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Uncharted: Golden Abyss - Review by Andy Urquhart (Vita)



The first portable game in the excellent Uncharted series and a Vita launch title comes courtesy of Sony's Bend Studio with some assistance from series creators Naughty Dog. With most of Naughty Dog busy working on The Last Of Us, Bend were tasked with bringing Indiana Jones alike explorer Nathan Drake to life on the small screen.

Right as the game kicks off it's clear this is a beautiful game, the graphics are well realised and the game looks stunning on the Vita’s small OLED screen. Whilst it's not prefect there are a few instances with hands disappearing into walls etc but for a launch title it is very well presented graphically.

Bend have also managed to translate the series signature cover and shooting mechanics and these both work superbly on the Vita. Most of the controls are spot on with just some occasional hiccups with Drake not taking cover or jumping properly resulting in instadeaths.

Golden Abyss acts as a prequel to Uncharted: Drakes Fortune, and the storyline is functional in this regard without being anything spectacular. And while there are some of the trademark set pieces (everyone remembers climbing the train in Uncharted 2) these are not as well realised as on it’s console big brothers.

Where the game really comes into it's own though is in utilising the unique features of the Vita, while quite a few games available feel like they have had touch features forced in after the game was already finished, Uncharted: Golden Abyss feels like it was built from the ground up to make the best use of all the Vita’s excellent unique features. Not only do we use the front touch screen for hand to hand combat and climbing it's also used for charcoal rubbings and moving parts in puzzles, the back touch pad is used to climb ropes, the gyroscope for balance and even the back camera gets in on the act with a bright light puzzle that fortunately works (I'm looking at you Assassins Creed Liberation).

There are four difficulty modes (on normal its around an eight hour campaign) to clear here and along with the various collectables and challenges to complete this is easily a 40+ hour game and whilst occasional glitches can mar the game on higher difficulties, this is still the system seller for the Vita.

Better yet all Playstation Plus members get this game for free, so if you have a PS3 or PS4 and have Playstation Plus  then grabbing a vita at this point is a no brainer and this should be your first port of call upon booting it up.

Andy Urquhart
42 Level One

Uncharted: Golden Abyss is available now on PS Vita.
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Overall Score - 82%