Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
Flawed but enjoyable.
on 28 June 2012
I'm a massive fan of the Uncharted series so far and when I heard a PS Vita version was in the works I was pretty excited. When I later heard that Naughty Dog were not going to be on development duties my expectations instantly dropped. The resulting game developed by Bend met most of my expectations without ever reaching the heights that I was hoping for.
The first thing I noticed after starting the game were the visuals. It really does show off the Vita's capabilities and coming so early in the machines life bodes well for future titles. It really is stunning to look at. The gameplay initially felt a little twitchy but after a while I got to grips with it and at times really enjoyed the game. Drake, as ever, is a fantastic character and is voice acted superbly. Sully also returns (albeit late in the game) but the other supporting characters are really not on a par. Dante and Chase are typical cliches of those that came before in the Uncharted series. I really wish more had been done to flesh out the characters and add something new.
I quickly grew tired of the games constant use of touch controls. Stroking the screen to break through a wall (and then watching the exact same animation of bricks falling each time) and piecing together maps, photos and other paraphernalia becomes mundane fast. During fight scenes you are asked to swipe in one or two directions in order to execute a finishing move, sometimes these swipes are not recognised by the Vita and can result in a death. The boss fights in particular really overuse this feature. I think it's safe to say that with this aspect my worst fears for the game were met. If you're planning on playing in the dark there is also a part where you will need to get up and turn on a light, most annoying when you're playing in bed and don't want to disturb anyone else.
The game relies heavily on climbing and shooting and sometimes with shooting while climbing but very little else in between. The few puzzles are not puzzling, there are no big set pieces, no vehicle sections or any real stand out moments in the whole game. It really is a dumbed down attempt at an Uncharted game. The AI is poor at best, enemies just stand there while you shoot them and rarely (if ever) seek cover. Guns are seriously unbalanced with some of the hand guns being one hit kills (regardless of where you hit your target) while some of the larger machine guns take many many hits to bring down your foe, even at close range. Ammunition for your weapons is also not a concern, on the few occasions I did run out (while hanging from a ledge etc) the game simply gives you some more. Presumably Drake has some squirreled away on his person for just such an eventuality. I would highly recommend starting the game on the Hard setting from the off, it doesn't offer too much of a challenge (even for an average player like myself) but on Regular it's just far too easy.
While I have mostly focused on the negative elements here it's not all bad. Despite my criticism I did enjoy playing through the game (enough to play through it twice). I had fun while Uncharted: Golden Abyss lasted but it's no classic. It's an average game at best, sometimes average is good enough.