Uncharted Golden Abyss Review
I went into this game with little expectations. I had read a lot of mixed reviews and wasn’t exactly blown away by the trailer either. The graphics looked nice, but I had a feeling this was going to be a poorly written, 4 hour experience, providing nothing more than a tech demo. I’m proud to say I WAS WRONG! This is truly like having a Playstation 3 Uncharted in the palm of your hands.
Being an Uncharted fan, I couldn’t help but give this title a shot. I took advantage of the buy 2, get 1 free deal at Target, so this was my chance to get the game for cheap. Let me say, it was a purchase I don’t regret at all! From beginning to end, I felt like I was playing a Naughty Dog classic. Clearly, SCE Bend Studio knew how to carefully craft the Uncharted experience: the witty banter; solid character development; a driving, epic soundtrack; an engaging story. The visuals were outstanding too, most of the time. There were a few parts that looked a bit rough. Some of the wooden interiors looked bland. Also, the fire looked like it was rendered at low resolution. The framerate dipped during a few of the more hectic gunfights. However, no screen tearing!
Golden Abyss had a different style of pacing than some of the more recent Uncharted games. In some ways, it reminded me of the first. There were a few crazy, cinematic moments. However, much like 1, it focused more on action, its protagonists, and exploration. This title offered more opportunities to find hidden items than any other version in the series. I was surprised by how many branching paths it had, enabling you to seek out hidden treasures, some requiring picture taking or wiping down objects with the touch screen. Speaking of the wiping, it was a bit overdone. There was one point where I thought my Vita was going to ejaculate from all of the hand motion. Funny enough, one of the characters made a joke relating to that. The puzzles were a mixed bag. Some were fun with a mild challenge. Others were practically solved for you, by your partner.
Many people were disappointed by the gunplay in Uncharted 3. I’m happy to say it’s better than ever in this handheld offering. The mix of dual analog and the gyroscope add a new level of precision. It’s a satisfying feeling gunning down one guy, then just slightly tilting up with the Vita to take out the shooter behind him. This is especially noticeable, and useful, when armed with the sniper rifle.
Overall, Uncharted Golden Abyss doesn’t provide much innovation. It also lacks multiplayer, though that is supposed to change in the future. However, it goes back to its roots, while refining several aspects (gunplay, for example) and adding a few new elements to the mix. The game feels like a true adventure, just like the first did. Except, this one has no creatures! Thank God! Also, it may be the longest Uncharted title yet. My playthrough was around 12 hours and I didn’t even uncover every secret. Though, I did get quite a few of the hidden items, so someone racing though the title can probably complete it in around 10 hours.
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