I’m a massive fan of the Uncharted series, so when I bought the Vita, the obvious bundle package was Uncharted Golden Abyss. There were various other bundle packages available however compared to the others, this seemed to be the one that stood out, and I assumed this would most reflect what the system was capable of.
The game itself has the same fantastic storytelling as with the other games, and some stunning cinematic. You play as Nathan Drake (as per the other games), and your off on another life threatening expedition that leads you into much danger and much puzzle solving.
Ok, so I don’t want to give any spoilers so all I’ll say is, if you’ve played any previous Uncharted games, you know what to expect, great storytelling, great voice acting, and twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end.
Graphically the game is good, not brilliant but very good, as is the sound design. The thumbstick controls are solid, and feels like the PS3 versions.
As mentioned above, the game is everything you’d expect from an Uncharted game, however the writing did seem a little lazy at times. You spend the majority of the game with a companion who assists you and helps drive the story along. However, the game seemed to be “Help me get up here Drake”, you’d help your companion up, whatever they used to climb up would then collapse, and you would then say “I’ll find another way up”. You would then spend the next 5/10 minutes jumping, hanging, swinging your way to where they are waiting, you’d get a little bit of story, then rinse and repeat. At times it felt very much like Enslaved: Odyssey, just one long escort mission.
Now the annoying thing is, Sony wanted to show that the Vita has a accelerometer, a camera and touch screen by making you use at any given chance. I found myself turning off the motion controls as much as I could, as I just found them frustrating. By default the aiming is set up for accelerometer, and I didn’t realise this for the first half an hour or so, and this conflicted with my aiming on the thumbstick. I’d find myself lining up a headshot, moving the Vita slightly, and the aim would be off. Unfortunately you can’t turn off the touch controls for any hand to hand combat, so you find yourself adjusting your grip so you can tap it to do the initial couple of punches, and then some swipes for the quicktime event which conclude every enemy you take down with your fists.
The next annoyance,(and similar to what they implemented in the first Uncharted game) was that although Drake seems to be some kind of advanced rock climbing ninja, who could jump across gorges in a single bound, but he can’t cross a beam for toffee. Weather it be a log across a gorge, or a plank across a rooftop, Drake gets half way across and you have to use the accelerometer to keep him balanced…..quite frustrating.
As you go through the game you’ll pick up items which are covered in mud, and for the story to progress you’ll need to remove the mud by rubbing the front screen, and spinning the item using the rear touch pad. Now I’m not sure if this was my hand eye coordination, but I found that pretty much every item would go into a flat spin, which I’d then over compensate by spinning it in the other direction !. This isn’t the only task you have to spend your time rubbing the front screen for. There are many items in the game that you can take charcoal rubbing of, essentially you’ll climb to a specific area, rub the entire of your screen until the percentage counter hit 100%, and you’re done. If there were only a couple of these, then fair enough, but there were loads !
There was however one smart use of the Vita, at one point there was a parchment which only showed the map when held against a light source, I had to hold the Vita over the bedside lamp for the map to be shown. I found that an interesting use of the camera.
My final thought on Uncharted was the touch screen movement, I found this made me very lazy. I know you didn’t have to use it, but whenever I got stuck, I’ve just rub my thumb all over the screen, and Drake would latch onto the cliff face I couldn’t see. You could (if you were lazy) is it to jump on ropes, climb the side of pretty much anything, and for those crucial timed jumps…..don’t bother, just tap the thing that you want to jump to and it’s all done for you.
All in all, it’s a decent game, however personally felt if I could have had the option to turn off all the Vita specific feature and just enjoy the game, this would have got a 5/5.
Approx Time taken to beat – 8 hours
Difficulty setting – Normal
Score – [Rating:4/5]
Games TrailerTags: Abyss, Accelerometer, Aimin, Annoyance, Annoying Thing, Bundle Package, Chase, Companion, Drake, Escort Mission, Game, Games, Half An Hour, Little Bit, Massive Fan, Mystery, Odyssey, Puzzle, Sony, Storytelling, Touch Screen, Twists And Turns, Vita