System(s): PS Vita
Developer: Bend Studio
Genre: Third-Person Shooter, Platformer, Adventure
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Pros: Graphics, gameplay, story
Cons: Unresponsive touch controls, forced Vita features, lack of replayability
Music and Sound: 10
This was quiet possibly the biggest title to ever release on the newest struggling handheld in the PS Vita. Though the reigns have been taken by another developer that isn’t Naughty Dog, Uncharted: Golden Abyss promises the same Uncharted experience for a handheld device. With lots of trailers, screenshots and impressive tech demos, will that help the PS Vita devastating sales numbers or is this another title that gamers can pass on by?
As you can see clearly, this is by far the best Vita game to show off to your friends to. Best graphics I’ve ever seen on handheld gaming device period. Its crisp, and very clean, as if you were playing on your PS3. Barely any glitches either, if at all. Uncharted: Golden Abyss is the gold standard (pun intended) of how a game should look on a Vita showing the true tech aspects of its core. The story of this game is also held in the same golden light as the graphics, pitting players before the first Uncharted. As Nathan Drake, you are asked to help a friend out Central America. As the story progresses you experience lots of betrayal among lots of to motivate the player to not put this title down. This is very typical Uncharted, regardless of who’s at the helm of the development team. Though that is where this game starts to crumble of what makes an Uncharted game, an Uncharted game.
Aiming with either the control sticks or the gyroscope isn’t what hurts the gameplay at all. In fact most aspects of the controls of what makes an Uncharted game play like one is here. Keyword here is MOST, and what hurts it is the fact that fans of the series can feel the sense that the Vita features were forced. Only a few parts, were you able to use the back camera to collect pictures of scenery in the game, or for one (terrible) cutscene where you needed to shine some kind of light into it. There is also the matter of the gyroscope isn’t too necessary, since the sticks work just fine on their own. Even the forced balancing mini-game that was in the original Uncharted title makes a comeback popping only in times when the player is busy crossing beams. Though these aren’t the worst offenders of why this game wasn’t something to hold on to like most Uncharted games are. First problem was the stripping of any replay value. Yes there is the Black Market trading system but you can only trade guns, and other various weapons. There is NO ONLINE, which hurts this game immensely considering the only reasons to go back are the treasures hidden in all the locals. Though this is one of two offenders of how Bend Studio let fans of Uncharted down.
The touch controls…do I really need to explain why this was a big disappointment? Ugh fine, only because this is a review…HOLY MOTHER OF *&$#@$ I loath the touch controls!!! Just like most of the other features the Vita has to offer this too was also forced. That wasn’t what pissed me off entirely, it was the fact certain sections of the game (specifically with bosses *cough cough, nudge nudge*) the touch screen controls were UNPLAYABLE!! That’s right I said they were unplayable, the damn section wouldn’t read my finger swipes and I fondly can recall dying many times in attempt to beat these sections. Even with help arrows like seen in the picture didn’t help, you swiped in that direction numerous times and would not respond at all. What’s more perplexing is this only happened in those sections, and not during legitimate gameplay. So if you wanted to do close-quarter-combat with someone during the gunning sections, the player was fine. As soon as you transitioned to the (lack for a better term) Quick-time Touch Screen Events you were screwed as hell, and was forced to play the “How patient are you?” game. If this title made you curious enough to see what its like to play Uncharted in a handheld device, then I suggest you wait till the price goes down (currently as I post this still $ 47 used). Otherwise add this to the long list of launch titles you can just skip on and spend it on something more worthy. Spend it on Gravity Rush, you’ll probably thank me later.