Uncharted Golden Abyss
Release Date: February 15, 2012
Genre: Historical Action Adventure
Platforms: Exclusive to the PlayStation Vita
In 2012, a new gaming device called the PlayStation Vita was launched across North America. The PS Vita released along with many launch titles, most noticeably Uncharted Golden Abyss. Months earlier, handheld gamers were hyped but pessimistic about the mobile Uncharted entry. Would it be a watered down Nathan Drake adventure or one on par with its console family?
I have good news: Uncharted: Golden Abyss stands tall and makes the PS3’s Uncharted games proud.
Golden Abyss takes place sometime before Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. The story revolves around a Spanish expedition and ancient Gods of an archaic religion and tribe. The Spanish explorers set out to discover a City of Gold, but it is unknown if they succeeded. Centuries later, Nathan Drake and a new cast of characters embark on a journey to find it and the truth behind what happened in the past.
Among the fresh faces in Uncharted Golden Abyss is a young woman named “Marisa Chase”. Drake meets Chase through a money hungry acquaintance named “Dante”. The three are then tied together in the adventure by general “Geurro” who is the leader of a revolution and the thug army that follows him.
Throughout the story, Drake never knows who he can trust and when he can rely on him or her. Drake was hired to help Dante but is dragged deep into their race for the treasure. Along the ride, Chase reveals her past and her reasons for teaming up with a dirty hustler like Dante and Drake makes many decisions about his two supposed allies, some of them foolish and wise.
Golden Abyss’ plot is a strong part of the entire package. The plot is filled with additional personalities to the Uncharted series, which is refreshing to see. Like its predecessors, this game tells an intriguing tale and the people involved grow and evolve or show his or her true colors. Despite its strengths, this historical action title lacks complexity. I would have liked to see more depth and even more background on Geurro and especially Dante. However, this franchise’s identity in this aspect is simplicity.
Music and Sound
The audio was awesome! The soundtrack is filled with matching themes, whether building suspense or being light hearted during chit chat cut scenes. Of course, there are songs exclusive to Golden Abyss such as a strange chanting later in the game. Sound is appropriate and clear, from the crumbling of structures to the fire of a Wes hand gun. Voice acting is top notch. Drake retains his usual actor while the others speak their scripts with the proper dialect for their roles.
Music and sound is well done, and is a plus in the formula. However, one way to improve is to have a more variety of songs. I found that a few times the musical scores became repetitive.
HD visuals in this launch release were outstanding! The first portable of the franchise truly demonstrates the power of the Vita. Gold sparkles, bamboo and trees are detailed, and even the guns and armor of your enemies are distinct from one another. There were zero to very few glitches and frame rate issues in this baby; it runs smoothly. The settings are colorful while surrounding buildings are fragile and overgrown with vegetation, showing their centuries old age. The view is so good that treasures and stone tables can easily blend in and be overlooked.
The graphics are the second strongest component of Drake’s outing on the PS Vita. There are no complaints about how it looks.
PS Vita has two touchscreens: the primary screen and the back of the system. Uncharted Golden Abyss utilizes the touch ability but what makes is so successful is not being forced. Golden Abyss somewhat offers the player two options, standard controls with buttons or using your fingers all the way. Some events can only be accomplished with your digits, though.
The way Uncharted uses touch is both creative and fun. There are puzzles such as moving pieces by literally picking them up and you can swipe the monitor to punch a soldier or cut through a bush of bamboo. Rubbing downward or upward on the back of the Vita system can zoom in the view of a camera or a sniper rifle. You can also throw grenades by tapping them.
Other than adding touch controls, this game plays like its brethren on the PlayStation 3. It is a third person shooter: use the left shoulder button to aim and the right to fire. The two weapon method is kept as well, in which Nathan can carry one small and a single large weapon. There are no unfamiliar guns in Golden Abyss though that does not factor heavily in how addictive and fun it is.
The 3 areas of puzzles, shoot outs, and platforming are paced throughout and the player will seldom become bored. Gameplay is the biggest pro but there are still cons. Aiming can be difficult and shaky while some parts are annoying. The most irritating is balancing on a ledge. The Vita is so sensitive to how you tilt it; the slightest mistake can send Drake crashing down to his death. Regardless, it’s hard to put your Vita down when playing this video game.
Replay Value and Side Quests
Once you finish, you can go back and collect all the treasures and extras throughout the environment. Doing so will solve the game’s many mysteries and reveal more details about the past. Even if you manage to grab every one of them on the first run through, there are Hard and Crushing modes available for the veterans seeking a challenge. Then, there are the trophies and earning all of them will give you a platinum trophy, meaning you have completed 100% of Uncharted: Golden Abyss.
Uncharted Golden Abyss is a fantastic experience! It is without a doubt not a watered down spinoff or prequel. Golden Abyss is a must play for Uncharted fans and a title Vita owners should purchase. Not only is it a system seller, it is better than Uncharted Drake’s Fortune and Uncharted Drake’s Deception. That’s right, it is on par with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Overall, I highly recommend Golden Abyss and am amazed at Sony Bend’s work.
10 out of 10 stars