by Liam Edwards
reviewed on PSVITA
This brings us to the alternative controls. While interesting and fun at first, the alternative controls can become pointless when you can use the Vita’s lovely new analogue sticks and buttons. These are much more precise and easy to use and it begs the question as to why Bend have made alternative controls for almost everything. Yes the Vita is a new console with a lot of interesting options available, but surely they realised that not everything worked, and Golden Abyss would benefit much more from a cut down from its excessive use of the touchscreen and touchpad.
Using the touch-screen to select guns and use Drake’s journal is nice and an example of good use of the touchscreen. The use of the touchscreen to climb and draw lines for Drake to follow is nice at first, but becomes an annoyance when you realise reaching your fingers across the Vita’s rather giant OLED screen is a pain once you’ve sat your hands comfortably holding the console. This also applies to the rather mind-numbing use of drawing lines across the screen to punch enemies, open doors and cut vines. The add nothing to the overall experience and end up becoming an annoyance, forcing you to re-settle the handheld into your hands.
Golden Abyss’ gameplay is Uncharted at heart; the climbing, the shooting and the high paced action sequences are all there and they’re all good. The Uncharted series has never been one to add anything new, just better graphics and a new story. Golden Abyss tries for the first time to add the “new”, and these features while fun at first become more of an nuisance as the game progresses. I only wish Bend would have thought more about what they were doing, and instead of trying to impress Sony by having all these different features. It would have made the game a little more fluid without these touchscreen sections halting the fast paced gameplay.
Trying too hard
Uncharted: Golden Abyss is the first handheld Uncharted game and that is exactly what it is; a handheld Uncharted game. It serves to showcase the strong points of the Vita – most notably its beautiful graphics - but also highlights the disappointing controls. The game forfeited its success by trying too hard to be new and different, stressing the Vita’s new control methods and ultimately falling short. Because of that, Uncharted: Golden Abyss simply does not match up to its console brethren.
But even with those flaws, Golden Abyss is Uncharted through and through, just on a smaller scale. It has all of the franchise cliches you would expect; from the epic set pieces to the grand story of unsolved secrets of history that only Nathan Drake can solve.
A fantastic addition to the Uncharted series. Stunning visuals and portable!
Excessive use of lackluster alternative controls. Everything Uncharted, but on a smaller scale.