Uncharted: Golden Abyss is a great game, but you wouldn’t know it from playing the first few hours. The problem is that its a launch game for the Playstation Vita and its easy to tell the differences in ambition from the early levels to the later ones, assuming the developer Bend Studio developed the levels in a chronological manner. In the early levels, there just isn’t that much happening and from an Uncharted game (or any action adventure game for that matter) and if there’s nothing happening then whats the point? It’s not like there is any exploration either as Uncharted games are pretty linear point to point games. By about midway through, I was fairly concerned that this was a big misstep for the series (especially when I was halfway through and got the ‘finisher trophy’ and thought I actually finished the game). Everything changed by around halfway through the game and the game is pure Uncharted, complete with wonderful vistas and scenery, big scale shootouts and big time adventure. Technically the game got better and better too and I was really amazed at the power of the Vita in those later levels.
In the first 10 or so levels, there is a significant lack of enemies which makes the whole thing feel like Uncharted extra lite. There may have been about 5 enemies in a room or area and the action is over in about a minute. It’s a good chance to get accustomed to the twin sticks of the Vita, probably one of the best if not the best hardware additions from the PSP. The levels were also incredibly short, like bite sized pieces, which is fine if something actually happened but it felt like nothing did. I definitely understand the reduced length of the chapters seeing as that would fit the style of a handheld more. To make up for that there are a lot more chapters, 34 in total in Golden Abyss. Nevertheless, its still a full length Uncharted.
The levels at the start were also really bland, basically levels that felt like they were made with the Uncharted: Drake’s fortune leftovers that didn’t make it into that first PS3 game. There’s a forest level, some rundown jungle huts and a factory that really didn’t do it for me at all. Again by the latter stages, it really hits its strides and delivers great levels that really feel like it was full on adventure mode.
Overall I loved the game. I still find a few annoyances with the game like the ridiculous traversal and climbing system that basically removes any chance of dying as it won’t let you fall to your death. Also the quick time events that ruin the game anytime they appear, especially during the boss battles are horrible. However its the epic adventuring and immensely enjoyable uncharted gunplay makes it an undeniably fun title.
This game is for any fan of the Uncharted games and really shows off the Vita hardware but just be wary of the slow start. The fact that its still on PS Plus instant collection makes this a no brainer to play.
Score: 8 treasures out of 10