Uncharted: Golden Abyss is the fourth Uncharted game in the series and it is developed by SCE Bend Studio with the development being overseen by Naughty Dog. In a chronological sense this game is set before the event of Uncharted: Drakes Fortune
Despite Naughty Dog not fully being involved in the development this story exuberates quality you expect form an Uncharted game. The general story hasn’t change. Drake finds himself in a situation where he is in competition with the bad guys (Jason Dante, a rival treasure hunter and a war load named Roberto Guerro) to get to the ancient city first. Also, being an Uncharted game, there is a female companion who this time around is Chase (a stunning, young, adventurer who has a reason to finding this lost city). This game is around 34 chapters which will take you around ten hours to complete. This is an impressive amount considering it being on the PS Vita. The dialogue and chemistry between the characters is fantastically done and top credit goes to those voice actors involved. My main gripe with the story is it is missing that wow factor previous Uncharted games have had. Each environment feels very familiar with nearly all of the game being set in some sort of jungle.
Sadly Uncharted: Golden Abyss suffers in the gameplay department. It seems the developers never had a direction when it came to controlling Drake. The first level really shows this when tutorial hints pop up with three different options to climb a rope. Why is there three different options to climb a rope? I found the track pad the most intuitive, new, way to do things but I often found myself just using the normal controls. Scaling walls also has development directional issues. You can draw a path which drake with follow on the touch screen. This is great if you really want to do something else, like scratch an itch, while playing but really it was totally unnecessary because you can just use the analogue sticks. None of this Vita features made sense. It seems that they were just included to showcase the Vita functions.
Shooting is another problem Uncharted: Golden Abyss has. Firstly, each weapon feels light. None of the weapons feel powerful/ have any weight to them. I turned down the sensitivity and it did help slightly but it still felt too light. I ended up turning on auto aim because the shooting mechanics were so bad. Another issue that seems to have got worse from previous Uncharted games is the amount of shots it takes to kill and enemy. They were bullet sponges. Saying this certain weapons did have an unusually large amount of damage. No matter where you shoot an enemy with a Desert Eagle they will die and yet an M4 takes almost a clip
Hand to hand combat is now a nightmare. The choice to use the touch screen to swipe in certain directions is very unintuitive and really broke up smooth periods of gameplay. Animations for silent take downs are also just ripped from Uncharted 2. Uncharted 3 made melee enjoyable to use and felt a step forward for the series but this instalment seems it has taken a very large step backward. Luckily the cover system hasn’t been tweaked because it still works flawlessly.
Graphically, typical of the Uncharted series, this game is stunning. Character models look fantastic and move fluidly. Despite familiar environments, which did get a bit boring after a while, they look stunning and rich in detail. If this game has done one thing right, it has kept the stigma of Uncharted games looking impressive. The score of this game is very Uncharted like. Orchestral tones play throughout the game which gives it that Uncharted feel.
Uncharted: Golden Abyss doesn’t really have a multiplayer. There is no competitive multiplayer as I have grown to love from the Uncharted series. Instead, throughout the game you collect treasure which gives you more content for another game (you have to pay for) Uncharted: Fight For Fortune. Another online feature is the ability to use the PS Vita’s Near in conjunction with the “Black market”. Essentially you can send out a request for a certain collectable you can’t find and someone can give you a copy. The big disadvantage is that it uses Near. You can only communicate with people within a limited area.
Overall this game isn’t a bad game it just isn’t really a great game I expect from the Uncharted series. There seems to be no development direction when it comes to controls (seriously only one way is needed to climb a rope) and the general gun play is a mess. There is a lot of bang for your buck though which has eased the disappointment of no competitive multiplayer. Usually I am not a huge fan off competitive multiplayer and I am a more single player oriented gamer but you do miss multiplayer when previous Uncharted games have shown that multiplayer is a perfect fit for an Uncharted game.
The problem is, it just feels more like a vast tech demo for the Vita than an actual game. The Vita's functionality should never feel forced and should feel natural