Reader Review: Uncharted - Golden Abyss

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?

Loved:

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.

Hated:

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.

Verdict

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.


Comments

    I a third of the way through and the gimmick controls are doing a great job of ruining the experience. The game is pretty enough and it has its moments but damn do those controls make me hate the game way more that I should.

      Seriously? They're almost all optional.

      Granted, the charcoal rubbings and whatnot aren't, but it'd be worse if it used traditional controls. I actually like cleaning items and whatnot. I think rope climbing with the rear touch is actually kind of cool, and I'd rather swipe the touch screen to perform quicktime events than just press a button.

      Even swiping to climb can come in handy. Sometimes I'm standing up on the train and only have one hand free, so I hold the console with my free hand and swipe to climb.

      I think the game's faults have more to do with the Uncharted formula (why can't I fall when climbing) than the controls, which I think were implemented really well.

    OK, I didn't get here first but here's the rundown. Still not sure what game I'm doing next, but have a look at my list and tell me what you want. If no-one picks anything it's up to Tracey (hint hint she likes golf).

    -Lumines Electronic Symphony
    -Dungeon Hunter Alliance
    -Hot Shots Golf World Invitational (Everybody's Golf)
    -Rayman Origins
    -Wipeout 2048
    -Dynasty Warriors Next
    -Unit 13
    -Super Stardust Delta
    -Hustle Kings
    -Mutant Blobs Attack
    -Motorstorm RC

    I can probably do those four games (or maybe two of them) in one single review.

    Also, shameless plug, but I'm planning on doing a Wasteland let's play. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw0VcPjGLAY

      I would love to see a WipEout 2048 and MotorStorm RC or Lumines Electronic Symphony!

      I wouldn't mind reading about wipeout. I really enjoyed the psp wipeouts and want to know if this one's up to scratch.

      Rayman plx. I just got the PS3 version and would like to know how the Vita version measures up.

    Ok finished this last night and the only two control issues i had was rowing the boat when it would have just eaiser to push forward instead, And taking photos was a pain, not so much a control issue as a "be in that exact spot" issue to get 100% on the photo.

    You don't even need to use touch controls for fighting use the buttons instead.

    As for the rest of the game ............. Frikin Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is an incredible game that really shows the quality you can get on the vita! The graphics are great, the sound is great, the gameplay is great, it's an overall top quality game.

    If you are hesitant about getting the vita, don't be - you will not be disappointed

    no multiplayer is a negative now? really? so much for fun single player focused games -_-

      The guy is not even a proper reviewer, cut him some slack, all reviews are biased and obviously this guy is obsessed with multiplayer.

        he's getting his reviews put up isn't he? I see no reason to cut him some slack

        Obsessed? Just because I miss multiplayer on a game which is part of a series that has great multiplayer on it's console brothers?

          First Uncharted didn't :P but no, decent review. Currently up to chapter 25 and it's knocking my socks off. Hope there's another Uncharted game for the Vita down the track.

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