Hello one and all, I thought it adequate that my first review of a PSVita game should be one of the first available games for the system. So upon receiving my lovely new Vita and signing up for the PS+ fourteen day trial I found out that I could get Uncharted: Golden Abyss for free (at least while my PS+ subscription lasted) this was rather handy at the time because I was waiting on Wipeout 2048 to arrive and basically just entertaining myself with how amazing the system looked and some demo's.
Golden Abyss was technically my first PSVita game and holy bajebus did it give a good impression for the systems capabilities and for what I should be expecting when buying more games in future - it left me believing that if I bought a game for the Vita I was going to get quality like that of a console title, an impressive feat for a handheld.
Enough about the Vita though, lets talk about Uncharted: Golden Abyss!
Graphics & Sound
As you've probably gathered from what I said previously, this game looks fantastic (excluding all fire in the game for some reason?) and is a true testament to the Vita especially considering its a launch title. I'd say the graphics comparatively are somewhere between what you'd expect on the original Xbox/PS2 and the 360/PS3 but more leaning towards the latter thankfully. As par with many a console counter-part textures are fairly nice to look at from a distance but can turn ugly up-close, not all textures suffers from this but most do.
Honestly I can't fault the game for its visuals except perhaps the aforementioned fire's which look pretty awful but are inconsequential to your experience, its not a deal breaker - seriously, just a gripe.
So what about the sound and music in the game you ask? well its all... good? I mean personally I find everything to mostly just be in order here, nothing outstanding or below average granted I do find the main theme somewhat catchy but it does still have a slight stench of generic to it. (I'm hoping it doesn't share a main theme with any other Uncharted games or I've just instantly pissed a few people off)
So sound design and music, perfectly normal - nothing great, nothing bad.
What about the voice acting though? well actually its pretty good, Drake's voice actor is funny and charming while bantering with the other characters in the game, letting you grow a better bond with the character and so caring more for Drake when the shit hits the fan. It's not just Drake either the other characters sound good to much to my surprise.
Gameplay & Controls
I've never played any other Uncharted game but from what I've seen of the other games the gameplay seems to be the same - at least where climbing and shooting are concerned, I can't speak for rubbing on up against your PS3 for some charcoal rubbing action though.
While the gameplay isn't anything new for the series it still has its moments and on some few occasions some large open battles which are pretty fun. The game also has a couple mini games as mentioned before, doing charcoal rubbings and puzzles both utilizing the touch screen rather well.
Much like the gameplay there isn't much to say about the controls for Golden Abyss - they're what you'd expect from a 3rd person shooter, climbing-thingy. The only note-worthy thing about the controls is that when climbing you can just move and hold along the path you wish to climb rather than holding the toggle in a specific direction and tapping X - I would like to dub this, "More convenient but basically just lazy mode".
First and foremost, no spoilers here don't worry!
So initially I thought that I would have to try rather hard to muster up the bother to keep playing this as I got to a certain point with the very similar game, the rebooted Tomb Raider and started just not to care for the theme and gameplay anymore - not to mention the story reaching a calmer point and slowing down rather drastically however Golden Abyss actually did a good job getting me invested, granted not to a massive degree but enough to see the game through to the end.
The characters all have reasonable and understandable goals, dialogue feels genuine despite the occasional chessy gag or two and there are a decent amount of memorable moments scattered throughout the game. So all that isn't enough to tide you over? well lets add one more thing to the list, this game is long - well at least for a handheld title you can easily get around 8-10 hours from this game playing on normal or hard.
The game generally keeps an acceptable frame rate and holds out fairly well considering its visual fidelity and the age of the Vita when it was released, that being said you will occasionally get a drop in frames in some of the larger areas including those large battles I mentioned earlier but for the most part you should be all good!
Well as you can see I rated this game an 8/10 (Great) despite saying some of the rather important features are mediocre, my reason being that there are some great aspects to Golden Abyss that really make it stand out as a must have for almost all Vita owners, even if the theme isn't quite your cup of tea you can easily become invested in the characters and their plight.
So yeah, overall pretty good and extra brownie points to Bend Studio for making a truly impressive game on a very new piece of hardware. I would recommend the game highly to both fans and newcomers of the series as it will do a good job entertaining either, so if you've got even the remotest flicker of interest pick it up and give it a go! (or do the fourteen day free trial of Playstation Plus and play it free for while!)
Thanks for reading
(Extra shizzle: Hey there, thank you for reading the review and I hope it was helpful, I plan to do rather a few Vita game reviews as I (for once) can actually afford to buy games consistently and with Vita games being pretty cheap at the moment I look pretty set for material - I'll also be continuing my Little Opinionated Reviews (L.O.R) alongside these written reviews, the video's will be posted at the bottom for anybody who wants to see it - it'll just be a condensed and off-script version of the written version of the review)