Written by Cole Burton Sunday, 04 March 2012 20:37
Ever since the day I picked up Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune so many years ago I knew I had something special. Now, two sequels, one prequel, and a new development team later, here we are. Bend Studio certainly did Naughty Dog justice, as Uncharted: Golden Abyss is one title I wouldn’t wish any PlayStation Vita owner to miss. And, it’s a primary reason to pick up a Vita as of right now.
Back in my PSP days, my favorite portable title of all time would probably have been Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. As a huge Metal Gear fan, it would take a lot of hard work to take the crown away from such a fanboy. However, Uncharted may have done just that. It is easily the most beautiful handheld game I have ever played, and the gameplay didn’t feel watered down at all. For the most part, it will play like the past Uncharted games. Jumping, punching, shooting, etc. are all in line with the console controls...if you choose to play the traditional way.
Golden Abyss makes great use of the Vita’s touchscreen, you can control many actions using it alone. Melee combat, climbing, throwing grenades, swapping weapons, the list goes on and on. Many others love this style and updated feel. I, however, think it could use a little work. I think it’s great being given the option to use standard controls or touch controls on the fly, but in some areas it just seems gimmicky. For example, my main gripe is with the melee combat system. I love using my fists in Uncharted, but using square alone won’t cut it. In many cases, it is mandatory to swipe the screen in certain directions to make Drake dodge and attack. Something as serious as hand-to-hand combat shouldn’t require this feature, at least not as frequently as it does.
In Drake’s latest (and oldest) adventure, he becomes mixed up with an old friend, a pretty girl, and a crazy General and his army all in the search of some great treasure. The story doesn’t sound very convoluted simply put, but it holds up very well. Especially with all of the twists the game has in store. However, one thing I would have done differently is one of the first things that’ll happen in the game. Golden Abyss starts off similarly to Among Thieves on the PS3, a later chapter comes first, and then you slowly play your way forward to that chapter and then past it. But, Golden Abyss featured a spoiler. Sure, one we may have seen coming a few chapters down the road, but maybe not. And this betrayal that happens in the very first chapter changes the way we see a character throughout the rest of the game, as he and Drake are still friends and allies.
The whole point of the Uncharted series is to round up some great treasures to turn a buck, that’s why Nate does what he does. Golden Abyss excels at this, as there are several great puzzles that make great use of the Vita’s tech. For one thing, you may have to hold the back of the Vita up to a light source, for another you may have to rub the front touch screen, and then maybe even the rear touch screen. Along with all of these cool puzzles come tons of collectible treasures scattered throughout the rather long story. You are sure to feel like you're serving your purpose, not just shooting dudes to save the damsel in distress.
I truly hope that Bend Studio comes back to the Vita with future Uncharted titles in mind. I would love a Vita line of Uncharted games to coincide with their console counterparts. Yeah, this game is just that good. If you have yet to buy the game, go here and purchase it now. And if you’ve held off on the Vita, solve that problem right here and now! The results are in, neither the Vita nor Uncharted: Golden Abyss will be a waste of your cash, that I promise you.