Uncharted: Golden Abyss Review

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Uncharted: Golden Abyss was developed by SCE Bend Studio as a release title for the PlayStation Vita. Naughty Dog kept a close eye on thing since Uncharted is their IP. They wanted to make sure everything about Golden Abyss was up to the Uncharted standard of greatness and Bend Studio did not fail. Everything you love about uncharted is in here plus some. Let’s begin with how this adventure starts.

The game takes place before the original Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Nathan Drake is in Panama making his way through an old crumbling temple when he spots Dante, a rival treasure hunter. Dante seems to know Drake is around somewhere and has ordered his men to kill him on site.

While making his way through Dante’s men in the most violent ways possible drake gets caught hanging from a ledge and gets hit with a rocket launcher. This is how Golden abyss sets you on your way for an epic adventure full of twists and turns.

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Golden Abyss is as much an Uncharted game on the Vita as it is on the PS3. Gunplay is fantastic and even incorporates the Vita’s motion sensors to help fine tune your aiming. While looking down the sights of your many weapons you can move the vita in any direction to slightly adjust your aim.

I love this feature and was surprised that it wasn’t incorporated into at least 1 of the few FPS games that have come out for the Vita. Not only does it help to give you more accuracy it feels like it takes more skill when lining up that perfect headshot.

If you’re not blasting your way through Dante’s henchmen with your trusty handgun, you are scaling gigantic crumbling walls and cliffs in classic Uncharted fashion. Of course if classic climbing is getting old you can always use the Vita’s 5-inch OLED touchscreen to drag your finger across where you want Nathan to climb and he will be on his way.

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This is a nice feature since there is a lot of climbing and it can get sort of tedious after a while. Of course just like its big brother on PS3, walls fall apart and handholds crumble as you make your way around panama so keep moving and don’t look down.

Since this is Uncharted you should obviously be on the lookout for all types of treasures hidden on secret ledges and behind bamboo that you cut down with a flick of your finger. As with all uncharted games there is a ton of things to find and even some neat new tricks thanks to the Vita.

At some points you might be doing a charcoal rubbing of a statue, reassembling the pieces of ripped up papers or need to hold your vita up toward a bright light to make a secret message appear on something. While the charcoal rubbings and puzzles pieces are neat, I had trouble getting the light just right sometimes to show hidden messages. It’s not the biggest problem but it was a little annoying.

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Golden Abyss might have been one of the very first titles to release on the Vita but to this day its still the best looking game on it. Panama is full of bright flowers, streams, waterfalls and huge cliffs that are all so detailed you would think you were actually playing on a hand held PS3.

Bend Studio has obviously put a lot of hard work into making this game look fantastic but it makes you wonder why other developers have put out such graphically sub-par games even though they have had so much time to get used to developing for the Vita now.

Golden Abyss doesn’t just look spectacular it sounds spectacular too. Rushing water and wildlife can be heard all over Panama, that is when there isn’t a huge gun fight’s going on. Even then Ak47’s let of their loud pops and shotguns echo in the distance while grenades explode in your ear so realistic you might get PTSD after playing. Background sounds and guns however aren’t even the tip of the iceberg.

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This is an Uncharted game after all and what would Uncharted be without Nolan North–the iconic voice of Nathan drake. With Drake throwing witty comments around like grenades you wont even realize you are not playing on a PS3. Drake’s fear and anger are conveyed perfectly to really pull you in and get you invested in this epic adventure.

The lack of an online multiplayer mode was disappointing but in no way does it take away from the final product. Uncharted: Golden Abyss is an absolutely amazing game. Between the fantastic story, crazy gun fights, superb audio and the great graphics no one with a Vita should miss out on this phenomenal game.