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WeView: Uncharted: Golden Abyss

Charting the Vita.

That’s right my friends, this week I’ve picked something for those of you with a shiny new handheld. Sadly I don’t have one, although I was allowed to look at one from some distance once. I’m not sure it was even on at the time, but still, I got a long, hard look at it. Somehow it was a disappointing experience.

Now, I know that picking a Vita title limits the audience this week somewhat, but it seems that quite a few of you have picked up the pocket powerhouse, bucking the trend that Sony’s sales figures seem to indicate. I’m just hoping that those of you who did shell out for your new console decided to pick up Drake’s first portable outing.

Given the undeniable quality of the main Uncharted trilogy, it’s not surprising that the reception to Golden Abyss was generally positive. The game may have been developed by SCE Bend rather than Naughty Dog, although they did oversee Bend’s work, but that doesn’t seem to have done any real harm to the title.

Dan certainly seemed to enjoy the game when he reviewed it back in January. He was very pleased to find that Bend had really managed to capture the feeling of the series, not just with the graphics or the audio but also with the game’s writing and characterisation. The games motion controls were slightly more mixed, but he still found the variety on offer worthy of praise and particular enjoyed the way it used motion controls to refine iron sights aiming.

In the end the game managed to rack up a very impressive 9/10. If you’d rather have a bit of text than a score here’s what he had to say about it in conclusion:

I’ll admit, I was nervous about the idea of Uncharted on Vita. This isn’t because I lack faith in Bend Studio’s ability, rather we have come to expect such a high level of polish from the franchise that I wasn’t sure the Vita could pull it off. I’m currently not only eating my hat, but a huge slice of humble pie.

As I said earlier, Uncharted: Golden Abyss really is a proper, 10 hour+ Uncharted adventure with very little in the way of compromise. The Vita’s launch line-up is strong, but Golden Abyss is certainly one of the titles at the top of the pile.

So Dan was impressed by the version of Drake that he can take with him, but what were your thoughts on being able to hold him in your hands? Did you think Bend managed to do the Uncharted series justice on the Vita, or did it fall a bit short of the mark? Were the variety of control schemes on offer well implemented, or did they just end up frustrating you? Most importantly did the game capture everything about the PS3 series that has made it so popular?

Wherever you sit on the game (something that’s particularly easy to do with a portable title) we’d like to hear your views. If you’re in a sharing mood all you need to do is drop a comment below containing your opinions on the game. Seems simple enough doesn’t it?

Once you’ve given us your opinion you need to attach your verdict on the game, selecting one category from the Buy It, Bargain Bin It, Rent It or Avoid It scale. Just make sure you place it somewhere in your comment, and in Monday’s verdict article I’ll count up everyone’s selections to form the overall community verdict. If you want to be included in that verdict article make sure you have your comment in by Sunday evening.

  1. Taylor Made
    Since: Oct 2011

    Avoid it simply because of the treasure hunt, sucks if no one around you has uncharted to drop treasures for you. I love the series but GA is a rent if you don’t care for trophies, if you want platinum avoid it

    Comment posted on 15/05/2012 at 10:52.
  2. element666
    Since: Mar 2012

    Buy it from me!
    Superb game the aiming was fantastic,i went back to play U3 and struggled with it.
    The only thing that let it down were the stupid bounties :@

    Comment posted on 15/05/2012 at 10:56.
  3. LTG Davey
    Since: Aug 2008

    Whether you enjoy Golden Abyss or not seems to depend on which of the main trilogy you prefer. If you favour the likes of ‘charted3, which features a lot of focus on set-piece moments and stellar voice acting, you may come away from this Vita offering a little disappointed. The dialogue is flat and there are very few “OMGWOW” moments in terms of gameplay.
    If however you are like myself and much prefer the original there is a lot to like here. Levels feel less linear and the game actually focusses on enjoyable shootouts rather than constantly funnelling you down invisible corridors to show you another pretty explosion. Touch screen controls are also nicely implemented making navigation easier and they also spice up some of the game’s puzzle sections.

    Overall however, with the Vita’s software library looking a bit sparse at the moment, Golden Abyss is a no-brainer either way. A definite BUY from me.

    Comment posted on 15/05/2012 at 11:04.
  4. Nigeyboy
    Since: Dec 2011

    Buy it, just for the canoe trip alone. Drake: “..paddle…we’re not making much headway faster faster” Sully: “that’s what she said”

    Comment posted on 15/05/2012 at 11:26.
  5. JohnnyBoy
    Since: Oct 2010

    Buy it.
    I was a bit apprehensive when buying this as I love the UC series and wasn’t sure it would translate well to the smaller screen, but as soon as I started playing I was hooked.
    If this shows what the Vita can do in it’s first week of release, imagine what the games will be like when the developers have really got to grips with it?
    The tilt to aim control is just perfect and reason alone to go out and buy it.

    Comment posted on 15/05/2012 at 11:36.
  6. Omac_brother
    Since: Nov 2011

    Buy It. Or else.

    Comment posted on 15/05/2012 at 12:21.
  7. Kennykazey
    Since: Mar 2010


    – Gorgeous visuals (even if not in native resolution)

    – Varied gameplay

    – Stellar voice acting (although some deathcries sounded weird in
    my stereo official PSVita earbuds)

    – Great story and characters

    – Humorous (even makes fun of recurring elements in the series)

    – Touch screen climbing works well (but feels unnecessary)

    – Grenade throwing using touch is handy

    – Very good soundtrack (although not quite up there with it’s big brothers)

    – Interesting treasure system (can’t get Near to work though)

    – Jigsaw-puzzles are fun

    – Sixaxis aiming is awesome (I found myself attempting to use it when playing shooters on my PS3 aswell) and makes up for the lack of play in the smaller analouge sticks.


    – Far too much screenrubbing/swiping (charcoal-rubbing, lifting, pushing and cutting) often brakes the flow of the game.

    – Sixaxis balancing feels forced (Drakes Fortune did it way better)

    – Sixaxis rope swinging and rear touchpad climbing doesn’t work half as well as using normal controls

    Although Golden Abyss feels much more gimmicky than the PS3 games, it’s a solid adventure that is unmistakably Uncharted.
    On a handheld!

    Buy it.

    Comment posted on 15/05/2012 at 13:40.
  8. FalconRedux
    Since: May 2011

    A solid entry in the Uncharted canon and a great launch title for a new piece of hardware. A definite must-buy if you own a Vita, but not worth buying a Vita for. All those interested in games should see what a handheld can do in 2012. Buy It.

    Comment posted on 15/05/2012 at 14:38.
  9. RadicalMave07
    Since: Sep 2010

    Buy it,the best vita game in my opinion and truly shows people what the vita is capable of.

    Comment posted on 15/05/2012 at 18:56.
  10. colmshan1990
    Since: Apr 2009

    Buy it.
    The aiming is the best yet seen in gaming, and nearly makes the game worth it alone.
    Make no mistake, it’s not the equal of Uncharted 2 and 3, and seems to suffer a lot of the same issues Drake’s Fortune did, but it IS a great game in it’s own right.
    Marisa and Dante might not equal Chloe and Elena as additions to the Drake and Sully dream-team, but neither are they particularly bad characters.
    Overall, I’d give the game a 85% mark- it’s a fine effort, with great replayability.
    BUY IT.

    Comment posted on 15/05/2012 at 21:04.
    • colmshan1990
      Since: Apr 2009

      Additional comment: shows off the features of the Vita pretty well.
      The touch screen puzzles are only bettered by the sixaxis. Sixaxis has always been something I tried to consciously avoid on PS3. But because the screen is attached to the Vita, it doesn’t get in the way, and adds to it.
      Sixaxis balancing works really well, but it’s the aiming that stands out. It’s perfect.

      Comment posted on 15/05/2012 at 21:08.

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