Monday, February 27, 2012

Video Game Review: Uncharted: Golden Abyss

Hey everyone, welcome to another video game review done by yours truly at Old School Lane. After going through a busy schedule with school and homework, I finally finished Uncharted: Golden Abyss for the PS Vita. This is the first Uncharted game not done by Naughty Dog, but instead done by Bend Studio, the same studio who made the Syphon Filter series and the surprisingly good PSP game, Resistance: Retribution. The Unchartedseries has been known for memorable characters, beautiful graphics, epic story, fun platforming, interesting puzzles, and unexpected plot twists. Can Bend Studio follow Naughty Dog’s footsteps of everything that we love in this series? Is this game worth getting a PS Vita or does it fall short of being an adventurous journey?
For a PS Vita game, the graphics look absolutely incredible. The jungles look lush and green, the water mechanics looks fluid, and the characters look quite realistic. Everything that you can expect from the visuals of the Uncharted series is there, which is quite an accomplishment for a handheld.
The gameplay mixes platforming, puzzle solving, and third person shooting, just like the other Uncharted games. It works quite well here with Golden Abyss. Also, you get to use a camera in the game to identify a few locales, which is a pretty neat feature. The only minor complaint is that shooting your enemies controls a tad bit different than the other games, but you kind of get use to it after a while. Plus, you don’t really shoot as much as the other series since it focuses more on platforming and puzzles, so not a lot of complaining here.
However because Golden Abyss is integrating with the features of the PS Vita, the game includes tapping on the screen for platforming certain obstacles and running your finger on the screen to slash at bamboo and other things. This feels very gimmicky at times, similar to using the Sixaxis in the first game, but it doesn’t happen very often, so it’s okay.
The game takes place before Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, so that means that there’s no Elena Fisher,  or Chloe Frazier which is a huge disappointment. Even Sully isn't the game for too long. We have some new characters named Jason Dante and Marisa Chase, who are interesting and funny, but not quite as memorable as Elena or Sully. It takes place around Central America where Nathan, Jason, and Marisa are looking for the an ancient lost city where an encounter of a golden abyss has been told, according to legend. The plot sounds somewhat similar to Drake’s Fortune, so it’s fitting. But, the story for me falls a little short of being an instant classic compared to the other games, but it’s still pretty good.
Extra Features
One of the most disappointing things about Golden Abyss is that there is no online multiplayer. With the other series, everytime I’m done with the main game, I go straight to the multiplayer and shoot the crap out of noobs as a warm-up, then play the co-op game of Uncharted 3 with my friend. With Golden Abyss, I played the game and then moved on with something else. You can play previous levels and find hidden treasures, which are a lot easier to find than the previous games. Other than that, there’s not much to it.
Overall, Uncharted: Golden Abyss is a great game to buy for the PS Vita, but falls a bit short compared to the other games in the series. But considering the fact that this wasn’t done by Naughty Dog, this game does the series justice, which is great. It seems that we have come a long way of other developers taken games that isn’t theirs and making it good. If only High Impact Games could have done the same for Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier, oh well. If you have a PS Vita, this is definetely worth a buy. Check it out.

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