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Uncharted: Golden Abyss Hands-On Preview

Posted by TurtleGirl On November - 30 - 2011

GGUK were invited by Sony to visit their special PS Vita Rooms last week in London to check out what’s in store for the upcoming Sony handheld. This was a great opportunity to see some of the launch titles that will be released for the PS Vita in Europe and America.


The lavish show floor was filled with various PS Vita hubs and comfortable sofas on which to play the upcoming titles. This will be the first of the previews I’ll be writing over the next few weeks, as I had the chance to view many titles throughout the evening.


But Uncharted: Golden Abyss had to be my first point of call. In Uncharted: Golden Abyss, developed by Sony Bend Studio, stubble faced and hard done by Nathan Drake finds himself on the murderous trail of an ancient cult as he must unravel a mystery surrounding a four hundred year old massacre of a Spanish expedition. Nathan travels across hazardous river trails, temple ruins and the deep caverns of Central America during the course of his next exciting journey.


The first time with Uncharted: Golden Abyss, I find myself starting the game on a chapter called “Why’s the building on fire?”. Nathan finds himself lying unconscious on the ground of an abandoned prison cell, unaware of what has taken place, feeling lost and confused. He gets up from his knees, trying desperately to evaluate the situation he has awoken to. Smoke fills the air as he takes his first breath. Desperate and alone, he plans an escape route through a series of jumping and leaping on nearby boxes.


It’s quite bizarre at first pressing the touch screen, mostly because you’re not used to it, so it takes a little while to get used to. Using the X button, I carefully guided Nathan over a series of overhanging pipes and tried very hard to balance Nathan over a wooden plank while using the motion sensor that appears on screen, displaying which way you are swaying. Alternatively this can be done by simply swiping the touch screen to maneuver Nathan as he gains momentum across beams and climbing can be done by touching the back screen of the PS Vita. It’s very easy to lose your balance, but Nathan grabs the side of the plank during a brief fall if this happens. I literally thought it was game over at that point and I would plummet to my doom, but this wasn’t the case.


Looking around is achieved by using the second analogue stick to adjust the camera’s view point. You can drag Nathan around with your finger, but this seemed slow at times. Briefly stopping, you hear Marisa, Nathan’s new friend, calling for you in an overhead window and it’s at this point you’ve got to find a route to reach her. This basically meant trying to work your way through boxes. Wandering around I notice a large machete has been left on the floor in front of me, and Nathan can pick it up and use it to find alternative areas to search in. The machete appears on the right side of the touch screen and simply tapping it allows you to use it on materials when it indicates by touching the screen in a cross movement with your finger.


While wandering around I’m taken in by the environment. The smoke is bellowing from either side of Nathan and I know I have to get a move on. A glowing pipe on the wall indicates that I need to climb it and somehow make my way across the burning rubble below me without getting completely fried. Eventually the pipes give way and I find myself hanging precariously, not knowing whether I’m going to make it or not. Eventually I make it to the other side.


Something in the corner of my eye catches my attention. It’s a flicker of some treasure hidden in the darkness, just the same as previous uncharted games. There are plenty of collectibles within the game and a full description of what the item is can be shown by simply touching the screen.


Using weapons in the game is simply done by using the PS Vita’s gyroscope to aim your weapon and firing by tapping the shoulder button. Picking up weapons is also straight forward as all you need to do is tap the touch screen. Launching grenades is a matter of swiping the screen, which is quite responsive, once activated.

Graphically the game looked crisp and captured the Uncharted experience on the handheld very well. The quality of the visuals were really impressive on the Vita’s gorgeous screen.


Uncharted: Golden Abyss makes interesting use of the handheld’s new features, offering an enhanced experience of Nathan Drake’s latest adventure. The Uncharted games have always been good and the solid gameplay ensures that Golden Abyss is no different. Continue Nathan Drake’s adventures next February when the PS Vita launches.

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