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"[GAME] Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita)"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Uncharted: Golden Abyss'.
Tue 17/04/12 at 12:11
Regular
"And in last place.."
Posts: 2,054
Over the course of the 3 games on the Playstation 3, Nathan Drake has travelled far and wide and now he gets to join you on the bus to work. Lucky him.

Sony promised a Playstation 3 experience with its successor to the PSP and there is arguably no bigger franchise on the Playstation 3 than Uncharted. Having uncharted Golden Abyss available at launch does, at least on paper, seem to back up Sonyís promise to an extent but launch titles do have a reputation of being rushed.

A launch title and a change in developer is probably all that any Uncharted fan needs to know in order for some concerns to materialise. Naughty Dog would have been much too preoccupied with Uncharted 3 to have a Vita entry ready for launch so development responsibilities have fallen to Bend Studio, the people behind the Syphon Filter series. And a fine job they have done too.

Golden Abyss is a prequel to the Uncharted series which is rather fitting as it is on par with Nateís first outing on the Playstation 3. Those coming straight from Uncharted 3 might see this as a slight backwards step but when the original game still looks and plays brilliantly, is it such a bad thing?

We find Nate in a jungle. His presence has been requested by Dante, new to the series and a friend from Nateís past. Dante needs Nateís assistance in identifying some ancient relics but things are never that straightforward in Nateís universe and before long he is shooting his way out of many a tight spot, being double crossed and off tracking a long lost Spanish expedition. Another new character, Marisa Chase, provides the glamour and love interest in the absence of Elena and Chloe. And naturally, no Uncharted game would be complete without Sully.

With Golden Abyss being a prequel, Sully is the only member of the Playstation 3 cast eligible to make an appearance which is a shame as the chemistry with the new characters isnít up to the same high standards. The banter between Nate and Sully is every bit as good but despite Nate also knowing Dante, you never feel there is the same connection between him and Nate. The chemistry with Chase is much better but Nate does like a pretty face. The main characters in Uncharted have always been part of the charm of the series so it is slightly disappointing that the Vita release cannot match this.

Bend Studio havenít tinkered with the mechanics of Uncharted and those that have played any of the Playstation 3 games will be right at home with Golden Abyss. The Vita entry plays and controls exactly the same as the home console games, which is something that simply would not have been possible without that handy little right analogue stick. I found the default setting a little sensitive for my liking but it can be adjusted to suit.

Golden Abyss was a pivotal title in promoting the Vita when it was first revealed. It allowed Sony to show the raw power as well as illustrate how the various input controls can be put to use. There are all manner of touch and tilt interactions in Golden Abyss and have varying degress of success but most are optional.

The touch screen can be used for combat. It is mostly optional and other than finger prints on the screen, there isnít any difference. In some close encounters you will be required to swipe the screen in the indicated fashion in order to finish the fight. At times when you fail to execute the desired swipe the game gives no indication as to what you did wrong, sometimes it requires a fast swipe, other times it doesnít. Itís a little inconsistent at times.

The rear touch pad can be used to climb ropes. It is optional and doing so once will award you a trophy. It isnít a patch in the traditional method. The rear touch pad is also used to set the zoom on the sniper rifle and this works well, fine tuning is quite possible with some gentle movements.

The gyro is used to enable Nate to regain his balance when walking across a wobbly log and a narrow beam. This is mandatory and happens more than is necessary for a relatively pointless action in terms of gameplay. You can also tilt the Vita in order to aim. An old stick in the mud like myself prefers to use the analogue stick but I canít fault the execution.

The touch screen can also be used for climbing by simply drawing your finger along the ledges you wish Nate to grab. Once you lift off the screen Nate scurries off like an obedient dog. An obedient dog that can climb. It works well and I found myself using it more than I expected to. It comes in handy for leaping onto ropes. Rather than having to line up the jump you can simply tap the rope and Nate will leap on. The automation does stop here though, you wonít be sitting back tapping the enemies you wish Nate to shoot and where you want him to run to next.

Throwing grenades can be done using the touch screen. Touch the grenade icon and drag to where you wish to throw. This is one of the few touch interactions which I feel are better than the traditional controls. It seems much more fluid and rapid to touch and drag a grenade.

The main difference in Golden Abyss to the rest of the Uncharted series comes in the form of Natíeís journal. It performs the same puzzle resolution source as before but the journal itself plays a bigger part this time round. Golden Abyss brakes up the action and takes us back to Drakeís passion. The exploration aspect plays a big part and extends way beyond finding some treasures randomly scattered about. There are more items waiting to be found in this game and in the other 3 games combined. The treasure hunting does return but within the journal there are also mysteries to complete. Each mystery has a variety of items needing to be discovered and specific items of interest to be photographed in order to complete the mystery. Discovering items within a mystery unravels some background story. You wonít miss out if you choose to ignore the mysteries but it does add a nice touch and shows it is not just a thoughtless addition to lengthen the time span of the game. At times you will find torn up bits of a map or picture and you will need to use the touch screen to rotate and fit the pieces in place like a jigsaw. Other times you will need to use the touch screen to wipe clean an object you have found in order to examine it. Other moments see you rubbing across the screen emulating Nate doing a carbon rubbing on some of the carvings that can be found. It all adds a little more interaction than pressing a button to pick up an item. As expected, you will have to go off the beaten track (if Nate ever follows one to start with) in order to find everything. These journal additions break up the action and they wonít be for all tastes but I rather enjoy the change of pace but if it is not for you then you can ignore most of it.

When taking down enemies, you will be randomly awarded playing cards and you can use the Black Market facility to swap cards with other players to complete your collection. These cards are essential for those that like to achieve the platinum trophy.

Graphically Golden Abyss this is a stunning game and certainly shows the potential of the Vita. There is a tranquil boat trip where you will do nothing but swipe down the screen to row and during a calm scene like this you canít help but admire the visuals, this is the best looking hanbdheld game my eyes have seen and this is a launch title, imagine what will be possible as developers really get to grips with the Vita. All the little touches like colouration changes to indicate wet jeans that impressed on Nateís first Playstation 3 outing are here, it really does feel you are playing a Playstation 3 game. An early Playstation 3 game but to be fair, Naughty Dog have improved with each game and Bend Studio have matched Naughty Dogís first effort.

Golden Abyss lacks some of the epic set piece moments of the latter 2 games on the Playstation 3 but it is still an impressive title and it could be argued that some of the locations towards the end of the game involve a deeper, more precarious descent than on the home consoles games.

The fussy among us will still spot that stealth kills seem to go unnoticed by enemies who have a clear view. Or that being spotted can result in a few more enemies appearing that are nowhere to be seen if you arenít spotted. Or that some of the larger leaps and jumps are a little unconvincing but these moments have never tainted the Playstation 3 games and they certainly donít here.

Fans of the multiplayer component of the last two Uncharted games will be sorely disappointed by the lack its absence here. But then again, if no multiplayer was good enough for Naughty Dogís first Uncharted game should we really be critical over the first effort from Bend Studio? Perhaps the launch day timescale was the cause of this omission.

A big Playstation 3 franchise arrives on the Vita playing every bit as well as it does on the home consoles and looking just as good as the first entry. It isnít the best in the series but it is also far from a pointless or unwelcome addition. It doesnít stray from the tried and tested formula but does branch out somewhat with the mysteries. Taken on its own merits, Iíd give this one a 9. When comparing to the latter 2 games on the Playstation 3, I would give an 8. But I donít think that comparison is completely fair, you should look no further than the fact you are playing Uncharted on a handheld.

9
Thu 19/04/12 at 17:08
Regular
"And in last place.."
Posts: 2,054
Thank you.

The Uncharted games are certainly not a bad starting point if you ever do find yourself in possession of a PS3. The characters and quality of the voice acting play a big part in the charm of it all which is where the Vita version pales a little.
Tue 17/04/12 at 12:48
Staff Moderator
"Meh..."
Posts: 1,474
Good review. I'm not a Sony console owner, so I've not played any of these right through.

Almost makes me wish I could though!
Tue 17/04/12 at 12:11
Regular
"And in last place.."
Posts: 2,054
Over the course of the 3 games on the Playstation 3, Nathan Drake has travelled far and wide and now he gets to join you on the bus to work. Lucky him.

Sony promised a Playstation 3 experience with its successor to the PSP and there is arguably no bigger franchise on the Playstation 3 than Uncharted. Having uncharted Golden Abyss available at launch does, at least on paper, seem to back up Sonyís promise to an extent but launch titles do have a reputation of being rushed.

A launch title and a change in developer is probably all that any Uncharted fan needs to know in order for some concerns to materialise. Naughty Dog would have been much too preoccupied with Uncharted 3 to have a Vita entry ready for launch so development responsibilities have fallen to Bend Studio, the people behind the Syphon Filter series. And a fine job they have done too.

Golden Abyss is a prequel to the Uncharted series which is rather fitting as it is on par with Nateís first outing on the Playstation 3. Those coming straight from Uncharted 3 might see this as a slight backwards step but when the original game still looks and plays brilliantly, is it such a bad thing?

We find Nate in a jungle. His presence has been requested by Dante, new to the series and a friend from Nateís past. Dante needs Nateís assistance in identifying some ancient relics but things are never that straightforward in Nateís universe and before long he is shooting his way out of many a tight spot, being double crossed and off tracking a long lost Spanish expedition. Another new character, Marisa Chase, provides the glamour and love interest in the absence of Elena and Chloe. And naturally, no Uncharted game would be complete without Sully.

With Golden Abyss being a prequel, Sully is the only member of the Playstation 3 cast eligible to make an appearance which is a shame as the chemistry with the new characters isnít up to the same high standards. The banter between Nate and Sully is every bit as good but despite Nate also knowing Dante, you never feel there is the same connection between him and Nate. The chemistry with Chase is much better but Nate does like a pretty face. The main characters in Uncharted have always been part of the charm of the series so it is slightly disappointing that the Vita release cannot match this.

Bend Studio havenít tinkered with the mechanics of Uncharted and those that have played any of the Playstation 3 games will be right at home with Golden Abyss. The Vita entry plays and controls exactly the same as the home console games, which is something that simply would not have been possible without that handy little right analogue stick. I found the default setting a little sensitive for my liking but it can be adjusted to suit.

Golden Abyss was a pivotal title in promoting the Vita when it was first revealed. It allowed Sony to show the raw power as well as illustrate how the various input controls can be put to use. There are all manner of touch and tilt interactions in Golden Abyss and have varying degress of success but most are optional.

The touch screen can be used for combat. It is mostly optional and other than finger prints on the screen, there isnít any difference. In some close encounters you will be required to swipe the screen in the indicated fashion in order to finish the fight. At times when you fail to execute the desired swipe the game gives no indication as to what you did wrong, sometimes it requires a fast swipe, other times it doesnít. Itís a little inconsistent at times.

The rear touch pad can be used to climb ropes. It is optional and doing so once will award you a trophy. It isnít a patch in the traditional method. The rear touch pad is also used to set the zoom on the sniper rifle and this works well, fine tuning is quite possible with some gentle movements.

The gyro is used to enable Nate to regain his balance when walking across a wobbly log and a narrow beam. This is mandatory and happens more than is necessary for a relatively pointless action in terms of gameplay. You can also tilt the Vita in order to aim. An old stick in the mud like myself prefers to use the analogue stick but I canít fault the execution.

The touch screen can also be used for climbing by simply drawing your finger along the ledges you wish Nate to grab. Once you lift off the screen Nate scurries off like an obedient dog. An obedient dog that can climb. It works well and I found myself using it more than I expected to. It comes in handy for leaping onto ropes. Rather than having to line up the jump you can simply tap the rope and Nate will leap on. The automation does stop here though, you wonít be sitting back tapping the enemies you wish Nate to shoot and where you want him to run to next.

Throwing grenades can be done using the touch screen. Touch the grenade icon and drag to where you wish to throw. This is one of the few touch interactions which I feel are better than the traditional controls. It seems much more fluid and rapid to touch and drag a grenade.

The main difference in Golden Abyss to the rest of the Uncharted series comes in the form of Natíeís journal. It performs the same puzzle resolution source as before but the journal itself plays a bigger part this time round. Golden Abyss brakes up the action and takes us back to Drakeís passion. The exploration aspect plays a big part and extends way beyond finding some treasures randomly scattered about. There are more items waiting to be found in this game and in the other 3 games combined. The treasure hunting does return but within the journal there are also mysteries to complete. Each mystery has a variety of items needing to be discovered and specific items of interest to be photographed in order to complete the mystery. Discovering items within a mystery unravels some background story. You wonít miss out if you choose to ignore the mysteries but it does add a nice touch and shows it is not just a thoughtless addition to lengthen the time span of the game. At times you will find torn up bits of a map or picture and you will need to use the touch screen to rotate and fit the pieces in place like a jigsaw. Other times you will need to use the touch screen to wipe clean an object you have found in order to examine it. Other moments see you rubbing across the screen emulating Nate doing a carbon rubbing on some of the carvings that can be found. It all adds a little more interaction than pressing a button to pick up an item. As expected, you will have to go off the beaten track (if Nate ever follows one to start with) in order to find everything. These journal additions break up the action and they wonít be for all tastes but I rather enjoy the change of pace but if it is not for you then you can ignore most of it.

When taking down enemies, you will be randomly awarded playing cards and you can use the Black Market facility to swap cards with other players to complete your collection. These cards are essential for those that like to achieve the platinum trophy.

Graphically Golden Abyss this is a stunning game and certainly shows the potential of the Vita. There is a tranquil boat trip where you will do nothing but swipe down the screen to row and during a calm scene like this you canít help but admire the visuals, this is the best looking hanbdheld game my eyes have seen and this is a launch title, imagine what will be possible as developers really get to grips with the Vita. All the little touches like colouration changes to indicate wet jeans that impressed on Nateís first Playstation 3 outing are here, it really does feel you are playing a Playstation 3 game. An early Playstation 3 game but to be fair, Naughty Dog have improved with each game and Bend Studio have matched Naughty Dogís first effort.

Golden Abyss lacks some of the epic set piece moments of the latter 2 games on the Playstation 3 but it is still an impressive title and it could be argued that some of the locations towards the end of the game involve a deeper, more precarious descent than on the home consoles games.

The fussy among us will still spot that stealth kills seem to go unnoticed by enemies who have a clear view. Or that being spotted can result in a few more enemies appearing that are nowhere to be seen if you arenít spotted. Or that some of the larger leaps and jumps are a little unconvincing but these moments have never tainted the Playstation 3 games and they certainly donít here.

Fans of the multiplayer component of the last two Uncharted games will be sorely disappointed by the lack its absence here. But then again, if no multiplayer was good enough for Naughty Dogís first Uncharted game should we really be critical over the first effort from Bend Studio? Perhaps the launch day timescale was the cause of this omission.

A big Playstation 3 franchise arrives on the Vita playing every bit as well as it does on the home consoles and looking just as good as the first entry. It isnít the best in the series but it is also far from a pointless or unwelcome addition. It doesnít stray from the tried and tested formula but does branch out somewhat with the mysteries. Taken on its own merits, Iíd give this one a 9. When comparing to the latter 2 games on the Playstation 3, I would give an 8. But I donít think that comparison is completely fair, you should look no further than the fact you are playing Uncharted on a handheld.

9

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