Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Uncharted: Golden Abyss Review

Uncharted: Golden Abyss was the first proper game I played on my PS Vita. By proper I'm excluding the Welcome Park games that are basically tutorials that come on the system. The first thing I noticed though is that this is an Uncharted experience in my hands. It's a beautiful looking game with some great voice over work as always by Nolan North and his co-stars. This is what I wanted out of the game but now I had to actually start playing the game.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss is beautiful
The story here takes place years before the original Uncharted on the PS3 so, never played an Uncharted before? You can start here. I'd actually say having never played a Uncharted game before would make the story here allot more enjoyable. The story doesn't do anything new or anything interesting for an Uncharted fan. Chase, the female star seems like developer Bends attempt to recreate Elena the female star of the Uncharted trilogy on PS3 at the moment. The twinging romance between Chase and Drake is never interesting and I always thought straight back to the original Uncharted.

See that could be my problem however. I couldn't help but compare the story here to the original in so many ways constantly even when I tried to because it pulled so many of the same strings.

This is an Uncharted game in your hands game-play wise however minus a few minor things. One of the more annoying ones was not having the ability to throw enemy's grenades back at them, but you soon get used to playing like the original Uncharted again.

This is an 'adventure' game but like most Uncharted games what the 'adventure' term actually means is up to you to find meaning in. I treat it like a Indiana Jones type mantra and except the story in the adventure terms. Sure you climb up cliff sides but the path is mostly always linear and the adventuring game-play wise comes from trying to find all of the different types of collectibles.

Chase isn't her real name. She doesn't like anyone calling her, her real name. 
Collectibles is the best thing Bend has done here. They have added many different sets and types and actually made me want to find them for other reasons than trophies. Unlike Naughty Dogs set up to 'treasures' where you simply find and then pick up one if you see it. Bend have set's of stories that unfold over finding all the different collectibles in that set. There's charcoal rubbings, pictures and different types of treasures to find plus puzzles to put together to solve each set. There allot of fun and even use the Vita's touch abilities to enhance the game.

Talking about the Vita's different type of capabilities in Uncharted lets touch on that. When climbing up a cliff face you can draw your path on the front touch screen and watch Drake climb his way up. It works but like most the features in Golden Abyss it's a novelty and simply an option. If your like me you'll simply stick to clicking X and moving your way around. Punch ups with enemy's are carried out with swiping the correct direction on the front screen. I like to call them QSE (Quick Swipe Events) because they are simply replacing what would be on any other console QTE's (Quick Time Events.)

One pet peeve I have is that when clicking Start to pause the game I then had to take my hands of the buttons layout to swipe my way across the menu to do anything. I'm going to assume most Vita games will be doing over use of the Vita's many abilities at the moment and in the future of the console these things will quieten down.

Overall you will be just hiding behind cover and popping of enemy's with whatever weapon of choice you have till you do some climbing and then a cut scene will probably take Que. It's what we expect in an Uncharted game now and all the mechanics work fine and finding collectibles is more fun than ever.

I stopped at least three times in my first half hour to just look at how beautiful this game on a handheld was. I've played through it twice and still enjoyed it, bare the below pare story that just wasn't what I wanted.

Story: 6.0
Game-play: 8.0
Presentation: 8.5
Replay Value: 7.0

Overall: 7.5