Let’s get three commonly asked Uncharted: Golden Abyss questions out of the way. This is set before the events of the first game, there’s no multiplayer, and it doesn’t suck (although it’s not on the level of the PlayStation 3 entries in the franchise).
Uncharted: Golden Abyss once again puts us in the half-tucked shirt of treasure hunter Nathan Drake. This time, an old friend named Dante needs help identifying some relics in Central America, a beautiful woman named Chase gets involved, and somehow we end up on the trail of a lost civilization. Oh, and there’s also this dude who dresses like Fidel Castro.
Historically, this franchise’s greatest strengths are characters and storytelling; gameplay takes a backseat. This outing — the first Uncharted from Sony’s Bend Studio — flips that. The core gameplay is still the same climbing, shimmying and third-person gunplay, but the developers toss in a bunch of additions that make Drake feel more like an adventurer than ever before.
Uncharted Golden Abyss WikiPlatinum Trophy GuideTreasures LocationsUncharted Vita WalkthroughMysteries SolutionsSend us your tips »Tweet us your tips »You know that journal Nate’s always opening and using to solve puzzles? We get to assemble that in Uncharted: Golden Abyss. This game is littered with collectables — there are treasures to find, photos to take and charcoal rubbings to make — and they all get added into Drake’s journal to tell the full story.
This could all play out with Drake just walking to shiny objects and us pressing a button, but gathering all these goodies actually uses the PlayStation Vita’s unique features. You’ll rub the touch screen to clean dirt off objects, drag and spin pieces of paper to reassemble a torn map, and use the rear touchpad to zoom in and out with the camera and nab the shot Nate needs.
I’m pretty anti-motion controls and usually against goofy gimmicks, but I loved doing this stuff in Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Not knowing what I’d use the Vita for next excited me. Even cutscenes have treasures hidden on desks and cabinets, so I had to be ready to tap and collect.
In Uncharted 3, it never made sense that Drake would crawl over to get a trinket when Sully’s life was on the line. Here, Drake’s wearing a backpack and seems genuinely interested in finding historical evidence. It’s a new layer to the character that makes Golden Abyss feel more like a game in some ways than the Uncharteds that have come before. But that’s not to say Golden Abyss is the best Uncharted game. While the majority of the touch gameplay entertained me, the forced touch screen swipes annoyed me.
See, you can use the touch screen for a variety of actions in Uncharted: Golden Abyss. You can tap enemies to melee them, trace paths for Drake to climb and touch your gun to reload. However, all of that is optional. If you like the traditional buttons that make all that happen, you can stick with them and ignore the Vita options. But that’s not the case for every touch control. When you’re fist-fighting, you’re going to have to swipe the screen to counter enemy moves. When you want Drake to machete through vines, you have to trace an onscreen “Z.” And even when you want to pry open doors, you have to do three forced swipes.