Uncharted: Golden Abyss Review (PSVITA)

by February 21st, 2012

Does Drake hold up on handheld?

Uncharted: The Golden Abyss is a quasi prequel story to the original Uncharted for PS3. It tells the standalone tale of Nathan Drake and his friends Dante and Chase, as they look for the fabled city of Gold. While journeying into a restricted dig site, Drake and Dante come upon a sacrificial burial site, and Dante’s reluctant partner Chase. The two of them obviously have a rocky history, and when Dante’s intentions are revealed to be less than noble, both Chase and Drake set out as reluctant partners. From here, Drake and Chase race against rebel General Roberto Guero’s army and Dante as they search for yet another fabled city.

fun from beginning to frustrating end

The story may seem trite when you look at the franchise’s history, but there are subtleties here that keep the game fresh and fun from beginning to frustrating end. The characters in this game are on par with the other throw away characters from the console games. The Elena’s and Sully’s aren’t here (even though Sully does make a stand out appearance) but you can’t expect new characters to stand against the classics from an amazing franchise that prides itself on story, and character development. Uncharted: Golden AbyssThe Vitas hardware assets are in full use here as you uncover relics and other collectables throughout the entire game. There are charcoal rubbings, and artifacts that you must use the touch screen to clean off. You can use the touch screen to move Drake from each handhold while climbing or you can use the basic controls. On top of these things, Drake becomes an amateur photographer. The controls are what you would expect from an Uncharted game, but there were a few problems with Drake jumping over barriers on his own, and getting caught in strange loops where he would automatically perform certain climbing and jumping animations on his own. These problems never hindered my experience though, but they were there. Uncharted: Golden AbyssWhile playing, I started thinking that this is the most wholly realized version of Uncharted because the action takes a back seat here, and actual treasure hunting becomes your main focus. Granted, the set pieces aren’t as impressive, but I felt like this is what we should have seen on the consoles. This is something that I think future Uncharted game should learn from. You can tell early on that the developers included a lot of content to make up for the lack of a multiplayer aspect. I played through the game in about 10 hours, and I missed 65% of the treasures and such. While 10 hours may seem short for the amount of money you are paying, I didn’t once feel like I had wasted a penny. The game looks incredible and with the dual analog sticks, it’s easy to play and a lot of fun as well. While I do recommend buying the trigger grip for your Vita, I didn’t find it necessary for comfortable play. The game was programmed with the Vita in mind, and in that, the game doesn’t force you to contort your fingers in strange ways to play. There are a few graphical issues in the game, and as I’ve told others, this game looks as good, if not better than the first Uncharted. There are a few issues with flat surfaces, but if you aren’t looking for it, you probably won’t notice. There were a few times that I noticed a weird aura around some of the character models and stuff, but it was minimal. Once again, I can’t say it enough; this game looks incredible for a hand-held iteration. While I know the newness of the Vitas abilities will wear off over time, there wasn’t a point in the 10 hours I played that I wasn’t impressed with the way the game looked. Uncharted: Golden AbyssWhile there is one part at the end of the game that really frustrated me, this is a must have game for any Vita owner. It looks and plays like a console game and the story, while not as grandiose is still very good. To me, it’s as good, if not more cohesive than Uncharted 3. Fan or not, buy this game. You will not be disappointed when you stack it up against the other titles out for the system right now. Uncharted: Golden Abyss is a great game, and would have been an amazing one if it wasn’t for one blaring issue: a frustrating context sensitive boss fight at the very end. I can look past a few graphical and control issues, but having to redo a scene from the beginning over and over was enough for me to drop this title from amazing, to just great. Trust me when I say that this game was amazing up until that point.

The Good: Great graphics, New game play features, A more realized Uncharted game.
The Bad: Frustrating Final boss fight, Some minor technical issues.

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Gold Y AwardGold Y Award
4.5 4.5 / 5
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