Review: Uncharted Golden Abyss

Thanks to Naughty Dog, when Uncharted: Drakes Fortune appeared on the Playstation 3 almost 5 years ago, it quickly became a fan favorite on the Playstation 3, because of its compelling story, intense action sequences, and memorable characters; like Nathan Drake, Sully, and Elena Fisher. This spawned two sequels Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, which returned familiar characters while introducing new characters and a intense story.

In Uncharted: Golden Abyss, it brings everything you love from the console versions of Uncharted and places it in the palm of your hands. Golden Abyss also introduces new characters that you will love and hate. It also introduces new mechanics that involve the Playstation Vitas touch screens and cameras. Now lets see if Bend Studio's portable version can hold up to big brother Naughty Dog's console version!

Story: The story of Golden Abyss takes place a few years before the events of Uncharted: Drakes Fortune. The game starts with Drake being sent to Panama by a new character named Dante, who hired Drake to help translate ruins that were recently discovered. Drake later meets the new leading lady named Chase, a energetic archaeologist, who is trying to discover where her grandfather disappeared to. How they meet and their journey begins is at a ruin where corpses of poisoned Spanish conquistadors lay dead near a Visigoth symbol. Which leads them to a tyrant and interesting locations which will lead them to their final destination and what could be the Golden Abyss. This story is just as interesting as Drakes Fortune, but is not as good as Among Thieves and Drakes Deception so it gets a...

Rating- 9/10

Gameplay: Now the gameplay if you couldn't guess, plays exactly the same as the Uncharted games on its console counterpart. There is a few exceptions where it uses all the features the Vita has to offer. The first feature I will talk about is the motion sensors, which is used in 2 different ways. The first which is a positive assists you in aiming by tilting the Vita slightly, so it's easier to get head shots to take your enemies down faster. The second way, which is a negative, is while moving across a log like in Uncharted: Drakes Fortune you will suddenly get stopped by nothing and you will have to balance for a few seconds, using the motion sensors keeping a needle near the center of a bar. It easily becomes annoying and unnecessary after the first time and needs to be gone if they plan on making a sequel.

Bend Studios also incorporates front and rear touch screen mechanics in the game. You can use the front touch screen to platform Drake around the stage by dragging your finger along where you need to climb and Drake will climb automatically along that path. You can also drag the grenade icon and move it to where you want the grenade to explode. The touch screen can also be used when you need to do charcoal rubbings in order to uncover a picture and piece it together. The final way the front touch screen is implemented is to cut down bamboo, during melee combat, or quick time events which might appear during certain fight cut scenes or while climbing, where you will have to drag your finger along the direction prompted on screen. Which if your not paying attention and expecting one to not show up and you miss it, you die instantly and will have to start back where the last checkpoint was. Which can be quite frustrating.

The two final Vita featured mechanics that can also be taken out if there is the possibility of a sequel. The rear touch screen is mainly used to rotate objects that you found or to zoom in and out with the camera or scopes. The camera is also used where you need to aim at a light source to light up a paper, another unnecessary device thankfully it was only used once.

Now onto the gameplay mechanics we all know, the gunplay and fighting. If you played another Uncharted game these two things should feel similar, pressing L to aim and R to fire. While the melee is not quite like Uncharted 3, it plays the same as Uncharted 1. Also the level designs should feel similar when walking through the lush and exotic forests to the decrepit ruins. The puzzle designs are well done and require some thinking for you to navigate the area to find solutions. When playing Golden Abyss you will never feel like your playing a portable version of the game because of its game mechanics, only that your looking down at a smaller screen, so for gameplay it gets a...

Rating- 9/10

Audio/Visuals: The audio and visuals are by far the best part of this game, because it looks and sounds like its exactly from the PS3 versions, just ported down to the Vita. The visuals are amazing and something I thought I would never have seen on a portable device so soon.When you get out into the open for the first time and see a beautiful waterfall and the tall mountain you'll be at awe. The lighting is also spectacular, it reacts to everyone and everything in the environment at any time in the game.

The audio is fantastic and perfectly fits the settings and characters and is on par with the first Uncharted. If you want to hear it at its best i recommend the use of headphones when playing the game. If you really enjoy the music I also suggest you get the soundtrack off the Playstation Network to hear it like it should be on your TV through your stereo or surround sound. You will be surprised at first by the graphics and audio this game puts out on the Vita, but because of the OLED screen and the specs behind the Vita, it shouldn't come as a surprise that it gets a...

Rating- 9/10

Uncharted: Golden Abyss is definitely one you shouldn't pass up if you have a Vita and Golden Abyss is not just a side story in the Uncharted series for you to set aside. Although the Vita features Bend Studios implements are over used and could be used less, they are still fun to use. The conversations between Drake and either Dante or Chase are hilarious, because of the bickering and arguing that happens between them kept me wanting more. The game took me around 8-9 hours to complete on Normal, that includes looking around for collectables so it could take a shorter time to beat. This game is by far one my favorite games on the Vita and I give Uncharted Golden Abyss a....

ABoG Rating: 9/10