The PS Vita has been marketed as a PlayStation 3 in the palm of your hand. So how does one of the PS3's flagship titles translate onto the small screen? Kotaku reader Ben Latimore took Uncharted: Golden Abyss for a spin. These are his thoughts.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss (PS Vita)
Bend was arguably the king of the shooter genre during the PlayStation Portable era. But that was a long time ago. Can they work their magic again with Uncharted on the PlayStation Vita?
Look Mummy, I'm Pretty: It goes without saying that Uncharted is the best looking game on the Vita right now. Trees are lush, colours are pretty and the motion capture animation on the actors is remarkable for a portable game. While it’s slightly unfortunate that the colour scheme doesn’t progress beyond green, from forest green and jungle green during the main game, it’s still a great show of the Vita’s graphical capabilities.
Bite-Sized Story: The main story is split into 30 or so chapters; each chapter can go on for about fifteen to twenty minutes. If you’re not one for gaming for long periods of time this is golden; it’s easy to play a couple of chapters and then come back to it later. The story itself is easy to understand; it has its twists and turns, entertaining characters and is generally memorable – you’re not going to have trouble remembering where you are in the story when you come back to it after a while.
Collectamabubbles: Hidden in the levels is an astonishing amount of collectables – well over 200 secret items to be collected, photos to snap, artifacts to find and bounties to collect. You will NOT find everything on your first play through. Most items have a unique ramble from Drake over their significance and there’s plenty of backstory around all the items you find, which can be an absolute joy for people who love that sort of thing.
That One Gimmick That Works: Of all the control faucets of the Vita, the one that doesn’t feel overused is the motion control. In gunfights the slight tweaks you make by moving the Vita can save your life, and twirling around shooting bad guys in your living room is about as fun as it sounds (just wear a wrist strap). Taking photos is somewhat fun too, at least compared to using the right stick to aim the shutter, which is about as slow as a turtle in high heels.
All The Other Gimmick Controls: I hate to say it, but Bend went way overboard on this one. The menu is operated by touch controls and it feels clunky and slow (except for the chapter menu where it goes blazingly fast), touching to melee enemies makes no sense, there are too many useless gestures which waste time; charcoal rubbing is a repetitive pain in the neck and rotating objects you’re cleaning with the back touch pad barely works at all thanks to my big hands. While they don’t come up that often and aren’t that detrimental to the game, there was one part in particular where I had nothing to do but walk around and do 10 charcoal rubbings in a row and oh god make it stop.
No Multiplayer or Co-Op: All you have on your $60 game cartridge is a somewhat lengthy but eventually repetitive single player experience. No shooting your friends for money, no shooting your friend’s enemies for money. There’s only a big blank area in the menu where this option should be.
Discounting most of the touch controls being an ignorable mess, Uncharted: Golden Abyss does the job of keeping up with Naughty Dog’s level of quality and shoving it into the most powerful handheld of this generation. Any shooter or Uncharted fan should give this a whirl.