Uncharted: Golden Abyss – the first portable Uncharted
Uncharted: Golden Abyss a Japanese import version (voice and text in English) Preview.
Sure, Uncharted: Golden Abyss does not reach the same quality as that of the bigger episodes on the PS3, but it’s a damn good portable version of the formula. The visual variety may be somewhat lacking and the art direction is a little underwhelming, but it’s still one of the best launch titles on the PS Vita and a beautiful demonstration of the new console’s power. It’s still a thrilling adventure, full of small additions specific to Vita and definitely a game to get when the Vita finally hits North America.
The gameplay is as simple as simple and linear as ever, capturing the Indiana Jones-like spirit of the series perfectly. Nola North’s voice acting as the protagonist Nathan Drake is still top-notch – just the thing to take a break from all the intense action. Unfortunately, the plot seems to revolve around history lessons, rather than the characters and their motives to do what they do. There are some climatic peaks, but also some scenes that should have just been cut, like the lengthy “what she said” joke sequence on a boat ride in the jungle. The good thing about it is you can tap the shiny objects in the background during that kind of moments, making this game the first one where you can collect treasures during cutscenes. One thing that feels different about Uncharted: Golden Abyss is that it isn’t as linear as its home console counterparts. It’s far from an open-world setting, but there are some diversions and hidden paths. Still, they don’t make this game something it’s not meant to be.
It’s important to remember that PS3 exclusives like Uncharted always have the best graphics taking advantage of the PS3’s advanced hardware, so it’s hard for a portable console to live up to that. The good side of that is Golden Abyss shows us that Uncharted is still every bit as fun without riding all the power of the PlayStation 3. Just don’t expect the epicness of the plane scene from Drake’s Deception or the incredible level design of the ice caves in Among Thieves.
With the PS Vita, thumbsticks are a first on a portable console. Still, it’s something familiar to any console gamer, so the controls are nothing to complain about. Stealth takedowns and meele fights are done by tapping the touchsreen, which is just as comfortable as hitting a button. You can also use the touchscreen to make Nathan Drake hang on to ledges, but that can still be done with the traditional controls, so the game doesn’t force players to get used to the Vita’s touch controls.
Overall, the PS3 exclusive franchise’s first venture into portable gaming may feel a little dumbed down both presentation and gameplay-wise, but otherwise the experiment seems safe to call successful.
• A real Uncharted that fits in your pocket
• Great voice acting
• Slightly less linearity
• Nice use of the PS Vita’s controls – touchscreen, gyro etc
• Less exciting story
• Lack of variety in levels
• No scenes as epic as the helicopter’s two or three of the ship
• Art direction a little less successful
Stay tuned for a full review of Uncharted Golden Abyss after it comes out in North America on February 22.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss PS Vita New 12 Mins Gameplay
New long 12 mins gameplay video of Uncharted for PlayStation Vita from GamesCom 2011.