Uncharted: Golden Abyss User Review
Don’t get me wrong, I loved golden abyss. It just started off a little slow, kind of like coming into a movie without seeing the beginning. But I digress. This is a full blown Uncharted game and it looks amazing on the Vita’s OLED screen. It isn’t going to fool you into thinking its Uncharted 3 by any means but the folks at Sony Bend really should give themselves a pat on the back for giving fans such a great experience. As far as graphics go its right around the same level of the first Uncharted, which you have to concede is pretty impressive for a handheld.
The game starts out with Drake helping out a friend, Dante, who’s a bit of a shady character. He’s in it for the money and has few moral qualms about getting his hands dirty to get it. The first level of the game is a flash back so it’s no surprise that Dante is a double crossing slime ball later in the game. Drake also meets up with Marisa, Dante’s partner, who is just trying to finish her grandfather’s work and Drake becomes wrapped up in a conspiracy solving the mystery behind the Spanish inquisition’s quest to find Eldorado while trying not to get himself killed by the local rebels. Don't worry Sully is jumps in about half way through the game and since this is a prequel he's looking a lot younger without the gray hair.
The game plays fairly well and throws in a bunch of tricks using all of the Vita’s bells and whistles. Some of them work and some don’t. I hated having to do a balancing act every time I had to walk over a log since it was annoying and just pulled you out of the experience. You could also use tilt sensors in the vita to aim while scoped in with the sniper riffle and help tweak your aim. While it works well and is cool in theory I couldn’t really get into it and just preferred using the analog sticks.
What I really liked about the added controls was the use of the touch screen to solve puzzles. On several occasions Drake has to make a rubbing and you have to swipe your finger across the screen until the whole picture appears. I really liked using the touch controls to put together torn up posters and documents by dragging and rotating the pieces around until they all came together.
Probably the best use of the touch screen was for taking pictures, the rear touch pad controlled the zoom and you could use the tilt sensors in the same manor as you do while snipping. Using the touch screen to trace a path for drake to climb seemed like a cop out but really isn’t all that bad considering the climbing sections just have the player hitting the X button over and over again to get around. Using the analog sticks felt great but I ended up having to turn up the sensitivity because they felt a little sluggish but otherwise shootouts were just like playing the other Uncharted games.
There are also a ton of collectables in the game and the only reason I mention them is that finding them adds to the back story. The collectables are grouped together in a set of mysteries and the collectables for each mystery are spread over several levels. You have to find ancient relics, take pictures, find maps and posters and other random items that reveal more of the story once everything in a group has been found. I like this because it actually makes finding things far more interesting and actually adds to the story. My only problem with the whole system is that I had a tendency to try and focus on finding all the little hidden paths and treasures that I started to get sidetracked from the game.
Golden abyss keeps getting knocked by a lot of critics because it’s “not as cinematic” as Uncharted 2 or 3. I say that that’s just fine since it keeps things a little more grounded in reality. If every game had to be more cinematic then the last one then it’ll just end up being cliché and boring after awhile. I have the attention span to get through the game just fine without needing a nuclear explosion going off in the jungle and can just enjoy the setting and story without a flying saucer zooming off into space at the end.
Overall Golden Abyss is spectacular. It brings the Uncharted experience to a handheld without losing anything that makes Uncharted great. The Story may start a little slow and some of the extra controls may be a bit of gimmick but it really doesn’t detract from the experience much. If Sony can keep putting out games like Uncharted Golden Abyss then the Vita is going to have a very bright future.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.