Release date: 2/15/12
Price: $39.99 ($35.99 downloaded)
Naughty Dog is easily one of the most respected developers in all of gaming. They have a huge list of accomplishments such as, Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, Uncharted, and the upcoming future hit, The Last of Us. What would happen if another developer took over these projects? What would happen if Bend Studio made Uncharted? Well, that is exactly who created Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Continue on with the review and decide for yourselves, was this a good idea for Naughty Dog to let another developer tackle the Uncharted series?
Graphics = 9/10
From the very beginning I was instantly getting the feeling that I was playing on my PS3. Nathan Drake looks fantastic and it seems all of the character details and animations are present. I should also add that all the character look fantastic, not just Drake.
The levels so far make me think of the original Uncharted. Lush beautiful jungles really show off the power of the Vita. When you are at a spot where you can see the horizon, you can sort of tell that the background sort of looks like a backdrop. In the far distance you can sometimes see a flock of birds flying which really add to the depth.
The shadows and lighting really look great on the Vita. Everything looks very smooth with hardly any jagged edges.
What is really impressive is how great this game looks as a launch title. I have no doubts that the Vita will get many more Uncharted games with each one improving in graphics.
Sound = 10/10
It seems Bend Studios learned a thing or two from Naughty Dog. The sound quality is as good as any of the previous Uncharted games. A fantastic soundtrack and motion picture quality voice acting. Nolan North reprises his role as Nathan Drake of course.
Toss in some ear buds and you get amazing sound effects from bullets and explosions.
Controls = 8/10
There are some new features in this Uncharted game that really set it aside from all the rest. One of the nice new features is your camera. To earn awards and trophies you must take certain pictures. Each level will have some photographs and as you are playing you will need to find these areas and snap a shot. You are graded by how accurate the picture is to the original.
Another new feature is the touchscreen. Throughout the game you will find items that are dirty or maybe you just need to spin them around to find a clue. You will use the touchscreen to wipe away dirt to reveal the clue. Sometimes you will need to spin the object with your fingers until you find the clue yourself.
Climbing can now be done with the touch screen and rear touch panel on the Vita. Climbing walls can be accomplished by simply pressing on the areas you want Drake to climb. You can also do this in a swipe direction which causes a chain reaction allowing Drake to get to his destination with one single hand gesture.
Rope climbing can now be done using the rear touch panel. Use your fingers in a climbing motion to get Drake to climb. This tends to give the gamer a simulated feeling of climbing.
Sniping is pretty neat as you can use the motion controls built into the Vita. As you look down your sights, your screen becomes a large reticle and you move the Vita around to aim your gun.
The dual analog sticks certainly take some getting used to. You have a much smaller field of movement so it does not take much to get the camera to move while aiming or walking. This will slow you down as you try to get those headshots and such. I also noticed how close the right analog stick is to the X button. This can cause you to accidentally hit the wrong button or once again, slow down to feel where the X button is. This is another reason why I prefer using the touch screen instead of using the traditional button.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss has many treasures to find. Bounties, artifacts, etc. These can also be traded with friends or other players around you. This is done using the "Near" program which is installed to your Vita. When you launch Near, you can locate those playing the game, or played the game, and you can send trade offers or give gifts. You then claim these gifts or trade offers in the "Black Market" when you load up the game.
Overall = 8/10
I am pleasantly surprised by how much fun I am having with the new features in Golden Abyss. The great graphics and so far, great game play. Are leaving me with the "I want more!" feeling. Whether Uncharted is on my PS3, or on my Vita. I just can not seem to get enough.