WeView: Uncharted: Golden Abyss

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. Buy it.

    Uncharted Golden Abyss is a showcase of what the Vita can do. The controls, voice acting and presentation are all fantastic. This is a definite must buy for any Vita owner.

  2. Great game showing what the Vita is capable of. The motion control for the zoom was brillant and should be standard in all Vita shooters. BUY IT and a Vita if you don’t already have one.

  3. I felt quite disappointed by Golden Abyss. It looks fantastic for starters, easily the best looking Vita game. However, there are a few bland facial animations and block textures in the background so its not perfect.
    The story is again witty, charming and Uncharted-esque, but it feels like it begins to drag in the later stages on the game. There’s also no stand out set pieces for me. Albeit there are a few sections which do break up the gameplay but there is nothing that stands out from the rest.
    I also had trouble with the shooting, the little analogue sticks on the Vita are quite hard to get used to for GA as the aiming is precise. Truth be told I wasted a lot of ammunition due to this shooting at mid air. Still I think the hit recognition could be a more spot on.
    The touch screen comes in real handy for the game. Helps you climb with less effort which is nice. The parts where you have to rub the screen for a charcoal drawing is very cool…at first. After a while is becomes repetitive. Also there is use of light for a certain task which came really frustrating for me. Don’t own energy saving bulbs when you get on that and you will know why.
    Bounty system works dreadful in Black Market and it should have more online features.
    Anyhow Considering all the bad points I mentioned I really enjoyed the game. No where near as much as the PS3 Uncharteds but there was enough action, witty lines from Nate and nice storytelling to get me to the end.
    Pondering on the fact I paid 79p for it I would go Bargain Bin as I would feel let down paying full price for it.

    • I usually keep mine short and sweet but got carried away this week :P

  4. Buy it – the pacing is way off in the first half but it settles down and ends up a really enjoyable experience. Great game.

  5. I bought it and played through twice (one time on crushing for the trophy!), I would say buy it.
    There are a few issues, lag from the analog sticks making aiming hard compared to Unit 13, and some annoying touch screen controls; but the storyline and locations are really good, even if the set pieces and bosses are quite weak.

  6. played around 3 hours of it so far. Enjoyable but nothing compared to the PS3 versions. If you’ve never played Uncharted (you dead?) then I wouldn’t start with this. Wait for the price drop and then buy it ;)

  7. I got Golden Abyss as part of my launch day bundle.
    Having spent several hours playing it I’d say I made a bit of a mistake. Don’t get me wrong, the graphics are amazing, the script is great and it plays just like it’s PS3 brothers, but some of the fire-fights are just a little bit tricky on a hand-held after you’ve been playing for half an hour or so. For me Uncharted is best on the big screen, where it can be shown off in all it’s glory. And don’t get me started on ‘The Black Market’.

    My opinion – Rent It, for the experience of one play through but good luck if your a trophy whore, your fingers will be in a state by the time you get that platinum!!

  8. Buy It.

    It’s a fantastic game and makes perfect use of the Vita’s various control functions – the best being the swiping of the screen to choose your climbing path, it’s actually much easier than using buttons (and this is coming from someone who thought touch-screens had no place in hand-held consoles). Others including the rubbings do become repetitive but it’s still a great use of the feature.

    The story, dialogue and characters are on par with the other Uncharted games. My only gripes would be that the gameplay isn’t broken-up enough with some mini-bosses or vehicle sections like you might expect, and as such a few of the sections drag (only a little) as it’s very much climb/jump/shoot (repeat). Visually it can’t be faulted and the environments are beautifully detailed – and often take you off the main path for the odd Treasure in spectacular fashion.

    The variation in collectables is also nice and the respective menus and background information on the artifacts is quite impressive.

    The only other downside is the awkward use of Near for trading Bounties, although this has now been patched now, and perhaps that I thought it was a little slow going from the start. My accuracy with the shooting took a while to become good, but these were all minor things really.

    If we get this kind of quality from a release title, then I think the Vita will not be anything other than a success.

  9. I’m a good halfway through I think. Much prefer it to Uncharted 3 – the characters are good, there’s some great writing (particularly some amusing self-referential stuff about series tropes), cool use of the Vita’s features (I love the ‘holding up to light’ bits), and I love all the collectible/exploring stuff. It’s not perfect – particularly I’ve had some issues with traversing once or twice – but it’s very strong. Really solid outing for the series, and well-suited to the format. BUY IT.

  10. Buy it. Chucks a ridiculous amount around the screen for a handheld console.

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