I’ve spent enough time with UC:GA to safely say that I’m enjoying it more than I enjoy Uncharted 3. Is that a bold statement? I think it is.Anyone who’s played and loved any Uncharted game is immediately nervous when Golden Abyss first loads and the name “Bend Studios” appears instead of Naughty Dog. ND has certainly been one of the greatest, most innovative studios this cycle, HOWEVER, Bend has gone a long way here to prove that even if they’re not as innovative, they are certainly very talented. With nary a glitch in sight so far GA sucks you in with intuitive use of the PSV’s myriad new control features. Some of them (Charcoal rubbings) are frankly boring and make you feel like you’re playing with an Apple product, while others (Rear touch pad zooming, tracing a path up a cliff) are down right genius.
The most striking criticism that abounds about this adventure seems to be a weakened story and not-quite-so-strong characterizations outside of Nolan North’s Drake. While yes; Dante is a fairly hollow archetype and absolutely yes; Marissa is merely a place-holder for a more worthy female lead overall what this title lacks in original storytelling and characterization it more than makes up in treasure hunting! The addition of the camera; operated with the Vita like a real camera, really expands the search for mysteries overall far beyond the cookie-cutter “look for a sparkly object” cliche. Also Drake now has the use of his MA-CHE-TE (couldn’t resist) to open up secret paths to even more treasures.Back to my inflammatory opening remark; I AM enjoying this more than Uncharted 3. Not because of the writing, but because of the INCREDIBLE abilities of the Vita coupled with the absence of the immersion-murdering audio bug that plagues Uncharted 3. For the first time EVER I sat at home on my couch, in front of my 52 inch HD TV, and instead stared at the screen of my handheld gaming system. That, my friends, is an unbelievable achievement.
If this is what we can expect going forward then the future is bright indeed
There is no doubt this is the strongest launch title for the PSV and if this is what we can expect going forward then the future is bright indeed. Just think about the early launch titles for consoles this generation and you’ll get what I mean. This is a tight adventure that will have you replaying levels compulsively to find every last mystery and treasure you can and features ALL the action and suspense of the console Uncharted games. Golden Abyss is an incredible game and an exciting portent for the future of what the Vita can deliver.