The story goes that Uncharted: Golden Abyss’ first-party developer – Bend Studio – was asked which Sony series they wanted to work on next after wrapping up the well-received PSP title Resistance: Retribution. By then the PS Vita was in the hands of developers so naturally Bend Studio opted to make a handheld version of one of the most beloved PlayStation franchises of all-time – Uncharted.
The first Uncharted game proved that Naughty Dog’s creation had the power to sell PlayStation consoles. Therefore Sony are hoping Golden Abyss will give the PS Vita a much-needed boost at launch, despite the game failing to do just that when the Vita was released in Japan last December.
Like any Uncharted game, one of Golden Abyss’ biggest selling points is its graphics. Despite the game running at a lower resolution than the Vita’s screen is capable of, Golden Abyss features some seriously impressive graphical effects for a handheld title such as realistic fire, smoke and water. From what I’ve heard, the game is somewhere between Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and Uncharted 2 in terms of visual fidelity. Frankly this is an amazing accomplishment for a game that runs on a portable device.
Golden Abyss takes place before Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and once again stars serial death-defier Nathan Drake along with newcomers Jason Dante and Marisa Chase. There’s also at least one familiar face which crops up during the course of your adventure, although saying who it is would be a big, fat spoiler.
The game can be played using the traditional Uncharted controls although some sections do require the use of the touch screen. You can stealthily take out enemies simply by tapping them or chart your route along a cliff face by drawing a path with your finger.
Besides from these Vita-exclusive features, the game also has a heavy emphasis on treasure hunting. Like any good explorer, Nate carries a backpack to store all the cool collectibles he discovers during his journey. However, unlike previous Uncharted games, in Golden Abyss you often have to interact with your new acquisitions in order to see them restored to their natural state. For instance (this is a fabricated example), you may need to obtain all the pieces of a broken vase in order for it to be added to your collection of treasures.
I’m sure there’s lots more to Uncharted: Golden Abyss than what I’ve absorbed of the game so far. I’m definitely looking forward to getting hands-on time with it next week when it launches alongside the PS Vita on February 22nd.
It’s unclear whether there will be a Golden Abyss demo on the US or UK PlayStation Store next week, but I know there’s currently one on the Hong Kong Store that’s in English. This sample allows you to play through two of the game’s chapters.
Will you be picking up Golden Abyss in the foreseeable future? Let us know in the comments.