Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Vita Week: Uncharted: Golden Abyss

Back when I'd first got my PS3, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune was one of the first games I'd bought. Actually that's a slightly awkward story that involves me having ordered my PS3 online, yet having picked up the game at a GameStop a few days before it arrived, and I just had to stare at the box for awhile occasionally looking over the manual.

In the end it turned out to be a great looking game, with great platforming, great characters, subpar shooting, and a story that while fairly simple at first decides to take a very abrupt turn near the end which I'm still not sure how to feel about. Considering I'd just come over from the Wii(I was seriously late to the party on this console generation), it was an excellent introduction.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves wasn't radically different aside from the fact that it improved everything, and decided to turn the graphics up to the "This is freaking gorgeous" setting.

And I've yet to play Uncharted 3. So of those two, I have to compare Uncharted: Golden Abyss more to Drake's Fortune, which while not as good as being comparable to Among Thieves still means it's good.

If you've missed out on the Uncharted series thus far it follows Nathan Drake, globe trotting treasure hunter, and involves platforming and third person cover based shooting. On occasion puzzles will be thrown in as well, though these in past games tended to be mainly "Pull Out Journal" followed by "Pull Switches According to Journal".

Let me say it now, though, Golden Abyss looks fantastic. It really is comparable to playing Drake's Fortune for the first time again in this aspect, which one might say is a step back, until you take into consideration that this is a handheld system. If there is anything that shows me that Sony claiming the Vita can handle console quality graphics and such, it's this. But perhaps that's because it really does feel like they've ripped an Uncharted game away from the consoles.

The gameplay really hasn't changed, aside from a number of moments that try to make use of the Vita's unique features. For instance, to climb up a structure, you can do it the old fashioned way, hitting X to jump from ledge to ledge, or you can just draw a line on the screen following the ledges and Drake will just do everything on his own. This is actually a really good addition in my book, which sadly cannot be said for the others. At random in melee combat, you will have to make a slide motion across the screen, which if you're like me, and using the Square button, is a very odd transition.

Sadly for the rest of the combat, the gunplay has taken a step backwards. Aiming is fairly loose, and I felt the crosshair was a bit big, especially with my pistol. Beyond this the voice acting is still great, even though some of the new characters aren't as strong as Drake and Sully. The story isn't too complicated, or at least hasn't become so yet, as I'm not too far in, a running theme with quite a few of these Vita games. So do remember that most of these look overs will be mainly first impressions.

If there's one thing that Uncharted: Golden Abyss does different involves the collectables. In past games there would be tiny little treasures hidden around, and grabbing them gained you trophies. In this game on the other hand, there are the standard treasures along with spots that need to be photographed, and old ruins that need a good charcol rubbing as to take their pictures with you. The amount of these spread throughout the game is almost insane, and honestly I'm happy with that. We're building up Drake's journal instead of it existing and being filled out already. There is one downside though...

Recently a game called Uncharted: Fight for Fortune was also released for a cheap $5. This isn't the usual adventure though, and is instead a card game, I would guess along the lines of say Magic: The Gathering, if a little simpler(?). It's a nice little distraction on its own, but where the two link together is Golden Abyss's collectables. The more you gather the more you'll power up certain cards in Fight for Fortune, and as I've read it is possible to get an unfair advantage via these, so keep that in mind.

All in all both games are fun, and I would say you'd get what you pay for with Fight for Fortune, though I've yet to try to delve into the online play which from what I'd read had its fair share of problems. And I got Golden Abyss free with PS+...But I would say for the $40 you'd generally spend it will be a great adventure on the go.

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