The PlayStation Vita doesn’t arrive in North America and
Europe for another two months, but we’re way too excited and impatient to wait
that long. Thanks to the earlier Japanese launch, we’ve
already got a system in office and we’re already diving into our most
anticipated PS Vita games. Visit GamesRadar all this week for updated hands-on
impressions with the full imported versions, but note that these may not be the
final versions you play in February.
Easily one of the most anxiously awaited launch titles for the Vita is Uncharted:
Golden Abyss, PlayStation icon Nathan Drake’s first small-scale adventure.
Beyond being a new Uncharted game, which is likely enough for most people,
Golden Abyss also gives us a glimpse into the type of graphical prowess we
should expect from the new, powerful handheld.
What is it? A prequel to the Uncharted series
following the heroic Nathan Drake as he romps around ancient ruins searching
What’s new in the PS Vita version? Story is really where Uncharted:
Golden Abyss stands out. Drake is younger in the game – more naive. He’s fighting
alongside new characters, including a female lead who’s genuinely different
than either Elena or Chloe.
How do the PS Vita controls work? Golden Abyss takes full advantage of
every single nook and cranny of the hardware. Most of the game can be played
like a traditional Uncharted game using the analog sticks and buttons, but
occasional instances require the player to use the touchscreen for
quick-time-events, or to balance the system when crossing over a log. We can
also draw our finger over the touchscreen to guide Drake to climb, which makes
the already simple platforming of Uncharted even simpler. It feels forced and
completely unnecessary, but, luckily, it works well, and never gets in the way. Other options, like rubbing the back to climb ropes, can sometimes be more trouble than they're worth, and don't really add anything.
The best parts so far: The melee
pulls from Uncharted 2’s, which is nice, simple, and works well, and the
combat, on the whole, is strong. But for as fun as the gameplay is, the
story is the most interesting part of the game so far. The writers have said
the game is canon , and that they’ve worked with the writer of the core series
to make sure it all fits, so we’re excited to see where it goes.
The not-so great parts: The level design isn’t great. We’re not sure if
it’s because of the smaller screen or the new developer, but we found ourselves
often getting lost in ways we never did in the console games. Sometimes we were
missing a hidden path, but other times we were just not stumbling into the
right part of the level to initiate a cutscene, and that’s always frustrating. We’re also unsure about the cinematic gameplay –
one of the highlights of the series. There have been a few times so far that
we’ve gotten to sections that we feel would have been epic and cinematic on
consoles, but, for whatever reason, were simplified into cutscenes in the Vita
Above: We play through a section of the game
When can you play it for yourself? Golden Abyss is currently set for a US
launch at the same time as the Vita, on February 22.
Is it import-friendly? Once it's set to English it's as if you're playing the US or UK version - all of the menus are in English, and the voice acting is completely done by the US cast. You're not going to get any better than that.