktop gaming setup. Although it gets a bit warm after extended periods of play.
You can buy a brand new GPD Win 2 for approximately £550. The price means that this will never become as popular as the Nintendo Switch. Plus the interface isn’t particularly user friendly. It is essentially Windows 10 running on a mid-range pc gaming setup. This is built for hardcore gamers who want no compromises while away from home.
In my opinion, the budget conscious should go for the PS Vita. If you want a portable console with great support, and which will go strong for the next 5 years, get the Nintendo Switch. Hardcore gamers who don’t want to compromise should get the GPD Win 2. You could also grab some smartphone accessories covered in this post, and make your phone a gaming machine.
I hope you found this post interesting, and it helps to boost your portable gaming experience. Your friends might find it interesting too, so take a few seconds to share this post on social media.