Uncharted: Golden Abyss review (PS Vita)

I’ve got to admit that I’ve never played the Uncharted series, simply due to the fact that I don’t own a PS 3. Despite this fact though, I’ve always been interested in trying out the Uncharted series, but now that I have a PS Vita, I will be able to give the Uncharted series a try.

So Uncharted: Golden Abyss is an action adventure platform game that was developed by SCE Bend Studio and the development was overseen by Naughty Dog and released exclusively by the PS Vita in February 2012.

 

The Story

The story revolves around Nathan ‘Nate’ Drake and its set some time before the events of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. The game starts with a sort of prologue that shows Nate following rival explorer Jason Dante through a temple complex in Panama. Dante tells his mercenaries to kill Nate on sight and after you play through a series of gunfights you are shown a cut scene in which Nate apparently dies from an RPG explosion.

Then you get flashed back to 2 weeks before this event and you are shown Nate and Dante who appear to be old friends, arriving at a trail that will lead them to a dig site that is headed by Dante’s partner, Marisa Chase, who doesn’t trust him. After finding the corpses of Spanish conquistadors that were supposedly poisoned and had a grave marker made out of a Visigoth symbol, Chase shows Nate an amulet that she hid from Dante. The dig is then interrupted by Dante’s real partner, the warlord Roberto Guerro and then Hell really starts to break lose.

 

The Conquistadors and Coronado

So seeing as the conquistadors play a big part in Golden Abyss I thought I would explain a bit about what they really are and stand for.

The conquistadors were soldiers, explorers and adventurers in service of the Spanish or Portuguese Empires. They would sail beyond Europe to conquer territory and open up trade routes. They colonized a lot of the world in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. They were professional warriors, using European tactics, fire arms and combat dogs against unprepared groups. The conquistador Coronado will play a part in Uncharted as will be explained in the game itself. Coronado hoped to find and conquer the Seven Cities of Gold, a mythical place. The myth was created by the reports of the 4 survivors of the Narváez expedition. But as Coronado found out this place was nothing more than just a myth.

Why I’m explaining all this is basically because of the fact that the Seven Cities of Gold and the tales around them are actually true, and you do end up finding it in the game, however, that’s just in the game, in real life though, I wouldn’t advise you to go searching for the Seven Cities of Gold as they simply do not exist.

 

The Gameplay

I can’t really compare the gameplay of Golden Abyss to the other games in the Uncharted series, but I do know that even if the game is on the Vita, it manages to hold its own perfectly. Seeing as the game is released on the Vita, it’s incorporated the touch screen features on the front and back without it becoming annoying after some time seeing as you have a choice, use the touch screens or just use the buttons. You’re not forced to use the touch screen if you don’t want too, except on 1 or 2 occasions during the gameplay, but those segments don’t last that long, maybe a few minutes at the most. The touchscreen is used however when it comes to certain puzzles that you need to solve. This is probably the best thing about the game, pure and simply the fact that you aren’t forced to use the touch screen if you don’t feel like it.

As for the rest of the gameplay, the fact that the Vita is comfortable to hold makes the game really enjoyable as well as you don’t have to search for the buttons that you need to press.

The environments that have been created are beautiful; it really feels like you’re traversing a cliff in the middle of the jungle or like you’re exploring an ancient temple.

The puzzles that you encounter in the game aren’t particularly hard, but they are hard enough that they will require a good think in order to solve them. The combat that is present is also challenging at times: Uncharted is not only a platformer game, but also cover-based shooting. In each battle you will have to hide behind something or you will die pretty much instantly. But there is also the option of going into melee combat if the situation calls for it. This is usually the case whenever an enemy comes to close to you. You will also have the possibilities of taking out the enemies by sneaking up from behind meaning that you can take out the majority of the enemies without wasting bullets on trying to get a headshot.

The only drawback that I could find in this entire game is the fact that the route that you have to take to get from point A to point B is pretty much mapped out by either golden ledges or cracks in walls that have a silver line across them to mark that they’re climbable. But other than that, I couldn’t really find any drawbacks at all.

 

Conclusion:

So all in all, this game is pretty awesome. Except for the fact that your route to climb is pretty much mapped out, I really can’t list any drawbacks about this game. The cut scenes look amazing even though the game is for a portable console, as do the environments. The cover-based fights work in combination with the occasional melee moments that you can choose to have. So yes, I would highly recommend getting this game if you own a PS Vita as even after completion of the game, you’ll still be able to have fun trying to find the locations of all the pieces of jade, turquoise and all the other things that you can find throughout the game.

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